Sunday, July 31, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
Two ridiculously hot weekends in a row of wall-to-wall music have utterly exhausted me, and I'm glad to find myself show-free for at least the next month to let myself recover. Still, the past two weekends of music have been a blast.
The stark contrast between Intonation and Lollapalooza was evident fairly immediately- walking into Grant Park, the setting for a festival was almost unbeatable, with the Chicago skyline westward and the lake to the east, Buckingham Fountain to the north, and plenty of gardens and tree-lined paths within the grounds. If Intonation was the little Indie Festival That Could, Lollapalooza showed what money and corporate sponsorship could provide, and to be honest I appreciated getting to be a part of both. Intonation's self-involved hipster crowd was replaced with a more varied group of fans to go with the generally more mainstream lineup (not that I'm complaining- I can only take so much pretension at once). Though I wouldn't have paid more than the $35 I spent on Lollapalooza tickets, credit must be given where credit is due, and Lolla was impeccably run. Lines to get in were short, the grounds were beautifully decorated, every band starting on time, and the sound was consistently great on the festivals four (corporate-sponsored) stages. [I'd like to emphasize that fact that I have no problem with corporate sponsorship if it means they are using their money for good (putting on cool music festivals) rather than evil (donating to right-wing political candidates)]. They were also very well-prepared to deal with the 100+ degree heat of Sunday, bringing in cooling buses and misting tents throughout the grounds. Hopefully this means that Grant Park will be used for many more large musical events in the near future.
I got the chance to see more music on Saturday due to the far more bearable temperatures, starting with M83 at 12:30. What I love about M83 is seeing them recreate their albums (made entirely with keyboards) on the live stage with a full band. I also love how French they are- Anthony Gonzalez never said anything other than "Merci Beaucoup" and "Thank you, this was a nice festival" at the very end. They were also one of the more unique and least-known bands to appear.
My third attempt at enjoying ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead made me realize my problem with them is that I only like "Source Tags and Codes," and they never seem to play anything from it. They also act like a bunch of frat boys in a band, using extensive use of the word "fuck" in between songs and throwing their drum kits into the crowd at the end of the set. Breaking shit is cool! Actually, it was entertaining, but I think their creative juices may have been spent in 2002.
Billy Idol is nearing 50 and needs to put down the microphone for good. Not that he doesn't still look great- I don't think he's really aged much physically, if at all- but other than "White Wedding," "Dancing with Myself," and "Rebel Yell," he played a bunch of crap from an apparently upcoming album and made reference to the time in "'82 when he had his finger up Madonna's ass." I missed Blonde Redhead for this? Meanwhile, in the distance we watched two giant blow-up rubber duckies emerge on Primus' stage.
The Pixies continued the Longest Reunion Tour Ever by playing the hits, including "Here Comes Your Man," "Bone Machine," "Debaser," "The Lady in the Radiator Song," and an encore of "Where Is My Mind." Kim Deal is so cute, she looks like a soccer mom who drove to Lollapalooza in her keyless-entry minivan, when you know she's probably done a shit-ton of drugs.
Finally, Weezer closed out the night with the biggest crowd and the trademark giant W on stage. I only wanted to hear songs from the Blue album and Pinkerton, because everything since has been pretty lame. Somehow, Rivers Cuomo heard my cries and essentially split the set into two parts- Part 1: songs the old fans like, and Part 2: songs the new fans like. So in the first 20 minutes or so, we were treated to "Why Bother," Say It Ain't So," "No One Else," "El Scorcho," "Undone (The Sweater Song)," and more. Then I was able to tune out until they ended with "Buddy Holly" and "Surf Wax America" for the encore, making this set a very pleasant surprise.
Day Two was somewhat condensed due to my desire not to die in the heat, and the pictures sort of reflect my inability to hold a camera steady, but I trudged on. I heard Dinosaur Jr. from the shade of the porta-pottys, recognizing only a cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven." We left for air-conditioning as we passed Tegan and Sara, who we later learned cut their set short when Sara ran off the stage to vomit. The Arcade Fire wowed the crowd as expected with their energetic live show, which they managed to pull off while all wearing close to full suits and occasionally a motorcycle helmet or two. They left me with just enough energy to chill on the grass during Spoon as the sun finally went over the horizon and eventually set during Death Cab for Cutie, making it the fifth time I'd seen both bands.
