It seems strangely appropriate that upon entering the gates at Desert Breeze Skate Park for Extreme Thing ’09, my flip-flop clad foot was promptly run over by a skateboard. Though the security guards were doing their best to prevent kids from bringing their boards to the event, plenty slipped through and groups of skateboarders were seen along every fence, showing off their best tricks and running over the feet of innocent bystanders.
Of course, banning skateboards at a music and skate festival doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, anyway.
Beyond the guerilla skaters, a half-pipe was set up for athletes from local groups like Area 702 Skateboards along with a huge dirt track for BMX bikers. As I crept up to the base of the dirt hills to get better pictures of the tricks, one biker missed his jump, sending his bike flying within inches of my head.
Having already had one too many brushes with injury, I went to check out the decidedly more tame concession area. Crowds braved long lines to purchase over-priced but oh-so-tasty treats like kettle corn, burritos, BBQ beef kabobs and the most amazing looking funnel cakes taken to the extreme with toppings like strawberries, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauce.
Walking around the all-ages festival, the scene looked like the decks of Wet Republic, only in place of doctored bodies and sky-high wedges, pre-pubescent girls flaunted their assets in tiny bikini tops and bandanas converted into shirts. And everybody, I mean everybody, sported a pair of Vans.
On the main stage, local group The Higher whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their poppy tunes and Riverside, Calif. hardcore band Suicide Silence played to numerous fans, as evidenced by the many neon colored band t-shirts on young girls in the crowd. I noticed a few other amusing tees in the mix, including an interesting quote on emo boys’ sense of style: “Men’s music, women’s hairstyles.”
The XPOZLV.com locals’ stage featured some of the top Vegas acts like Summit Grove and Eyes Like Diamonds. XPOZLV is a local group aimed at promoting the “smokefree scene,” though, ironically, little groups of young teens were lighting up throughout the shows. Summit Grove had the crowd singing along to their pop punk tunes and Eyes Like Diamonds’ fans instantly created a massive mosh pit during their screamo set.
Between the mosh pits, flying BMX bikes and skateboarders on the loose, Extreme Thing was a little too extreme for my 18+ sense of self-preservation, but if you want to relive the concert festival days of your youth, be sure not to miss next spring’s edition.