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Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page

You Can See Arcade Fire Live, Too (Kind Of)

In News, Stuff You Should Know on 08/05/2010 at 1:29 am

…even if you didn’t score tickets to Lollapalooza, where I’ll be seeing them on Sunday (I’ll do my best not to rub it in).

But the good news here is that Arcade Fire is participating in a live-streaming concert series set up by YouTube and Vevo. So when they tear off the roof of the Madison Square Garden Thursday night (that is, tonight), you can be part of the magic. So cancel those hot dates, or better yet, cuddle in front of the laptop. Awww.

I believe the concert streams at 10 PM Eastern/7 PM Pacific at www.youtube.com/arcadefirevevo. Awesome promo video embedded below.

Hoping to catch a glimpse of you in the crowd,

Lincoln

It’s Time to Move to the Suburbs!

In Album Reviews, Songs I Think Are Pretty Great on 08/05/2010 at 1:07 am

or at least snatch it up at the no-excuses price of $3.99 from Amazon right now.

Oh, and that’s The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, in case you missed the allusion.

I have no way of providing ample background for an album greeted with so much anticipation. There are thousands of opinions about this band and this new album all over the internet which could provide it more context than I am able to give.

This I will say: you owe it to yourself and to everyone you love and to the messed-up world we live in to give this album a listen. Find it somewhere and listen to it. This is one of the few albums I’ve listened to this year that truly forms a whole, start to finish. Even more so than the two (life-changing) albums that came before, The Suburbs relies upon continuity to tell a complete story.

I first heard the singles released a month or two ago and was nonplussed at hearing mood and restraint at a band I had most associated with over-the-top enthusiasm and orchestral indie bombast (re: “Rebellion (Lies),” “Wake Up,” “Keep the Car Running” – listen to those if you get the chance). Indeed, of all AF’s discography, this new album most discourages the junkie fix of immediate catharsis. Not to say that such a fix is bad; its potency first thrust the band into the spotlight. This band carries a heavy mantle, whether it chooses to or not. It sort of asked to, I suppose, by dwelling on Important Themes and using Big Moments to Challenge the Religio-Political Status Quo of Modern America and Unite its hearers in a Community of … well, you get the point.

Anyway, it seems that all this pressure is beginning to show. Stretched to the limit with the dark heartbreak of  the last album, Neon Bible, and the relentless touring that followed, the band took a break and the album that has followed the hiatus seems to reflect the band’s newfound grasp on the world they actually live in. Where the band previously raged and thundered with all the adrenaline of a revolutionary hurling a Molotov cocktail, they no longer seem quite as interested in holding a light for the masses to follow. In The Suburbs, they accomplish the much more difficult task of recognizing that the darkness and greed they once spurned have surreptitiously grabbed tiny footholds all over their souls. It’s the difference between a naive, confident country in 2003 (when their first album was released) and a humbled country in 2010 that has realized that one man’s justice is often another man’s injustice, that even the feel-good vibes of electing a charismatic, banner-waving president can’t coalesce a deeply fractured nation of citizens crouching in ideological foxholes. It’s the difference between a youthful, idealistic 20-year-old and someone ten years older, still looking for a sense of home – and it makes no difference if that someone has achieved the American Dream or not; the longing still hides around corners or behind closed doors.

Once, it was “us” against “them,” the new kids against the materialistic and soulless, but Arcade Fire aren’t kids anymore and have begun to suspect that they are closer to resembling “them” than “us” anymore. “Sometimes I can’t believe it – I’m moving past the feeling again,” sings Win Butler on the haunting title track that bookends the album in two very different forms: its first incarnation is almost jaunty, but by the time the band gets to the last note of the 16-track, no-filler journey, the tone is mournful. Rekindling the passion that once moved us is getting harder and harder. In one of my favorite lyrics, we sadly and wisely are advised not to throw stones at easy targets like wealthy televangelists: “You never trust a millionaire / Quoting the Sermon on the Mount / I used to think I was not like them / But I’m beginning to have my doubts” (“City with No Children”).

