A thrilling day for this fan…LOTS of great music and the widest range of sounds of the whole festival…read ’em and point your browser to iTunes.
Who is that new acoustic/folk/bluegrass/harmony singing band that sounds like they are out of Nashville? What’s the name of that new band that sounds like they are from Ireland that’s mixing Celtic and alt rock sounds? There’s a new alternative band with great songwriting and beautiful singing…what’s their name? What’s Clem’s favorite new band this year? All of these questions can be answered in 3 words MUMFORD AND SONS. Outdoing themselves from Bonnaroo, these guys, who are actually from London, sing great, play great, write lyrics that bring to mind Yates and can sound like 3 or 4 different bands in the span of 10 minutes. DIG ‘EM NOW!!!!
Color me a little bewildered at the hype, fervor and critical acclaim surrounding MGMT. I mean, I like these guys somewhat and the music is credible but I just know a lot of bands that are doing the same kind of thing… but better. Judging by what I saw, they drew one of the biggest crowds at the second stage. Obviously, people, are hearing something I am not. Seemingly trying to shake off the “electro-pop” moniker, the first few songs were acoustic driven and they tried to keep it “rocky”. I guess I just like to hear somebody really sing when there’s the rock music playing behind them and the vocals are really wimpy against a pretty driving sound. I hear you all saying “but what about Jonsi, Bon Iver and Passion Pit…they do the same thing” but they are not TRYING to bring the rock music as these guys are NOW claiming to. It’s also all just a little “too cool for school” for me as well…actually it’s just void of passion. When the lead singer did come off the stage at a feeble attempt at crowd interaction, he might as well have been goin’ for a beer. Yo…Dude… This is Lollapalooza man and you are trying to get the crowd going…sing out Louise into that microphone and stage dive off that bitch into the crowd! Don’t stand there and look like you could care less that 10,000 people have just shown up to see you. Be careful you 2 wanna be hipsters that are MGMT… it’s about the music not the posing and the clock may just be ticking on your 15 minutes.
New Orleans based MUTEMATH really caught my attention…maybe at it’s core it is electro-pop but wrapped around that, are crunchy and jangly guitars and funky real bass lines. They rock out at times and funk it up at times. I swear I heard a “Stevieesque” groove go by. This is the band I am most likely to add to my collection.
Brooklyn’s own sound collective, YEASAYER is just one of the coolest bands around. EVERYTHING they do is just so interesting. There’s more mixing of styles and sounds than there are spices in a dish of Indian Vindaloo and just as good as that dish tastes, YEASAYER’S music all sounds that good. They have their electronic, somewhat experimental side but then you get a straight up great alt rock song. This set was particularly laden with the sound of the islands…there was one song that I swear Bob Marley came back from the dead and helped them write the bass and guitar lines or maybe it was just 4.20 when they wrote it. In any case, YEASAYER is a challenging band to listen to but in a good way… like learning a new language or taking on yoga. In this day and time…with the popular music biz being what it is???…all of our musical ears could use a little challenge.
SOUNDGARDEN just ROCKED. I had been waiting for this the whole festival and my hard rock soul was rewarded. These guys, along with a few others like them, made music that was a flannelled backdrop of an American movement and to me it sounds just as relevant and fresh and in your face as it did 20 years ago. I believed it before but now, showing his staying power, I rank Chris Cornell as one of rock’s all-time great vocalists. Even after some obvious years on the horse, he wails comfortably on notes that other great singers could never hope of hitting. Even more impressive was that this clarity carried through the entire concert…his range just seemed to be limitless. I’ll admit I am a bit partial to this harder style of what was in the 90s called alternative rock. I am drawn to the raw power and sheer passion of this kind of music and Soundgarden is one of it’s best examples. One of the most thrilling moments ever in my concert going life was to watch all 4 members gather at the drum set in a sort of rock and roll huddle and seemingly say to each other…”O.K… let’s do this..” and the weirded out arpeggio that is the beginning of Black Hole Sun rang out…that moment alone was worth the price of admission.
I simply could not resist seeing at least a portion of the amazing THE ARCADE FIRE show and what I saw in the last ½ hour confirmed what I felt just 3 nights earlier when I caught them in New York…that this is the hottest band on the road right now and an awesome experience live. This 9 piece Montreal musical commune really defies description. It is certainly in the alt rock vein yet it is WAY more. Energy enough to run a city, great thought provoking lyrics, music with soul and depth and the great joy they all play with make this a “RUN DON’T WALK TO SEE THEM” experience. As on friend put it, it’s not just music…it’s a movement!
PICKS AND PANS (what you should be digging or dig it at your own risk)
BEST OVERALL SHOW- GREEN DAY in a landslide. I am sure anyone at the festival would have THE ARCADE FIRE up there as well but as I saw them somewhere else I didn’t think it fair.
BEST MUSICAL OFFERING- MUMFORD AND SONS– it’s really amazing what these guys can do and how many different sounds they have. I look for bigger things to come from these 4 lads from across the pond.
BAND YOU WOULD MOST WANT AT AN OUTDOOR PARTY- AGAINST ME!– They rock hard but in really fun way. You can’t help but get caught up in the movement of the crowd…you wanna pound your fist but not put in thru a glass window.
BAND TO DIG IF YOU NEED A 70s/80s FUNKY DANCE FIX- CHROMEO– there is nothing that is going to change the world here but the funky grooves and fun Vocorder vocals harken back to the time of The Gap Band, Midnite Star and Cameo.
BAND I AM MOST INTRIGUED BY- MUTEMATH– this New Orleans 4some was just so damn interesting. I an anxious to hear the new disc.
BEST WANNABE HIPSTERS POSING AS ROCK STARS (and not doing it well)- MGMT– also winner of the WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Award.
BEST RAPE OF AN AUDIENCE(the ones who stayed anyway)- She who shall not be named.
MOST UNIQUE ACT- THE F**K BUTTONS– Check ‘em out just to say you did.
ACT TO PLAY WHEN IT’S 4.20- THE XX– even if it’s never 4.20 for you, dig it on a chill nite with no distraction, when you just wanna veg out or get your yoga on. The more you listen the more you will dig it!
BANDS TO DIG TO UNDERSTAND A GENRE (alt rock)- SPOON– (grunge) SOUNDGARDEN.
BAND TO BUY THEIR LATEST DISC IF YOU CAN ONLY BUY ONE- THE ARCADE FIRE- Suburb…just unbelievably good…check out the love letter review in spin magazine (9 out of 10 stars)
And there you have it Lollapalooza 2010. Enjoy the music!