Before Lollapalooza, even before Woodstock and Isle of Wight, there was the Monterey International Pop Festival. Over a few days in June 1967, diverse performers from America, Britain, India, and Africa strutted their stuff in the Sunshine State, and the two-CD set Monterey International Pop Festival chronicles this groundbreaking event. If one considers the musical scope, it's hard to imagine something similar occurring these days. The event hosted R&B (Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs), cheery harmony-pop (the Mamas & the Papas), blues (Butterfield Blues Band), rebellious, drug-fueled hippie rock (Jefferson Airplane), and world music (Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masekela). Before you born-after-1985 readers dis your parents' soundtrack, be advised some of these performances are revelatory, both then and now. On "My Generation," the Who evince the same smash-it-up glee as the Damned or the early Butthole Surfers. The excerpt from sitar master Shankar's performance exemplifies his continuing influence on rock, jazz, and minimalist/trance music. The impassioned sets by Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix put them on America's pop-culture map. Alas, all was not golden the Byrds show how sloppy they could be live and the Animals sound sadly dated. By and large, though, MIPF shouldn't be embraced by nostalgics only.
Check out this week's featured ad for Entertainment