In this spirit of self-reflection and dealing with loss, Butler and crew begin to retrace their steps and reflect on their pasts with honesty. “I would rather be alone,” Win admits,”than pretend I feel alright” (“Ready to Start”). The shallow, impermanent suburbs where we grew up, the “towns they built to change” (“The Sprawl I”), are cold reminders of the solidity that still eludes us. It’s easy to reminisce about the beautiful “wasted hours” of aimless childhood without recognizing that even now “we’re still kids in buses longing to be free” (“Wasted Hours”).

Darkness – from the dim early evening to rich midnight – becomes a repeated theme, a symbol of escape and nostalgia. This is never so clear than in the album’s crux, a story told two very different ways (“The Sprawl I (Flatland)” and “The Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”). The unnamed protagonists of the songs escape into the suburbs as the light fails, attempting to make out the numbers of the house where they once lived in the darkness. They run from the cops, trying to get away from the omnipresent bland illumination of miles and miles of the suburban sprawl, as in the song Regine Chassagne defiantly repeats, “I need the darkness. Someone, please, cut the lights!”

The ideas are deeply rooted and profoundly, if somewhat repetitively, expressed. The repetition, however, is what lends the album so much strength as a unit. Please, don’t try to listen to this album piecemeal. It’s not perfect by any means; some songs are lyrically and musically inferior to others. And although there are certainly some tremendous songs on the record, only in context does each one finds its voice. The first time you listen to this album, listen to it in full. You might even go somewhere like this website and follow the lyrics. This isn’t music that will grab you by the ear and drag you around for a few days before disappearing; it depends as much on the ideas “within” as the music “without” and once the two join forces in your psyche, all else will give way.

Impressively, Arcade Fire continue to expand territory with this newest addition. As their debut, Funeral‘s sheer spirit and charisma won the day; Neon Bible darkened the sonic palette and preached against the hollow commercialism that can pervade even what we count as holy; and The Suburbs find the band off of the soapbox, a bit wistful, humbled, but just as intensely ready to escape into the freedom of the night. That may not make for an album with the world-conquering, assured moments of the previous two, but perhaps it is able to connect at a different level, to each listener’s own regrets and unfulfilled wishes of adulthood, and to urge each to heed the call:

“Hey. Put the cell phone down for a while / In the night there is something wild / Can you hear it breathing?” (“Deep Blue”)

Lincoln

(PS: I meant to write a short informational post which I’ll jot off after I post this. You don’t just say no when the muse comes a-callin’! In reward for making you endure this crushingly long post, I will relent on my demand to make you listen to the album only as a whole, in hopes it will inspire you to do just that. Here’s just one of my favorites –

“We Used to Wait”

We Used to Wait

Lyrics:

I used to write
I used to write letters
I used to sign my name
I used to sleep at night
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain
But by the time we met
The times had already changed

So I never wrote a letter
I never took my true heart
I never wrote it down
So when the lights cut out
I was lost standing in the wilderness downtown

Now our lives are changing fast
Hope that something pure can last
Hope that something pure can last

It may seem strange
How we used to wait for letters to arrive
But what’s stranger still
Is how something so small can keep you alive

We used to wait
We used to waste hours just walking around
We used to wait
All those wasted lives in the wilderness downtown

Ooooo we used to wait
Sometimes it never came
Ooooo we used to wait
Sometimes it never came
Ooooo we used to wait
Still moving through the pain

I’m gonna write a letter to my true love
I’m gonna sign my name
Like a patient on a table
I wanna walk again
Gonna move through the pain

Now our lives are changing fast
Hope that something pure can last
Hope that something pure can last

Ooooo we used to wait
Sometimes it never came
Ooooo we used to wait
Sometimes it never came
Ooooo we used to wait
Still moving through the pain

We used to wait for it
We used to wait for it
And now they’re screaming
“Sing the chorus again!”

I used to wait for it
I used to wait for it
Hear my voice screaming
“Sing the chorus again!”

Wait for it!
Wait for it!
Wait for it!

Robyn Can Dance All by Herself, Thank You Very Much

In Misadventures of TMC, Songs I Think Are Pretty Great on 07/31/2010 at 12:33 am

Here is the first of the promised Pitchfork reports! Aren’t we excited!

