Music from the Big Windy

The blog went on a fact finding mission this weekend to beautiful Chicago for Lollapalooza.  We felt it was important to do some primary research on who exactly rocks the most, though all of our careful records on the subject were destroyed and we are only left with hazy recollections of a great time.  However, we will do our best to put the pieces together.

Best Show of the Weekend

TV on the Radio.  Hyped as the best album last year, Dear Science just never really did it for me.  It’s a good album, but it never felt all that special.  But in concert, my god these guys absolutely make you forget about the crowded, sweltering misery as your face melted.  Tunde Adebimpe gets this great James Brown glide going, there is a wall of rock noise and then this honey sweet soul tying it all together.  I keep listening to the album trying to find that magic, but its just too clean, though I guess its hard to get on that magic on mp3.  Still, for an album that I rarely listen to, this is a concert I would go out of my way to see again.

Losing by a Nose:

Fleet Foxes, the other consensus best album last year.  This is an album I listen to quite a bit- but I worried that because their sound is so reliant on impossibly beautiful soaring harmonies that sound like they were mixed to perfection by Julia Childs up in heaven that they couldn’t do it live.  After all, Grizzly Bear does harmonies like this on maybe the best album this year and in concert they have to adapt all of the songs.  But even in the rain, with a fever, the Fleet Foxes kept the harmonies perfect and thousands of us wet and cold sojourners felt a little warmer as we sang along.

Other Good Stuff

Bat for Lashes.  Natasha Khan is a star.  She’s gorgeous, she’s got the voice and she knows how to keep your attention.  Considering that the music is about wizards and epic dream battles, it is kind of amazing how big the album is getting.  But it was about a million degrees outside (sorry to keep talking about the weather, but if you were there then that’s what we would have been talking about too) and we still danced along as she talked about drinking the blood of the sorcerer (we had just watched Highlander that morning so we did make some jokes, but we danced too).  In concert the album plays a little faster which helps and Daniel is still as beautiful as ever.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I really never listen to them, but I have heard that Karen O has charisma to spare (and I didn’t really care to see Tool) so I trudged over.  From when she came out as a neon Indian to somehow forgetting the words to their most famous song, you just can’t take your eyes off Karen O.  Between their indie-dance newer stuff and more punk-rock sound they used to have the music makes sure you have fun too.  I have tried to go back and listen to them, and I just don’t think its gonna happen, but it was a great concert.

Passion Pit.  I love this album and the EP.  The music is cavity sweet and eventually you even begin to love Michael Angelakos’s falsetto.  The crowd was going crazy for them at one of the smaller stages, and I just didn’t have scorching mid-day dancing in me.  It was enough to whet my appetite for more another time though.

A-Trak.  The DJ stage, which I was more excited for than most of the bands was mostly a bust.  A lot of dance music requires a vacuum, whether that is a party, a club or your headphones, it doesn’t really work when too much else is going on.  The actual space where you could dance was tiny so mostly we listened to dance music while sitting on the grass while people streamed by to the beer garden or the bathrooms.  It just felt like a soundtrack, not a show.  But A-Trak, on the first day, in the rain, brought some heat.  He played a great hip-hop snippet compilation that hit like a great Rick Ross verse, all kill moves and no fat.  Plus, he can really, really scratch (he did win the world DJ championships after all).  His combo of disco and hip-hop is deadly to someone with my predilections so its no surprise I had a lot of fun.


It was about a 20 or 30 minute walk across the park, so those carefully planned itineraries drafted from the comfort of my couch quickly fell by the wayside.  I saw just a little bit of Of Montreal, Deerhunter, Vampire Weekend and Santigold.  Of Montreal puts on a weird skit involving slaves and red priests during the concert, which is interesting but it kind of makes you feel that the music can’t hold your attention.  Deerhunter was I think trying to be difficult, but I got to hear some nice guitar scrawl before I moved on.  Vampire Weekend was uninteresting enough that I didn’t even bother to try and just drifted off.  Santigold sounded good but I was mostly concerned with survival during one of the most claustrophobic escapes of my life (there were so many people that you just couldn’t move, horrible).

Not Worth the Walk

Animal Collective.  I know all the OG Animal Collective fans like it when they get all abstract with it, but they have the album of the year and then they don’t play it in concert.  This was the second time I saw them and both times I thought: “man, I like the album more than this.”  They didn’t play “My Girls” at Lollapalooza. Which I get when you are playing for the true believers in Brooklyn, but Animal Collective wouldn’t be playing on a big stage at twilight at Lollapalooza without “My Girls” so it just felt spiteful.  Hey, make fun of me for being a neophyte but they kind of sucked.


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