Day 2 is what my partner in crime called Concert Day. This was our day that we actually enjoy as many shows as possible being the perfect balance between being not drunk enough and black out wasted. The day started with Does it Offend You, Yeah? as I’ve heard oh so much about them. Once I heard, “Let’s Make Out,” I was less offended and more bored to tears. However two bands I had heard little about but were absolutely highlights of the entire festival: Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s and Foals. Margot, etc. was a 8 piece rock conglomeration that, surprisingly, utilized every members’ talents perfectly. They were the perfect mesh with no one overstepping their bounds and everyone performing with absolutely ferocity. And they’re all nice guys (and girl). Foals rules. I cannot wait to see them again, their set in an entirety. Obviously taking their set seriously, their indie dance music really strikes a chord. Hell, it might just be the sound of that snare drum, but they’re definitely doing something right.
I saw “Who the fuck is Dierks Bentley?” flyers and shirts and signs all over the place the whole weekend, and quite frankly, I avoided him at all costs simply because of the marketing scheme that I’ve seen all too often. Though in hindsight it quite makes sense, or at least from the story told (“what was zany lollapalooza doing booking a country act, wahoo?!), at the time, I couldn’t give two shits. Sorry Dierks. Instead I saw the Gutter Twins. They are hardly twins at all actually, a band that basically is stooped on the shoulders of two men who were in bands that you were supposed to know. Their music is the epitome of build-up with no climax. I’ve been with girls like that, but at least you can write them off to inexperience, not a lack of interest.
The show of the weekend was with no surprise Explosions in the Sky. They came out, said who they were, what they were doing there, and thank you and then rocked everybody to the bone. No banter, no wishy washy bullshit, nothing but the music they knew was good enough that every possible second of their set should be filled with fucking rock. The soft moments leading up to heart wrenching climaxes all with no use of voices. And this is no novelty act like many instrumental bands today tend to become. These guys are rock music. They deliver every fucking time. I don’t know a single song name, but would buy a ticket to see them anywhere in a 30 mile radius: inside, outside, on a fucking curb.
Okkervil River has good songs, in fact they have a bunch of them. Their live performance from a distance of waiting for Broken Social Scene, however, seemed less than impressive, though because of their quality of songs I would certainly like to see what they have to offer again as it could have been my distance that kept me from enjoying their performance fully. That i didn’t enjoy Okkervil River was a slight disappointment, but not nearly as much as Broken Social Scene. I’ll probably get some slack for saying anything about the band that has in the recent years had nothing but acclaim. They were…just boring. I believe at least part of their massive “super band” crew (which I don’t believe is a super band at all, just a bunch of artists forming as a collective who all happen to have bands on the side, and have all subsequently become at least partially famous because of the fame earned by BSS) was not present, and that may have accounted for the lack of energy. I was planning to watch the entire show, obviously as I had staked out a position instead of watching other shows, but grew bored within 20 minutes, and decided to sit through Lupe Fiasco to get a good spot for Rage Against the Machine.
I could write a thesis on Rage and this performance alone. It was a surreal experience beyond what may have been covered in the blogosphere (which by the way is the most disgusting word in any language, including German). About 100 feet away from the main stage, people were peeing in water bottles and leaving them on the ground without tops. An hour at least before the band came on, you were already standing closer to strangers than you’d think possible but that didn’t stop people from trying to get in front of you. Every other minute there was a surge of some hundred people pushing to get closer, followed immediately by a surge the opposite direction. It was more of an angry mob waiting for something to set them off.
The lights dropped, and the air changed, for a brief minute it got colder somehow, and everyone screamed. The same members as back in the 90’s stood before us, just now jacked. the drummer and bassist must have gained 50 lbs. of muscle each, and looked like machines more than men, the bassist with a half sleeve tattoo plain black with what looked like a pivot point left flesh toned on his shoulder. They played everything exactly on point, every single fucking note was perfectly timed and tuned, and every drum hit was precise and 7 times harder and louder. The mix of songs enlightened those to all the amazing songs they had made in their tenure, a mix of tunes that only people planning on seeing Rage would recall.
