Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lollapalooza 2009 Lineup (So Far)

Yesterday, they finally released the lineup for Lollapalooza 2009, and I'm very happy with what I see. For the moment.

By my count, there are around 28 or so bands that I will be making an effort to see that weekend, and that only really includes one of the 6 main headliners. The problem that this brings up is that means everyone I went to see is in the "middle tier" of bands, which means that they will basically all be scheduled at the same time against one another, and I'll be forced to pick between 2 or 3 bands I want to see at a time, which will drop down the number of bands I'll actually get to see to something like 18. Oh well, I can live with that.

The ones I'm looking forward to the most so far:
Kings of Leon - The only headliner I care about, I've loved their last three albums, and they put on a good set at Lolla in 2007. I'm assuming they'll be on against Tool or the Beastie Boys, so they'll have a decent sized crowd, but not the biggest.
Rise Against - I will now be able to say that one of my classmates from high school will be playing a main stage at Lollapalooza. I'm assuming they'll be on before Tool, so the crowd may get a bit ugly, but it shouldn't be missed.
TV on the Radio - Winners of the extremely prestigious 2008 Scott Pacyna Album of the Year award, this is the first chance I'll get to see them since that release. The reviews of their set at Coachella have been glowing, so that's another can't miss.
Vampire Weekend - They were great at Pitchfork Festival last year, I'm hoping they'll have a few new songs to play this year.
Neko Case - I've seen her live before, she has an astounding voice, one of the best in rock, but the song quality wasn't there to match. Her new album from this year finally gives her some better material to work with.
Animal Collective - Touring on one of the more adventurous releases of the year, should be an interesting psychedelic shift from most of the bands that weekend.
Band of Horses - A great live band who I haven't gotten to see somehow since 2006, their Neil Young influenced guitar rock always sounds tailor made for a beautiful outdoor summer night.
Ben Folds - I enjoyed his last album more than most, he's always an entertaining live act, and that should be a great time for a sing-along or two.
Fleet Foxes - I didn't hear their album before their set at Pitchfork last year, so I'm looking forward to seeing them after spending alot of time with that one. Should be an excellent mid-day break to rest in the sun and bask in their harmonies.
Silversun Pickups - I believe they were at Lolla in 2007, and I had to pass on seeing them due to one of the difficult schedule decisions at the time. I'm 99% sure I'll be going with them whoever they are scheduled against this time around.
Crystal Castles - A Canadian electronic act whose live shows usually end up being a mess one way or another, should be worth checking out.
Bon Iver - I tried seeing them at Pitchfork last year on the side stage while Spiritualized were drowning out their sound, but there was no chance of hearing their delicate music at that time. I've just caught on to their fantastic cd from last year, will be another great set to relax in the shade and unwind with.
Deerhunter - We just saw them open for Girl Talk in Florida, and they nearly blew our eardrums out with their swirling, massive My Bloody Valentine inspired sound. Should be interesting to see them try it again on the Lolla stage.
Dan Deacon - His set will be what Girl Talk's set was last year, highly audience interactive and massively hipster infested. Loved his album Spiderman of the Rings, haven't heard his new one yet, should be very amusing.
The Raveonettes - I love this no-frills group, but much like the Twilight Singers last year, it's going to be a crime seeing them out in the sun.
The Gaslight Anthem - As I said in my list of my favorite albums from 2008, this Jersey band came out of nowhere and impressed me with their Springsteen influenced heart-on-their-sleeve rock. This is one of the most anticipated sets of the entire weekend.
Ra Ra Riot - Orchestra rock, heard great reviews of their set opening for Death Cab For Cutie last week.
Bat For Lashes - One of the young female rockers picking up the torches of PJ Harvey and Tori Amos, her new album has gotten great reviews. She'll also be competing for the highly coveted prize of Hottest Chick at Lollapalooza, along with Sharon Foo from the Raveonettes, Neko Case, and the ladies from the next two bands.
Los Campesinos! - Saw them back in February, lively pop-punk, should make for an early energizing set to start one of the days.
Chairlift - Going to see this band open for Peter, Bjorn and John tomorrow, their song "Handstands" was stuck in your head thanks to an iPod commercial, their lead singer is going to have all of the sunburnt guys swooning early in the day.
Ida Maria - She is new, still need to listen to her cd, but her infectious performance on the Tonight Show last night, dedicating "I Like You Better When You're Naked" to other guest Hugh Jackman, showed she had a pretty good sense of humor and seems to have a lot of fun playing her music.
Living Things - Saw these guys back at Lolla 2006 I believe, their T-Rex influenced blues stomp rock was fueled by their anti-Bush hatred at the time. We'll see how they do now without him to rage against.

Won't know the schedule for the weekend until mid-June most likely, so I have to really cross my fingers now that they scheduling gods are very kind to me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Summer Concert Season 2009

We've already started lining up our concert weekends for the upcoming summer, guess we are getting a little anxious. Looks right now like Bella is going to getting a full dose of concerts in the months ahead!

