Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lollapalooza: Sunday

Sigh. I'm really not in the mood for Sunday. There are a hodgepodge of good bands across the park throughout the day, but neither end of the park has the obviously superior lineup (and the entire day's lineup is definitely inferior to Friday and Saturday). My options:

North side (Bud Light): Iron & Wine 4:15pm, The National 7:15pm, Nine Inch Nails 8:15pm.
South side (Myspace): Chromeo 3:15pm, Gnarls Barkley 6:15pm, Girl Talk 6:30pm, Kanye West 8:30pm.

Honestly, I might just be so tired and sunburned that I'll show up at 7:15 to see the National, or at 8:30pm to see if Obama introduces Kanye. If Obama introduces Wilco on Saturday, my decision will be made.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lollapalooza: Saturday

Saturday at Lollapalooza will be spent across the park at the "Bud Light" and "Playstation 3" stages. (It sort of pains me to write those words). Not missing much over in the Myspace area other than Jamie Lidell and Battles this day (MGMT? Brand New? No thanks. Though I wouldn't mind hearing Toadies do "Possum Kingdom" for nostalgia's sake). Anyhoo, I'm not feeling any real need to show up until . . .

3:30pm- Devotchka. I haven't able to get into A Mad and Faithful Telling as much as How It Ends, but it's indisputable that Devotchka put on a great live show. Apparently on their last tour there were acrobats; not sure that will work on a festival stage, but here's hoping.

4:30pm- Explosions in the Sky. This will either be really amazing or really boring.

5:30pm- Okkervil River. One of the best sets of Sasquatch, Okkervil River should be previewing some tunes from their forthcoming album, The Stand Ins, reportedly a sequel to the Stage Names. Hopefully they'll still play "Unless It's Kicks", though.

6:30pm- Broken Social Scene. I'm a bit disappointed by this Pitchfork news item that says BSS will be touring behind Kevin Drew's and Brendan Canning's solo albums, with only 7 members. Does that mean no Emily Haines or Amy Millan?

7:30pm- Dinner to the sounds of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

8:30pm- Wilco. The big question- will Obama be hanging out with Jeff Tweedy on stage?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lollapalooza: Friday

After a couple years off, I'll be attending Lollapalooza again this weekend. Like I did 2 weekends ago for Pitchfork, I'll be running through my planned schedule, day by day this week.

Friday will be spent entirely by the AT&T/MySpace stages, which means missing the Black Lips, the Raconteurs, The Black Keys, The Go! Team and Cat Power. I'm ok with this. (Do you think there are Raconteurs fans so rabid they will miss most of Radiohead when they walk the mile over after the show?)

If I can get there early enough (unlikely), I'll check out The Holy F*** and the Rogue Wave at 12:15.

2:15pm- Yeasayer. I've seen Yeasayer twice in the past year, once at another festival (Sasquatch), but I just can't get enough.

3:15pm- The Kills. I'll probably use this time to hang out, relax, get food, etc., but I'm interested to see if the Kills have as much sexual chemistry as they seem to do on record. Too bad one of them is now dating Kate Moss- maybe she'll be hanging around.

4:15pm- Gogol Bordello. I've never actually seen or heard them, but I'm assuming this will be fun.

5:15pm- Catch the beginning of Mates of State. It's been a few years since I've seen the Mates live, and I haven't checked out their last couple albums, but gosh darn are they adorable. This show will make me a bit nostalgic for the time I saw them in a little cafe in London. But I'll only see 20 minutes or so, since I'll want to head over for . . .

5:45pm- Grizzly Bear. Hopefully the outdoor setting will treat them and their gorgeous sound right.

6:15pm- Dinner time, to the sounds of Bloc Party. Also- start getting a spot for Radiohead time.

7:15pm- Listen to Stephen Malkmus while waiting for Radiohead. Get a glimpse of Janet Weiss on drums. Too bad CSS is playing at the same time, but going to the Citi stage to see them would mean losing a reasonable space near the Myspace stage for Radiohead. Bad luck, CSS.

8pm- Radiohead, duh. Though still no show will beat Grant Park, 2002.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tim Harrington

RFC photographer Kirstiecat got this great shot of Tim Harrington offering haircuts. So bummed I didn't see this!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Indie Rock/Celebrity Love

So Natalie Portman and Devendra Banhart are and item, and she's in his latest music video. This is the type of news I get from

But then at the bottom of the blurb is a link to pictures of other celebrities and their indie rock loves. Jigga-what? The apocalypse is now.

