Notes Tagged ‘Spoon’

Pitchfork Fest ’08: Lights & Music

July 21st, 2008

The buzz and short attention spans I spoke of in Day One, and the newfound diversity heralded in Day Two, these things imploded upon each other the final hours of Sunday, with one holy rockness middle ground rising up from the rubble.

The moment can be pinpointed actually, if you were to witness Les Savy Fav’s punk-maestro, Tim Harrington, careen his bald dome into a city garbage can, demanding the crowd hoist him, and his new stage, into the air so he could finish his song.

Post-set comment from a fan:

Dude wanted up, like Oscar the Grouch, towards the sky! Easily the most zenith of any rock and roll moment I have ever witnessed.

Sure it was the same debauchery Harrington’s built his reputation upon at various sweaty clubs across the country.  But there was a time when Pitchfork’s occupation of Union Park did not care to venture too far outside Japanese drum circles and freak folk…at least at four o’ clock in the afternoon.

Lots of subjectives and parallels here, no doubt; this year’s closers, Spoon, were part of the inaugural year’s line-up, for instance.  Call it happenstance.  Call it a mirror of the market.  One certainty ran from band to band on Sunday – their ability to work a stage on a broad-appeal level, yet still harbor that sub-radar exclusivity.

And everyone there, unlike years past, yearned to share the sentiment together.

San Francisco’s The Dodos owned the rest of afternoon, engulfing onlookers in Morrissey lulls, only to bottle rocket off into tribal clangery.  It took effort not to dance those rhythms out of your bones, especially with tales about “Fools” who take loved ones for granted.

While M. Ward brooded quintessential chill, whispering lofty Satchmo-gravel secrets to his mic, while fans built sculptures in the mud. The folkster sauntered through Daniel Johnston covers and reminded people to partake in the arts & crafts aspect of the festival.  It was a nice little resting point before the divine indie-vention of Spiritualized.

If Les Savy Fav brought people together with punk hedonism, Spiritualized exalted evangelical rock. Right at the end of the day, when the sun decides to fireball into your eyes, the band took the stage, gospel choir in tow, and unleashed notes that truly saved. Story goes lead singer, Jason Spaceman, nearly died of pneumonia in the making of latest LP, Songs In A&E.  When the brooding squall of “Shine A Light” erupted from his guitar, fans were there in a foot of mud beaming rays. And when the band hammered into “Come Together,” arms flew up in the air like beacons of hope.

Meanwhile, J Mascis amped his six-stack of Marshalls to blastatron, and ripped through all that late-’80s zen-guitar fuzz he and other Junior Dinosaurs married angst with. Whereas Spiritualized ask for redemption, Mascis just shredded emotion into oblivion, throwing his white mop all over his guitar, kids screaming “Feel The Pain” like an anthem: “I feel the pain of everyone, then I feel nothing.”

And then something odd happened. Droves flooded the side stage for Cut Copy, but no Cut Copy was found. So the droves about-faced and headed back for closer Spoon on the main stage. Word was that Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’d some unity and entertainment and…yeah.  But those that held strong on the side stage were treated to a misfit superjam made up of Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox, King Khan and Jay Reatard on flower and ass-wiping duty.

I do not understand what’s punk about wiping remnants of feces on flowers and throwing them into a mass of people, but the three would rock just about anything the crowd demanded, from Nirvana to CSNY.  And just when the drunken buffoonery reached its max, Khan presented a late Cut Copy, whose flight was delayed…from Australia.

Running into that silly 10 p.m. curfew law that closed shop on Animal Collective the previous night, the Aussie club-hearts lit the last 30 minutes of that night aflame in pop-techno circusry; sweaty night thrusts, burning into brains with every camera flash:

Lights and music, are on my mind. Be my baby, one more time.

There were kids dancing without a clue as to why they were dancing. Synth-hook genius, indeed. But this was simply about sharing lights and music.

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The Fourth Annual mtvU Woodie Awards

November 9th, 2007

Cable network mtvU wrapped its fourth annual Woodie Awards last night at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, honoring artists that students “live their lives to,” i.e. while holding onto red plastic keg cups — or at least so it seemed after the ceremony, judging by the abyss of discarded vessels littering the venue’s floor.

But before the festivities began (and the kegstands), caught upwith some talent on the red carpet to snag a few words of wisdom forthe 4.6 million university voters out there in dormitory land. Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis offered some sage advice: “Tune in. Drop out. Tune out. Drop in. Drop your pants. Tune your guitar.” MC Naledge of hip-hop duo Kidz in the Hall, advised students to “work your plan and plan your work” and “don’t be afraid to socialize.” But it was Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Went who won us over with his astute priorities. “Schedule all your classes based on how many freshmen girls are in it,” Wentz recommended.

Come awards time, there were scores of upsets. Spoon trumped Bright Eyes for the Alumni Woodie, an award that honors steadfast musical presence, and for Best Video, Justice‘s “D.A.N.C.E.” took a back seat to Say Anything‘s “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too.” And there were some obvious wins, too, as Boys Like Girls – whom readers selected as 2006 Artist of the Year –  beat out Peter Bjorn and John and Tokyo Police Club, among other heavy hitters, to take the Breaking Woodie award. And surprise, surprise – Gym Class Heroes were crowned with the Woodie ofthe Year award, as the MySpace darlings of the Academy Is… emerged with the Viral Woodie award.

Between statue handouts, the event raged on as an extravagantly decorated party with free booze and kabob-like finger treats. Every once in a while you’d catch nominated bands dancing on tables or slamming back those red cups, with honorable mention going to Best Music On Campus winners, Stella By Starlight in the back of the house. Later, Annie Lennox took the stage to honor music as a means of social change. Pointing to college campuses as the epicenter of protests, she presented this year’s Good Woodie award to Guster for their efforts behindmore than 600 “green” concerts planned via their environmentally-conscious organization, Reverb. For this philanthropic honor the band offered two words – “Go Earth!”

As for performances, highlights include Spank Rock‘s neon mess of hip hop, which, though entertaining, rocked the finest cliches – bikini clad dancers, “hoochie mama” rhymes, and a token entourage stage assault during his ’80s synth ode to “Rick Rubin.” Rilo Kiley strummed an acoustic rendition of their single, “Money Maker,”complete with guitar-case drum fills, and The Academy Is… broughtback Alice In Chains-era angst with “We’ve Got a Big Mess On Our Hands.”

And then, in typical college fashion, the party abruptly came to a close and waves of drunken revelers searched for an after party.

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