Tag Archives: concerts

Challenge Week 22: The Last Waltz and Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Most people haven’t themed their weeks at all, but Ryan McNeil of The Matinee opted to give me a double feature of concert/music docs, which is almost prescient, since I’ve recently been really interested to see more of those. Both of these two would’ve been high on my list, so I’m glad he pushed me toward them.

The Last Waltz is the record of The Band’s final concert in 1978, and one of the first times a single band’s concert was filmed and released in theatres (of course Woodstock and Monterey Pop predate The Last Waltz). Martin Scorsese directed (his interest in music has resulted in several other music-related documentaries since this), and captured the joy and energy of the concert with some great cinematography despite having to be careful not to interfere with the concert from the live audience’s point of view.


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Music Monday – Fun Fun Fun Fest Edition

One day later and I’ve mostly recovered. Physically, that is. It was probably noon today before I could walk and be sure my legs would hold me up, but that’s also because of the actifed I took when I got home last night to combat being-outside-all-day-in-the-dust-and-dry-grass allergies. Still, everything was totally worth it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s a sampling of who I saw and enjoyed. Though there were three stages at the festival, I pretty much hung out at Stage 1, since that’s where all the bands I’d heard of were playing, and thus I suspected that I would have a good chance of liking the other bands there as well. Generally, that was right. I could hear the bands on Stage 2 any time Stage 1 bands weren’t playing, and they were playing really LOUD punk rock over there. Far too heavy for my tastes. I couldn’t hear Stage 3 very much, but the one time I wandered over there, there was a rapper up, so I wandered back pretty quickly. Thankfully, most everybody on Stage 1 was listenable to one degree or another. If you saw my Twitters during the show, you’ll know I didn’t care for the first four or so on Sunday, but they still weren’t awful. Anyway, here are the eight or nine I enjoyed the most, with my very favorites at the top.

edit: Great photos here, from photographer Chad Wadsworth.


I’m giving Headlights the number one spot mostly because I was pleasantly surprised by how great they were. I’d been sitting in the back through four bands that I mostly disliked (far too screamy; fine if you like that sort of thing, but I don’t), and then Headlights came on, and they were somewhere about four bars in before I was up by the stage totally into it–and not just because they were so much better than the previous bands. I hadn’t heard of them before, and in addition to the music being good, they were also adorable. Erin Fein, the lead singer, seemed taken by surprise that we liked them so much. That was also a nice change from the earlier bands, who were convinced they didn’t suck, even though they kinda did. I’m sorry, that was biased. Anyway, I fell in love with them, and headed straight up to their merchandise table and bought their album. And I’m not usually an impulse buyer. But I figure, buying things at concerts gets more money to the artist, so if there’s ever a time to impulse buy, that’s it.

PEOPLE IN ST. LOUIS: Headlights is actually playing St. Louis this Wednesday (November 7th), at the Bluebird on Olive Street downtown. See http://bluebirdstl.com for more info. It’s only like $7-9, so you should totally go.

(video – multiple; I think “Lions” is one)

Headlights – TV
Headlights – Lions

e-music | Amazon.com MP3 | website | MySpace

The New Pornographers

I’ve liked the New Pornographers for a few months now, but have held off posting their stuff because, yes, of their name. But you know what, I can’t help what they call themselves, and they make some really great music (which is not at all pornographic in nature). And they were basically the biggest drawing card for me going to the festival in the first place. The only reason they’re not at the top of this list is because I expected them to be good, whereas Headlights surprised me. Anyway, I was five feet from the stage! They did all my favorite songs off “Challengers” as well as a lot I liked but didn’t know (must be off “Twin Cinema,” which I haven’t heard). Interestingly, “Myriad Harbor” (my current all-time favorite song) doesn’t work as well live as it does on the album; I think because in the recorded version, Dan Bejar is so very introspective and quiet in parts, almost like we’re overhearing something we shouldn’t be, and that’s one of my favorite things about it. But you can’t do that in a live show, you’ve gotta be forceful enough to be heard, and it came out harsher. But it was still good. And the other songs, “Challengers,” “My Rights Versus Yours,” etc., were awesome. Plus, they were more comfortable playing with the crowd than some of the other groups. At one point Neko Case got a serious craving for Rice Krispie Treats (they had a huge sign straight in front of her at the food stand where they were selling them), and said she wanted a mattress of them. Next song break, a stagehand brought a handful of them to her and Carl Newman, so we had a brief snack break. It was fun. I enjoy stuff like that at concerts.