Wish I'd seen had it not been so unforsakenly hot: The Black Keys, more of the Dandy Warhols (though I did walk by just as Anton Newcombe joined Courtney Taylor on stage for a song, a delight for anyone who'd seen the movie "Dig!"), Los Amigos Invisibles.
Lots of pictures up on the photoblog, though not as many or as high-quality as I'd hoped to get since it was too hot for me to really forge to the front for anyone other than M83. Still, they give an idea of the scene this weekend. Check 'em out!
I'll have pictures and and overview up by tonight. Until then, check out this interview with Sufjan Stevens about his latest album, Illinois. He says at the end that the next two albums will be Oregon and Rhode Island, and that they'll be more figurative and less historical than Illinois was. Which is too bad, since I love the historical aspect of Illinois. But that may just be because I live here.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Saturday July 23
The Redwalls @ 1pm
M83's @ 2pm
Dead 60's @ 2:45pm
Trail of Dead @ 3:15 pm
VHS or Beta@ 4:15pm
Brian Jonestown Massacre @ 5pm
CAKE @ 6pm
Blonde Redhead @ 7pm
Black Keys @ 8pm
Billy Idol @ TBA
Sunday July 24th
OK Go @ 1:30pm
Saul Williams @ 2:30pm
Kasabian @ 3pm
Louis XIV @ 4pm
Tegan & Sara @ 5pm
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
CHICAGO FAMILY HEALTH CENTER AND THE KOKO TAYLOR CELEBRITY AID FOUNDATION TO PROVIDE HEALTH SCREENINGS TO UNISURED MUSICIANS
Agencies to hold Health Fair to promote health screening opportunities to musicians
Chicago Family Health Center (CFHC) and the Koko Taylor Celebrity Aid Foundation will hold a health fair at the Hide Out located at 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago on Thursday, July 21, 2005 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The purpose of the health fair is to provide free health screenings and health education materials to uninsured musicians living in the Chicago Metropolitan area. No appointment is necessary to participate.
The health fair will provide free screening and information in the following areas: Vision, Cholesterol, Asthma, Blood Pressure, Glucose testing, HIV testing and Counseling, Prostate Awareness, Health Education and Kids Care/Family Care information and applications.
“The goal for this health fair is to provide the area’s musicians, who are primarily uninsured, with health screenings and a link to a community health care facility in their neighborhood that they may not otherwise be aware of,” said Joyce Threatt from the Koko Taylor Celebrity Aid Foundation. “Most musicians working today are either uninsured or underinsured and don’t seek regular medical attention due to their financial situation; our goal that by holding these health fairs, we can provide the musicians with the information they need to find a primary health care professional to promote wellness.”
The partnership between the two organizations was formed to acheive both organizations’ missions to help everyone gain access to primary health care regardless of their ability to pay.
Chicago Family Health Center is a community-based, non-profit health center that provides comprehensive, accessible primary healthcare to the residents of South Chicago, Roseland and surrounding communities. In 2004, CFHC served over 17,000 patients regardless of their pay.
The Koko Taylor Celebrity Aid Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide social services to the arts and entertainment industry. The organization’s goal is to provide Case Management services and counseling to those in the music and entertainment industry.
For more information on the Health Fair, call the Clinic at 773-785-6800 extension 565.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
Hideout co-owner Tim Tutton introduced each band, and Thax Douglas provided 21 poems for the festivities, each with titles like "Thunderbirds Are Now! #2" and "Andrew Bird #4." By generally eschewing many of the other activities like the DJ tent, record fair and merch tables, I managed to hear and/or see almost every single band this weekend. I'll avoid making comments on every band for the sake of brevity, but here are some highlights and other notables:
-Carl Newman, the redheaded frontman of AC Newman, started off his set with a guitar string completely out of tune. The band trudged through the "On the Table" and alerted him to the fact once it ended. Luckily, he managed to laugh it off, tune his guitar, and restart the show with an in-tune version of "On the Table." Andrew Bird later joined the band to whistle along with "Drink to Me Babe Then."
-Four Tet's Kieren Hebden performed alone with two laptops and a mixing board, a set up that may have fared better in the DJ tent. Though he sounded great, there wasn't much to watch for 45 minutes.
