Lolla Day 2

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What a great day of music! I was in a mental place after the aforementioned Day 1 incident, where I needed to hear and see the good things about the rock music…my wish was granted on Day 2.

Some of these acts, I have written about before so I will not belabor the point BUT I will mention them as I do think they are acts you should check out if my description appeals to you.

It’s official… AGAINST ME! is one of my favorite bands. I just cannot get enough of these post-punkers from Gainesville. They manage to get you moving, chanting along and fist pumping without inciting you to riot or overthrow the government. Fun with an edge and infectious passion for playing rock while remaining totally accessible is what Against Me! is all about.

Ahhhh the minimalistic bliss that is THE XX. I really think they must put some sort of “aural crack” in this music as there is very little going on…simple guitar and bass lines, basic drum machine beats and light, wispy vocals is all you get…so why do I LOVE it so much??? They are and have been a critics darling whose growing fan base is evidenced by the fact that wherever they play (I have now seen them 4 times…each time from further away), the crowds that show up to see them are exponentially increasing.

I really wanted to like GRIZZLY BEAR and I can’t say that I didn’t but they just kept losing me. Reminiscent of some 60s pop…say early Jefferson Airplane or Mamas and the Papas, these somewhat ethereal songs are interesting yet not in your face and the vocals are quite impressive. But I just can’t imagine scrambling to my iPod because I just gotta hear me some Grizzly Bear. All in all a good act that some out there might like… just not my bottle of vitamin water.

If you are a fan of Blondie, The Pretenders or any other good band fronted by a good, energetic, chic lead singer then the solid driving, danceable rock/pop of METRIC is for you. They are compared to the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs but I find them to have far more punch and edge and a much more energetic stage show mainly due to lead singer Emily Haines’ prowling of the stage and her passionate singing.

Many of my musically knowledgeable buddies are big DEER TICK fans so I wanted to see what had them so excited. As I came to the stage I did get it. Solid alt rock with about a fifth of alt country is their groove and it’s a good one. Songwriting with depth and good storytelling keep you compelled and while lead singer John J. McCauley would never be accused of having a great voice, his heartfelt renderings keep you listening. Despite a markedly southern feel these boys hail from Rhode Island???…go figure.

I truly feel that if you don’t find SOMETHING to like in the widely varied sounds and songs of Austin music gods SPOON then you probably don’t like alt or indie music. For me (along with Pavement) they typify the quintessential sounds of the alternative rock sound. After 17 years they seem to be going strong with albums garnering continuing critical success and opening on many stops for The Arcade Fire, this years hottest touring band.

For as bad as my decision was at the end of Lolla Day 1 was, the decision I made at the end of this great musical day was equally as good. This decision was to stay for the full 2 hour GREEN DAY show. It was the most fun I have had at a rock show in a long time.

OK…let’s just get this out of the way…I am not going to debate whether GREEN DAY ever was or is a true punk band. I do know they made us think about… certainly helped to revitalize a musical style that had fallen by the wayside. I am also not going to talk about whether they are a corporate sell-out or not. I have said it before… just because a band becomes massively popular does not necessarily render them musically irrelevant. What I will talk about is how GREAT the GREEN DAY show was. Billie Joe Armstrong and company have remembered something about music that many of us and many bands and artists have forgotten…us in our discussions of good and bad…art or not…good musician/singer/songwriter or bad. I sometimes even lose sight of this basic premise in my love and excitement for great musicians and some of my “proggy” style likings. This is the premise that the rock music, in and of itself, SHOULD BE FUN!!!!! Not that I am letting the musical greatness slide…these guys really can play and they are truly gifted songwriters but they manage to not take themselves too seriously while giving it all to you. They stay aware that THEY are there to give YOU a good time. The stage show was amazing and somewhat simplistic by today’s technical standards. Solid well-timed pyro, basic projection screens and good lighting produced a FAR superior entertainment experience than did the show of “she who shall not be named”. With quite possibly the largest crowd I have EVER seen anywhere (that ALL stayed til the end) it seems that all of Lolla finally got what they came for…a GREAT rock and roll show from a great band.

Day 3 will bring Yeasayer, Soundgarden, The Arcade Fire, The National and Mumford and Sons…in other words the line-up that tipped the scale and got me Chi-town bound.



Dave Clemmons

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Clem emerged from the underbelly of NashVegas where he began his love of ALL things musical. College found him in the commercial music program at the University of Miami where he actually learned what the hell he was doing. New York was next and whether he “made it there” is still up for debate. From playing in the honky-tonks of Nashville and the dance clubs of Miami to Broadway and theatrical stages around the country, to Carnegie Hall (while practicing one day somebody told him how to get there) and the recording studios of New York and L.A., Clem’s variety of musical experience has transcended the boundaries of genre. He owns a production company, lectures on music in colleges across the country and is on the visiting faculty of Elon Univ. He has a port-o-johns named after him at Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza.

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