This was another fine Willie Nelson show. A week or so before, I saw (on Facebook, of all places) that Amera, a friend from college, was going to be in town, so I invited her out to join me and Ted & Alexandra. We got there and there was a huge Texas flag behind the stage. The opening band didn't strike me or the others as too interesting, so we went upstairs. Once Willie started, he hardly didn't stop except to quickly say "Thank you" in between songs until 2 hours and countless songs later. Again he did plenty of hits, of course starting with "Whiskey River". Members of the opener were on stage with him, and it happens their singer & guitarist is Willie's son! They don't call the show Willie Nelson & Family for nothing. Amera and I went up closer for about the second half of the set. We could see Willie's janky acoustic guitar that has such a great sound. We could see his sneakers and his sister's high heels while she played the grand piano. We could see the lazy pot smoke filled eyes of his son. We heard a favorite of mine, "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore" as well as another about painkillers and pot. I love seeing Willie Nelson, I really hope all of you reading can too someday if you haven't. He's a real treat singing sentimental love songs, songs of bravado, and songs of others in a way that makes the songs totally his own.
I really enjoyed this set by Lambchop. I can't really determine what made it seem better than the others I've seen, but I sure enjoyed it. Towards the end of their set, they were playing an energetic song. I admit there are few of their songs I know. I started to notice that he was singing as if he were an evangelical minister. So thereafter I was surprised to realize it was a Talking Heads cover! Loved it.
I went with a few of friends from work to see this show. We got there just as the band started. The crowd was full of people who were practically kids. It was dancy music. Twice they had computer problems. Once a song took forever to start, and another time the song ended early. Often many people in this band were not playing anything while there was music going on. The highlight for me was the guitarist doing his best Sonic Youth Lee Ranaldo impression with a drumstick jammed in his guitar. However it was dance music, and no guitar was to be heard.
This was another great Will Oldham show. Compared to when I saw him play about six months before, this was a rock band. Jim White was on drums, for crying out loud! There were two electric guitars, and the fiddle player with the beatutiful voice was there as well. Will Oldham played guitar most of the time, so there was less odd dancing. He also had shaved his beard off. Compared to many times I've seen him, I recognized the songs no matter how much the arrangement had changed from the recording. They even went out to the oldies, and played "No More Workhorse Blues." All I can say is that he puts on one of the best shows you'll see. You really need to go.
Jeff's band played as a three-piece this time around. They sounded great in the small space. As I was reminded by a friend who had met Jeff before, but never had seen him play, Jeff becomes a different person on stage. He growls, screams, and generally becomes the characters in his songs. I really like the band, and how the drums and the keyboards fill out the songs. They did about 3 shows in 2 weeks in the area (which is a lot); hopefully they play more regularly in the meantime! My favorite song intro of the night was "This is a song about zombies."
The show was to start promptly at 8 PM, without any openers. So we gathered in a nearby park near Lake Merritt to have some Zachary's Pizza and wine beforehand. We got in, found our fine seats. Since there was no opener, and a prompt start time, they allowed drinks into the theatre. Leonard Cohen came out in his trademark black suit and hat. He sounded wonderful. He sang many of his older songs with his older self's lower voice. He would often drop to one knee while singing. After songs, he'd take off his hat to acknowledge the audience. His band was very good. He had backup singers who had wonderful voices. He only played a selection of his songs, and the set was nearly 3 hours long! He told fun self-deprecating jokes about his age. I really liked "Halleujah", "Everyone Knows", "First We Take Manhattan", and "I'm Your Man". He introduced the band twice, and after each set (and before the encores) he'd skip on and off stage.
We got there as Vetiver was already playing. Which was a shame, since I really liked the songs. I'll have to keep my eye out for them. I'm not sure, but I don't think that Fleet Foxes played any new songs. However it was a great set. It was good to see them now that I've heard their records (the first time I saw them is what introduced me to them). It's clearly the singer's band, since there were a few songs in the middle which the rest of the band left the stage while it was just him and his acoustic guitar. I don't remember that the last time I saw them. The thing is that this guy can carry a room as big as this by himself. Great songs and a great voice. He even did one at the front of the stage without a microphone. At times during the show I was really excited by how good they are at what they do. Since they are only about 24, I hope to hear stuff from them for a long time.