So they were great. Right? Maybe it was that I was staring at the onslaught of beautiful women throughout the entire weekend such that I hadn’t noticed the massive amounts of assholes around. They all were pretty centralized for Rage, you could point them out as they were the ones starting moshpits around people who had no interest in moshing, pushing crying girls into the center of pits as they were just trying to get out of harms way. It was clear these people had no idea what moshing was about or that by and large it was dead. The idea is to pick people up when they fall on the ground so no one gets trampled, not throw defenseless people into danger. The thousands of people pushing to get close to the stage, even the band noticed how fucking crazy the crowd was as shown by the 4 seperate times they had to stop the show. Stop the show, almost unable to continue and ask people to step back 5 feet. “Take that shit out on the streets!”
Rage Against the Machine at their prime was more than a band ever could be. They weren’t the most famous band in the world though their message permeated America. They weren’t the most talented band ever, though you’d be hard pressed to say that combined they didn’t bring a new level to rock. They were self aware, smart, and knowledgable. They used their music to spread messages about their political beliefs. Their hardcore fans sought knowledge about politics both here and abroad, about wrong doings locally as well as globally, and to take action. Somewhere in the obscurity of the proverbial frat house, their message of dissent for peace was lost.
What I heard from this crowd was astonishing. Upon hearing De La Rocha ask the crowd to step back, as people in the front were getting crushed, I heard utterances of “So this is the day that Zach goes soft.” The crowd was surprised that he wanted to help people get out of harms way and allow everyone to have an enjoyable experience. “Please, brothers and sisters, if you could just take a few steps back. If you don’t we’ll have to stop and we don’t want to do that. We want to play everything we have for you,” and people were still getting crushed towards the front. As a result of all this crowd pandemonium, the band gave up some energy. They tried to get things going, but just like a drunken make out session at a party that gets thwarted by interupting partygoers, this performance couldn’t get off the ground like it should have.
As for the third day of the festival…truthfully I was hung over. I was exhausted from the weekend and battered from Rage, certainly not enough to qualify into an entire nother post. So here goes.
Blues Traveler Ruled. I was surprised as anyone else, though I have in the enjoyed several of John Popper’s works and think him to be very talented. The crowd that he drew was unbelievable though, thousands of people watching him, and everyone dancing. It was a very cool scene. Beyond that, Nine Inch Nails and Kanye were competing. I started watching Nine Inch Nails set, who began very strong with Closer somewhere near the beginning, just as it started getting dark and accompanied with a very cool light and tv show, but dwelled about 30 minutes in. I walked over to see Kanye’s set out of sheer curiousity. Ugh. “The Most Amazing Light Show Ever,” huh? I walked over there as he was just preaching some bullshit about some shit I couldn’t care to listen to. I somewhat recall him refering to himself on the same level as Michael Jordan or Jesus or Stevie Wonder. It’s great he thinks so highly of himself. I nothing him. And as such choose not to comment on his music.
I hope to see all the beautiful women back there next year.
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Had I not won tickets to the lollapalooza festival in Chicago, I would not have been in attendance, but as it stands I not only got tickets, but I got free entry to the highly exclusive Lolla Lounge. Free beer (bud/budlight, though who am i to complain about free beer, let alone free anything), free wine, free vodka/Southern Comfort, and air conditioned bathrooms to boot. It should be gathered I will report as much as I can in this synopsis. However, I was obviously shithoused for the better part of the weekend.
I exited the plane and entered the gates honestly not really knowing what to expect. I had been to Lollapalooza years ago, with Incubus and Queens of the Stone Age were there, and when it was a traveling series and when it was driven by straight rock. Since then, it has transformed into what seems an indierock stationary circus. A whole bunch of bands I had heard of and if I were more diligent would have listened to before the festival in preperation, but there’s more excitement in hearing the first thing about a band when you’re hearing them live. So when I saw Bang Camaro, I didn’t have to worry about Pitchfork or anyone’s predisposed influence on my ears, I just heard noise. Nothing to call home about in either extreme. Really, enough for me to remember that I didn’t enjoy them at all without any long lasting recollection of how they sounded specifically (count like 30 beers into the festival already, and it was 2 hours after gates).
