Monday, July 22, 2013

Social Commentary: Weatherstock V!

Well, it’s been quite an eventful few months in the music scene for Flock of Smeagols (with our special guests from Don’t Tempt Me Frodo). Here to update you on this and other Landrovalian musical goings-on is your very own hobbit lass, Codella Mosstoes, in this blog’s very first Social Commentary!

First, in case there are some among our readers with the dreadful misfortune to not have the immediate reaction of screaming in excitement upon hearing the phrase ‘Weatherstock’, some explanations are in order.

The full gathering!

Weatherstock is an annual musical event organized by the illustrious Landroval group The Lonely Mountain Band. Every year, an enormous group of people flock to the Lone-Land’s most recognizable landmark in celebration of good music, great times, and lots of booze! (See, it’s a play off of the words Weathertop and Woodstock and...yeah, maybe better not to explain the joke.)

The preconcert concert held at the Forsaken Inn. For comparison’s sake, this is a smaller crowd.

Anyway, this year the festival boasted a record of over 700 people in attendance with only one mildly frustrating server malfunction during the Battle of the Bands...but that’s a later topic. For right now, all you need to know is that Weatherstock is the pinnacle of musical events in the world of MMO’s and we’re gonna talk about it!

First off, let’s meet the band...

From left to right: Chastine Banejones (leader of Silverlode’s Don’t Tempt Me Frodo), Codella Mosstoes (right-hand hobbit of Landroval’s Flock of Smeagols), Falillith Bane (right-hand elf of Don’t Tempt Me Frodo), and Durrann Duran (leader of Flock of Smeagols).

This particular poster advertises the official Concert Series, wherein each band plays a regular length concert (approximately an hour, with possible extensions depending on the amount of rotten fruit coating their instruments by the end). 

The reason we’re all facing different directions is both relevant and important. escapes me at the moment. I know there was spinning involved...I was playing the bagpipes...and a cowbell at one point...Miri? Help?

As you can well imagine, our concert went off without a hitch...from what we can remember. Lots of beer, guys, lots. Our audience seemed to enjoy themselves, at any rate.

Fireworks: Odobocar likes them. Take note, Landroval. (This is during Mortal Kombat by the way, just in case you couldn’t figure out why Chas would be shouting “FINISH HIM.”)

Coming up to the big event, we had our first major group malfunction: Falillith was no longer available to play at Weatherstock! What’s a mostly functional band to do? Fortunately, Codella’s long-lost sister-in-law Chalse Mosstoes was available to play, soooo the show goes on!

The newest member of Flock of Smeagols: say hello, everyone! From left to right: Durrann, Codella, Chalse Mosstoes (kinshobbit of Flock of Smeagols), and Chastine.

Our dress rehearsal at the Old Stone Ruins in Bree: Sing it, Chas!

Finally, the big day arrives! Dressed in our finest, the band splits ways: Codella and Durrann (who, if you remember, is Miri in disguise), being the dedicated reporters that we are, decide to stay with the crowd and witness both the pre-concert concert and the walk up to Weathertop.

Complete with fireworks, The Andune Ensemble entertains only a portion of the audience that will eventually show up at Weatherstock. Good luck finding us in this...being the two shorter races in Middle Earth can have its disadvantages!

(Meanwhile, Chalse and Chastine take the road less traveled, quite literally, and camp out at the summit to avoid the crowds. Smart move, guys.)

Mounting up for the escorted journey to Weatherstock. Formation, you say? Chaos, I think you meant...

Finally, we arrived at the ruin, miraculously still beside one another. Now, to find our other two band members... Chalse was pretty simple to find, as she was standing on a wall jumping up and down and occasionally performing flips. Yup, that’s my family. Chastine remained elusive, however.

Where, oh where has that elf gotten to?

Finally we located her lurking near a pillar at the back of the group. Band members intact; now to dance, cheer on the other bands, and drink copious amounts of alcohol! Whatever you do, don’t eat the brown lembas.

You heard that, right Chas? ...Right?

As the opening ceremony shot off, we took the time to scan the highly diverse crowd for familiar faces or...interesting wardrobe choices, as the case may be.

And the award to the most unfortunate combination of colors goes to...I’m sorry Sir, I didn’t get your name. Too busy staring at your orange hat.  And of course we have the dynamic duo Breyog and his friend Zylandyria from Sock Drawer Weazyls.  They’re always dressed to impress (...circus goers).