This tour was the first time Throbbing Gristle had played the U.S. since they had first broken up in 1981. When I first heard of it, I was excited and thinking of going because I had listened to them before, and they were influential, and I thought it would be a freak show. I can't remember who mentioned this first, but Aram basically agreed and I bought tickets. We got to the show and there was less of a freak show than I had expected. I thought I'd be seeing many people in costume, but very few were. The crowd definitely skewed older. Once the band started, they kept many of the white house lights up. They were in front a velvet red curtain. Cosey played guitar in a black dress. Genesis was in an orange house frock, and occasionally played violin. The other 2 guys were in back with their MacBooks on what appeared to be a folding table. There were very little theatrics, except for Genesis. He's made himself into a woman who I'd describe as looking like Carol Channing. He seemed quite into the show. It was loud. Towards the end we were standing in the back of the venue and they had one of those sounds that wash over the crowd and it echoed on the back wall against us. Everyone standing back there had a thrill and looked laughing to the others to see if they shared it. At one point Genesis invited his completely normal looking teenage daugther to the stage. That was quite a shock. They did the hits, such as "Hamburger Lady" and "What A Day". I have to say that overall, while a good show, today I feel a little let down by the show. It was much less of a spectacle or a statement than I expected. I think I was looking forward to being blown away, but in the end I only saw a great show.
We got to this show just about as they were starting. This is a recently renovated beautiful theatre in Oakland. Since it opened this Spring, there's been many shows announced there that I think would have been in San Francisco before. Animal Collective did a great show. It sounded great. They played songs I've heard before, but of course these songs were changed nearly beyond recognition. They had an interesting video setup as well. The video was projected onto a three-dimensional globe screen above the band.
What isn't to like about a Shellac show? They tour infrequently enough that it is always a pleasure to see them live. They may very well be the tightest band I have ever heard. They always sound great too. I think there were only two new songs, if I remember correctly. There were some jokes about the amount of hair gel being used by Todd Trainer, the drummer. That and they tour with some great bands. I had never seen Arcwelder before, and it was like a 1992 I'd never heard before in 45 minutes. What an awesome set. I only wish for 2 things: I had seen them before, and they toured west of the Mississippi. Apparently this was their first time here.
Since the last time I saw him was probably the best shown I may have seen, I had to go again. I was once again totally impressed. The songs, the band, the dancers were all so great. We had pretty good seats. The stage had a black floor, and everyone was wearing all white again. There were a few new songs from last time. When they played "Air", the dancers all had real guitars that they played air guitar style. They also played "Road To Nowhere" before "Burning Down the House" during the encore. And of course The Extra Action Marching Band was there for the encore. They couldn't all march down from the top at the Greek, but I'd guess about 2/3 of them did. It's such a great show. Again, I encourage all of you to see this tour if you can. Although it appears he's now only in Europe.
This was another show at the Greek (I was there just the night before) and it was sold out. Also, contrary to many of the recent shows I've been to at the Greek, it was completely general admission again. So we got there a little late, and wound up with a lousy seat for a good show. I was a little wiped out, but suffice to say, I enjoyed myself. I particularly liked Nels Cline on guitar. The crowd loved their songs. I had a good time. I bought the new record the next day.
His band had a fiddle player and a cellist this time. There were 2 guitarists and a drummer. They played lots of hits, and plenty of the new ones. As always, the songs were quite different arrangements than the recordings, which is always interesting. They did one cover, whose title I missed. They played "Bathysphere" again. Someone yelled out requesting "Dress Sexy at My Funeral", but he did not oblige. For one song off the new record, he played a large grand piano that is always at Bimbo's. When he got back to the front mic, he joked that he now felt like he was the teacher back after the substitute teacher had been there. It's always interesting to me that he always has a different band, but the sound they get is always so good.
