Archive for the 'live review' Category

The Rolling Stones – November 25, 1994 – Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, FL

September 17, 1994 around 6:00 am in the parking lot of Sears at the Coral Square Mall, Coral Spring, FL. I took the earliest bus I could to get there. I was one of the first 10 people or so in line. None of us knew Ticketmaster would be using a lottery system that morning. I bought tickets all the time from them during this era, and they hadn’t ever used it before this show – at least not at this location, where I bought tickets for most of the big shows I went to.

I drew an unbelievably bad number and ended up being sent to stand behind hundreds of people who arrived long after I had. After waiting in line for well over four hours, I finally arrived at the counter where I scored two tickets, for me and my stepdad. We were to be seated in the very last row of Joe Robbie Stadium at the low cost of just $100 (not counting Ticketmaster fees). Two months later our backs were against the concrete walls behind us and the techs setting up on stage were just tiny spots. I was so excited!

While we waited for the show to start, the dude next to us smoked crack. When he noticed me staring, he asked if I was a cop. Oh wait, I forgot to mention… I was a fifteen year old kid at the time.

“No.”

“Is your dad a cop?”

“No.” He went back to his pipe. Later he explained he had been looking to buy a joint, but only could find crack in the streets of downtown Miami. The Spin Doctors opened, and they killed it. I can’t believe I actually just typed that. The crowd was pumped. I remember feeling very different from any other show I had been to until that point. Something magical was happening. The crack smoker asked me and my stepdad for a ride home, and we pretended not to hear him as the stadium went into a roar while a spotlight traced a blurry figure walking from the edge of the stage. I glanced over at the Jumbotron and recognized the figure as Whoopi Goldberg. She arrived at center stage, grabbed a mic, and said something like “Ladies and gentlemen… I am here for one reason: to introduce the greatest band in the world – The Rolling Stones.” Everyone went crazy screaming and cheering as she walked away (she later joined the backup chorus during Sweet Virginia) and the band took stage. That’s how I remember it. Below, you can see how it actually went. Oh, I forgot to mention… the whole thing was multi-cam & soundboard pro-shot and broadcast worldwide on Pay-per-View.

Watts’ drums started to pound, Jagger strutted out and took a bow, followed by Richards and Wood. This (tour, not exact show) was the Stones’ first in four or five years (depending on how you count), and they decided to go all out – especially for this show which beyond being on pay-per-view saw a VHS release (followed by a DVD release years later). Special guests on stage that night were Bo Diddley, Robert Cray, and Sheryl Crow. An elaborate set design included gigantic fire breathing snakes, and a detachable section of the stage that moved the band across the floor of the stadium and out amongst the crowd for an acoustic mini-set.

Check out some of the videos below the setlist and witness why this tour became the highest grossing concert tour in history until that time, and until today it remains at #10 (or adjusted for inflation it’s actually #3).

Not Fade Away (The Crickets cover)
Tumbling Dice
You Got Me Rocking
Rocks Off
Sparks Will Fly
Live with Me (with Sheryl Crow)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Beast of Burden
Angie (Acoustic)
Dead Flowers (Acoustic)
Sweet Virginia (Acoustic)
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
It’s All Over Now (The Valentinos cover)
Stop Breakin’ Down Blues (Robert Johnson cover) (with Robert Cray)
Who Do You Love? (Bo Diddley cover) (with Bo Diddley)
I Go Wild
Miss You
Honky Tonk Women
Before They Make Me Run (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
The Worst (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
Sympathy for the Devil
Monkey Man
Street Fighting Man
Start Me Up
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
Brown Sugar

Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Encore)

 

Sources:

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1994-09-10/lifestyle/9409090420_1_voodoo-lounge-tickets-stones

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-rolling-stones/1994/joe-robbie-stadium-miami-gardens-fl-7bd6fe64.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_concert_tours

voodoo_lounge_live

- breathmint

Coachella 2012 – Weekend 2 recap

So now I’ve had a week of recovery and letting things settle post-Coachella, I thought I could finally feel up to solidifying some of my thoughts. I’ve seen a lot of “recaps” of the weekend(s), almost all of which could have been written beforehand–hot! so many diverse artists! so many bros in the rave tent!–so I’ll try to avoid those. (It was damned hot, though, that’s for sure.)