The festival guide and scheduler was great, and laid out in such an obvious manner such that everyone could easily plan their day, with the show matrix shown in absolute geographical order, from north to south. And the idea that the larger bands, or larger stages let’s say, did not have overlapping sets, such that the Bud Light stage facing the larger Playstation 3 stage alternated who was playing so as not to compete with each other. The same thing on the South side, and the considerably larger portion of the grounds; the Myspace stage facing the behomoth AT&T stage alternated so you could listen to the Toadies while you were trying to maneuver close the stage for Rage Against the Machine. Perry’s stage was kind of a wash. I didn’t particularly see anyone in there for the greater part of the weekend, except for the “Special Guest” with Perry Farrell, who turned out to be Slash! Truth be told, I saw him later on the Kidz stage, the stage and area specifically for kids…duh, and his performance from a distance was lackluster…but it’s Slash. I remain, probably the coolest Jew ever, except for Moses or the RamBam. It was and is a great idea to have a kids area, and by and large it worked out very well keeping families apart from the hooligans and the opposite. But putting Slash on the kids stage…well, the no smoking rules of the Kidz area were pretty much dropped. Oh well, they gotta learn to start smoking sometime.
The Enemy UK made me sad. They looked like they were 12, had a little bit more musical talent than I do (keep in mind you’re reading my writing, not listening to my music) and just…blah. I didn’t respect them, I feel like they were just put on the bill at the last minute, which is probably incorrect, but I hope that’s true. They didn’t offer anything in my opinion. Sorry guys. As for Butch Walker, what the man does well, he does really well. And I respect him for that. He’s produced some really successful bands and artists, in fact, looking at his track record, it’s pretty amazing that he’s not a more famous name. The set wasn’t for me, but neither are many of the bands he’s worked with. I’ll respect the hell out of him all day, but respect don’t buy no concert t’s.
A VERY IMPORTANT SIDENOTE: I have never been anywhere with more hot girls. Both quantifiably and quantitatively. In sheer number and per gross population. Holy shit. I don’t know if it was the festival itself or Chicago. This fact alone made it one of the best weekends known to man. It stopped seeming possible after a while, but my jaw was dragging. Un. Be. Lievable.
The first day was spent meandering around the festival grounds getting acquainted with the place and consuming mass amounts of free beer at the lollalounge, (though they didn’t know our names, they knew our faces after hour one). After that, we stood to watch the Black Keys and the Raconteurs. Both put on great performances as always. This being my first time watching Raconteurs, I was doubtful. For whatever reason, I was always skeptical of them. It felt like just another meaningless progression of radio rock, the same way Velvet Revolver sucks. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. They put on such an amazing show. that. It sucks we had to leave early to go see Radiohead at the other side of Grant Park.
My high school years were spent defending myself against everyone saying that Radiohead was the best band in the world, so it’s always been hard for me to hear them objectively, especially since for most of the set, I was passed out in the finally dying sun. Fireworks behind me and over the lake woke me up, and it was a pretty amazing feeling. I finally got up and went out of the LollaLounge to watch the show with the rest of the commoners for the encore, and though the song selection was awesome (even for not a fan), I felt like the last song, Idioteque, was a sore note to end on, and would have been much better finishing without it. Their use of the television screens on both sides were truly incidiary and though the sound quality was good, audio levels were awful, the worst of the entire weekend. It clearly had nothing to do with the stage as earlier in the day Holy Fuck put on a loud ass shaking performance for a band I had only heard of (but damn if it didn’t make me want to say “I’m excited for Holy Fuck” for the preceding weeks. Sometimes all you need is a silly name.)
Day 2 to come.
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I-68 East for 100 some odd miles dropped me off with barely enough time to set up my tent before sundown on the side of Marvin’s Mountaintop in the great state of West Virginia. Why is WV great? Well, they have Sheetz…?