Pit Er Pat are a guitar and drums / electric drums combo. They were having a lot of fun up there with their interesting songs, making the whole set interesting. Tortoise played lots of old songs. I suspect this was in preparation for Pitchfork this Friday in Chicago, when they will be playing all requests. The encore was about 8 songs or so, and had quite a few from the new album. As usual, the band and the visuals were great. It's still odd how John McEntire stares into the crowd while playing. It's still great to see two drummers or xylophonists go at it. It was fun to hear all the old songs. I think they even played "Cliff Dweller Society." Strangely, I actually heard them mess up! I don't think I've ever heard that before, and the band was laughing about it and apologized at the end of the show. With how tight of a band they are, it's actually nice to see they are humans.
This was day one of the Pitchfork Music Festival. It was a cool July for Chicago. I hadn't even brought a jacket with me on this trip, so I had to borrow one from my brother. We bicycled to the festival, but my brother Mike got a flat tire along the way. It was patched up just fine, thanks to Eric. But when when it came time to pump it up, we broke the Presta valve on it. So Mike pushed his bike the remaining 4 blocks. Afterwards, he caught a cab home with his bike in the trunk. So we got there a little bit into Tortoise's set. They had no visuals behind them (compared to when I saw them the previous Monday in San Francisco). This was a fan chosen set list night, so it was mostly old songs. At one point, Johnny mentioned that they had a new album, but no one had requested any songs off of it. It was as great a set as I had seen earlier that week. So Yo La Tengo was on an entirely different stage. I wanted to set up in a good spot for the third band of the evening, so I had to settle for watching them on the large monitors that were set up. Not an ideal way to see a band, especially when they played some great songs. I really wish festivals had one stage. Eleven years since I had last seen them, The Jesus Lizard were just as great as ever. About 2 bars into the first song Yow had jumped into the crowd. There were many photographers there in front to catch that very moment. It became like a wall between Yow and the crowd and the band on stage. Yow told tasteless jokes and spat and yelled. The band was tight as can be. The guitarist has grey hair now. They did an encore and many of the hits. I was up near the front in the pit for most if the show. I got hot and sweaty. It smelled of lawn cuttings and sweat. There were so many great old friends there that I only heard the headliner, Built To Spill, in the background.
This was day two of the Pitchfork Music Festival. All my mosh pit activity of the day before kept me resting for much of festival on Saturday. Mike didn't have the greatest impression of Beirut, and that affected my opinion as well. We stuck around for a little bit, but soon headed to a smaller stage to see Matt and Kim. They were a drums and guitar (?) duo who rocked with a lot of energy. The crowd got thicker for The Black Lips. One of their guitarists smashed his guitar after the very first song. This seemed a little contrived. They had a strong Clash vibe going on. We went over to Marc's house to hang out with friends afterwards.
This was day three of the Pitchfork Music Festival. I must admit that I don't recall much of any of the bands I saw this day except for The Flaming Lips. Lots of friends were showing up only for this show (and this set). The crowd was quite huge this day as well. We staked out a pretty good spot for the show. Darkness set in before the Lips started their set. They had lots of orange and yellow equipment on stage. Their stage hands were also decked out in orange and yellow, including construction helmets. There was a sense of Willie Wonka and Oompa Loompas to it all. Behind them all was a huge, stage-wide orange arc, with something suspended underneath it. Soon they turned it on, and it was many LEDs strung up that displayed a huge arc-shaped video. No more projectors in front necessary. The color was bright and vibrant. So there was a musical build up while the video played. It became a dancing naked high-contrast woman who eventually sat and spread her legs, the camera then zooming into her crotch. As this spectacle was going on, the Oompa Loopmas had rolled a ramp up to her crotch, and the band stepped through the screen and onto the ramp waving all the time. They pulled away the ramp, and Wayne got into his big bubble and into the crowd. Soon he was back on stage, and the set began. Their set was also supposed to be fan-picked (as with the bands on Friday). Wayne explained something to the effect that they always played what the crowd loved, so they were just going to do their thing. They pulled out some older ones, "Bad Days", "Mountain Side" (?) and an obscure one I'd never heard of. They played their regular set (which I'll grant, they probably have more fans after 1999 than before). They also played two songs off of their upcoming album, which were rocking. They had a second guitarist on stage for most of the set this time. It seemed to end so quickly! As always, The Flaming Lips delivered a fantastic over-the-top crowd-loving and memorable set. Sometimes I just want them to deliver a new memorable set.