Photo by Sanchez and Kitihara

Robyn (that’s her toughened mug above) played to a good-sized crowd on Friday afternoon, and it was a highlight of the festival for me for two good reasons. First, she has slogged through many years of not being able to do what she wanted as an artist, and now that she can, the results are fantastic. Second, her music allows the taste-conscious to give in and enjoy some straight-up pop music, no apologies. It has more than enough sonic edge, deft emotional lyricism, and genuine personality  to keep it from landing in the laugh-off bin with, say, Ke$ha. Not to mention the fact that as a singer and songwriter, Robyn far outclasses the majority of pop songstresses gracing the radio waves. Her sense of melody and style is informed by her Swedish sensibilities and is uniquely her own. So there I found myself, in a crowd of “hipsters” and the like (who goes to Pitchfork anyway?) who seemed to be actually enjoying the show.

Thanks, Leigh Ann Hines

Robyn played the hour-long set like she meant it, bringing intensity to every song with nearly pitch-perfect performances, backed by a high-energy band including two drummers.

But there’s a reason that your little sister doesn’t know who Robyn is, or that karaoke machines wouldn’t be able to pull up any of her tunes. And the reason is that Robyn, hemmed in and shaped by big-studio interference for the early part of her career, is now doing exactly what she wants, how she wants to do it. If her performance at Pitchfork is any indication, she absolutely loves where she is and is content to let the career play out as it may, even if she never becomes the next Gaga. Actually, never mind; she’s too tasteful for that anyway.

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool pop lover, and I understand if not everyone can get past some of the more overt nods to dance-pop music. But at least try to understand how a song like “Dancing On My Own” could become a personal anthem of mine for a few days. The tune is practically a personal mission statement for Robyn, telling a story of being overlooked but soldiering through to be content as she is. And it’s a jam.

“Dancing On My Own” from this year’s (highly recommended) Body Talk, Pt. 1:

Dancing On My Own

And for those who wish to delve a little further, the recently released video for her new single “Hang With Me”:

Cheers,

Lincoln


In Which I Saw Delta Spirit Throw Down at the Metro on June 19th

In Misadventures of TMC, Songs I Think Are Pretty Great on 07/26/2010 at 1:22 pm

When I first heard songs from Delta Spirit’s first album Ode to Sunshine, I was pretty darn impressed. Combining energetic arrangements, plenty of gritty Americana soul, and lead singer Matt Vasquez’s scrappy vocals, the band fills a unique place in the modern music scene, especially considering that the songs often touch upon spiritual themes. The cornerstone of Ode is not an upbeat song but the slow-burning “People Turn Around,” which grows in intensity until Matt and the whole band are wailing with the fire of possessed prophets, urging the world to consider its ways. I think we all could use a little repentance from time to time.

For a primer on the band, check out these incredible videos, made by the insanely talented crew over at La Blogotheque. The killer jam “Trashcan” was recorded on a freaking cable car, with electric results:

Delta Spirit – Trashcan from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

And the aforementioned “People Turn Around”:

Delta Spirit – People Turn Around from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

But we’re here to talk about the show and the new album History from Below. I have mixed feelings about the new album, which finds the band sporting a cleaned-up sound and songs that demand patience instead of providing instantly gratifying riffs. I think the album will grow on me. Seeing the new songs live didn’t hurt, with the band amplifying the emotional scope and intensity in the setting of a relatively intimate venue. By the end of the encore, the band had put any accusations of tameness to rest in a squalling, crashing fury of sound that was awesome to behold, especially as close as I was (do you see me? I think that’s me facing toward the keyboard at the very front).

J. Longstreet captures the action from above.

All in all, a terrific show. I leave you with a memento, one of the standouts from History that also translated well to the show via a thunderous cascade of drums at the end. Have a listen –

“White Table”


White Table

I love the way it explodes into life and keeps adding layers, the way the lyrics balance hope and cynicism.

Enjoy!

Lincoln

Pitchfork was a lot of fun.

