I’ve been pretty busy the past couple weeks and haven’t been able to post everything that was sent to me. Here’s a bunch of videos I’ve received over the past month or so. Most of them are really good. Some are silly and fun.
Rise Against-I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore
David Paige-Are You Ready?
Curious Quail-Yesterday I Watched The World End
the bird and the bee-Undone
Glass Animals-Love Lockdown
The Tins-They Aren’t Evil
I don’t know why, but literally the only person I know for sure is playing Lollapalooza is Lorde. I remember being excited to hear who the headliners were going to be, but as soon as it came out, I forgot. This has been a growing trend in my relationship with the festival-it’s the biggest show in town and the one I care the least about. Lollapalooza is THE festival for people from Chicago and the surrounding areas who only want to go to one concert a year. Three-day passes sold out in record time once again, which means next year we’ll get more of the same seemingly every-other-year headliners (The Killers aren’t playing this year so they’ll for sure be there in 2015, or maybe Brandon Flowers solo).
Here’s my experience from the one year I actually went. Drove up from Indiana, paid $30 to park, saw Ben Folds and The Decemberists (they played Hazards Of Love in its entirety), then left because it was raining. Bought three-day passes but skipped Saturday because Beastie Boys had to cancel and I’d already seen YYY’s. Showed up Sunday and got my nose broken ten minutes in to the day. Then didn’t see a doctor about it for a couple days because I didn’t want to miss Band Of Horses and the aforementioned Killers. So yeah, I got a pretty healthy dose of Lollapalooza in my short time there.
I saw the most drunk person I’ve ever seen in my life at 5:30pm on the Friday I went, which means he had to have imbibed a lot of those $8 beers in a very short period. It took me half an hour to get from the Bud Light stage to Chow Town to get something to eat and drink and back, during which time I had to muscle my way through about 20,000 bros in tank tops and sideways hats (only a few with aviators, probably because it was cloudy). Totally money well spent.
So who is playing this year? You can look it up yourself, but I’ll give you a few highlights: Headliners are Eminem (wtf?), Arctic Monkeys (okkkkkkk……), Outkast (reuniting to only play festivals and you can basically see them counting the money while they’re on stage), Kings Of Leon (HEY! They headlined the year I went!), Skrillex (and his haircut!), and Calvin Harris (props I would totally see Calvin Harris). So two rap acts, two rock bands (one on the way up and one on the wrong side of their career that started going downhill about a week after Youth & Young Manhood came out), and two DJ’s.
The undercard does have some appealing acts. Run The Jewels and Childish Gambino are both playing and I’d see either of them over the two hip-hop headliners. Jenny Lewis is back with a new record and she’s playing one day, but she’s also playing an aftershow at Park West, which is a much more suitable venue than an open field. Benjamin Booker will be there, but a lot of Chicagoans will have two chances to see him this week opening for Jack White, plus he just played a free show at The Empty Bottle and a show at SPACE in Evanston, so whatever-he’s really good, though. Iggy Azalea will be playing, which pretty much makes me want to kill myself. Plus she won’t have Charli XCX with her, so, like, what’s the point?
I count 24 bands or solo acts in the lineup that I’ve never heard of, so that’s good I think. Airborne Toxic Event is back, and that’s who was playing when I broke my nose. Fond memories there. Cage The Elephant is also back, and from what I remember the set they delivered when I went was the most buzzed about. That was right when “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” was out and no one really knew what to expect. They’re a much better band now than they were then, so I assume they’ll put on something spectacular during their set at 5 in the afternoon or whenever they’re playing.
After hitting two big summer festivals already this summer, I can tell you that I’m happy to not be going to Lollapalooza again. The bands don’t justify the price, the people at the fest are generally a pain to put up with, and it’s probably going to be in the 90′s the whole time. After a wonderful experience up at TURF in Toronto, and a better than expected Pitchfork, I wonder if the world really needs Lollapalooza anymore.
Back on April 19th I was a man on a mission. Record Store Day tends to bring out the primal brutality of humanity, so I made sure I was prepared with my list and a “stay out of my way” mentality. I had a short list this year: the Conor Oberst/Dawes split 7″, Childish Gambino’s Because The Internet, R.E.M. Unplugged, Springsteen’s American Beauty, and Camera Obscura’s 4AD Sessions. I ended up getting 4 out of 5, with the jerk in front of me grabbing the last Unplugged copy at the Reckless Records on Madison. I got home and immediately threw on the first record and listened to everything I’d bought. The Camera Obscura record stood out from the first song (of four), and it is definitely the one I can spin again and again without getting tired of it.
Recorded at Tron Theatre in Glasgow, it’s a live recording of four of the best tracks from their latest full-length, Desire Lines (#14 on my top 50 albums of 2013). The recording puts Tracyanne Campbell’s vocals way out front, which is exactly where they belong. The sessions took place right after the album was released, so the band was still super tight after their time in the studio. Kenny McKeeve’s guitar on “Every Weekday” is especially impressive as it shimmies and shakes all over the place, bouncing off Gavin Dunbar’s bass like a super ball.