This was AllGood’s 12th Anniversary held in the same exact location with the same basic premise. They’ve only slightly veered away from the strictly Jam-Band scene, and as we all know, if you don’t change, you’re bound to stay stuck in the past. Sadly, this festival seems like it has gone by the wayside. It’s no surprise that the Jam culture is primarily neo-hippies who consider themselves as such only because they smoke boatloads of weed despite causing SOOO much litter. I’m all in favor of these people, good job. My problem lies in only that this festival has become more about the drugs and the drug culture surrounding the music than the actual music and performances. That isn’t to say there weren’t any great performances, but I doubt most people there would remember them. This is due to, at least partly, the familiarity of the festival, the comfortable rut it’s dug for itself. Every festival, especially jam oriented, will be about drugs. There’s no denying it. They go everywhere together, just like music and drugs always have. But when everyone there couldn’t be more excited for the arrival of Phil Lesh’s set without knowing what instrument he plays, there’s something wrong. (Before anyone asks: Bass. Phil Lesh plays the bass guitar.)
It’s become a specter of what it wanted to become, a black market weekend and nothing more. Clearly I was too idealist once as a teenager to believe in the Jam scene, believed it to be that difference in music I was yearning for. (And just to clarify, I was a completely sober teenager). For years, it helped me, captivated me as moe. and Phish and Keller rose to fame with lengthy, exciting, and interesting takes on music. I don’t know when it happened, but the genre on whole became the same regurgitated nonsense. Talent is obviously not the problem. Perpetual Groove’s set proved that on the Early Arrival day as the night was just beginning to set in. They had a massive endurance to the set, and every member was on top of their game. Really, this should be held as one of the best performances of the festival. The combination of precision with the glorious smoke screens and unplanned fireworks lighting up sky behind the stage from wasted patrons made it an amazing performance, but that it was too early for most people to get drugged up made it feel more a performance than a loud side-show, which is really what the rest of the weekend consisted of. The Brazilian Girls were next, and despite the lead singer’s obnoxious speaking voice, she captivated with her multicolored-backlit white puffy dress and “Pussy Pussy Pussy Marijuana,” an inside joke for the rest of the weekend. For my money, the drummer, guitarist, bassist and singer are the band. That keyboardist is really just there as some modernist confusion, something to set them apart but more often hinders than helps. But this set was made much much MUCH more enjoyable by the super hot lesbians that were making out right next to me. I take back what I said about the keyboardist; if the band can get that hot of girls to dance like that virtually on top of me, I’ll buy all their albums.
Last set of the early arrival night was so upsetting. The Join (Shields and Shearer from The New Deal with the Benevento Russo Duo) was supposed to be awesome! For the second year in a row, the Duo was robbed, put on a hapless set through no fault of their own. Last year, for those not in the know, Bob Weir ran into their 45 minute set at least 15 minutes when he came out for an encore while the Duo had already started playing. Imagine the Duo playing on stage, and then the sound guys cutting them off for Weir to come back on stage and perform an encore. So this year, AllGood gave them a great late night spot where no other shows could disrupt them and all eyes would be on them. Performance aside for a moment, the sound guy fucked them. For at least 30 minutes if it was a second, all four members of The Join sat on stage with their thumbs up there ass, just ready to play and no sound would come out. If the set could have a hand motion assigned it, it would be the index finger up for “TURN UP THE FUCKING SOUND!!!” Russo was clearly pissed, and as he should have been. It was embarrassing for the festival. Finally when they got the sound basically working…the performance fell short. The formula of a drummer and keyboardist is amazing because of what both bands do with so little. The sounds and songs that the bands can make with only two people is amazing. If you put the two drummers and two keyboardists together, it’s significantly less amazing that they can come up with all these sounds. It just ends up sounding like a mush when it should sound like a mileu. Really, I’d pay four times as much to see any of these artists perform solo than to see them all bounce and improv between two chords for an hour. To exacerbate, there was this incredibly morbid fog that fell upon the crowd in the beginning of the set. I was second row and I still couldn’t see anything. Add to this the confusion with the sound guy, how anyone knew there was a show going on without any audio or visual is beyond me.