I told a friend before the weekend that I was looking forward to Coachella, because I can just zone out and listen to music. And that’s how the weekend plays for me. I’m not bothered by the crowds, I don’t socialize in the camps/hotels, I just float from stage to stage to stage to stage, doing and hearing what I want. It’s great.

Instead of recapping moment-by-moment everything I did, I wanted to mention a few each day.

FRIDAY:

After starting off with a few forgettable sets early on Friday (including my only two stops into the aforementioned rave Sahara tent), I headed out to the wide open Main stage to catch Hello Seahorse!, a dynamic and cool Mexican band.

Hello Seahorse!

Denise Gutiérrez, lead singer of Hello Seahorse!

Hello Seahorse! impressed greatly, their singer was engaging, and has a beautiful, operatic voice. I don’t make comparisons to Radiohead lightly, but Hello Seahorse! reminded me of their mix of musical dynamics, ethereal on top of rock/electronics. She only sings in Spanish, and barely said any words in English between songs, so for all I know, the lyrics are garbage. But still, I’m now a big fan. One underrated aspect of Coachella every year is their Latin American lineups, though this year I think Hello Seahorse! was their only one.

After a pretty cool set by EMA, I waited for Gary Clark Jr., who proceeded to blow the whole tent away. Sometimes a hot crowded tent needs some hot steamy blues, and that’s what we got. There is a lot of snobbiness to the Sahara rave tent sometimes, how the electro house DJs just play beats until the bass drops and everyone goes YEA! Gark Clark Jr., however, brings that same excitement with his guitar. The feeling when he drops into the riff after his hot solos had people raving. It was really fun, and shows — maybe the blues can be the next dubstep. Haha. Anyway, this was a breakthrough gig, and Clark should be a star soon (if not already). His sound reminds of The Black Keys, but with more soul mixed in (and Jimi Hendrix licks).

After watching Pulp–the explosion of “Common People” was amazing and one of the highlights of the weekend, I high-tailed it right over to the Outdoor Stage for, hell yes, Mazzy Star. The contrast between Jarvis Cocker, a real cool rock star, and Hope Sandoval could not have been more striking.

Hope Sandoval kindly requested the lights stay off, and she and the newly-reunited Mazzy Star played their seductive songs to near-darkness. It was perfect. The band, by the end, found their groove and it was quite a phenomenal performance. Perhaps a relatively-rowdy festival was not the ideal situation for Mazzy Star music (more on that later) but still, they sounded GREAT.

FULL LINEUP I SAW: Mea, Abe Vigoda, The Sheepdogs, Hello Seahorse!, EMA, Gary Clark Jr., GIRLS, Dawes, Pulp, Mazzy Star, M83, The Black Angels

IF I COULD DO IT OVER: I probably would go to The Black Keys or Explosions In The Sky instead of M83.

SATURDAY

Saturday was my epic day. The schedule was (almost too) killer. I sort of set it up to see all women, until the end when Bon Iver and Radiohead finished my day.

After an up-and-down afternoon of some failed sets (Dragonette), cool vibes (Keep Shelly In Athens), buzz rap (Azealia Banks), old farts (fIREHOSE & Buzzcocks), I headed out into the 105-degree Outdoor Stage to catch tUnE-yArDs. It was almost reckless to be out there like that, but the festival kept everyone well-misted and, well, when someone is as riveting a performer as tUnE-yArDs, you don’t think about it. She brought an interesting mix of intense and fun to her amazingly impressive live technique of loops and live samples and percussion. This was a really good set and I had a really good time. Her albums are good, but one must experience her live.

