Perfecto gets it going at Area 1

Tuesday is not the best day to schedule an all-day music fest. Even if you can blow off half the workday, it’s still a challenge to reach an early-starting show before two or three acts have played. It’s even trickier when the show isn’t anywhere nearby.

On paper, the lineup for the Area 1 Festival, at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, looked intriguing, with many electronic groups and DJs. Scores of big names, including southern hip-hop posse OutKast to DJ sensation Paul Oakenfold, would be appearing at the event headlined and hosted by techno wonderboy Moby. My main reason to hustle out to the show was a chance to see great Philly organic hip-hop jazz crew the Roots on the big outdoor stage.

We arrived a couple of hours after the show had started. While held up at will call, we could hear the Roots hitting the rousing climax of what surely had been a great set. By the time we got in, they were done. We decided to check out the many acts that remained, beginning at the venue’s second stage with the Orb.

Next, it was time to hustle over to the main stage for New Order. The group, easily the oldest players in this new-music gathering, greeted the crowd with a blast of synths, guitars and enthusiasm. Its members looked and sounded fit as they belted out tunes new and old. On one side of the stage, a pale, lanky chap sporting a fishing cap and long johns stood quietly playing rhythm guitar—Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, who’d joined the group for the day and even sang a song.

A return to the second stage for Oakenfold found the diminutive DJ, nicknamed “Perfecto,” spinning records and slamming kinky beats, with the entire sweaty throng dancing and hanging on his every quirky move. The tent was completely packed by this time and the pungent aroma that arose on this mild day could only be described as “stankonia.”

OutKast, fronted by Andre 3000 and Big Boi, came out with a pair of guitarists, three back-up singers and four fresh young fellows in powder blue sweat suits who displayed some dashing hip-hop dance ability. Initially, I was having trouble with the extreme low-end bass crackle, but I stuffed earplugs in deep and headed for some abandoned seats directly in front of the big speakers at stage left. The result was amazing. Talk about feeling the music—every hair on my body was standing on end. OutKast put on a high-energy show that was highlighted by “Ms. Jackson” and a southern hoedown finale.

After that, we peeked into the big second-stage tent to find that not only was Oakenfold still going at it, but he’d completely cast a spell on this crowd. He resembled a mini version of X-Men’s Wolverine as he lunged for his mixing board with both hands to jack up the sound in a dramatic finale.

Moby provided more of an anticlimax than anything else. Still, his calm but engaging persona was perhaps the most fitting for the final comedown in a day of many highs. He mixed in a lot of new and old.

It’s just a bummer the Roots didn’t get his slot.