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Archive for September, 2008

Zack’s Top 10 ACL Shows

Posted by admin On September - 29 - 2008

~Z.T.~ It was a hell of a festival. Andy’s calling it his favorite of the summer. I put it a close third behind Rothbury and Lollapalooza, but I’m not questioning it’s awesomeness. We saw a ton of good music, I fell in love with the city and we’re stil coughing dust out of our lungs.
It’s like the damn dust bowl at that festival. :::Struggling to make a Grapes of Wrath reference, because they don’t have a jokes for day-to-day life section in sparknotes::: Smart people had face masks. I didn’t even bring shorts. Chafe city.

More stories coming as we remember them, but here’s my top 10 shows of the fest. Pre-festival ranking is in brackets. Click on band name for full review.

1. Foo Fighters (1) No one headlined a festival this summer like Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. An hour forty five of perfectly paced rock with a full band that even included a triangle solo. If you couldn’t tell from his legendary music videos, Grohl is one funny mother fucker and the best front man I’ve ever seen.

2. David Byrne (2)
3. Beck (4)
4. The Raconteurs (3)
5. The Fratellis (NR) At this point in the festival Jon Fratelli was the best shredder I’d seen. Andy describes them as the Arctic Monkey’s but with good songs. Agreed.
6. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (7)
7. Vampire Weekend (5)
8. Jamie Lidell (9)
9. “Black Dog” (NA) I didn’t stay for the whole set, but the slowed down sexual, almost hypnotic “Black Dog” was a breath of fresh air.
10. The Black Keys (NR) I got mine. Oh, baby. I got mine.

Biggest Disappointment MGMT- They need some courses in how to work a crowd. See: Grohl, Dave

Final level of Festival Crashing

Posted by admin On September - 29 - 2008

~Z.T.~ Meeting up with a fellow crasher before a packed show one of the greatest challenges facing festival goers today. At this point, we have it down to a science. A text from Andy reading “50 feet in front of sound board, even with right speaker rig was all I needed.
Coming from the complete opposite side of the festival with fish tacos and the sweet sounds of Band of Horses distracting me, I fought my way through the throng of concert goers to find Andy, even though he was sitting, with his head down like an ostrich. I was fine separating for most of the day, but this show was too epic to be alone for.

The Foo Fighters at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 29 - 2008

-A.S. If life was really Pulp Fiction, then Samuel L. Jackson would have to hand his wallet over to Dave Grohl. Even Zack let his hard on for David Byrne subside long enough to proclaim Grohl as the coolest man alive.

The Foo Fighters took the stage on time, and from the start let us know that they were ready for the responsibility of being the headliners of a festival. After opening with “All My Life,” “Times Like These” and “Learn to Fly” I was already on cloud nine. It is always amazing to me when a band can play so many poplular songs early on in an hour and forty-five mintue set and still keep you captivated and singing along the entire time.Dave Grohl is definitely the face of the franchise of my man crush team.

Zack had discussed whether they cover anything or not, and our question was answered when Grohl and company launched into the Who’s “Young Man Blues.” Drummer Taylor Hawkins ripped up a drum solo following “Let it Die.” While proving that the Foo Figthers are masters of ebb and flow of a set, they performed a stripped down version of “My Hero” with Grohl on acoustic guitar. By the end of the song, it still managed to rock hard.

Just when I started to think we had just about to hear it all, the Foo Fighters closed their set with a personal Guitar Hero favorite “Monkey Wrench” and “Pretender.” The latter proved just how good the band is at tension and release in a song. Grohl can set a crowd off with just one scream, and bring it back down with ease.

They left the stage, and Zack started talking about how none of the bands had taken an encore. I assured him that the Foo Fighters would. Earlier Grohl had told the audience that they would play until the cops came, and there was still almost 15 minutes left in their set at the time.To say the Foo Fighters are just Dave Grohl’s band would be a huge slight against Taylor Hawkins, whose incredible drumming and back up vocals comprise a big part of their sound.

Grohl told the crowd to relex, that he was going to start a little mellow since he’d been screaming his butt off the whole night. He brought out their strings player to sing back up with him on “Big Me.” Then he told us that they were going to play a song that we probably wouldn’t know, but that it was one of their favorites to play. “Aurora” brought the energy level back up a notch, and certainly rocked despite not being one of the hits.