After tUnE-yArDs, I was getting into the heart of my lineup. Laura Marling and St. Vincent were back-to-back in one tent, meaning I’d have to miss Andrew Bird, Jeff Mangum, and The Shins. Not complaining! Marling played a beautiful set, but the noisy atmosphere seemed to get to her. She seemed to cut her set short (her guitar guy brought her a guitar for the last song, but she’d already walked off). She had more time, and hadn’t got to even her recent (amazing) singles (“Sophia”). Regardless, I do consider her one of the best songwriters going right now.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent on the rail on the edge of the crowd

St. Vincent had a post-sunset slot, and honed her set down to include nothing but high-intensity rock songs. Her energy was almost unbelievable. Her final song was sung while crowdsurfing, which only served to make the rowdy crowd rowdier. But, as usual, her stage diving wasn’t done in a reckless way, but in a more “this is badass” way. I dunno, it’s hard to explain. But Annie Clark’s stage presence and uber-coolness won everyone over. This was the set for me all weekend, and one I’ll always remember.

After that somewhat jawdropping performance, I wandered over to watch Feist for a bit, before Bon Iver and Radiohead closed things out. I did squeeze some Godspeed You! Black Emperor in between Bon Iver and Radiohead, which was crazy. The 30 min. of Godspeed I saw were dramatic, brilliant, menacing. I should have made more time for them.

FULL LINE-UP I SAW: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Keep Shelly In Athens, Dragonette, Azealia Banks, fIREHOSE, tUnE-yArDs, Buzzcocks, Laura Marling, St. Vincent, Feist, Bon Iver, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Radiohead

COOL STUFF I COULDN’T FIT IN: Miike Snow, SBTRKT, Jeff Mangum, Andrew Bird, Flying Lotus

IF I COULD DO IT OVER: leave Bon Iver a little earlier to see more Godspeed, skip Feist for Flying Lotus.

SUNDAY:

We all have heard about Sunday’s lineup, I’m sure: Hologram Tupac and Dr. Dre! I started out pretty early, taking it easy with some new bands like Gardens & Villa and Housse De Racket. First Aid Kit was next, who I’d discovered pre-Coachella and was really looking forward to. They sounded very nice, but some keyboard troubles seem to throw them off their game a bit. Also, like Laura Marling, a noisy festival is not necessarily the best vibe for their quiet clear folk sound.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

Santigold was next, out on the main stage at 3:30pm in the DEAD of the sun. But again, her party vibes made you forget that. She played through her songs, with her cool band and it was quite a good time. She keeps growing into one of my favorites.

After this, I went to try to see Real Estate, and listened outside their tent. But it was PACKED, and I couldn’t get close. Around this time, I started thinking, maybe I should just go home. It was 105 degrees out, I’d seen a lot. It’s 4:30pm and I still have 7 hours left before Hologram Tupac. There was a couple of two hour blocks looming where I wasn’t overly interested in anyone playing. My mind was wandering. Not even physically, I felt fine, just mentally, I felt done. So, after Real Estate, I called it in and went home to watch Mad Men. 🙂

SUNDAY LINEUP I SAW: Tyler Uppercut, Gardens & Villa, Housse De Racket, Oberhofer, First Aid Kit, Santigold, Real Estate, Don Draper

IF I HAD STAYED LONGER THE LINEUP WOULD’VE INCLUDED: Thundercat, Gaslamp Killer, The Weeknd, Modeselektor, Dr. Dre/Tupac

REGRETS: OK so Thom Yorke came out and sang with Modeselektor at their half-filled tent. I like them, I would have been there. That’s what I missed by going home. 🙁 (He’s collaborated with them 3-4 times.)

- almostaghost

Concert Review – Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs – March 20 2012 Hollywood, CA

A few days back, I went to see Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs concert at the Avalon in Hollywood. A strange combo! But I am a fan of both, and was excited.