In Misadventures of TMC on 07/19/2010 at 11:46 pm

This past weekend, I returned to the site of my inauguration into the world of music-festival-going at Pitchfork Festival. Held in Union Park in Chicago, this smallish fest is masterminded by the folks behind the Pitchfork music news/criticism website, which I may or may not draw upon as a fairly reliable springboard into the Music Jungle. My first festival ever was there last year, and it was an eye-opening experience (and not because of the fashion statements!). Several bands that I heard live for the first time there, such as The Antlers and The National, can now count me as an almost embarrassingly devoted fan.

Anyway, three pretty hot summer days were spent sweating, drinking copious amounts of water to make up for it, making new friends, and checking out plenty of good music new and old. Which, all things considered, isn’t such a bad way to spend three pretty hot summer days.

Either I’m lazy or I went a bit overboard last year (probably the latter), but I’m not going to give the play-by-play “reporting” that I attempted to do and failed to complete last year. What I will do is share, in an altogether haphazard fashion, some of the highlights and discoveries that accompanied this year’s fest. It’ll be just like you were there! (’cause if you’re reading this, I probably wish you were. Awww.)

On that unexpectedly saccharine note,

Lincoln

Jonsi Finds a Like-Minded Cause in Let’s Colour

In Random, Songs I Think Are Pretty Great on 07/09/2010 at 4:49 pm

Photo by Lilja and Inga Birgisdottir

Jonsi being, of course, the lead singer from the revered Sigur Ros, they of the Iceland and grandeur and Jonsi’s falsetto. He has departed from the band’s vision this year to indulge his own: one that is decidedly more of everything. More ecstatic, more indulgent, more busy. From the above photo, it’s evident that the visual aesthetic is important to Jonsi’s art. So it’s only natural that he has decided to license his music to a movement called Let’s Colour. Let’s Colour is dedicated to adding color to drab outdoor spaces around the world with a host of volunteers. Their promo video is fantastic: it’s ecstatic, indulgent, busy, and thus a perfect fit for “Go Do” from Jonsi’s album Go.

You see? I dare you not to go pick up a paintbrush.

Oh, and to give an mp3 just because I’m that nice, here’s the terrific “Animal Arithmetic” to provide a burst of, um, colour to your Friday afternoon.

Animal Arithmetic

Cheers,

Lincoln

Hey, a post actually featuring music! Specifically, by The Morning Benders

In Uncategorized on 06/29/2010 at 1:55 am

This NEW group which I think has recently moved to Brooklyn released their debut album a few months ago, and it’s pretty darn great. My greatest weakness is a catchy melody, and that’s what these guys do, accompanied by a sometimes-hazy classic-feeling rock sound. I’m looking forward to hearing these tunes sweep across an open field at Lollapalooza this year.

The one-two punch of the first two tracks on the album (titled, by the way, Big Echo) blew me away.

Representing the first track, “Excuses”: a video of the band and about 30 other friends, singing and playing and having a swell time.

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders “Excuses” from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Okay, now the second track “Promises” (my personal favorite):

“I know, I know this won’t last a second longer than it has to”

Promises

A groovy evening to you all.

– Lincoln

An Expression Encouraging Empathy in Assessing Other Music Fans, which is not mine but which I think you should read anyway.

In Uncategorized on 06/29/2010 at 1:31 am

Mr. Tom Ewing, a columnist for Pitchfork, has written a striking piece about the way we music fans tend to aggregate our fellow listeners into highly stereotyped-but-convenient groups. It can be all too easy [for me] to associate the fans of a certain group with a certain personality, culture, education, and especially quality of taste in music/seriousness of music fandom.

Tom prods this tendency, encouraging us to replace these phantom figures with real interactions with actual people whom we thought fit into one of our tidy categories. And he’s probably right in predicting that our assumptions will be challenged. Dangit, those assumptions are helpful in feeling superior – and keeping the Others we don’t understand at arm’s length.

Here are a few choice quotes from the article. Read the rest here.