(video – “My Rights versus Yours”)

Three from them, one led by Dan Bejar, one featuring Neko Case, and one with the whole band, but mostly Carl Newman:
The New Pornographers – Myriad Harbor
The New Pornographers – Mutiny, I Promise You
The New Pornographers – Challengers

e-music (“Challengers” not available) | Amazon.com MP3 | website | MySpace

More after the jump.

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Fun Fun Fun Fest Twittering

Hi, all. I am in Austin for Fun Fun Fun Fest, a music festival with lots of awesome bands, some of which I’ll probably highlight tomorrow in a Music Monday post. I know those have gotten sporadic, but hey. I gotta have stuff to post in order to post, and this weekend I’ve got some.

I just figured out how to update Twitter from my cell phone, so I’m going to try Twittering stuff that goes on at the festival. Since I didn’t know how to do this yesterday, you may get some random things that actually happened yesterday but that remained Twitterable (I’m going to turn it into every part of speech, you watch). But you’ll never know which things they are! Heh. Anyway, if you’d like to get Fun Fun Fun Fest updates, check out my Twitter page (Twitter updates also now show on the right side of my blog, but it sometimes takes a little while for that to update). And hope for (not necessarily expect) a longer festival post with mp3s and stuff tomorrow.

Music Monday – Rilo Kiley In Concert Edition

Do you know how many YouTube concert videos you have to look through to find ones that both look and sound decent? Lots. Many, many, many. But I think I have been mostly successful in order to bring you this (still grossly inadequate) approximation of last night. Thing to note. Amateur videos on consumer cameras DO NOT sound anything like as awesome as live sounds. Other thing to note–they are a pretty good visual approximation, since we were standing in almost the same place as most of these. Oh, and last thing to note–I did not take any of these, and none of them are actually from last night’s concert; but several of them are from earlier on Rilo Kiley’s current tour.

Grand Ole Party

This is actually a television show shoot, so the quality is better. But they messed up the drum placement–the three should be in a straight line. The song is called “Bad, Bad Man.”

Grand Ole Party – Look Out Young Son

Grand Ole Party - Humanimals
click the cover to go to iTunes; it isn’t available elsewhere until January

The Bird and the Bee

Last night, it was during this song, “I’m a Broken Heart,” that Inara George broke out the bubble machine. At this concert, she batted a balloon around a bit, but the bubble machine was cooler. Sorry people at that other concert.

And this is the video for the single “Again & Again,” which was probably my favorite of the songs they did. When she goes up for the “do it again,” it just sends shivers down my spine–love the ethereal tone.

The Bird and the Bee – Polite Dance Song
The Bird and the Bee – So You Say

The Bird and the Bee - The Bird and the BeeThe Bird and the Bee - Please Clap Your Hands
click the covers to go to Amazon.com’s new MP3 store, which you should do because Amazon.com’s new MP3 store is awesome, DRM-free, cheaper than iTunes, and I’m so excited about it!

Rilo Kiley

By the time Rilo Kiley came on, I was exhausted. I’d been standing up for two and a half hours, and it was hot and crowded. But when they came out and Jenny Lewis started singing, it was all totally worth it, and everything was wonderful. If the concert videos don’t convince you how wonderful her voice is, and how perfect her stylings are, make sure to listen to the studio-produced recordings. Concert footage doesn’t always show tone quality, but the band also puts on a great show and I wanted to get that in here (which was why I was trying so hard to find passable videos).

“Moneymaker” is off the new album, Under the Blacklight, and they played it pretty early in the set. It’s really not much like anything else I’ve heard them do…but girls with guitars, I just gotta say. Good stuff. (The music video version is critiquing the porn industry, so while it’s a well-done video, I’ll leave it to your own judgment whether or not to seek it out on YouTube.)