My favorite track is the closer, “Fifth In Line To The Throne.” It feels a little less downtrodden in this live recording, Campbell’s voice effortlessly sailing through the calm wave of sound on the line “you treat me like a queen, but like a queen I don’t know when I’ll be slain.”
The band will be here in Chicago this Friday night, July 25th, at Thalia Hall with Laura Cantrell. Tickets are still available here.
Now that it’s all over, how was the festival? It was a lot of fun and we saw a ton of great bands over the three days we were there, that’s for sure. But some were definitely better than others, so here are my top 10 sets at Pitchfork 2014, followed by my bottom 3. (We haven’t had time to go through all the pictures yet, but when we have time I’ll add some here for the bands missing shots-except Neutral Milk Hotel, who don’t allow photography)
10. Dum Dum Girls
7. Neneh Cherry
6. Pusha T
5. Neutral Milk Hotel
4. Schoolboy Q
2. St Vincent
In no particular order: Grimes, Slowdive, the kids that tried to jump the fence and knocked over a port-a-potty while someone was using it. They were quickly arrested.
I’ve never been much of a fan of Good Kid M.a.a.D. City, but not because I don’t think Kendrick Lamar is talented. As overhyped as that album was, he’s proven time and again that he can deliver more than we expect from him. I had no idea he would be playing with a live band, which made his Pitchfork performance the biggest surprise of the weekend. He’s an absolute beast on stage, fully earning the headlining spot.
He hit the stage 20 minutes later than scheduled (a must for rappers throughout the festival), but I don’t think anyone ever thought about leaving. After sailing through a song he announced himself saying “Chicago! My name is Kendrick Motherfucking Lamar! This is Good Kid MotherFuckin m.A.A.d City!!!” In a relatively short time he’s become a real crowd pleaser, getting everyone involved and keeping the vibe positive. He isn’t the brutal hard-hitter Pusha T is, nor the good-time loving Schoolboy Q is, but he makes up for it with pure talent and charisma.
The live band element really raises the bar over other hip-hop acts here at Pitchfork this weekend. While Pusha, Q, and Earl Sweatshirt all relied on DJ work to create their sound, Lamar plays with some talented guys which allows him a little room to improvise. It also means that when he isn’t riding a beat it isn’t just silence. That was my one problem with Q’s set, and it wasn’t an issue for Lamar. The only long pause coming at a planned point for “Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst.”
Friday and Saturday I saw a lot of people leave early, but tonight it seems like everyone is staying put. Even those who told me earlier that they’d probably jet before Kendrick started. He’s just a magnetic guy. Tough to tear yourself away from watching him.
I couldn’t stay for the whole set, but I gladly would have. I was really curious as to whether he would bring Q out to do one of their collabs, but it didn’t happen in the 45 minutes or so I was able to watch. If he comes back to town, I would definitely consider checking out another show.
Maybe not as exciting as Perfect Pussy or Schoolboy Q, Dum Dum Girls certainly delivered the coolest set of the day. The group came out in their traditional all black everything, including Dee Dee in black fishnets, miniskirt and mesh top with sunglasses as dark as death itself. They couldn’t have looked more hip if they were smoking cigarettes in leather jackets while jumping motorcycles through flaming hoops.
They kicked into some songs off their latest LP Too True, and the crowd cheered with appropriate emthusiasm but not too much so they didn’t seem like they cared too much. There weren’t any mushers or crowd surfers, but there were a lot of pleased faces and singing along.
Despite another run of delays on the Blue Stage, the music sounded good and crisp. Even in Dum Dum Girls style, which mixes the vocals only slightly higher than the rest of the instruments, you could make out every word.
Had to bail early to get a good spot for Schoolboy Q’s set. Glad we did because we ended up witnessing some jerk off kids knock over a port-a-potty with someone inside so they could break into the festival. Security rounded up a bunch of them and if it had been me in that port-a-potty there’d be hell to pay.
Bunch of savages in this town.
The Man Of The Year rapper managed to match the energy of Perfect Pussy’s frantic 23-minute set for the duration of his almost hour-long performance. Starting with hits off the new record including “Hands on The Wheel,” the crowd sang along from beginning to end. He hit the big ones with “Collard Greens,” “Studio,” and closer “Man Of The Year.”
I was impressed with the energy level he was able to sustain throughout with only a couple short breaks to get a drink of water. He bounced up and down from one side of the stage to the other, getting the audience to jump right with him. The last time I saw a hip-hop crowd that ferocious was a Lollapalooza after show that Chance The Rapper opened for Childish Gambino in 2012. The Chicago crowd went nuts for their hometown boy at The Vic, and today they had much live for their new favorite son from the bay area.
Earl Sweatshirt was on hand, dancing on the side of the stage with his Odd Future cohort Domo. They never came out to collab on a track, and neither did Kendrick Lamar. Still a great set, though.