Some particularly odd ones:
Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams (who looks frightening in that picture)
Andy Samberg and Joanna Newsom (How on earth did this happen? And what happened to Bill Callahan??)
Fred Armisen and occasional Decemberist Petra Haden
Jeff Goldblum and Imogen Heap (???)
Winona Ryder and Blake Sennett from Rilo Kiley and the Elected (sans mustache, apparently)


Feist on Sesame Street

Feist does the ultra-adorable and teaches Sesame Street-ers to count to four. But wait- where did she get that four in the video, when Stephen Colbert has been hoarding them all?

P4K Black Kids review

What on earth is this supposed to mean? I guess that the Pitchfork love affair with the Black Kids is over.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pitchfork Wrap-Up

Whew. After a long weekend of standing on my feet, I am exhausted. Can't wait to do it all again in 2 weeks for Lollapalooza. Yikes.

Overall, this year's festival was a huge improvement over last year's, which had a myriad of sound and stage issues. This year the sound was infinitely better, and the new and improved Balance Stage was actually the best stage of the festival- much more spacious and surrounded by trees that kept the audience shaded from the sun. There was a little bit of sound bleed between the stages, though it was only noticeable when a band played ultra quietly (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes) or someone sound checked too loudly (Hold Steady, I'm looking at you). That's to be expected at almost any festival though.

Some brief highlights:
!!!- !!!'s newest material was killer live, and tracks like "Must Be the Moon" and "Heart of Hearts" sent us into a crazed dancing frenzy. The band added a bad-ass female singer since I last saw them 4 years ago, and she only added to the fun. Nic Offer dancing in his short shorts is always a sight to behold.

Animal Collective- The AC translated surprisingly well from the intimate confines of the Empty Bottle to the giant psychedelic light show of the outdoor festival stage. Other than "Peacebone" and "Fireworks", the Collective treated us to the usual bevy of new, unknown tracks, some of which were pretty incredible. Oh- and they played Panda Bear's "Comfy in Nautica". Prety awesome. But why was there only 3 members on stage- where was Deakin?

Les Savy Fav- The usual performance from everyone's favorite chubby, bearded, balding, shirtless, spandexed frontman. Yes, Tim Harrington, it makes complete sense for you to play in a Sherlock Holmes costume.

Cut Copy- This was on its way to becoming the only black mark on the weekend (other than the muddy fields of Saturday, which meant I couldn't ever sit down). After the show was seemingly 15 minutes late and roadies came out to chuck water bottles and energy drinks at us in attempts to appease the packed and antsy crowd, out comes Brandon Cox (Deerhunter, Atlas Sound) and someone from King Khan to let us know that Cut Copy was "stuck at the airport" and they'd be playing some jams in the meantime. (Aside- why is it Brandon Cox is always there when my musical expectations are foiled?) Considering the park's curfew was 10pm and it was already after 9, we figured they wouldn't have enough time to play and left the stage to watch a bit of Spoon. Luckily, an astute friend stuck around and texted us when it was announced Cut Copy would be on in 5 minutes, so we raced back to the Balance Stage just in time for the band to take the stage. We were then treated to a brief but fantastic 20-minute dance party, made much more enjoyable due to the personal space we got from the significantly thinner crowd. A great way to end the weekend. I went into this show not totally sure how I felt about the 80's dance party sounds of In Ghost Colours, but came away a believer. Anyone who felt their time with Cut Copy was cut short can take heart in the fact that they will be returning to Chicago with the Presets at the Metro on September 17.

I left the camera home this weekend, but check out pics from my photographer friends at Radio Free Chicago.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pitchfork Picks: Sunday

My interest in the Sunday lineup is more concentrated towards the second half of the day. (I will make sure NOT to be in the park for Times New Viking at 1, a band I cannot for the life of me understand, both literally and figuratively). I'll probably treat myself to sleeping in and enjoying a nice brunch before making sure I'm at Union Park in time for . . .

4pm- Les Savy Fav. It's another repeat band from Intonation by Pitchfork 2005, but chances to see Les Savy Fav are rare, so I'll take what I can get. Beyond singer Tim Harrington's legendary antics, their latest album, Let's Stay Friends, is fantastic, and I hope they play "Pots and Pans."