I made sure to be front row for the Avett Brothers. Their performance at Bonnaroo was one of the breakthrough performances of that festival, and certainly they would not disappoint. They began with the only song that had drums for the performance, the lead singer on the drums. As far as I can tell, the two actual brothers (unless the asian cellist is adopted) are primarily on the banjo/lead vocals and guitar, but all four members contribute to the overall commitment to the tunes, and if there is anything this band has an overabundance of, it’s commitment. Every ballad written only to swoon unsuspecting girls was ached through in impeccable olde time garb. Every dance number, upbeat stringed jambaroo made the stage sound like the pouncing of WWE with the help of the guitarists conveniently placed hi-hat. Because of the intensity of the four instrumentalists on cello, banjo, upright bass and guitar, they hired a man whose sole job was to change strings, and he had a very busy day. Over-under, he changed about 700 strings in the course of an hour. Now, I wouldn’t consider buying a record of there’s probably ever. The combination of bluegrass instrumentation with quaint themes and albeit clever lyrics lends well to 20-something girls, and shows no real excitement for my particular market. That aside, I would pay to see them live any day of the week. Aside from the bare bones but brilliant stage show, there should be a whole bunch of 20-something girls at their shows.
Just touching on the highest of highs, the most notable of concert experiences, one simply must stand in awe of Phil Lesh (he plays the bass you know.) The Grateful Dead were an amazing band for 30 some odd years. Though they only had one top ten hit, and if I’m correct barely at that, they had a massive influence on the audience/band relationship as well as a huge influence in underground music and drug cultures. They’ve been cited as basically founding “jam” music. And Phil Lesh was one of the founding members, playing the bass guitar for decades until the unexpected death of lead singer and four-fingered front-man Jerry Garcia (apparently drugs are bad). So you have to treat Lesh as some kind of rock royalty even if you don’t care. It was nice for the families, it was nice for the old ass hippies, and the younger drugged out kids didn’t seem unhappy in the slightest. Unfortunately, it was boring. It was a perpetually slow drag that didn’t sound like songs, just hours of noodling at best. At worst, or times between the jam being on point, just noise like several players practicing at the same time.
Right after their set was SOJA. Those guys can write a catchy tune. With the vocalist sounding like Michael Jackson and there being an onslaught of dreadlocks (even on a white guy which never looks right to me), they had the best possible spot for their music. They were right between everyone watching Phil Lesh and the headliner, Gov’t Mule. Really, it’s hard to describe, but they really did put on a great show even for someone not familiar with their stuff or ever having seen them before.
Keller Williams played with Moseley, Droll and Sipe, all of which may be new Pokemon characters. Keller Williams has such a cosmic dilemma. On one hand, the man is awesome. He is an awesome instrumentalist, great guitarist in virtually every incarnation of the instrument, and an entertaining performer to boot. He can do so much by himself and 13 instruments, who needs other performers? For years he’s made his own albums and toured with little else than himself and his gear (including his looping gear). NOW ON THE OTHER HAND, after a solid 10 years at least, it gets a little old. The performance becomes more of a novelty how great and difficult the material is. Solution: Add some equally awesome performers. Well, now the whole point of Keller being such a great solo artist is lost on these other people, and the entire looping schtick is lost. It’s like one of those at home funnel cakes; funnel cakes are awesome, but if you’re eating one while watching Desperate Housewives instead of in-front of a ferris wheel, you’re just a fatass.
Widespread Panic was good, and sounded much more like a cohesive unit, but for whatever reason I think of him right next to Phil Lesh, right in the same snug category. It was a lot better to dance to than Lesh’s set, which at best had people sway more than dance, and the Trucks, Derek and Susan Tedeschi came out to jam along for a few songs.
Bonerama was a lot of fun for those who stayed for Sunday despite the disenchanting and hellish rain storm. The New Orleans brass band seemed well constructed, and utilized to the best of their potential. They started with a bunch of covers, the national anthem with lead boner effecting the sound so it sounded like a guitar, and then a cover of War Pigs from Black Sabbath
Alright, that’s enough of that. Allgood is fun. It’s a festival, you have to try to not have fun to not have fun, that is unless you get dehydrated (it was hot as a motherfucker.) There are so many festivals out nowadays its hard to believe you couldn’t find one on its way up than one that’s on its way out, unless you know the difference between sour diesel and northern lights.
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I’m not sure if you know this… but Gypsy Eyes is popping up all over the place. They are overseas, present seas, and it’s rumored will soon be intergalactic in coming months. Stay tuned for dates on Mars.