“I Never” got probably the loudest, most sustained ovation last night. It was incredible, and deafening. Even Jenny was putting her hands over her ears! And they performed it pretty much exactly like this, only imagine about two solid minutes of applause and screaming before the crowd quieted down enough for them to play the next song.

And this is the video for the first track on the new album, “Silver Lining.” It may be more distracting than helpful as far as interpretation goes, but it is interesting to note that Jenny and Blake Sennett (the guitarist/singer who is also the groom in the video) used to date. And no longer do. But I don’t know if we’re supposed to read that into the song or not, and I don’t know the details. In any case, it’s a very pretty song and video both.

Rilo Kiley – With Arms Outstretched (from The Execution of All Things)
Rilo Kiley – Breakin’ Up (from Under the Blacklight)
Rilo Kiley – Under the Blacklight

Rilo Kiley - Take Offs and LandingsRilo Kiley - The Execution of All ThingsRilo Kiley - More AdventurousRilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight
click the covers to go to the regular Amazon CD store, because Rilo Kiley isn’t on the new MP3 store…yet…

Reasons Today Rocked (most of which involve Rilo Kiley)

  1. Met some interesting new people at church. Okay, this didn’t really rock that hard, but usually the greet-the-people-near-you part of the service (before the sermon) devolves into “hi, I’m ____, nice to meet you” unless I already sort of know the people near me. So it was nice to actually have a conversation.
  2. Went to lunch with friends and had a caesar salad! I haven’t had a caesar salad for about two months, or salad at all really. I need a good salad once in a while, and the kind I try to make at home never turn out good.
  3. Having lunch with friends for reasons apart from the caesar salad.
  4. Almost spur-of-the-moment trip to Austin with other friends to see Rilo Kiley (tickets bought on Thursday, so it was planned, just not for long).
  5. Introducing friends to Waterloo Records, which they loved as inordinately as I do. (Slight moment of suck encountered when I was unable to locate any of the supposed four copies of the Ingrid Michaelson CD they were supposed to have in stock–I find it rather interesting that a lot of the current crop of commercials that use indie pop songs are not very effective at getting me to by the product advertised, but are very effective at getting me to buy the CD with the song on it. Assuming I can find said CD.)
  6. Suck caused by lack of Ingrid Michaelson CD countered by finding Sons and Daughters EP, which I have been sort of half keeping my eye out for since a friend sent me a mix with “Fight” on it.
  7. Pulled pork sandwich at Stubbs! And being able to get to the bathroom without fighting my way through a room-full of partying people like the last time I was there.
  8. First opening band Grand Ole Party, who none of us had heard of, and who rocked pretty hard. Most of the comparisons I’ve seen online tonight have been to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which I can totally see now that I think about it. At the time, the closest I could come was a young, angry Gwen Stefani while with No Doubt (there’s a similar use of vibrato). Anyway. The weirdest thing is earlier in the day, we’d been mentioning the fact that very few drummers are also lead singers. Well, the lead singer of Grand Ole Party is a female drummer, which is awesome on both the drummer-singer level, and the female drummer level.
  9. Second opening band The Bird and the Bee, who I hadn’t heard of, but one of my friends highly recommended. And they were really good, too, but very different. Really whimsical, sometimes ethereal, and a bit gimmicky, but in a GOOD way. She had a bubble machine, folks. A bubble machine. It was awesome. They were so adorable, I wanted to pack them up and bring them home with me.
  10. RILO KILEY. RILO KILEY. RILO KILEY. When I first got into Rilo Kiley I passed up an opportunity to see them open for Coldplay (a double temptation, because I really like Coldplay too, and at the time, they were probably my favorite band), because the tickets were mucho expensive and I didn’t have anyone to go with. This was much, much better. Three times cheaper, plus twenty feet from the stage instead of who knows how far back at the big St. Louis auditorium they were at, plus friends. It was a great show–not sure if it was as good as Snow Patrol back in March, but pretty darn close (and since that’s all I have to compare it to…). And even though they’re promoting a new album (which I haven’t heard enough yet to know all the songs), they still did my two absolute favorites from earlier CDs, as well as a pseudo-cover of one of Jenny Lewis’s solo songs, which was fun. I’m hoping to resurrect Music Monday from its couple of weeks rest to post a song or two from each band.