The War On Drugs, who put out one of my favorite albums last year, opened. I saw them headline five months ago at a smaller venue, which was fun. But I think their sound fit this slightly bigger venue a little better. But their momentum, tight on record, is given more expanse on the stage. More specifically, that means a bit more jamming, longer ambient build-ups, phatter bass.

To be honest, I cannot decide if their groove is derivative, or unique. A fine line, I guess! In the end, it does not matter. But original or not, I really enjoyed their noisy, groovy set, once again. And if they come back again in five months… I’m sure I’ll enjoy it then too. Here’s a song from the excellent Slave Ambient:

The War On Drugs “Brothers”

Sharon Van Etten, who, on the other hand, I last saw at a MUCH bigger venue (opening for The National), was impressive as well. She has a somewhat goofy, self-deprecatory stage presence, which was a little surprising considering sad, emotional songs make up the core of her catalog. Fortunately, this presence does not get in the way of the songs. She can switch focus and deliver a jaw-dropping performance like it ain’t no thing, even after awkwardly talking to the person in the front row (PS. we in the back had no idea what you were saying). Musically, I enjoyed her ability to pull off some of her slower, more drone-like pieces; and her band was also skilled enough to jump on faster ones too.

I did find myself wishing for a couple of songs where she just played acoustic guitar alone. Her first demo recordings are basically just that, and are so beautiful. But the new stuff has opened her up to a much wider palette, and for someone with such a great voice and such great songs, that’s nothing but a good thing.

Sharon Van Etten “Love More”

- almostaghost

Concert Review: Radiohead – March 15 2012 Glendale, AZ

Last week I drove out to Glendale, Arizona for to see my seventh Radiohead concert. I’m proud of the fact that I have seen them once per album since 1997. And while I cannot say this was as epic as some of the shows in the past, it was a total blast and quite memorable for a few reasons.

First, an indoor arena has a significantly different feel than the big outdoor concerts they have been focused on the past 10 years. While the capacity of the arena in Glendale was not drastically smaller than, say, the Hollywood Bowl (surprisingly very similar), the fact that it was indoor with a general admission floor gave a much different experience. You could actually see the band! I could, anyway, as I was on the floor, not too far back from the stage. This video is indicative: it seems to have been shot and zoomed over my head.

That video also brings me to my other point about Radiohead’s setlists. Most bands will play their new songs pretty straight, while maybe experimenting a bit with their older songs. Radiohead? The exact opposite. As you can hear with this old song (“Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box”), it sounds fairly similar to the recorded version on Amnesiac. But compare that to the new “Bloom” at the top, which has expanded and blown up into an entirely new experience. Most of the new King Of Limbs songs were like this. “Little By Little,” while dark on record, sounds downright menacing live. “Good Morning Mr Magpie” is sped up. “Feral” explodes into some crazy thing, somehow becoming one of the more exciting songs in the set. (Why can’t it sound like that on the record?!) The new songs were pretty mindblowing, and that is what I will remember most of all about the music this tour.

But then, the converse is true too: the old songs sound exactly like you’d expect. I love hearing the songs fucked with and expanded like this and why can’t they do that with the old songs too? Doesn’t have to be drastic, but “Paranoid Android” and all those sound like they always have. Do they have to? If they can experiment with “Feral,” why not the old stuff? I do not mean to diminish the excitement of hearing the “Airbag” riff in person, don’t get me wrong. I definitely recognize how great it is to still go to a show, 15 years later, and still have that “Paranoid Android” crowd frenzy. But it did make me wonder if they cruise through certain things to some extent? I don’t know, I’m conflicted on this–torn between wanting more experiments but also loving their back catalog. In the end though, Radiohead on cruise control still sounds like this, so I’m just nitpicking:

Other little thoughts: “Lotus Flower” appears to be their new most-popular song, the crowd went crazy for it, along with old faves like “Idioteque” and “There There.” I really can’t imagine them dropping any of those from any set they do, ever.