“The Best of You” closed out our ACL, and sent us into the night with Foo Fighters songs stuck in my head. I’m pretty sure I sung parts of at least 5 different songs on our way back to the car. I am ready to proclaim this show as the best of the summer, taking a slight lead over Rage Against the Machine from Lollapalooza.

The Raconteurs at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 29 - 2008

~Z.T.~ Jack White came out and told the crowd he hoped we were doing better than he was. He disclosed that his doctor told him he had a disconnected disc in his throat and it felt like it was going to close down.

I gasped like it was my grandson up there. Oy vey, Jackie! Bubbelah! Jack was limited vocally throughout the set, but made up for it by just soloing over everything and focusing on being a filthy, squealing tour de force on his axes.

Blasting off right away, Jack and Brendan Benson jammed their way into “Consolers of the Lonely.”

They continued the rock assault with “Level” before Jack saddled up to the keys for “You Don’t Understand Me”

I was feeling like Jack could overcome his vocal issues without skipping a beat, but my boy couldn’t even attempt the vocal shreds on “Rich Kid Blues.” That was my favorite part of Lollapalooza. Yelling the lyrics “I knowww what’s gooooing on!” into the face of a stranger who yelled them right back at me. I gotta admit it, it was sad to not have that experience again.

Well, Jack made me feel better almost instantly with a scorching “Many Shades of Black” and a song Jack apparently made up on the spot about boys who “woke up with their ‘discs’ in the wrong place.”

My little Jack sounded like he was being tortured during the opening yelps of “Hold Up.” He took it easy from then on, vocally but got us clapping to the rapid rhythm as Brendan took a monster solo on the amps. Most guitarists wouldn’t mess with their trademark opening licks. Jack White isn’t most guitarists. He laid waste to “Steady as She Goes'” typical intro and turned that intro out.

Rest up, Jackie Boy. You want some Matzah ball soup for your throat? Some honey in your tea. Eat up. You’re looking a little pale.

Gnarls Barkley at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 29 - 2008

-A.S. Having missed part of their set at Lollapalooza, I was determined to catch all of their show at ACL. They opened with “Charity Case,” the opening track off of The Odd Couple. After a song or two, Cee Lo apologized to the crowd for the condition of his voice, explaining that it was the last stop of their four month tour. While his voice didn’t sound as smooth as it usually does, it is so good he can even pull off the rawer, grittier style too.Even Cee Lo without his voice at it’s peak, like it was at Lollapalooza, is one of my favorite singers.

He told the crowd they would play “Gone Daddy Gone” since it was an “oldie, but a goody” and it always makes people dance. Sure enough, the massive crowd began to bob and shake their collective booty.

Cee Lo’s banter was even better at ACL than it was at Lollapalooza. He screamed into the mic, “oh my god! Gnarls Barkley is coming! Run for your life!” to introduce “Run.” After “Going On” he asked the crowd what they were all staring at and if they had a problem with him.At ACL, Danger Mouse replaced the mustard yellow blazer he wore at Lollapalooza with a sequenced black one.

The band performed a slowed down, weirded out version of “Transformer.” During “Crazy,” Cee Lo held his mic out over the crowd so they could all sing the chorus. The band left the stage, leaving Danger Mouse at his organ. After laying down a beat and some chords, Cee Lo came out and the two performed “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul Now?” alone for the first half and finished it up with the band.

Cee Lo asked the crowd to shout “f*ck yeah!” if they wanted to hear one more song. After getting the crowd to shout it several times he laughed, and informed everyone that he loves cursing. They closed their set with one of my favorite covers from the whole summer, Radiohead’s “Reckoner.”

Blues Traveler at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 29 - 2008

-A.S. After stopping back in the media area to grab a drink, I headed over to Blues Traveler. As I walked up they were covering Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” They did the same cover at Lollapalooza, and it sounded good both times.

It was certainly more crowded at the Dell Stage for Blues Traveler than I had seen it for any other set at ACL. The whole place sang along to “Run-Around.” The crowd also dug other classics from the band like “Hook.”After all these years, John Popper showed he can still command a crowd at Lollapalooza.

