Thursday, July 24, 2008

the donner party

Day 2.

Quick note:
I went through a thousand dangers to make it to the stretch of soccer fields on Sunday. I mean there was brunch, mimosas, bloodies and then there was my "group", moving at a glacial pace toward the venue. And the sun, Christ, it was something to behold.

So, I went to Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, but only remember flashes of it as I was in a recovery position looking like a member of the Donner party. This is what ill say, "she killed". She casts a wide net with her vocal range, stands proudly in the great tradition of female rockers and best of all, wields a flying V guitar. Say no more. Go see it.

Grace Potter - Ah Mary

Colbie Callait:
Aside from the hilarity of watching her deal with a misguided wardrobe choice, short summer dress on windy day, you could hear the same thing I heard if you turn on FM radio RIGHT NOW. Only, you'll be more comfortable in an air-conditioned office space than I was in midst of sorority super-fans. Good spot if you're single and interested in introducing a woman to "good" music. Possible pick up line, "Have you ever heard of Feist?"

Rodrigo y Gabriela:
The man who commands this blog introduced me to this duo at the boulder theatre on an otherwise quiet Wednesday evening. Gregory Allan Isakov opened. It was a delight to witness them. However, as I gathered my music fest comrades and we headed over to the main stage to see them there was, within me, a thumping sound that I will refer to as: dread. How will this band translate to the main stage, let alone a music festival? Answer: they don’t. It's a guy, a girl, two guitars and some serious Latin passion. However, lets be honest with ourselves, to keep the interest of thousands, with this alone, is an immensely improbable feat. Gabriela is the exchange student you would have married and Rodrigo is the friend you wished you’d always had, and both their personas are bared gloriously during their intimate stands at our local venues, but hid behind the blasting sun at 4pm on a Sunday, they are as dry as a Colorado lawn in august, (which is fucking dry). Confine this dueling guitar duo to their habitat, a dark intimate club, where the rhythmic thud of their fingers pounds your chest, and may I suggest, your loins....?

John Mayer:
OK. There are two John Mayers'. Alpha male John Mayer spins out hit singles with the ease of the Beatles. He assesses the market, scribbles down some lyrics, sets them to some major chords and prints it. (Watch bank account accrue benjamins fast). Then, there is, culture snob, sarcastic, self-hating John Mayer; the one that has landed himself in the arms of Jennifer Aniston, Dave Chappelle and Kanye west. His winning, biting, intellect navigates the media like a soft-power sage. What’s more, he forms a band called the John Mayer trio, and turns the six string guitar into his bitch. Now, at MHMF we saw a bit of both personas. His tattoo sleeve that wrapped over his newly sculpted physique evidenced his US Magazine disposition, but he stuttered over conversational interludes between songs. Assessment? He's still the dorky Jewish kid that can play the guitar like a mutha... endure the radio hits, relish the white-hot flashes of boy genius. Hold tight, it may be John that is garnering the headliner purse 20 years from now...

The Roots:
HOLY FUCK!!!!! Anything I write will not do them justice. You either know or you don’t. And if you don’t, its time to go see them.

The Black Crowes:
If one were needing to introduce someone to rock 'n' roll for the very first time (I have no idea why this would happen, but for the sake of argument...let’s pretend), there is probably a short list of singers that would be devilishly good examples of the genre. Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon when pushing the limits of his lungs give the impression that he was arguing about his bar tab till 3am, or Mick Jagger, circa Exile on Main Street, has a timeshare on all of rock crooners. Chris Robinson, in my mind joins this list with his unmistakable tenor. At the outset of their career his voice sounded as though it was created solely for the medium. Sadly, the bands live set and frankly their albums have begun to feel like six guys doing their day job. Everything happens when it’s supposed to; even the guitar solos have a tired quality. I believe its time for this band to tumble into turmoil, maybe then, there live set will sound less rehearsed and more spontaneous...

Dave Matthews:
While I'm on the subject of tired material lets discuss Dave Matthews. Despite my greatest efforts to hang on, high school disappeared behind me as I, unwillingly, careened into the trials of adulthood. So to should Matthews. The man has released what seems like dozens of live performance tapes, saturating the market with the "magic" of his lives shows. He is simply out of tricks. We’ve heard it before. What's more, he knows he's out of tricks. His show looks like a reunion tour in which bygone era artists desperately try to dust off their old moves. But, we have the fans to blame for that. We’re encouraging it. The summer concert tour is never short of 30-somethings wanting to be momentarily transported back to their misguided days of yore. So, Matthews gives 'em what they want to the tune of $50, $60 a ticket. Stop this vicious cycle. Stop the goddamn ants from marching...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let me please share my pleasure with Day 2 of MHMF. It started with Serena Ryder and the guitarist from Sun Volt. Although battling the heat and an apprehensive crowd, Serena rocked. Her soulful voice and ability to play to a crowd came out with wonder and power. I first saw her open for Xavier Rudd at belly up. Perhaps a better venue for her, but I encourage all of you to peruse her new album coming out. I then ventured through the fields and crowds to see Martin Sexton. Reminding me of, but not copying in any way, Keller Williams he got me though the sweat of the midday heat with a smile and dancing feet. The "Diner Song" featured on Scrubs made the show for me and ecnouraged me to go on. I will not delve into my disappointment with both the soundstage for the Flobots and their monotonous sound or into Rod Y Gab or John Mayer since Bodie did a masterful job of that. The Roots had an energy that compared to Lupe the night before and that set the stage for an incredible end to the night. Seeing the giant afro of a man playing drums and the electricity in the tent was amazing as the Roots put on a great set. It was also a pleasure to see Tim Reynolds reunite and help save a injured Dave Mathew's Band. Short a few members but still playing perfectly Dave closed an amazing weekend of music that will hopefully return and rival many summer music festivals. Bodie, great to see you at the show and I wish you the greatest happiness and pleasures in life as I move East. I will continue to follow your blog from Durham and perhaps even comment from afar. A final aside, favorite performance of the festival, Railbenders with their mix of country and rock. Check 'em out.