Upcoming shows you need to be at in no particular order:
JUNE 8TH – Vandaveer is taking a holiday from touring in France to come home and of course play a show in Iota, a quaint lil’ place in the district. It’s basically coming out to see the man play JUST for you, you’ll be so close. Oh, not to mention he’s gaining fame internationally. In fact, after closing out his French leg of his tour and this ONE show he’s playing back in the states, he’s back to touring around the good ol’ United Kingdom. Do check him out.
JUNE 6TH – Mikal Evans will be back in town for one night only to play the Black Cat. Last time she played the cat it was quite the show. I dare say it was the sexiest event ever to take place in any room, but that’s just from a man who gets goosebumps from a girl on a guitar. Really though, she is a 8 shades of awesome.
OH!!!!! and how could I forget. Good friends of Gypsy Eyes are playing some awesome awesome shows, too! SEE-I will be playing Starscape Festival, basically a huge rave kinda festival in Baltimore right on the water. Which water? I’m not sure, but Starscape is in their 10th year. Hell, Slick Rick will even be there! The festivities are one evening long, starting at 2pm June 7th and going until day break, about 6 am. It’s a great chance to see these guys if you never have before. This in addition to their
If that wasn’t enough for you, June 28th Theivery Corporation will be at Merriweather with just about the best complimentary bands ever. Seu Jorge, for those who don’t know, made huge waves when he got national recognition performing David Bowie covers in “The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou.” He is super awesome, and just chill as hell. Also performing is TV on the Radio! I love this band so much, it’s not even funny. They are one of the most driving forces in indierock today and everything they put out is awesome. THIS will be a night to remember.
SO GO SEE SOME LIVE MUSIC, DAMMIT!
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It was either that headline or “Don’t See IronMan Less High Than You Would Go To See Harold and Kumar.”
Comic book movies are clearly become more widespread. Every other day you hear about a new comic book movie coming out, and without exception, each is either an amazing display of the best Hollywood can do with good acting combined with a familiar story the general population recognizes and special effects that enhance the movie-going experience OR a colossal disappointment, a poorly contrived bastardization of a “graphic novel” that captivated millions (or at least hundreds) of prepubescent boys that now only triggers memories of the longest 2-some hours and the worst $10 you ever spent. Thankfully, Ironman was neatly folded and placed into the former category.
These reformatted comic books are something of a mystery though, at least personally. It is likely that you go into a movie deciding how much you’ll like the movie even before watching it. What could cause such an experience that you’ll already have decided on your experience before taking your seat, and more interestingly, why would anyone go see a movie they don’t think they’d like, especially now when combining the cost of gas to drive to the theater and the admission price for two if you bring your honey-suger-baby-lover combined could realistically cost you half the national debt? These movies in particular don’t particularly have to be “good” to be entertaining, first of all. If you know that they are actually blowing a whole bunch of shit up, and are spending a good half million to do so, it is pretty sexy. So the fact that you have to watch Thomas Haden Church stumble through poorly written dialogue (as a result of the third movie being decidedly the last of the series, thereby leading the logic “they’re already in the theaters! Can’t get their money back now!) can be overlooked if the stunts are creative enough. . .
With all that in mind, I offer my humbled brief review of Ironman. (I hate when I find out specifics about a movie, so I’ll keep it as brief as it needs to be).
Ironman was fun. It was long, and kinda resembled the story of Batman (filthy rich, extremely smart playboy becomes superhero when he realizes what good and evil truly is) but it was pretty damn cool. The extent it was long was due in part that the fight/action scenes were really a series of one-shot kills just with different weapons or tactics being deployed since he was primarily fighting just regular old humans. They had to spice it up, so they put in a crapload of backstory, that got old after a little. The only other thing you need to know before this movie . . .WAIT UNTIL THE CREDITS ARE DONE. For. Real.
Also, the preview for The Black Knight is all over the place. If you haven’t seen it, well, I’m jealous, because when you do go see the movie (because everyone in the world should) than it will blow you away THAT much more. That movie will be so. fucking. cool. And look at that, I already decided I’ll like it just from a preview
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In a risky, risky move, IMP promotions released their full line-up for the Virgin Mobile Festival MUCH later than any of the other summer festivals, on Monday, April 28th. They announced their, some would say, lukewarm headliners something like a month ago, and really it just felt…bleh. Jack Johnson and Kanye were playing virtually every other festival this year, Nine Inch Nails haven’t done anything worth while since Downward Spiral (that includes the cheapening of the Radiohead idea this year to release their album online for free, but only as part of the complete 4 album work…that I’m sure could have been reduced down to one album of solid tracks) and most doubt STP will actually perform with Scott Weiland’s track record of rehab stints. Facing some AWESOME line-up’s this year, primarily by Lollapolooza, they waited to put out their REAL line-up confidently.