Outside the King Of Limbs stuff, they also played recent tracks like “The Daily Mail” and “Identikit.” A few other new songs have shown up on this tour, but those were the two I heard. Thom told the crowd that their goal was to play more new stuff–looking back is ok but looking forward is what keeps them going. “Identikit” reminded me a bit of “Lotus Flower,” maybe just less seductive. That’s first impression though, and will be curious if they release it soon (Thom said it was his favorite new song). They did release a live version of “The Daily Mail” recently, and it’s been growing on me quite a bit.

Anyway, Radiohead’s songs are so good and they’re such amazing performers that there’s no way a show won’t rejuvenate you.

- almostaghost

Amanda Palmer August 8 2008 Lakeshore Theater Chicago

In 2008, I was in Chicago for a conference. As the plane landed I was looking up shows in town for my week stay and was shocked to find Amanda Palmer was playing a solo gig the next night. And it was totally sold out. I had seen the Dresden Dolls before, but this Amanda solo thing was brand new. Apparently she had done a record, which had leaked just before I left for Chicago, but I hadn’t heard it yet.

After spending nearly my entire first 24 hours in town making calls to the venue, record stores, ticket agencies,  and even asking the hotel concierge if he could help, the evening was upon me and I was ticketless. I decided to head down and see if I could just find tickets waiting in line. When I got to the venue, the line was wrapped around the building. I started walking down the perimeter, and asked if anyone had extra tickets probably each batch of 5 people or so. I got to the end with no luck. So, I turned around and walked straight back up and asked again.

This repeated for about an hour. I had asked many of the same people, probably 5-6 times if they had tickets. The evil looks I was getting were almost enough to make me give up, but I decided to wait in line and see if maybe somehow by the time I got to the front my luck would change. I had taken to discussing the Dolls and AP (FYI: this was the pre-AFP era) with a couple that had driven all the way from Green Bay. They had seen the Dolls about a dozen times, and encouraged me to keep trying. Overhearing our conversation, other people waiting in line shared encouraging words and one girl even said “you were meant to get in this show.” I tended to agree!

When I was about 40 feet from the entrance, a bad falafel saved me. This girl came up to me with one ticket in hand. Her friend had eaten some bad falafel and was leaving. The ticket was mine. Victory was mine. I triumphantly proceeded inside and after checking out some wicked merch I couldn’t afford, I found my seat. And then I was introduced to Vermillion Lies. That could be a whole blog in of itself, but I reserve myself by relating to you that they ended their set with crowd holding hands, swaying, and singing along thusly.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Hz-G9qE-r8w" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Suffice it to say that the night was off to a great start, and it was about to get even better! The lights went down, the cheering started, and then came the following. I ask you stop here, watch the video, and then continue reading.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XTXsoi603yU" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Did you watch yet? If not, stop reading and play that video straight through.  I’ll be waiting for you.

Done? Ok, so I will in no way make the implication that Amanda Palmer is Michael Jackson. But if she was, this was her Motown 25 moment. Ok, so I just took a break from writing and watched that performance of Billie Jean. I reiterate, Amanda Palmer is no Michael Jackson. Anyway, Amanda went on to play many songs from the forthcoming Who Killed Amanda Palmer record, mostly just blowing us away one song after another. There were also some Dresden Dolls songs, several covers, and two encores. The full setlist can be found here.  She closed out the night with her now famous ukulele rendition of Creep, joined by the sisters Vermillion. At the time, nobody had heard her do this before. It was so fucking special.

