The First City Festival in Monterey, California does not have to take the back seat when music festivals are compared. Within the last 18 months, we have attended and enjoyed Bonnaroo, Coachella, Austin City Limits, Outside Lands, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, as well as a number of one-day festivals, such as Live 105’s BFD. If Indie Obsessive were to individually look at the festivals and form lists as to why each opportunity was a better experience than the others, the list for First City might be the longest. We agreed with the member of the Cults when he stated that it was the “most peaceful” of the festivals he attended. Even during the performances of the headliners (Beck and The National), the attendees were respectful of each other. And even during the performances of the earlier, lesser known bands, the attendees were appreciative of the skills of the artists. It was a well-run festival with a well-conceived list of bands presented in a venue with a history that is difficult to rival.
When considering the intimacy of the venue, it is easy to doubt its ability to accommodate a one-day (June 18, 1967) setlist that included Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Buffalo Springfield, Grateful Dead, Ravi Shankar and The Mama & the Papas. If you asked 100 concert lovers to identify a date and place in festival history at which they would like to be present, it would be interesting to know how many would pick a day of Woodstock, how many would identify one of the many amazing opportunities in Europe, and how many would travel back with us to Monterey on June 18, 1967.
The headliners this past weekend were as good as expected. No surprises. The awakenings occurred earlier in the days. The Family Crest should not have been a surprise for us. They are “local,” since the band is based in San Francisco. Recently, NPR raved about their abilities, and we enjoyed the NPR performance stream. Still (with no exaggeration), at approximately the half point of the performance, we realized that the muscles used to form a smile were fatigued, but they weren't going to rest soon. The band’s chemistry is strong. The instruments are varied and the musicians are accomplished. Monterey was the first place we saw The Family Crest, but it will not be the last.
Consider all the great reasons to enjoy the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men in a live setting. Add a trombone, another voice and even more energy - and you have an understanding of why The Family Crest is a great live band.
The core members are Liam McCormick, John Seeterlin, Charlie Giesige, Laura Bergmann, George Mousa Samaan, Owen Sutter, and Charly Akert.
The below video is not from Monterey, but it is better than our recording.
“Love Don’t Go” by The Family Crest