The newer tunes that I liked on North Hollywood Shootout were also the ones that sounded great live. For a band that has been around as long as they have, it doesn’t always happen that way. “Remember Me” sounded like they had been playing it for years. The electronic drum beat and playful opening guitar riff for “You, Me and Everything” had the crowd dancing from the start. Soon it was nearing the end of their set and people, myself included, began the walk towards the main stage for Gnarls Barkley.

Neko Case at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 28 - 2008

-A.S. Neko Case the solo performer is simple, with a country twang and beautiful harmonies. Not the kind of music I usually get down to, but nice to listen to regardless. Taking the stage with a band that included a banjo and upright bass, Case was a ways away from the New Pornographers.

Neko Case the comedian and professional spitter of banter was who I enjoyed more. She explained to the crowd that she was about to play a new song about elephants and whales that go on hunting expiditions together. When her back up singer urged for more details, including if their prey was sharks, Case obliged.

“They capture sharks stuffed with babies. It’s a delicacy.”

She then sung into the mic, “Orca whale ate your baby.” As the crowd cracked up at the fiery Case, she was sure to mention that she didn’t condone the eating of babies.

“That’s not funny, babies are precious.”

~Z.T.~ Not as precious as Neko. Andy said he didn’t find her attractive, but I think it’s more that she’s endearing than pretty. So charming and witty. And what a voice. Even if her solo stuff isn’t really my style either.

I lost the “Y’all” bet

Posted by admin On September - 28 - 2008

~Z.T.~ Much like the slap bet, I don’t think this was ever agreed upon, but we definitely discussed who would say “y’all” first. I got back from lunch and said to Andy, “So how y’alls fantasy teams doin’?” I was mostly kidding, but I still lost the bet.Also, I had my first taste of breakfast tacos. Growing up in Chicago, I thought those words should never go together, but boy howdy they fire ’em up nice down hurr.

Beck at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 28 - 2008

~Z.T.~ In the time of chimpanzees, Beck is a monkey.

I made the “Beck-xodus” from Plant and Krauss in time to hear third song “Summer Girl.” I missed “Loser,” but didn’t feel like one seeing “Black Dog.”

Beck ran through his ever-growing catalogue with style and bravado tackling a few from every album, mixing up the flow better than most. I’m a Beck completist and was thrilled to hear “Devil’s Haircut” and “Where It’s At” off Odelay, “I Think I’m in Love” and “Nausea” from The Information, and a smattering of others.

He asked the crowd to “take it higher” for “Mized Bizzness,” got sultry on “Nicotine and Gravy” but still had me aching for more Midnite Vultures, my favorite album of the 90s.

A “Hell Yes” – “Black Tambourine” – “Clap Hands” medley had Beck in his cowboy hat huddled with three band members. He later took it off, threw on some flannel and grunged out.

The house lights came up and the crowd kept hard clapping and whooping for more. I wrote “8:43: encore” in my notebook. Back had set himself up for a nice little three-song encore. I would have loved a little “New Pollution” – “Sexx Laws” – “Debra” combo. He did not come back. The lights went up. Kind of a stomach punch.

Yo, cut it.

Robert Plant and Allison Krauss at ACL

Posted by admin On September - 28 - 2008

~Z.T.~ He’s still got the voice. The voice that sounded perfect on a wild reincarnation of “Black Dog” so slowed down I couldn’t recognize it at first. It’s so different it’s hard to even sing along. But good different. With more soul and twang.
There’s some serious heat between Plant and Krauss. She makes eyes at the old Zeppelin singer often and, I mean, who wouldn’t?

I stayed for “Rich Woman” and a few of their songs off Raising Sand before deciding I needed to run to Beck.
Robert Plant has formed such a formidable pair with Allison Krauss that I’m not sure he’ll be ready and willing for Zeppelin tour. Krauss and her 21 Grammy’s. Plant and his … he’s Robert freaking Plant. Does it come close to comparing to hearing “Black Dog” with Page and Paul Jones? Well, no but you take what you can get. Long live Zeppelin!

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