Of course, anyone who has seen Amanda before knows it ALWAYS feels that way. That, my dear readers, is because it ALWAYS is. What makes Amanda so special, is that she knows it’s all about the fans. She gives us everything she has to give, and thats why we always keep coming back for more.  Unfortunately, this is the only video I could find of that closing number. However, despite the clipped audio, that crowd roaring pretty much captures the moment perfectly.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/kw9vRSu742Y" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

If anyone reading this knows the girl who got sick on her falafel, or her friend who got me that ticket, please have her write me. I’d love to thank the both of you personally for having made possible one of my all time favorite concert experiences.

- breathmint

Life In Mixtape Form #16

Like last week, my week was again highlighted by a concert. This time I went to see Lykke Li (and Best Coast). I’ve seen Lykke before, in a small venue, but I found this bigger outdoor theatre performance to be much more memorable. I think it fit her unique stage presence. Part of that was having a 2nd album of songs–she just kept playing more and more songs that I liked and I kept thinking, “oh yea I forgot about this song!” It was great to hear the new stuff live; sometimes I just listen to the albums so much and sometimes I get a little nitpicky critical in thinking about them. But then to hear them live makes me step back–yes these are great songs.

(Best Coast was fine; all their songs sound the same.)

- almostaghost

Life In Mixtape Form #15

This week was musically highlighted by a Thurston Moore concert, which was wonderful. His new album is an acoustic album, basically. It was a blast to hear him stripped back–two acoustic guitars, a harpist, a violinist, drummer. And among this, his voice really stood out; he’s a great singer! Usually, it’s easier to focus on his electric guitar freakout amazingness, or his poetic lyrics, I’ve never really thought of his voice before like that. Dude is a legend for a reason. 🙂

Anyway enjoy the mix; there’s an older Thurston song on there, which he did play at the show (and acoustic too).

- almostaghost

Max Tundra / Girl Talk (live at the House of Blues Orlando, May 21, 2011)

A little late on this one, but still fresh in my mind. I was lucky enough to catch Girl Talk (Greg Gillis) when they passed through Orlando. A really fun show all around, made better by the group of friends I was with.

The opening act was Max Tundra an electronic/8-bit-ish musician I had never heard of prior to the show. Kind of hard to describe – imagine a guy flailing about the stage while singing (falsetto) Beyonce’s Single Ladies and closing with a song from The Sound of Music. A lot of the crowd was not feeling him, but I thought it was pretty fun opening act (better than a lot of opening acts I have seen lately) and showed another side of the sampling community. Highlight was his cover of KLF’s “What Time is Love?”.

Girl Talk was about what you would expect if you have listened to any of their music. Pretty much 1.5 hours (including encore) of dancing and all around partying filled with confetti and balloon drops. The crowd had a lot of energy and, as a whole, was there to just have a good time. Several people were brought onto the stage and danced in front of a massive screen synced to the music. Samples spanned pretty much his entire work with a lot of new mixes intermingled in and a lot of the weaker (less-danceable) mixes from his albums left out. Everything about the production was well done.

Honestly, my only complaint for the show was the venue. This was the first time I had been to HOB for anything other than food and the pit felt too small for this kind of show. A lot of people ended up stuck up against railings and stairs which looked pretty uncomfortable. Acoustics and lighting were good though.

I did not think about recording this (for the simple fact I was in the pit), but I have tossed in a clip of the show and a couple of his tracks to this post. It should be noted that this tour may be the last in this style for Girl Talk. In interviews, Gillis has stated he would like to move away from the continuous mash style and focus more on individual tracks. This seems consistent with his overall musical evolution which started with a very glitchy sound (see Unstopable) and now employs significantly longer samples (All Day).

Girl Talk – Oh No
Girl Talk – Bounce That

You can grab Girl Talk’s latest album for free here.

- Numerator_Original

School Of Seven Bells @ Ottobar, Baltimore, October 20, 2010

Enjoy the recording.