Not to mention this odd doppelganger effect going on around the stage. I’m pretty sure I only had the one Beakbreaker so far...

Sorry, Harperella, got a little distracted there. You were saying?

After a fantastic start with some Old Winyards and a second round of the Andune Ensemble, the main event finally gets off the ground!

Night has fallen and it’s time for debauchery!, music!

The Songburrow Strollers from Laurelin kicked it off with a funny little tune popularly referred to as “Catfish Action” concerning fishing as a hobbit (though let it be known the Strollers do not discriminate based on race). RKO (AKA Runic Knights Orchestra) of Brandywine took the stage next with justifiable aplomb, followed by the second band of Laurelin, The Shades, famous for their original compositions, and the beautiful, poised group Mornie Alantie of Vilya.

Harperella got to take a break from announcing at this point and handed over the stage to the capable Galenhir, who handled the introductions for the next four bands.

First up in the 2nd third of the show: A Rock and a Hard Place of Dwarrowdelf, newcomers to Weatherstock! Be nice now, everyone!

Following the Dwarrowdelfers (Dwarrowdelfians?) were The Chosen Few of Laurelin (no longer quite “a few”, having eleven total members with seven present at Weatherstock), the dynamic Die Meisterbarden von Bree of Vanyar, and The Breakfast Club, the oldest kinship of the Crickhollow server.

Whew, what a show! Obviously, we all know the next step: smoking! And again: avoid the brown lembas.

Accompanied by Smoke on the Water, courtesy of Old Winyards.

Finally, the time slot we’ve been waiting for: Flock of Smeagols featuring Don’t Tempt Me Frodo! Everyone ready to go? Codella, check. Durrann, er...nice outfit. Check. Chalse, check. Chas...anyone seen Chas??

How many times, Chas? We don’t eat the brown lembas. *sigh* Alright, who did it?

For the following pictures, we must give a shoutout to our last-minute band addition, Chalse Mosstoes! Thanks for the excellent photography, Chalse!

One successful rejuvenation later, Flock of Smeagols/Don’t Tempt Me Frodo is ready to go!

...Chas might still be a little affected by that lembas. First song up: Let’s Go to Mordor! (To the tune of We Go Together from that popular title, Grease!)

A sad fact indeed.

Next up: The Trapdoor Tavern Reel, featuring the composition talents of both of your talented co-authors: Codella and Mirinaeth (in this case known as Durrann)!

Third on the setlist: Thriftshop! Originally planned as Lalia’s Shop, complete with lyrics, we owe our musical consultant Eddenwulf a huge shoutout for his composition skills. You’re the best!

Fourth and last in the set: Troll You Up (Again) with music by Rick Astley and lyrics by our very own Chastine! A crowd favorite for Don’t Tempt Me Frodo, this year and last!

Flushed with the success of our set, we settled back to watch the remaining two bands: Andunie of both Landroval and Laurelin (pictured here) and the band that never sleeps: Animal House!

Finally, time for the awards ceremony! Our group lingered near the back of the crowd, waiting with bated breath... The Light in the Dark award (a people’s choice vote counted with raised hope tokens at the end of each band’s set) goes to: The Shades! Congratulations, guys!

The second award, the LMB Cup (decided upon by the good folk of The Lonely Mountain Band), goes toooo... Andunie! More congratulations are in order! A close run this year too, sounds like; so many good options to pick from!

Now on to the next (and last) big event: Battle of the Bands! The idea behind this little segment is to line the bands up around the perimeter of Weathertop, have them all play at once, and allow the audience to stand in front of their favorite band to vote for them. This didn’t quite go down that way. Enter: server breakdown.

All dressed up and...why aren’t we playing anything? Why isn’t anything moving?

I’ve always heard that imagining the audience in their underwear makes you less nervous but when you see the actual thing...there might be a problem.

After some time of increasingly impressive glitches, our hosts finally decided an alternate approach was in order: an online voting poll. Giving plenty of time for the votes to trickle in, the winner appears to be...Die Meisterbarden von Bree! Fantastic, everyone, what a group!

And whew, what a concert! Seven and a half hours later, we’re finally ready to head home. See you guys next week and ride safe! *faint*

Links of interest concerning Weatherstock:

1. PineleafNeedles livestream: a full day’s worth of footage with fantastic commentary

2. MMO Reporter livestream: another wonderful livestream with commentary (this is a link to part one but the other sections are easily found)

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