The line-up finally came out, and everyone involved could breathe a great big sigh of relief. The 3rd Annual V-Fest wasn’t going to be bad, not bad in the slightest. In fact, it actually seems pretty genius. All of the people [who consider themselves] HUGE into the music scene, into underground music and the best and latest indie blah blah blah were freaking out about all their choices, be it lolla, sasquatch, coachella, langerado, pitchfork, etcetera. V-Fest confidently chose their bands for their specified market. Let’s face fact; NO ONE is traveling across the country to come see Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry in Baltimore, especially since they’d have to find a hotel. It just isn’t gonna happen. Hell, you’d be hard pressed to find people from West Virginia or Pennsylvania to come out to it. But all those people who are interested in finding new music but aren’t OBSESSED with it should be, nay, WILL be quite delighted with the line-up. These people, by and large, listen to the radio and like Foo Fighters and want to see Bob Dylan and Kanye West, but aren’t stupid enough to buy into the simply awful line-up like…oh, I don’t know…DC101’s Chili Cookoff? (What’s their draw anyway? Seether?)
Those who come to see STP, NIN, Foo, and The Offspring are going to be on cloud 9 when they get wind of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gogol Bordello, and Black Keys, bands that aren’t played on the radio, but whose talent and rock quality cannot be abstained. They’ll love the up-and-coming Rodrigo y Gabriela (haven’t they been up-and-coming for years now?) and they’re mesmerizing flamenco fills. They’ll be able to say “Hey, I saw Bloc Party!…They’re album was better than seeing them live…BUT I SAW THEM!” And The Swell Season and Wilco are playing, two of the best live performances I, personally, had seen last year. Ever person watching those shows will be converted into fans, despite any factors. You just can’t watch either of those sets and not be pulled in.
I say good. Now, it may be disappointing to see Bob Dylan NOT pick up his guitar, because he apparently never does anymore, but whatever. It is a well worthwhile festival line-up geared exactly to those people who hadn’t had a festival representing their interests.
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For all of those who have never seen The Last Waltz, I will step upon my soapbox and preach.
(From left to right, Dr. John, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Rick Danko, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson)
The Last Waltz was a concert performed by arguably the best set of popular musicians ever. Really, an entire post just listing the line-up would be good enough, but it doesn’t capture the essence. Damn lousy kids today, they don’t know about The Band. Amazing, a band that had so much impact on the most famous American musicians gets passed over time and time again. In their 16 years on the road…(16 FUCKING YEARS?!?!?) they played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, fucking EVERYONE, and for their final concert they invited all their friends back to sing at least a song per person as their last concert ever. And a young Martin Scorcese calls up and says “HEY! I wanna film that!” In a huge undertaking to plan every shot and camera angle with some 7 of the best videographers in the world…it’s just brilliant. Awesome director, awesome music, awesome artists, awesome commentary. From the beginning frames of the movie “THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!” you know you’re in for it.
This movie I have been known to watch about once a week and have since been able to recognize even the most minute things, such as the point where Clapton’s guitar strap breaks off and Robbie Robertson picks up his solo without so much as a blink, to the lighting malfunction during the harmonica solo that looks like they planned it, but I always watch it differently with someone who’s never seen it before. It really is the best concert movie ever made, not as a point of opinion, but one of fact.
What adds to the entire experience (warning: hippie-ness) is the fact that everyone involved is completely fucked up. All the cameramen are fucking high, Scorcese is fucking high, CLEARLY every one of the musicians at least has a base marijuana high going, and virtually every viewer of the movie has been high.
For anyone considering the music business, or at least considers music to be the beez neez, you MUST watch this film. Not to mention its no more than $10 at any video store. The box looks like this.
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