Sometimes seeing a classic performer like Bruce Springsteen can seem like nothing more than getting to check a musician off your “to see” list before they die. For instance, there’s really no other reason to see Bob Dylan now unless it’s so you can say “oh yeah, I saw Bob Dylan” twenty years from now. Bob’s unfortunately progressed past being an interesting live act.
Thankfully Bruce Springsteen has not.
As we all saw during the Superbowl halftime show, Bruce still plays ever show like it’s both an audition and a curtain bow. Bruce turns 60 this year and is the only sexagenarian I can think of who seems to have spent all of that time learning how to put on a great show and none of it actually … you know, aging.
Bruce and his well-assembled team the E Street Band tore through the classics all night. While I only got to experience three up-close, I did go grab a coffee from a nearby tent to hear in order to sit and listen to his encore. Everything sounded great, but I really wished I could have been front and center for “10th Avenue Freeze Out” and the set-closing double-punch of “Glory Days” into “Dancing in the Dark.”
What a treat we have in store for you, Lexington. CD Central assembled a great lineup for this year’s 4th of July concert downtown.
Starting things off, we’ve got Casino vs Japan playing his first show in eight years. If that’s not an exclusive treat, I don’t know what is. Plus Erik’s an employee of the store, so we’re extra proud to have him making his live re-debut. Next up is Matt Duncan, who I’ve raved about before. Then YANP-favChico Fellini will lead up to the big 4th of July parade. Moon Taxi follow shortly after with my new favorites, Tiny Fights, closing things up.
All this madness is going down July 4th at Phoenix Park in downtown Lexington. Here’s the times, but I’ll save you the trouble — show up at 10 and stay until everyone leaves.
10:30 – 11:30 am: Casino Versus Japan
12:00 – 12:45 pm: Matt Duncan
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Chico Fellini
2:00 – 3:15 pm: 4th of July Parade!
3:15 – 4:15 pm: Moon Taxi
4:30 – 5:30 pm: Tiny Fights
What strange, horrible news to wake up to… Jens Lekman revealed in his blog that he contracted the H1N1 virus while in South America. He hallucinated and then fainted on the trans-Atlantic flight home and is now under quarantine for 10 days. Seems like he’s going to be OK, but send good thoughts his way regardless!
I picked home one last souvenir from South America, it’s called the H1N1 virus. Wrongfully known as the Swineflue.
I was crossing the Atlantic when things started getting really bad, the fever was hallucinogenic and shaking me like a leaf and I grabbed the sleeve of the Air France steward. “I’m not feeling well, I should see a doctor” I said and the reply came as a brilliant mix of death anxiety and french rudeness: “Uh, yes… Terminal D… go there maybe… when we land”. After that the stewards and stewardesses took long detours. A ring of empty seats formed around me. Peoples eyes were kind but determined, they read “Poor you, I really wish you all the best but if you come near me or my kid I will have to stab you with this plastic fork”. I got up and went to the bathroom where I fainted.
Now I’m in quarantine for ten days. I can see the summer through my window and it’s just perfect. Summer is always best through a window.
The Morning Benders are a rad, rad pop band that have a lot of good albums under their belt. Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear/general awesomeness fame has been working with them on their new album Big Echo. I’ve talked briefly with Chris Chu of the Morning Benders and Chris Taylor of GB and they’re both really excited for this new record. And now that the Morning Benders put up an acoustic demo of one of their new songs on Myspace, I can see why.
“Hand Me Downs” starts with a haunting vocal performance that sounds like a choir of ghosts are trying to cheer you up, but still wind up scaring you half to death. Then the vocals lose the scary and jump into the Morning Bender’s usual pop style, but the guitar manages to sneak a little bit of the spooky through the entire song. And I know it’s just a demo, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how they could drop the ball on this one. (Note to Chris Taylor/Chris Chu: DO NOT TAKE THAT AS A CHALLENGE.)
My mental jury is still out on what’s the best song of the year, but I’ve got to admit that the Dirty Projectors have a great shot with “Stillness is the Move.” It’s got all the fixtures of a song that will stay with you for a long time — namely, it’s catchy but still pretty weird.