FLAC

mp3

School of Seven Bells
October 20, 2010
Ottobar
Baltimore, MD

Source: Core Sound Binaurals > Battery Box > Nomad Jukebox 3
Transfer: NJB3 > USB > PC > Sony Soundforge 7.0a
Edit: Sony Soundforge 7.0a (Splitting) > LAME > Tag & Rename

01) Half Asleep
02) Heart Is Strange
03) Babelonia
04) Joviann
05) Dust Devil
06) Bye Bye Bye
07) Windstorm
08) ILU
09) My Cabal
10) Sempiternal/Amaranth

Notes:

This show may not be sold under any cirumstances.

- breathmint

Phoenix / Grizzly Bear / Girls (live at the Hollywood Bowl, Sept 18 2010)

Reviewing a live show is tough, even tougher than records. Basically, I imagine there were 17,375 Phoenix fans at the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday, and they probably all had a great time and walked away thinking, OMGZ! I mean, who am I to argue or say otherwise?

I’m not anti-Phoenix. I checked out their music prior to Coachella earlier this year, and caught about 10 minutes of their set there. Mostly I’m ambivalent. I was, however, more interested in seeing Grizzly Bear and to a lesser extent Girls. I tried to see Grizzly Bear at Coachella, but their tent was too packed, I couldn’t make it in. As for Girls, ok cool.

So, as someone not entirely wrapped up in any of the bands, I feel like I could think more about the concert-going experience and what these bands brought to the stage. Interestingly, despite their obvious differences in sound and presence, these 3 bands seem to me to have certain things in common (besides all having lame band names that are useless to look up in Google). Mainly, I noticed a similar songwriting style. I mean, I don’t believe there was any songs that had any sort of chorus; and they wrap their verses in relatively subtle riffs and melodies. This of course is cool on record, but to a giant crowd? Something felt lacking.

There are two types of live bands, in my experience: those that come out and play their songs, and those that come out and play. Girls is the first one. They came out, did their songs, and left. Though I’ll be fair, they only played for like 17 minutes. Their first couple songs made little impression, and then just as they were getting into it, their set ended.

Grizzly Bear came next. You know how their great records and songs can sometimes have an awkward yet beautiful momentum to them? Live, it’s slightly annoying. I kept hoping for a bit more groove, but all the constant changes kind of nullified it. Despite that, I’d say they came off pretty well on stage, I enjoyed their voices, and their songs have continually grown on me over the years. Halfway through, Leslie Feist came out and sang a song (and danced around and sang harmony on another), and she always sounds great.

Phoenix closed it down. They are a talented band, and have a sound that can fit in a big place like the Bowl. They definitely had a bit more muscle than either Girls or Grizzly Bear. The songs I liked the best were the ones that seemed to be built more on a synthesizer sound. Like I said, though, the lack of choruses made the show feel odd to me. I don’t want my bands to necessarily be U2 and sing a bunch of anthems, but by this point, I wanted something. Reach out and grab me, Phoenix! They did not. Since I didn’t really know any of their songs (not a radio listener, obvs), most of what they did went right through my ears.

At one point, Phoenix walked out into the middle of the crowd, and played a few songs from there. From my vantage point, up in the back, it was a giant lull in the show. But I guess that was nice for the people in that section. Also for a bit, they dropped a white curtain down and started to play behind it. I thought, hmm like The Wall? But you could see their silhouettes through it, and there was little rainbow lights lighting it up, and they kind of just noodled bass solos (which they seemed to do a lot) or something from back there. I’m not sure what statement they were making, but it certainly wasn’t anything like Pink Floyd’s statement about the wall between band and audience. I’m sure the whole thing is some sort of symbolic message about modern music I haven’t figured out.

Here’s a couple of mp3s:

Grizzly Bear & Feist – “Service Bell”

Girls “Headache”

I wanted to share this pretty cool cover of Bob Dylan’s “Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” that Phoenix recorded at some point, but the file size is too big, so here it is on Youtube:

and while finding that, I found an audience clip of the Grizzly Bear/Feist performance!

- almostaghost