-The Go! Team was a treat, with singer/rapper Ninja keeping the crowd involved in their brand of 1970's action television show theme song music (Ladies say "Go," men say "Team!" "Go!" "Team!" "Go!" "Team!"). She eventually brought up a dozen or so neighborhood kids who had clearly just come from the park's public pool to dance along, which was adorable and hilarious.
-Frenchkiss Records got the most love from the festival this weekend, with their three signature bands all featured on Sunday's lineup- Thunderbirds Are Now!, The Hold Steady, and Les Savy Fav. They were also three of the best sets of the weekend. TAN! showcased an incredible amount of energy on stage and a variety of circus tricks with their tambourines, and Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington joined them on stage for a raucous finale. Meanwhile, the Hold Steady are one of my favorite bands of the moment, and singer Craig Finn showed a ton of personality to go along with his very unique voice and style of singing. And of course, what more can be said about Les Savy Fav. Tim Harrington is certifiably insane, and LSF puts on a serious show. He fashioned himself a hat out of tin foil, got the entire crowd to sit down together, threw a blow-up raft into the crowd, and poured a variety of substances over himself. They also played one of my favorite LSF songs, "Adoptduction," a story of a man kidnapped by "a dude with a moustache and a chick with an eyepatch." Classic.
-The Decemberists closed the event with a set list that spanned all three of their studio albums. Singer Colin Meloy also managed to get the crowd to sit down for him, and at one point during "The Infanta" the wind was blowing so hard at the band it seemed like they were fighting to get through the song, an effect that strangely added perfectly to their pirate-rock sound.
Check out the photoblog for a visual review of the festival and more specific commentary on the bands I was able to see. For $22 this weekend's festivities were a steal, and I hope it becomes an annual event.
Next weekend: Lollapalooza!
Friday, July 15, 2005
Looks like their next album will be put out by Frenchkiss Records, home to none other than Les Savy Fav, Thunderbirds Are Now!, and the Hold Steady. Their sound should fit right in with that roster, that's for sure. The album will be called "Crusades" and will be released in January 2006. The band is in the process of recording it in Minneapolis.
They're also going on tour this fall, with stops at the CMJ festival in New York. But I'm going to guess that they won't be hitting any more Ukranian Village basements anymore . . .
Yesterday around lunch time Doug Meis, the drummer for Exo and the Dials; John Glick, the guitarist for the Returnables; and Michael Dahlquist, the drummer for Silkworm all died in a car accident in Skokie. They were coming back to work from lunch and were hit by someone speeding.
Edit: Here's the Tribune story- apparently they were hit by a 23-year old woman going 70 mph in an attempt to kill herself.
Tuesday, August 2 - Schubas, Plexifilm & Caroline Distribution present:
A Free DVD screening of...Death Cab For Cutie- Drive Well, Sleep Carefully
Brought to you by: The Onion & Reckless Records
Rock 'n' Roll Karaoke
featuring The Karaoke Dokies
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Meanwhile, The National and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will be at Schubas, Friday Sept. 23. Woohoo!
While everyone's at it, why don't you give peace a chance...
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
In other Decemberists news, in addition to headlining Sunday's lineup at Intonation this weekend, they just announced a full tour for the fall called the "FLIGHT OF THE MISTLE THRUSHES Tour 2005." Relevant dates:
September 18 - Chicago, IL @ Metro w/ Cass McCombs
19 - Chicago, IL @ Metro w/ Cass McCombs
20 - Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater w/ Cass McCombs
21 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue w/ Cass McCombs
Monday, July 11, 2005
EDIT: Brad at RFC took some great pictures of Lady Sovereign, which I'll be posting to the photoblog tonight.
Friday, July 08, 2005
That being said, this album is fantastic. Better than Greetings from Michigan, even. It's also the Illinois history lesson I've been needing since I moved to this state.
I hope Wisconsin is next. Start from the midwest and move out, I say.
*EDIT: Apparently many of the copies in Minneapolis record stores were bought out to sell on ebay. Get your copy now!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Monday, July 04, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
Up next: Lady Sovereign at Sonotheque, next Friday (lots of Sonotheque fun this month!). It's hard to judge how popular that show will be, so I'll probably show up early and hope there's isn't a ridiculously long line.