5pm- The Dodos. I've been very much enjoying this album as of late, and I've heard they put on a good live show.

6pm- M. Ward. If only Zooey Deschanel would make a guest appearance! (Though I'll be seeing She & Him in August at Park West, so no biggie).

7:30pm- Bon Iver. This'll be my first time visiting the balance stage. I'm hoping that the crowd that was there at 6 to see Ghostface and Raekwon will empty out (different fanbase, right?), giving me a good spot to see Bon Iver since they usually play sitting down. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the outdoors; while their sound usually lends itself to intimate spaces, it does have a bit of a nature-y vibe (recorded in a Wisconsin cabin, after all) that could translate.

8:25pm- Cut Copy. One of the acts I'm most excited for. !!! provides the dancing on Saturday, and Cut Copy provides the dancing on Sunday. It should be (mostly) dark by this point, which will help it feel more like a dance club and less like a parking lot.

9pm- Spoon. I'll miss the beginning of Spoon for Cut Copy, but that's ok as I've seen Spoon 5 times now, and only once or twice have they really impressed me live. Should be interesting to hear Ga Ga Ga . . . tracks, but Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight will always be my go-to Spoon albums.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pitchfork Picks: Saturday

Let's take a look at my planned schedule for Pitchfork this Saturday. Let me just say now I'm much more excited for Sunday's lineup, specifically the lineup starting at 4pm.

1:30pm- Jay Reatard. I've heard a lot of talk about this Jay Reatard. I have never taken any steps to find out what he sounds like, though his name definitely provides some guidance. I figure here's a good chance to find out what this guy is all about and either embrace or soundly reject him, which is what I feel my options are.

2pm- Caribou. I saw them recently at the Empty Bottle, so this will be an opportune time to park a blanket in between the two stages and listen from the ground. Chances are high that I'll stay on said blanket during:
3pm- Fleet Foxes
4pm- Dizzee Rascal
5pm- Vampire Weekend
This is the 4th year I'll be attending this festival, and now that I've seen most of the bands in the lineup in other contexts, including previous Pitchfork Festivals, I think this is the year I spend more time relaxing to the music with friends instead of running frantically around between stages trying to get the best view. This weekend's weather forecast (hot and humid) is definitely adding to this decision. As far as this middle-Saturday block, I just saw Fleet Foxes at Sasquatch, have seen Dizzee Rascal and am not as into his new stuff, and I'm very "blah" on Vampire Weekend in general, so it's a good time to park it and/or wander around for a bit.

6pm- !!!. Here is where I get off my blanket to watch !!! and dance it up. I saw !!! outdoors at Coachella in 2004 and had an absolute blast, even in 100 degree weather. Singer Nic Offer is hilarious. Their recent album Myth Takes is far superior to their previous work, so my expectations for fun are even higher.

7pm- Get some dinner and get in position for Jarvis, while listening to the Hold Steady from afar. Even though the HS has a new album coming out that might be interesting to hear, I did just see them several months ago, as well as in a past Pitchfork festival (when it was Intonation?). I'd rather get myself ready for Jarvis Cocker's first midwest appearance in 12 years, or whatever the statistic is.

8pm- Jarvis. This is the kind of special performance you want to have at a festival, i.e. not the typical touring bands that were just at the Metro 3 months ago. So excited.

9pm- Animal Collective. AC are notorious for playing almost entirely new material at each show, so the quality of their performance will depend on the quality of their new stuff. It will be interesting to see how they are continuing to evolve as they become more pop-oriented. (This is not a complaint).

Sunday picks to come tomorrow morning; expect more Balance stage acts then, assuming they've fixed the sound problems of last year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bird Blogging

I missed this one when it came out a few weeks ago, but Andrew Bird has a newer post on the New York Times' "Measure for Measure" blog where he chronicles the creation of his next record. Apparently now he is concerned he likes his new record "too much."

Monday, July 14, 2008

P4K Week Begins

Interesting; according to Jim DeRogatis, Lollapalooza poached a bunch of the bands Pitchfork wanted this year, and that's why we're seeing a lot of repeats. Maybe Lollapalooza poached all the female artists while they were at it?

I'll post my Pitchfork Picks later this week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Schubas giveaway

Quick, Schubas fans, get in on this contest today to win free tickets to Lollapalooza:

Friday 7/11/2008 9:59 PM All Ages
Win A Pair of Lollapalooza 3-Day Passes!