“Fandoms seem to require an Other, something to differentiate themselves against. So we’re rhetorically hostile to fellow music listeners. We bundle up fans of particular acts, of course. But we also create stereotypes of people who listen too intensely (audiophiles, obsessive fans) and too casually (people for whom music is “just background noise”). We construct listeners who are too into music– hoarders and novelty-seekers– and the 10-albums-a-year buyer who’s not into music enough. We project ideas of not listening the right way or for the right reasons– calling into being the “hipster,” the “rockist,” the “fangirl.” The implied contrast is to our own, naturally superior, modes of consumption. After all it’s easier to suggest people fit into some kind of straw man category– posers, ideologues, undiscerning bobbleheads– than to risk ourselves by empathizing with what they hear or don’t hear in the music.”

“By projecting imaginary properties onto real people in a real situation, in other words, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of having your assumptions confounded, no matter how much you’ve rigged the game in your favor. If you simply project onto a rhetorical figure, that won’t happen. So say you’re annoyed about hipsters: what you should probably do is talk to people you think might be them, rather than build a special music treehouse and write ‘NO HIPSTERS’ on the sign.”

Enjoy. Empathize.

– Lincoln

Summer is here! Also, 2000 words about Bonnaroo (WITH PICTURES)

In Uncategorized on 06/28/2010 at 4:23 am

Hello to everybody from Chicago, aka where I’ll be bumming around for the next year or so. Tell your friends, you heard it here first!

I haven’t been wasting any time this summer now that I’m back in a music-friendly town. I’ve seen a couple of shows that you just may hear about eventually, and I even traveled to the far lands of Tennessee in search of heatstroke, unwashed people, and a decent joint. Um, scratch that last one.

Miraculously, I did find what I went looking for.

I found Conan O’Brien. Some people waited in line from the crack of dawn to see this guy in the [air-conditioned!] Comedy Tent. I didn’t.

Some people STOOD UP in the middle of a field in the heat of the afternoon to watch this guy ON A SCREEN for an hour and a half. I didn’t.

I heard a bit of the show, saw a little bit (from the aforementioned screen). My conclusion: nobody is funny enough when it’s 95 degrees and humid and the sun is doing its thing. Comedy and air conditioning (and SITTING) are a match made in nirvana.

I found Norah Jones. She was playing outside in the afternoon. You know, I never would have thought Norah and Conan could have much in common, but they do. Oh, they do.

After being drenched in our own sweat sans a hint of wind, even sitting out to watch her became too much and we only lasted about 30 minutes (her whole show was an hour and a half! Holy crap Bonnaroo! Why the grotesquely inflated set durations?!). Sorry, Norah. You sounded sweet.

I found The xx. Yes, that’s their name and they’re from England and therefore too cool to argue with. Their set was the “headliner” of an early Thursday night – you DO have to pace yourselves, people! – and I’m glad I stayed. The calm, dispassionate group may not have distracted me from my tired feet, but mind prevailed over matter! The xx coolly moved through their terse but solid catalog as highly inebriated/influenced people wandered in and out of the packed tent and the trademark smells and sights of Bonnaroo began to emerge – weed smoke wafting through the sweaty, closely packed crowd; scantily clothed and dirty people staggering through great patches of deep mud formed by the recent rain as well as various beverages and/or bodily fluids that may have been present; filthy port-o-potties with moats of said mud; and did I mention the closely packed, yet strangely spaced-out crowd?

And you think I do this kind of thing for fun? It’s for love, man. Love.

I found LCD Soundsystem, at 2:30 in the @%$* morning on the second night of the festival. I was surprised that they were playing a tent (the “big” acts get the outdoor stages); I was doubly surprised that the tent wasn’t packed out. I mean, they’re headlining one night of Pitchfork this summer in Chicago! Anyway, James Murphy (the lead singer – or rather, vocalist) seemed a bit peeved to be there too. The heat hadn’t relented much, and high people were pelting him with glowsticks. Huh? Is that a Bonnaroo thing? Anyway, the crowd didn’t particularly care as long as LCDS played “All My Friends.” I mean, they started with frickin’ “Us v Them” and didn’t let down the pace from there – this is LCD Soundsystem here, with ace material to fill a set twice as long as the hour and a half (see what I mean? Why so long?). This is their last tour, and it’s more like a victory lap. Murphy, not receiving quite the adulation he might have expected, didn’t bother to try to win over the crowd (they HAD to have been on something to have as much energy as they did. I, alas, did not), which was probably for the better in the end.

