Thursday, July 24, 2008

Curtains On does P4K Music Festival 2008, Day 3 - Sun Jul 20, 2008


Day 2 was fun, but it was Sunday the day that had me excited the most every time I looked at the list of bands that were going to perform. With a good live show I decide whether a band deserves my time and money or some kind of ignorance, and yesterday, for at least three of them, I became a new full fan.

The day started with some guys I have been pretty reluctant to get into, Dirty Projectors:

I didn't plan on seeing them again, and precisely not this time that they were going to play at the same time as one my new finds this year, the bubbly High Places, but fortunately, by the time I got to Union Park, High Places was delayed at stage B, and the Projectors were sounding interesting enough one more time, so I listened to some four songs. Wicked guitars, two girls singing in a particular unique (high) way, and a really good new song post Rise Above set a decent start for the day. The first band I wanted to see the most was next, High Places:

Expectations are not always good. I had been rocking High Places's single compilation 03/07 - 09/07 so much home, and especially on my headphones, that it got my hopes way too high for a mind blowing live show. Fuck, they were just good. Why weren't you amazing? High Places sometimes were amazing, with old and new songs, but sometimes just alright. Something was missing. Boris was playing one of the main stages at the same time and their loud sound was not helping at all. Maybe was it just experience? I want to think that's what it is, so see you next time. I really want to have a better show from you... like the one I got from HEALTH:

The second band I wanted to check out their live show the most was HEALTH, and they did deliver. Their self-titled debut album is so energetic that it was easy to guess their live show was going to be one of the best ones of the day. HEALTH are four guys making a lot of noise in a very simple way: Two guys on guitars and distortion, one very shaky Asian guy on the microphone and several percussion instruments, and one drummer. That's all it took for the best show of the day by 4:00 pm.

It was time for a lunch break and Apples in Stereo were next, the perfect band to pay no attention at all. After eating, I went back to stage B, were King Khan and the Shrines were rushing to start hoping to catch up with the schedule. Everything was good, except King Khan:

This was my second time seeing this hilarious man. He was hilarious again, but the problem was that I could have sang better than he did. I knew the night before he was going to play at a local bar around the corner were the festival was going on, but I didn't know he was going to lose his voice there. I bet it was rad and I'm half jealous, because that's the King Khan I would have loved to hear, not only to see.

El Guincho is one of my new favorite artists this year, and it is all thanks to his great debut album Alegranza!. Unfortunately he canceled not only his appearance at Pitchfork but all of his American tour opening for Atlas Sound. But not all it consequences were bad. Thanks to this there was an slight change in the festival's schedule and now I had no conflict to see a band I liked their debut album, but wasn't completely sold for them: The Dodos. They were good. In fact, they made me forget for a while how great HEALTH had been and became my favorite act of the day:

So, what was it? the sun? the time of the day they were playing? the killer and simple combination of their guitars and drums? or was it the trash can and the trumpet that made it so special? Of course it was all of it. Their blending of songs was very effective too. I am listening to Visiter, their debut album right now, and I am not getting the same level of energy they gave me at 6pm in the afternoon of a very hot day, which in this case is good. I am going to see them again next time they come around the city, because I want to feel that excited again.

Time to relax, and what better than M. Ward's country/folk? I have been a fan since Post-War and have no plans of changing that, particularly after this show...

What made this M. Ward special for me was that it was the first time I was seeing him with a full band. I had seen him solo before, and it was beautiful, but this show was not only beautiful... it didn't have the intimacy you feel when listening to nothing but M. Ward's rough voice and his acoustic guitar, but it had that ingredient one usually miss from that kind of shows, the rocking. Fortunately M. Ward played only solo material and didn't invite the girl he has been hanging out with... that wouldn't have been cool for me, because I made all my friends to miss Ghostface Killah and Raekwon for some serious goodness.

The heat and sun caught me up. I had to lie down before going to see Bon Iver and sort of fall sleep on the grass in the back of the park. Beautiful spacial music woke me up after a short while. The band I had decided to miss in favor of Bon Iver has already started on the main stage and it was making me feel I had made a wrong decision earlier. Spiritualized rocked my way to the stage B and even kept rocking it out while I was there. They were loud, and unbelievably so, they were even louder than Boris. Don't get me wrong, I like Bon Iver's music, but half the way into his show I knew I wanted to be half a mile from there.

The last show I saw was Spoon. Man, what is wrong with that band? I keep enjoying their albums, but I just cannot get into any of their shows. I made it through a whole one once and had to go another show right after to be sure nothing was wrong with me. This time I didn't even hear half of it. Maybe I missed the good half? I heard Bradford Cox came out to play with them after I left. That would have been interesting, at least for me, but such a combination it makes me only wonder whether Cox was joking with them or not.

P4K Music Festival 2008 was a success. Great music for three days, great city to hang out around, and cool people to meet, all for $65 plus cheap hostel (and great friends who let me stay at their place) plus airplane tickets? See you next year! [more photos]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Curtains On does P4K Music Festival 2008, Day 2 - Sat Jul 19, 2008

The Usual Suspects

Day 1 was ok, but the real fun for me started on Day 2. My initial idea for this festival was to check out as many bands I hadn't seen live before, but soon I realize that I have seen most of the bands that are playing this festival, so I ended up seeing the usual (good) suspects. I am not complaining at all... some of these bands are some of my favorite bands these days and I don't mind seeing them over and over again. But the day started with a newbie to my ears: Jay Reatard,

The hype is deserved. Jay Reatard is great punk/rock. Not my thing tho, but the guy rocks hard. He barely stopped to tune his guitar in between songs, and all his interaction with us, besides giving us a middle finger when he was done, was to tell us really fast and shouting the name of the next song he was about to play. No time for breathing.

