The party for festival bands, DJs, crew and guests started quite formally with drinks and a buffet dinner at the outside bar of a fancy hotel called the International Club. Due to the nature of the guest list, this quickly devolved into cheesy pop, rock and dubstep debauchery with almost everyone being thrown in the pool, ending up with wet people in various stages of undress ripping up the dance floor. We eventually had to pull the pin on the sound system when people started getting electrocuted, wet wasted people and dodgy Afghan electricity definitely don’t mix. We continued celebrating well into the morning at Travis’ house (the festival founder) and with a few hours sleep, got ready for the last day of the festival. Here’s a couple of pics on the way to the festival venue; this guy (1st pic) was pulling this generator along behind the car going about 50 kmph. Attached to the wooden cart in this typical Kabul street (2nd pic) was a very cute donkey.
Fortunately none of the 3 acts of the last day needed a drumkit which basically cuts sound work in half. A local rock band Morcha did an acoustic set; Jase, Travis and I created live breaks and drum n bass (1st pic), then the festival headliners, Masala Sound System, went full drum n bass and tore the crowd a new one (2nd pic).
Jase and I decided to totally change the speed and feel of our show the night before and didn’t really have time to practice the new style. Fortunately it magically came together and the crowd reacted really well, we didn’t know if they would get it but perhaps the rock guitar that Travis added won them over 😀 I don’t think I have ever played bass so fast and furiously, it was all recorded so I look forward to hearing and possibly remixing it. What an experience. The venue gave the crew a bunch of flowers each… awwww!!
Last night the crew were in a state of serious zombification, 5-6 days with very little sleep, a lot of work and some incidental partying. I was having trouble standing but still felt really happy and grateful to be here and be involved. I’ve learnt a lot about festival sound production and what works and what doesn’t. It has totally flown by, a completely surreal experience that I wouldn’t believe was real if I wasn’t here right now. I just slept for 16 hours so am starting to feel human again.
After today I still have 3 full days to explore Kabul and the surrounding mountains. From the brief glimpses I’ve had it looks really beautiful, snow capped mountains and ancient stone buildings and temples.
This eve, I went looking for a money machine that would accept my bankcard but to no avail. I’ve been here without a phone or money for 7 days now and just wanted some cash so I can taxi around and see things. Apparently it’s not safe for foreigners to walk around so a local guy that lives at the guesthouse gave me and a Dutch journalist a ride to try some different money machines (ATMs). We went to 3 different supermarkets but my card wouldn’t work at any of the ATMs. Each supermarket has a couple of guards with AK-47s. The first market we went to was very new because a suicide bomber blew it up a few years ago. A security guard checks everybody for concealed weapons or bombs. When we came out of one, 3 unmarked military vehicles full of NATO troops went by. Jules, the dutch guy I was with drew this pic just now.
These white trucks have electronic jammers on the roof so that people within about 50-100m can’t use mobile phones or infrared switches to trigger bombs. We couldn’t get the car unlocked because it uses a infrared key so we had to wait ’til the military truck was out of sight. All the troops were very interested to see two foreigners in the street in Kabul but they didn’t stop.
There are unofficial rules about what you can and can’t take photos of, mostly so that you don’t get stopped and get your camera taken. No pictures of women, no pictures of people with guns, police, army or UN troops. I broke all these rules (discretely of course!) and got away with it.
At dinner tonight the Uzbekis invited me to visit Tashkent, the capital of Uzbek and play some music with them, they leave early in the morning. Maybe one day I will visit, they say it’s very safe with an iron-fisted dictator running the show. Tomorrow it’s all about jamming and exploring Kabul, it’s 3500 years old. I’ll let you know what it’s like 🙂 Thanks again for your interest!