This was day one of XX Merge. Once I got to North Carolina, I was really looking forward to the shows. The lineup had been kept mostly secret, so we didn't know who we'd see each day. I was also wary of how tired I was going to be, especially after arriving from Chicago and experiencing Pitchfork. The shows usually started at 7:30 PM and ended at 2:00 AM, so you didn't know who you'd see when. I say all this, but we knew from an extra drum kit on stage that Conor Oberst was going to play. The M.C. this evening was a woman from the band The Rosebuds. The first band up was Pure. They started saying they were just recently practiced, but the set was great. I knew it was good, because it was clear they were having fun. Lou Barlow came up next. It was just him and his acoustic guitar. I think it was all new songs except for two or so. He was his typical self deprecating self. He said the songs sounded weird because on the upcoming record, it was a big electric sound. Since few of us in the audience knew that, and enjoyed the songs, it was like, no that's pretty good, not a let down. It's a shame he's so self-deprecating, the songs were great. Next up was Oakley Hall. They had two women singers and a great band with great songs. They were so good Matt bought a CD. They were out of them by the last day when I went to buy one. They did a fun Nick Lowe cover of "I Love My Label". The Clientele were next and played their great lush guitar songs. In honor of "being in the South" they did a Big Star cover. Next up were the awesome The Magnetic Fields. Lots of great songs. Stephin Merritt apparently had some ear trouble, so he'd cover his ear and wince when the crowd cheered after songs. They announced that this was their one and only appearance for 2009. During one of the songs a cockroach flew onto the stage and onto the woman who sings with them! It was big enough to see from the back. They kind of freaked out about 2 or 3 times as the bug randomly figured out where it was going. One of the highlights of their set was the songs "Yeah, Oh Yeah!". It was so funny and so well done. I really enjoy listening to both of their voices. Next up was the local band The Rosebuds. The M.C. woman sang and played keyboards. It was fine, but not spectacular. Because of the drum set, we knew Conor Oberst was next. We weren't terribly interested in staying up late for him with 4 more nights to go, so Matt and I left early. They were also the only band for the festival to use their own sound man and sound board. They also were the only band with a big tour bus outside too.
This was day two of XX Merge. The Broken West were pretty good. They mentioned they were from L.A. and how interesting it was to be on Merge while in the midst of the music industry's downfall. Richard Buckner was up next. He sat down and never said a word but for his songs. He used a device that would loop his guitar over itself. It was a great set that was hard to enjoy. He gave off a very rough vibe, just like I'd expect. Next up was Guv'ner. I was a little disappointed, as it really came off that they hadn't practiced much. But they played their fun songs, and were having a good time. Versus were great; I loved the songs and the singers. How I missed them the first time around escapes me. 3Ds came all the way from New Zealand for the festival. They were a little rough around the edges, which frankly gave the set a more exciting feeling, like you didn't know what would happen. They'd pretty much all look to one guitarist for the cues. He faced backwards, and never towards the audience, even while singing. He'd often kneel down to do something crazy with his guitar. The highlight for me was when they played "Beautiful Things (Are Chasing Me)". Superchunk was next and we were all excited enough to leave our perch to get closer to the band. The crowd was really excited. They came out rocking. Here's the whole set list, I actually kept track. "Cool" "Detroit Has A Skyline" "Cast Iron" "Watery Hands" "Learned to Surf" "Like a Fool" "Low Branches" "Punch Me Harder" "Crossed Wires" "Her Royal Fisticuffs" "Driveway To Driveway" "The First Part". Then came the encore. The 3Ds came out and they all did an incredible cover of The Clean's "Point That Thing at Someonone Else". This was followed by, of course, "Slack Motherfucker" and "Precision Auto." It was an incredible set. I had so much fun. At some point, I dashed towards the front, so I was second row center for most of the show. The band was pogo-ing like crazy and simply rocking. The drummer was incredible. The fast rat-a-tat-tat of the fills was great to see hear and feel up close. Matt Daley was up there with me, and we were jumping around like it was 1991 at the Blind Pig! It winds up that Matt and his son Lucas have the same joyous smile! I wound up taking pictures and video (whose audio crapped out it was so loud up there). Afterwards we were standing around talking about how awesome the set was. I mentioned that I still had a crush on Laura after all those years, and in my alcohol fueled excitement, I decided I shoudl get a picture with Laura. I walked up to the stage, asked her if I could get a picture with her. She said, Yeah, after I pack up my shit. She came down, and we got our picture together. Ah, the 23 year old in me was so damn happy. It was a hell of a fun night, and this was exactly what I was looking for on this trip.