I’m looking forward to a more focused crowd at Pitchfork, as well as not being hella exhausted. Those 10-minute jams will be better on fresher feet in a dancier crowd, and that “New York I Love You” finale will certainly be much more satisfying when I’m not half-asleep. Although I probably won’t be treated to the spectacle of a drug-powered dance-and-grope-ladies one-man party that was going on in the VIP section next to where I was standing.

I found Wayne Coyne and the rest of the Flaming Lips, playing another of their trademark spectacle-shows like the one I saw last summer at Pitchfork (what? I never got around to writing about that? oops). They incidentally played right before LCD Soundsystem, and while I was able to sit for the show – I mean shows, they also covered Dark Side of the Moon with Stardeath and White Dwarfs – it was late. I never really got into Those Glorious Lips, but hey. It was okay.

The craziest thing was entering back into the venue area after taking a dinner break at the campsite – the place was JAMMED with people wandering everywhere. The crowd for the Lips was IMMENSE. The field in front of the stage was just covered. Bonnaroo is definitely the largest festival – or anything, really – I’ve ever been to.

I found The National. I FOUND The NATIONAL!!! Fed up with the overstuffed crowds at even the smallest of shows, I decided to skip She & Him (hey, I saw them – I mean her – at SXSW) and work my way up as close as possible to the stage during the show before. I did a lot of waiting, but OH WAS IT WORTH IT LET ME TELL YOU RIGHT NOW YES. I was front row. First time at a music festival to be there. And it was the coolest thing. The show? Mindblowing. Anything but slow. This was one show I was glad to stand so long for. As the sun set, Matt Berninger (the lead singer) got more and more soused and just all-around messed up, barking out the lyrics with his gruff baritone, venturing out into the crowd again and again, wrecking his mic stand toward the end. It was terrific. I was even able to give him an encouraging pat on the shoulder as he walked by (I sound like such a fanboy).

This set was really the highlight of the whole weekend. The band was in terrific form, delving deep into their repertoire and selecting the choicest songs from their new masterpiece, High Violet. At one point in the show, he chucked his plastic wine glass into the crowd, only to ask for it back and pour a glass for the bloke who managed to grab it. Just full of great moments. This experience has only fed the flames of my nascent man-crush on Berninger. Oh well. I reluctantly staggered away from the railing after a triumphant encore, emotionally and physically spent. And loving every minute.

I found Neon Indian, an obvious fit for Bonnaroo if there ever was one. Their burbling synthesizers, hazy vocals, and catchy, danceable hooks made for a great, fuzzed-out dance party as everyone got right to their mind-enhancers the first night. Fun.

I found Here We Go Magic. Their music is pretty psychedelic, so a good fit there. I just don’t remember much about the show, good or otherwise. An indistinct impression. Perhaps the contact high was beginning to work its – wait for it – magic.

I found Dave Rawlings Machine. Just classy, people. Classy. Bluegrassy. (Confession: I sat down)

I found Brandi Carlile, who has a dusky, expressive voice. She’s an amazing performer. The end.

I found STEVIE WONDER! WHOOO! Yeah, he’s not only a consummate professional and performer, he plays a keytar. That is beyond wonderful. He absolutely enthralled the crowd as he headlined Saturday night, bringing classic hit after classic hit. I mean, “Superstitious”? “Higher Ground”? He displayed the chops and charisma that one would expect of a living legend. In two hours, he proved that title to be true. Not that he needed to. I was standing VERY far away from the stage. You know, 70,000 people is a lot of people. Everyone seemed relaxed, into it, and having a good time. Which is super, because no one wants to see 70,000 angry rioters.

I found Jay-Z. I stayed out of his way. Just kidding, but Jay definitely ran this town, following Stevie’s set. His stardom is truly forever young. Jay-Z positively owned the huge expanse of the Which Stage (yeah, at least it wasn’t That Tent) alone, as backing vocalists and a DJ stayed clear, allowing J to speak for himself. That he did, his performance emphasized by the visuals from the giant skyline-shaped video screen behind him. He flew in via helicopter earlier in the day. That’s just what a baller does.