Caribou, aka the best drums around, were next,

Seriously. You want to see the best drums live? Go to see these guys right now. This was my third time with them and I don't mind getting together with them again. After some ten minutes of technical problems with a keyboard, Dan Snaith took us into his very alive pop/rock showing off his talents: on drums, guitar, flute and keyboard (plus being a Mathematician!)... what else do you want?

Have you heard of this very hyped new band Fleet Foxes? If you read Pitchfork, of course you have. This is what they look like:

A very positive (and overrated I think) review on Pitchfork of their debut album must have been the reason for a big crowd to be checking out a band at an early 3pm. Unfortunately that time slot was not the right one for them. Fleet Foxes have pretty nice tunes, and really pretty, but that was not the kind of music I wanted to hear outdoors, sweating and under the sun. I thought FF sounded like somewhere between My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses, but after yesterday I am gonna have to add one more band to the mix: Grizzly Bear. As of now, I love all those three bands, and instead of being a good thing to hear them so much in Fleet Foxes music, it actually annoys me. Maybe we can have a good time another day, foxes.

Well, time for lunch and then back to the party... I was blown away by Dizzee Rascal:

I have the good Boy in da Corner, but I need to get his new album in one of the many tents the festival has selling CDs and vinyls asap. Yesterday's awesomeness taught me the new material has a lot of fun in it and that I should not miss him next time he comes to play a small venue around NYC. I had missed Dizzee Rascal's live shows in the city way too many times that it was fair I finally gave him a chance. It actually worked the other way around... He finally gave me the chance of seeing him live and I still can't thank him enough. I know what to play in my next party in my apartment.

Next, I overheard Vampire Weekend's set from very very far, and then heard the goodness of !!! off Myth Takes plus some new boring songs they were trying on us:

After deciding that !!! not only recently lost one key member but the soulness he brought along to the band, I went to see one of my favorite artists, Bradford Cox with his solo project: Atlas Sound,

Last time I saw Atlas Sound, Bradford was on stage with four more people, giving a full body to the music on his debut album as a solo project, Let the Blind Lead (...), and making its songs sound way less ambient. I told the friends I was with that what they were going to hear was good but nothing like what they had heard on record already, and I ended up being wrong. Bradford got on stage solo, and only with his mic and some electronic stuff sounded very much like his album does. As Atlas Sound, Bradford played several songs I hadn't heard before that he might have posted on his blog recently, plus some three key tracks from Let the Blid Lead (...). He made us wish we must had been on something...

... and if we had, it would have been perfect because Animal Collective's subliminal live experience was next:

I don't think I need to say anything else about this band... having called them one of my very favorite and very representative bands of this decade should be more than enough to give you an idea. Ok, maybe I should say that they are still playing Panda Bear's Comfty in Nautica and insist one more time that their new songs are seriously out of this planet. [more photos]

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Curtains On does P4K Music Festival 2008, Day 1 - Fri Jul 18, 2008

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

I started listening to music in an intense way only some four years ago and what I have been doing since is to try to keep up with new music. Even only that gets very hard sometimes, especially when you are not in the music business, so you can easily guess I am not fully aware of all influential albums that that old bands have offered along their careers in music history. Day 1 at Pitchfork Music Festival 2008 consisted of three bands playing three influential albums, three albums that after time has passed they have supposedly proved to be an influence for new music these days and deserve to be remembered. Vs., by Mission of Burma, is one of those albums and the one in charge of opening the first of three days for the festival:

I love Yo La Tengo, and as a good fan, I had to get to know a little bit of Mission of Burma. I am not a big fan of MoB tho, but I can definitely appreciate their stuff. I am not surprised at how old time fans, and curious people like me or with a better taste in music, are coming out again to their shows. It's not only hype... the band is indeed sounding very tight. They reunited last year and put out a great album, The Obliteratti, and since then they have continued kicking ass. I heard for the third time in my life their (supposedly) influential album Vs. and even though I don't feel the amazingness of it yet, I can definitely say that it's growing on me. Sebadoh was next:

I even know less about this band and their album Bubble and Scrape. They told us they grew up listening to Mission of Burma and rightly so their music was very much in that vein, but unfortunately they were clearly less warmed up. At the beginning that was a let down, but it turned out to be cool at the end because they were very relaxed (perhaps way too much) and telling us jokes or having interludes singing cheesy songs. Like with Mission of Burma, guitars were really good here too, but I am not gonna lie to you... last night was all about Public Enemy:

Last week I was at a club in the city dancing to hip-hop and suddenly the DJ played a funny song that I hadn't heard before with so many lines and beats that I knew that I got confused. Everybody danced and sang the song. I was even more confused. I went to his booth and asked what that track was and he looked at me even more confused because I was supposed to know. That was the first full Public Enemy track I ever heard. I realized how many people in hip-hop to anything alike, from Jay-Z and Kanye to M.I.A., today recycle, sample and or transform Public Enemy's lines and beats. Dudes are seriously influential man, and with their set playing fully It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, that was absolutely proved.

Did I have a good time? Hell yes, and I had no hopes at all of having it from the first day. Now, day 2 and day 3 are gonna be seriously amazing (to me). [more photos]