This was day three of XX Merge. Wow, looking at this line up now, it was huge. But since you don't know the line up beforehand, I had no idea. The Essex Green have great pop songs and a fun cute bassist. I bought a CD later in the week that I like quite a bit. I finally got to see Spent. This was one of the bands listed for the festival that I was really looking forward to. I only have two of the LPs (yes, LPs) and had never seen them. It was a great set, and I never realized how much they must have listened to Wedding Present until seeing them this night. All I can say about Lambchop is that this ranked in the top 3 sets I think I've ever seen. They had 11 people on stage (including horns), and the band was incredible. I know that I seriously felt ecstatic while they were playing. I really was close to tears it was so wonderful. I've seen them a few times before, but it was never ever like this. Afterwards I was happy to tell Kurt and Deanna how happy their set made me. I don't know if I was projecting on the crowd, but I swear they were ecstatic too. They closed with the "Once in a Lifetime" cover again. But it was 50 times (yes, 50) better than the other time I saw it. Since we didn't know the night's line up, we were wondering who would dare to play after one of the best sets of all time. It was a tall order, and I can't imagine being a band and agreeing to follow Lambchop like they were tonight. The perfect choice was Polvo. This is because they are an incredible band as well, and there is also no way in hell you can start to compare them to Lambchop. Besides both being on Merge (well, back on Merge in the case of Polvo) and having one-word names, there isn't much else to go on. Polvo played quite a few new songs, and when they played old ones, they were messing with them all math rock like. It was wonderful. Next up was Pipe. They were quite old-school punk rock. I can't recall if they played "You're Soaking In It" or "Bowling for Fuckers", but it was pretty fun. People, who I assume were locals, were throwing all sorts of beer onto the stage. Plus it isn't too often you can see the original drummer for Superchunk. Next up was Spoon. My friends left a little early. I stayed around since the last time I saw Spoon at The Fillmore I quite enjoyed their set. However this time they really didn't turn me on. I stayed for awhile, but decided to call it off and head to the Orange County Social Club to end the night.
This was day four of XX Merge. This was the last night where the show would be at Cat's Cradle. The seemingly short line up for Sunday's night show was already announced. There were rumors flying all week about Arcade Fire or Neutral Milk Hotel showing up to do an unannounced set. But tonight they were flying off the rails. Everyone was convinced, or was it hopeful? Anyways, Telekinesis is one guy, and had a band for this set. He played drums, and they had played the first time together only 3 hours before. Apparently the guitarist flew in that day from Japan too, but as I type that, it sounds absurd. The bass player was from The Rosebuds. It was a great set. Next up were Erectus Monotone. They hadn't played in awhile. One guitarist had duct tape over his mouth for most of the set; once he took it off he mentioned something about saying too many stupid things back in the day. I really had fun during their set. The drummer was also in Polvo. Next up was The Ladybug Transistor. It was the same fun & cute bassist from The Essex Green. It was a great set with a horn player and everything. Next up was strangely M. Ward. Since everyone could tell who was left to play that night by the process of elimination, the consensus was that he'd headline. And when he didn't, everyone was was again guessing at a big headliner. The strange thing about his set was that you could never see his face! It was lit such that he was always in the dark. This was odd because he was being a little theatrical up there with hand gestures near his face and all that you couldn't even see. So this was odd. The band was great and had a big huge sound. They did a few covers. The first was The Kinks' "Sitting by the Riverside." The also did "Roll Over Beethoven." During one of the encores, Zooey Deschanel from She & Him came out. They sang The Beatles "Birthday". It was a pretty good set really, thinking back on it. Destroyer was next, just him and an acoustic guitar. It was an odd set really, in that he seemed pretty scattered up there. Last up was Imperial Teen, and they brought it. I know amongst my friends there, we were confused by this headliner, but it wound up being a great set. They rocked.