I found Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It kinda bugs me that it’s not Zeroes.

Anyway, they were energetic, folksy, and just plain fun. I’m not the biggest fan, but I have to admit they put on a swell show, the stage filled with singers, guitarists, horn players, banjists, etc, and Edward capering about. NO NOT THAT EDWARD

I found a band with the same name as the town in which Bonnaroo is held! Almost. Manchester Orchestra is a band I’ve wanted to see for a while, and their intense live show didn’t disappoint. The band’s killer riffs, combined with lead Andy Hull’s earnest howls, thrilled a crowd ready to rock out on the first day. At least, I was. I enjoyed myself, in between trying not to get trapped in the deep sludge in the center of the ground inside the tent.

I found Mumford and Sons, playing the heck out of their only album’s songs. The crowd was rabid. A pretty energetic show, capped with a highlight collaboration as M&S invited Dave Rawlings and his Machine, who preceded them, on stage to close out the set. Man, those fans were heartbroken when their cries for an encore were unheeded.

I didn’t find Phoenix. Me and my crew were already gone by the time they took the stage late Sunday, on our way to hot showers and air conditioned sleeping.

I found a fountain! This picture was taken on Thursday, before its crystal waters changed to murky crystal waters later in the weekend. Hey, I guess if it gets you cool …

I found that napping and shade are crucial to the Bonnaroo experience. Well, crucial to surviving it anyway. I had some naps under a tree in midday that were better than my sleep at night. Well, being woken every morning by the STIFLING HOT SUN EVISCERATING your tent doesn’t particularly help.

I found PEOPLE. Shirtless, sweaty, carousing, cooking, arguing, pissing, eating, smoking, friendly people. The community is, in my opinion, what keeps ’em coming back year after year (next year will be the 10th). That and drugs. In general, the Bonnaroo crowd isn’t the most serious or dedicated of music fans – many don’t know most of the acts performing – but that doesn’t keep them from being enthusiastic. They’re laid-back from weed, they have super-endurance from, um, other things. I’ve never seen crowds SO ANXIOUS to get to the stage and get as close as possible to the front, waiting for a long time for the artists to come on, only to lose interest and wander off halfway through the show. Everyone was moving somewhere, all the time.

I will say this: facility-wise, Bonnaroo is excellent. The many port-o-potties are cleaned regularly, there’s enough space for everyone to camp, there’s enough food and water and so forth.

However.

The music venues have not grown accordingly. The 3 tents and 2 stages are simply not big enough to accommodate a crowd this big comfortably. Only the largest stage has screens, for crying out loud! My friend who is fairly short had a tough time because she really couldn’t see anything for any of the concerts unless she was at the very front. The tent stages are unusually low for some reason.

Anyway, it’s a fun experience and I’m glad I went. The focus, it should be noted, is not so much on the music as the communal experience and the ability to smoke as much weed as you want without getting arrested. Just kidding! (kind of:)

Hope this hasn’t wasted too much of your day. But appreciate this!It’s taken me a freaking long time to write all this!!!

Cheers,

Lincoln

PS – photos courtesy of Stereogum, CBS News, Pitchfork, and Metromix Cincinnati. Don’t sue me, okay guys?

The Cries of the Masses Have Been Heard

In Uncategorized on 06/08/2010 at 7:35 pm

And better yet, I’m going to do something about it. Sorry about the inactivity for the last few months. I’m back in the country now and I’ll be regularly posting again ASAP (including finishing up that 2009 albums list – yes, I know it’s almost June).

I wish I could say I’m going to start right now, but there’s a little festival called Bonnaroo that I have to attend first. I’m excited about seeing artists like Phoenix, Norah Jones, LCD Soundsystem, The National, She & Him, The xx, Dan Deacon, Manchester Orchestra, and the list goes on …

I’ll be back before you know it. Here’s to a future of regular posting again –

Lincoln