Lollapalooza Day 1 part 1

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In life we make choices…make them all the time. Some can change life’s course, some simply affect us for the time being. We stare the choices in the face take a breath…choose and hopefully never regret the choice or look back on it. Well, I made a choice yesterday that I DO regret and can only hope it does not affect me for the rest of my life, but more on that later.

“From the first family of Gospel and Soul…Miss Mavis Staples” was how she was announced. Mavis herself, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (with The Staple Singers) said…”I’ve been doin’ this for 60 years!” You wouldn’t know that to listen to her or look at her… looking great and wailing on Gospel and Souls numbers. One hopes that “Pops” Staples smiled as Mavis wailed thru I’ll Take You There.  A great way to start the day!

The Black Keys are on a roll and everywhere these days and they rocked the main stage with their bluesy, passionate, White Stripes like brand of gritty rock. They were just plain good!

The Flannery O’Conner of rock, Drive-By Truckers separate themselves from a lot of other rock and certainly southern rock bands in that musically and lyrically they bring more depth than one might imagine from a bunch of boys from their sweet home of Alabama. It’s not all about women and drinking…well…OK…some of it is about women and drinking but there is a lot more THERE there with these guys. Upbeat, southern gothic (not in the goth rock sense) well crafted music is what these guys are about and always bring a fun show. I did miss hearing one of the great rock songs of the last decade Carl Perkins’ Cadillac but it was all good. The musical legacy of Skynard and R.E.M.

The New Pornographers had an excellent set of listenable and enjoyable alt/post-pop. The AMAZING voice of Neko Case didn’t hurt anything at all.

I wish I had heard more of Dirty Projectors but what I did hear were some cool somewhat experimental tunes with way intricate harmony vocals that would make The Roaches drool.

So you can file under WILL FRY YOUR HEAD LIKE AN EGG or ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE THINGS YOU WILL EVER SEE AND HEAR or MUSIC TO EXPAND YOUR EARS BY… But for me??… I just love The F**k Buttons! I have been in bands, recording studios and generally around the music business for over 20 years and I still cannot figure out how they do what they do. Electronica would be the best heading to put them under but is much more and so much of the show is watching them make this wild, ear drum assaulting, bizarrely unique music. They are so archaic they are hi-tech. It looks like they hit up a Toys ‘R Us circa 1991 and bought them out of Casio keyboards and other electronic gadgets (including a VINTAGE Game Boy). One side of the duo continually reaches into an old velvet lined suitcase, pulls out his toys and manipulates his sounds while dude 2 uses ancient sequencers and old guitar effect foot pedals (which he operates by hand) for distortion and phasing. Winning countless “best new music awards” from many including SPIN and Pitchfork, this strangely brilliant Brit duo is like bungee jumping… worth doin’ and diggin’ just to say you did.

If you need a good dose of 70s/80s era funky electro dance music then check out Chromeo or maybe you already have. Their stage was packed tight and the fans were nuts for these guys. These days it might get mistaken as Lil Wayne’s Autotune computer but these guys use the real old school Vocorders… a similar sound but a VERY different thing. Autotune is applied while recording or mixing from a computer program while a Vocorder requires a coordination of singing and keyboard playing and these do it well. Go ahead white boys…play that funky music!

For reasons that I will explain later The Strokes could not have been more beautiful music to my ears. Since their explosion in 2001 they have continued to hit huge. “Everybody needs a little time away”…Peter Cetera once sang and Julian and the boys took theirs. But their sound has not suffered a bit. In fact they had a cool even harder and rougher edge that made for at least a 1/2 hour of respite from the horror that I had experienced just before.

I will detail in a separate note what I will now refer to as The Lady Gaga incident but I will not sully a lot of good stuff with something SO bad in the same note.

Off to Day 2- Green Day, Spoon, The xx, Against Me!, Deer Tick, Edward Shape, Metric and much much more.



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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.