This was the free outdoor show during XX Merge. Oh boy, this was a hot one. I actually checked Twitter! to learn that I missed Portastatic. The line up was announced for this day, but frankly I expected Portastatic to be last. I biked over in the crazy 100 degree heat to stand under a tent in the heat. But I had PBRs to tide me over for the great afternoon of music. Matt Suggs is from Butterglory. Mac from Superchunk played some drums. He played some older Butterglory and good new songs too. Next up was Tenement Halls, which is the guy from The Rock*A*Teens. Radar Bros. were a three piece this time around. They played many songs I love and a few songs which were "in progress." I'm glad I got to see them again. 3Ds played again, and the set was a little different, but it sure included "Beautiful Things." This was a nice hot change of pace from the rest of XX Merge.
This was day five of XX Merge. It had been a really hot day. Matt wasn't able to go to this show, as he left for vacation with his family. We found a friend of his who wanted to go. It was nice and cool inside. It's a hall that looks exactly like you'd expect a Memorial Hall to look like. It has a nice large stage with curtains, and a balcony above. I had pretty nice seats on the floor. We got there just as Wye Oak started. They are a two-piece. A woman with a great voice sings over a crunchy guitar. The drummer plays a keyboard with one hand and the drums with the other. We'd go outside in between sets. After this first set I caught up with new and old friends over beer. We got back in for American Music Club. It was just Mark Eitzel with someone on a huge black grand piano on stage. There was wonderful reverb in the room for this set. He tells funny stories in between his really sad songs. So he brings you on an emotional roller coaster ride that leaves you satisfied. One thing he said that struck me was "The theme song for all night clubs is 'No one here is going to save you.'" He also sang "Patriot's Heart," which I first heard on a Merge compilation. Again at the intermission we went for more beer, and I wound up joining another friend in a different section for She & Him. They were just OK. We were getting ansty (and I sure was after 5 days of music!) so we left early and met my other friends for more drinks who had also left early. XX Merge was a blast. I'd do it again.
The tickets for this show went on sale the day they were announced about a week before the show. Aram scored and got me a pair of tickets! I was on the plane back from North Carolina when he got them. Thankfully I could check email on my iPhone befor taking off, and was able to text him to give him the heads up. When we landed, I checked my email and learned the good news. This was going to be the smallest place I'd ever seen Sonic Youth over all these years, and I was quite excited. While we were watching the opening band some of Lee and Thurston were standing near us. It seemed pretty cool at the time, despite sounding pretty fan boy right now. They had brought some lights from their bigger stage show, that just made this place feel even bigger. I pushed myself towards the front during the set. They played old and new. Some of the old songs were: "Death Valley '69" "White Cross" "Expressway to Yr Skull" and "Silver Rocket". It was a blast to watch them from up close. What they do to their guitars is fairly simple, as they are specially tuned. The fingering isn't too complex nor the strumming. The back of the guitars have stickers on the head that indicate how they should be tuned. Lee's has what look like chord changes taped and written on his guitars. Thurston has blocks of tape markers on the top of the neck. There's a dude who walks out in between most songs and leaves large color coded lyric sheets on the stage. It was an awesome show! I loved every single minute of it. It was great to see such a great band in a small venue, who still know how to rock.
Another fine show. He played even fewer songs that I believe I've heard before. It was pretty much the same show where he's very endearing, almost to a fault. He apologized for having the fans turned off (again), but this time he didn't ask people not to speak with him during the break. Tommy was on a full kit this time instead of the upright kit.
It was early October again, so it was once again time for the wonderful Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, held in Golden Gate Park. It was yet another beautiful day. I met up with Jeff & Kate. In both of the Pine Valley Cosmonauts sets, it was a straight up rocking set with country licks, great singing, and plenty of Jon Langford jokes. The band was great and could do it all. Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women were fun. His joke took the day (and with Jon Langford around, that is saying something). Dave Alvin said that this was the best band he's been in in his 30 years in the business. And it was the first time he could say that he was the best looking guy in the bunch. I really enjoy Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and highly suggest you come out to San Francisco that weekend so we can hang out and have great fun.