Ok folks, this is the big one.

Just send an email to with "Lolla Giveaway Round 1" in the subject line, and the answer to the following question in the body:

Name 10 Lollapalooza 2008 artists that have also played Schubas Tavern.

We'll pick a name at 4:00 PM Friday, July 11th.
Please include your full name and a phone number where we can reach you with the great news.

You'll find a helpful resource for this question in the Backstage section of

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wolf Parade @ the House of Blues, 7/8/08

I'm not sure what more I can say about Wolf Parade and it's members that I haven't said already before. I have thoroughly enjoyed, if not loved, every album that has come from Wolf Parade and its members' side projects. So even though they've graduated to the House of Blues (which really isn't that much bigger than the Metro, though it comes with more douchebags in the audience), I was still excited to see them on Tuesday and hear the new album live. The show pretty much lived up to my expectations as being another solid showcase of their music, though it does seem like Spencer and Dan are saving their most passionate displays of performance for their side projects at this point (or maybe that passion is just easier to discern in smaller venues). Regardless, Spencer was his usual intense self, hovered over the keyboards; Dante DeCaro seemed a little more subdued than usual (I guess it's not as easy to run drunkenly out the side door to pee in the street mid-performance as it is at Schubas); and Dan Boeckner seemed somewhat physically transformed from his usual mullet-y, tight t-shirt, heroin-addict skinny punk rock self to a more 6th-year senior college student look- he got a hair cut, grew a lazy goatee, and hid his waifiness in a plaid button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Maybe marriage does that to a person.

Wolf Parade played the bulk of the new stuff up front and saved most of Apologies to the Queen Mary for the end, "when they'd run out of new music," according to Spencer. Some kids on the main floor tried crowdsurfing (see: more douchebags in the audience), which was annoying and misplaced. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the couple in front of us as the guy spent the majority of the show trying to "explain" the band to the girl ("Spencer's voice is the best. No, I promise you'll get used to it.") Nothing's funnier than seeing a person really into music bringing a significant other not as into music to a show and listening to their conversation. On a side note, it's amusing to me that Spencer's voice has been so embraced by the masses, because it's so weird. During show-closer "Kissing the Beehive", some guy next to me did his best to imitate Spencer's yelps during the "Fire in the hole, oh oh!" part. I got the feeling he had a band where he was trying to sing like that too.

Also, as someone who has recently taken up playing keyboards, watching Spencer play made me realize how good he is, and how I've got quite a ways to go before I'm at his level. It's inspiration to work harder!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


This Obama shirt designed by the National is hilarious, especially considering the actual lyrics to "Mr. November."

We'll have to see if the National wax political when they stop by Lollapalooza on August 3rd.

Monday, July 07, 2008


This interview in with Stuff White People Like blogger Christian Lander (found here in case you're one of the few people who hasn't yet been forwarded the site by one of your friends) is pretty hilarious, assuming you find the site funny in the first place. When asked what the whitest band is right now, he said Vampire Weekend. Ha! Soooooo true.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Radiohead interview

Hey! Thom Yorke and Ed O'Brien get interviewed by the Onion's AV Club. See them discuss "erotic landscapes."


I have been waiting to see this for 2 years!

Ever since Joanna Newsom's Ys came out in 2006, I've been waiting for her to come to Chicago and play with an orchestra. I did get to see her at the Logan Square Auditorium play Ys in its entirety adapted for her Ys Street Band, but it would still be great to hear it live in all its orchestral glory. Well, now we can see her play with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Symphony Center on August 22; as well as a show with just the band (and presumably Milk-Eyed Mender songs and . . . new stuff?).

The show isn't yet posted on the CSO website, but hopefully tickets will be available soon.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Wolf Parade

The new Wolf Parade album is solid (phew!). I would have been so disappointed if it was not good. So far there are no obvious standouts like "I'll Believe in Anything" and the overall feel of it is a bit "sunnier" than the last album, but I will say I'm pleased. I also now have a ticket to see them at the House of Blues on July 8; obviously nothing will ever live up to their amazing 2006 Schubas show, but I'll still be glad to hear the new stuff live. Their side projects (Handsome Furs @ Empty Bottle August 17th!) are still under-the-radar enough to spend time with the WP boys in more intimate settings.