Our summer concert season will begin July 10th and 11th, when we'll be taking a road trip up to Minneapolis to visit our friend Molly, and to check out the Basilica Block Party there. It's an annual outdoor show they've had there for a while, but this year there's a special treat. The band the Jayhawks, whose song "Blue" was the first dance for Michele and I at our wedding, will be reuniting and playing their first show since around 1997. They'll also have the Black Crows, Counting Crows, Matt Nathanson (another of our favorites), and one of Bella's favorites from Pitchfork last year, The Hold Steady. Should be a very cool getaway weekend.

The next weekend, and the one I'm looking forward to the most right now, is the Pitchfork Festival July 17th through the 19th. I'll be going solo on Friday night, which should be an interesting night where four bands (including one of my favorites, Yo La Tengo) will let everyone who bought a ticket vote on what songs they want to hear that night, and their setlists will be based on the results. Bella and Michele will be both be going with Saturday and Sunday (this will be Bella's third year there in a row), and we're really looking forward to see the Flaming Lips, one of my favorite bands, closing out the festival that Sunday night, among many other great bands.

We'll be taking it breather for a bit then, and only having one day of music on Saturday, Aug. 1st, where we'll be heading down to scenic Tinley Park to see the Warped Tour. The entire day is made up of punk, pop-punk, more punk, heavier punk, screamy punk, and for a little variety, some punk. It's a lot of fun though, the bands never have any idea what the lineup will be each day, the biggest names get just as much stage time as the newest kids just starting their band up, and it's just a great way to see lots of music and find new bands. Who knows, we may even have to dye Bella's hair just for the occasion.

Last up is the big one, the one that's still a mystery at the moment, Lollapalooza. This one is a mystery at the moment, since the lineup has not been released yet, but I already have a ticket for myself anyways. We'll be deciding about bringing Bella (and Michele of course) based on what bands end up being there and what days they end up playing. The list of bands will be announced next Tuesday the 21st, as you can guess I'm just slightly anxious to see that. There's a pretty reliable rumored list of some of the top names out there though that you can see here. If this list ends up being remotely true, I'm going to be a very happy boy that weekend.

We still have to make it through a few weeks of spring of course til the summer season starts, we're hoping to add a few dates here and there (and Bella really wants a Death Cab for Cutie ourdoor show of course!), so we'll see what else we end up attending as the year rolls on. Expect a overjoyed rant from me on Tuesday the 21st though...

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Ting Tings at Metro 4/5

I got to sneak out Sunday night in the middle of our latest rain/snow/sleet/who knows what else storm to head to the Metro to see the Ting Tings. Long time loyal readers will remember that they performed at Lollapalooza last August, and put on a starmaking set that was hard to match. I'm proud of both of you for remembering that.

The Ting Tings are simply a girl/guy duo from England who put out their debut last year, and thanks to a heavilly played iPod commercial, quickly rode a wave of buzz. They opened the main stage of Lollapalooza in the 12:30 pm slot, where several hundred Rage Against the Machine fans were already camped out save their spots for their idol's set, which wouldn't be happening for another 8 hours.

Keep in mind that the majority of RATM fans are not the most open minded of people, as evidenced by the near riot that broke out during the set that night. But due to the energetic performance and catchy pop-punk of the band, the was somehow swayed, clapping and dancing to the Ting Tings' music.

After a few months of support for their debut, the Ting Tings returned to Chicago to the packed Metro. They brought the band Hottub with them as their openers. At first I was dreading the worst, since first two hairy dudes came out and started laying down some beats, and were quickly followed by three women who then began to rap. At first it seemed like an odd pairing to have the two bands together, but it became apparent why they made the choice.

Hottub ended up putting on a fun, highly energetic set that more than made up for substance with energy and enjoyment. The three women ran all over the stage, jumped into the crowd on several occasions, and two of the members spent a good chunk of time in the crowd. I really couldn't tell you what any of the songs were about, but it really didn't matter, since they band had such a good time playing, and the crowd followed suit as well.

After a pretty short set-up time, the Ting Tings followed up and nearly matched Hottub's energy level. Lead singer/guitarist/super hottie Katie White was of course the center of attention, running around the stage in a tiny black dress and knocking out the band's two chord melodies, or banging on an extra bass drum, whatever what was needed at the time. (Sadly, they weren't allowing flash photos during the set, since Katie would probably be blinded by 100 cameras going off at her during the show)

The only unfortunate thing about the Ting Tings' set was that it was nearly identical to their set at Lollapalooza. They only played songs from their debut, and not one single new song was played otherwise. I was hoping by now they'd have a few songs ready to go, but it didn't appear that this was the case.

They again closed a very extended version of "That's Not My Name," with the crowd eating up every second of it. After barely an hour, the band was done and gone. They proved they're definitely a band to watch, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here, when they can probably write a song with more than two chords in it.