A great first time show at this great bar! It's way out near the ocean. It's pretty small, and it was packed tonight. The Sadies got to play more of their own songs and a hell of a lot of great covers. They even had an intermission. Everyone was really into the band, and I just loved the vibe of this bar. I could do this night over again, with hesitation.
I had bought the tickets to this show after I already knew I was going to XX Merge. I think, I don't know, that I thought there weren't many shows coming up, so I ought to get tickets to shows I want to see. This was the first time I saw Polvo this time around when I had heard their new album. Frankly, I had a little trouble getting into this show, despite them rocking just as ever. It was quite a cold night out. I also went with a friend I had recently met, and was spending more time with her than the show. Oh well. Polvo rocks!
So this was a big festival out on the landfill in the middle of San Francisco Bay called Treasure Island. It's nominally attached to Yerba Buena Island, which serves as a tunnel smack in the middle of the Bay Bridge. I biked to the ball park, where a shuttle bus picked me up to take me to the show. I met my friend Faith there, and I got in for free in order to help Aram to tear down his film booth. It was pretty cold once the sun went down, so we spent quite a bit of time shivering. I yet again saw Yo La Tengo from the side, but I heard much more of their set than the last time I saw them. They are so damn good. The Flaming Lips put on their huge show with all the great visuals. They played more of the new album than they had at Pitchfork. Wayne seemed a little miffed that people weren't singing along with the new songs. I think maybe they need some time to settle in. Steven sang one of the songs, and I had no idea that it wasn't Wayne on record. There were still people in fuzzy costumes on the sides of the stage, a bunch of confetti, and balloons. It's a great joy, but sometimes I wonder if they should do something new. People expect this now, so I don't know if it would work out. Afterwards, after packing up Aram's Ford pickup truck full of audio & video equipment, we stalled in the middle of the Bay Bridge after running out of gas. Aram thankfully had an extra can of gas in back, but then the truck wouldn't start back up. Soon a patrol car came up behind us, and he pushed the Ford with that bumper that all patrol cars have over the rest of the way to San Francisco. It had been a little hairy until then, never knowing if the car or truck coming up behind you would notice you weren't moving. That bridge sure shakes a lot when the semi-trucks barrel by too!
Devo came for two nights. This night they played "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" in order in its entirety. The band and the songs, of course, rocked. It was incredible. The crowd was eating it up too. They following up with a few songs from the next night and other songs. They did not play "Whip It!". I figure that it must be an extremely rare occasion for Devo to not play that during their set since about 1981. They had a lot of energy and fed and fed off the crowd. Not to be missed!
This was a rocking show. I went with my neighbor David, who had never seen them. I hadn't seen Erase Errata in quite awhile. They line up has changed. The singer now plays guitar, but the vibe isn't nearly as frantic as that awesome first record of theirs.
Faith had tickets for this show. I was terribly tired after a long week. The band had a good mix of folksy and rocking numbers. Sometimes during the rocking numbers, some of the band would seem like they were rocking around like a muppet would. Not so cool, but the music was fine. There was a funny moment where J. Tillman explained that he was asked to be billed as "J. Tillman of Blah". He really said blah instead of Fleet Foxes. He agreed but insisted that they add "of Blah and Mr. Mind Eraser 3000". That's great because it sounds nice and ridiculous.
Califone were playing along with their new movie for this one. Aram had told me the show started at 8, but I figured there was an opener. There wasn't. So I arrived in the middle of the movie, I'd guess about the end of Act 2. I liked what I saw, and it was great how the band complemented the film. Afterwards they played a few more songs, and the crowd was really into it. Everyone was at tables for the movie, so that was a little unusual.
Trevor played guitar, sometimes with a tin can. Jeff had a Mac making sounds. Aram created sounds with various wired-up items and had a Mac displaying live processed video projected across them all. All this from a project I think I had only heard about ten days before.