And now this SOTY*-contender has a fitting video to go with it. In fact, I’m kind of taken aback at the quality of this video. Stereogum says Matthew Lessner directed it, so I say hats off to Matthew Lessner. The video looks great, showcases the beautiful girls of the Dirty Projectors almost as much as it does the quality of the song… and makes Dave look strange and mysterious as a rotating llama herder.
I haven’t seen the Decemberists… oh, I guess since the last time they played Bonnaroo two years ago. It’s been a while. And while I used to be a Decemberists mega-fan (seeing them twice in two days, both cities over an hour from my house), these days I’ve lapsed in my love. I found The Hazards of Love mostly uninteresting and The Crane Wife took me too long to unlock the great parts of it. But just when I was ready to give up, Colin & Co. came out and reminded me of why I fell in love in the first place.
It’s kind of hard not to enjoy the Decemberists’ live show if you’re even remotely interested in their music. Their set at Bonnaroo was just great. Not only did they do a great job performing some good songs, but they moved away from their previous mid-day big stage show to headline in the tents. Now, that might seem like a move down, but it’s a welcome one when it comes with a great light show and even more theatrics. It felt like watching a play — not in the same way that Of Montreal’s antics are like a play, but just that it was dramatic.
Paul McCartney made a surprise performance at Neil Young’s Hyde Park performance this past Saturday to sing his section of “A Day in the Life.” I’ve always thought of Neil Young as a tough, unapproachable guy, but to watch him smile as Paul keeps hugging him during the song. This is a great and heartwarming performance. Here’s hoping I get to see McCartney in DC!
Of Montreal, the other band I always thought would do well at Bonnaroo, had one of the youngest and most energetic crowds I saw at Bonnaroo. When it comes to waiting hours upon hours to see your favorite band, no one is willing to put in the effort quite like young fans — and Of Montreal’s got plenty of those. So as I waited for the band to get all their ducks in a row and start the show, I got to chat with a few of the 16-20 year-olds waiting for the band. And I’m glad to say that when I came back to watch the Decemberists, every one of them raved on and on about how great the show was. And what’s more, the vast majority of them had a souvenir from the stage. There were broken guitars throw into the crowd, some flowers and other accessories that made their way to a couple dozen grateful fans. But I know that the ones who didn’t catch anything from the stage still caught one of the best shows I saw at Bonnaroo.
Even though they were crunched for time from the get-go, Of Montreal didn’t skimp on any of their stage theatrics. I was there for about 20 minutes and saw them bring out the pig mask dancers and do the gas-mask Christmas. And like I said about their NYC show, the best part is that the band don’t stop playing for a minute while all this is going on. If I had to wait through the weird stage performances to hear the next song, I’d probably put a bullet in my brain by the time they got to “Disconnect the Dots.” But no, if you want to watch the weirdness, it’s all there; otherwise just watch Kevin’s dance moves or Bryan’s guitar playing.
But to keep it brief, it was an Of Montreal show. If you’ve seen them in the past year, you’ve seen what they’ve got to offer. It was definitely an “on” night (unlike their last KY show where Kevin was sick) and the band seemed to really be enjoying the opportunity to play for such a big crowd. I remember after they played the free show at my college a couple years back, the band members were impressed that we got over a thousand people to attend (during a tornado warning!). Now they’re playing to crowds three or four times that big and not even batting an eye. But really, you’ve got to give them credit for stepping their game up accordingly. Every year they come up with a new way to make me say “now that’s something I’ve never seen at a concert before…”
A few weeks ago Jimmy Fallon asked viewers to tweet him with bands we’d like to see on his show. Naturally I sent him a message saying to grab Grizzly Bear. Then on Friday, my birthday, Grizzly Bear showed up and did this beautiful version of “Cheerleader.” Now… I’m not saying Jimmy took my advice and turned it into a birthday present, but I am saying that it was a fantastic, accidental birthday present.
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