Normally, something called 90s Fest would have any music fan in their late 30s thrilled with even the mere possibility. But the recently announced 90s Fest taking place September 12 in Williamsburg is disappointing and more than a bit confusing.
The main problem seems to be that it doesn't know what it is. It's as if it's trying to be both a tribute to 90s culture and also be tongue in cheek kitschy at the same time, which is nearly impossible to pull off. First of all, the headliner is whatever the fuck passes for Blind Melon in 2015. You can't really explore the fun side of a band that was derailed by the singer's tragic death 20 years ago. Maybe their just trying to cater to kids that have no idea Shannon Hoon died, or even who Shannon Hoon is. Then there's Lisa Loeb. It may be 21 years since she hit it huge with "Stay (I Missed You)" and she seems to have a sense of humor about it, but she's also had a perfectly respectable career as a singer/songwriter since then releasing 9 studio albums. I can't picture people showing up for their "Ha ha! The 90s!" laugh enjoying a serious singer/songwriter.
Then there's the less serious artists. Smash Mouth? You can't put on anything resembling a serious music festival and include Smash Mouth. Besides, sure their debut came out in 1997, but their real success was after the 90s were over. Is anyone nostalgic for them at all? Plus, I remember there being a band named Tonic that I hated, but I can't remember anything else about them. Then they have some cover band called Saved By the 90s. Uh... yeah. Ok.
Coolio and Naughty By Nature have the 90s fun nostalgia vibe down perfectly. They are perfect editions no matter which direction the festival decided to go in. At least they got that part right.
Another part they got right is having Pauly Shore host. It's cheesy, but what 90s nostalgia lover wouldn't want to see the Weasel introducing bands? The rest of the nostalgia line up is pure shit. I guess there's some Instagram thing called FuckJerry and a "social media star" called Betches hosting a 90s themed bedroom. This just pushes the whole thing down the ironic hipster wormhole of hell.
This could have been a great event if they could just pick what they want to do. They could have done it as a fun but serious tribute to all things 90s by including bands that aren't as universally hated as Smash Mouth, or they could have booked Right Said Fred or Aqua instead of Blind Melon or Lisa Loeb.
If you're interested for whatever reason, you can check out the event's website here.