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Har Mar Superstar (Sunday, July 13th, Witnness Festival, Dublin, Ireland)

Har Mar in his Witnness duds (at left) on page 3 of the tabloid The Irish Daily Mirror on Monday, July 14th sharing a page with Prodigy's Keith Flint and three "naughty schoolgirls." (Click for larger version.)

Reviewed by David de Young

Har Mar Superstar has unquestionably taken Europe by storm. Referred to affectionately by some members of the European press as La Mar, Mr. Superstar was pegged as a "must see" act by most local media at his European festival appearances so far including England's Glastonbury Festival and Scotland's T in the Park. And there are still more to come.

I caught up with him Sunday afternoon at the Witnness Festival in Dublin where he appeared sandwiched in between the Stands and LA rockers The Warlocks. Respected Dublin DJ Donal Dineen was one of many DJ's stumping for Har Mar on his recent visit to Ireland.

Ireland's Music Magazine Hot Press had gotten the Sunday line-up wrong, listing Har Mar at 17:15 and the Warlocks at 16:15 despite the fact that in reality it was exactly the opposite. It was only by good fortune that I stumbled spot on time into Har Mar's gig. I was actually on a mission to track the man down personally and chat him up, so I headed to the Witnness "On Stage" an hour early to see if he might be lurking around somewhere.

As I stumbled into the tent--my friends had been filling me with pure vodka they'd smuggled into the festival in innocuous looking water bottles--Har Mar emerged dressed in his trademark red satin robe. He launched first into his opening song which features the words felatio, cunlingus and masturbation in the first line of the song. Through hits like "Sisters and Brothers" from the Free to Be You and Me Soundtrack, "Slide," and "Power Lunch" Har Mar went through his ritual striptease, jumping into the moat between the stage and crowd during "Summer Love" to get a little snog (slang for "making out") from a not terribly receptive woman in the front row. My guess at crowd size was somewhere around one thousand crammed into the smallest tent at the festival, but somehow I'd managed to get right to the front and was standing close enough to reach out and touch the man as he somehow folded himself in half over the front railing while somehow continuing to sing. Fans pulled at the back elastic of his underwear which was now visible beneath his white suit pants.

Har Mar pranced to the other end of the moat a bit where I couldn't see or hear what he might have been doing, but then came back and politely motioned to security to help him back up on the stage. Some talk of how he was going to finish his set and then party on down after catching the Warlocks and Ladytron followed, and a concerned look from one guard ensued after he said "and you guys are going to give me some of your drugs" as that might have been taken as an actual request to start throwing gear onto the stage. Stuff was thrown actually, but mostly bottled water not illegal substances. "If you want to make out, get into the front row," Har Mar quipped, though he did not return to the moat for the remainder of the set.

Always with his eye on the crowd as if trying to take in each individual face, at one point he called out to a fellow dressed in a pink fuzzy costume, "What are you supposed to be?" Har Mar boasted that he'd appeared as the rabbit in the Flaming Lips lineup of fuzzy animal creatures that danced on the stage with them the night before during their appearance at T in the Park. The fellow said he was supposed to be the Pink Panther, and Har Mar said "Okay, I thought you were trying to upstage me."

EZ Pass went over quite well as a second to last song. I must say that in comparison, La Mar seemed a little more restrained than he does at his local Twin Cities shows. He certainly gave the crowd everthing they came for--no more, no less. And the gig was a downright success. His voice was spot on, especially on EZ Pass and the ever-lovable cover of "Sir Duke." "If you don't like Stevie Wonder," Har Mar said before launching into the song, "then you suck."

I lingered a bit and watched him check out the back gate of the tent and dry the sweat off his soaking mostly naked body (except for underwear and tennis shoes.) Many backstage fans were congratulating him. He did a double take when approached by a yellow-vested crowd safety fellow perhaps thinking he needed to move from his spot, but I saw a big Har Mar smile as the vested one extended his hand in congratulations for the truly entertaining show.

I spent about an hour after the gig trying to track down the man, hanging through the Warlocks set and then venturing to Ladytron where he said he might appear. I even made a little game out of asking people if they'd seen Har Mar anywhere about, but sadly, no go.

Related links:

Hot Press's Sunday Review