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May 27, 2012


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I believe your criticisms are based more on your age rather than the music itself. Frankly, La Vida Boheme played one of my favorite sets of the entire day. I firmly believe that the selection of artists was based on the city we're from, rather than trying to match up with the big name festivals. This isn't Chicago, nor Austin, nor Indio/Coachella. I'm not sure when you're gonna realize, but nobody under 25 listens to KLAQ like I strongly assume you do (and if they do they were at balloonfest). I maybe wrong, but I think you wrote a raving review for godsmack, and substance, is something we both know they DO NOT have. Finally, GLO isn't really a personal favorite of mine, but their crowd was almost as huge as the MIS, so don't act like everyone became bored just because you did.

Doug Pullen

I don't hide my age (I'm 54), but I'm not like a lot of people my age, at least not the ones I know. I'm pretty open-minded about most music (though I can't stand '80s hair bands). I'm much more interested in the new than nostalgia. Just because my thoughts on the festival didn't jibe with yours doesn't mean they're not valid.
One of the main attractions of NDMF is the fact that it reflects the binational border culture, thus its unique mix of indie, Latin rock and electronic. I don't want it to be another ACL or Coachella. I want it to carve out its own EP/J-centric niche, which it's doing.
I also like the fact that it introduces me and thousands of others to bands I've never seen in concert before (such as Le Butcherettes) and bands I'd never heard of (such as Bobasonicos).
That said, I was disappointed with the sameness of many of the acts. I just thought there was too much emphasis on electronic dance music and its variations, not enough on the kind of variety that made the first festival in 2011 so special.
La Vida Boheme was one of the bands I was most looking forward to. I liked 'em musically but the vocals were pretty weak, which was disappointing. Bobasonicos just sounded dated. GLO is too repetitious. Aaron Behrens sings everything the same way and given all the instruments and sounds at their disposal, I was disappointed they didn't use a wider palette. They did have a good crowd, as did MIS, but I think more people remained for MIS' set. I saw lots of people trickling away from GLO after about 30-35 minutes.
Be careful about the assumptions you make. I did not review Godsmack. Someone else did, but I posted their review on this blog and clearly indicated as much.
Also, I'm not a regular KLAQ listener. Personally, the music on that station is too limited for my tastes, which tend to be pretty eclectic, but I do sample their morning show several times a week, as I do many other radio stations in this area. Personally, my defaults are ESPN and NPR, when I'm not listening to my own music.
KLAQ, btw, has a healthy amount of listeners under 25, one big reason why it has been a ratings powerhouse and a moneymaker for so long and why its events are so well-attended. It caters to one of the most predominant rock fans in El Paso, the hard rock/heavy metal fan, and has done it consistently well over the years, whether you or I like their style of programming or not.
People need to quit dumping on the station for doing what it does well and effectively. If someone could make a modern rock or variation profitable here, that would be great. But no one has.


I appreciate your response very much! I can honestly say I have a newfound respect for you taking the time to get back to me. I'm sorry about the angry undertones, but we're still growing (culture-wise) and I think we should praise the effort of Splendid Sun bringing so many acts as opposed to being disappointed. However, I do agree 110% about the edm taking up a good chunk of the bill. Touché mr pullen, and thank you again

Doug Pullen

Hey J. I'm big on being accessible, within the restraints of deadlines and other commitments that can limit that from time to time. Your anger was an honest emotion and I wanted to address that. I don't know if you read the paper or its website with any frequency, but I've covered the crap out of the first and second NMDFs and intend to do so with future ones. I think it's an important event for El Paso, one of the first in the four years I've been back (after 25 years away) that addresses some noticeable voids in our market. Our live music options expanded with the addition of NDMF. That said, as a reviewer I have to call it like I see it and what I saw was a better run, better attended festival in 2012 that lacked some of the variety and surprise of the first. Maybe next year!

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