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"I was Changed By Rock and Roll"

Musings on shows and introspective resolution. Yeah right.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rilo Kiley @ Greek, 6/18

My first visit to the Greek this year was with a friend who's having some rough relationship times; thankfully, Rilo Kiley cheered her up -- so much, in fact, that after playing through a typically heartwrenching breakup song (which I imagined would drive her to hysterics) she looked at me and said "that's my new favorite song."

Of course, that's because the moral is that Jenny Lewis is singing about enjoying her newfound freedom -- something my friend has understandably not been able to do quite yet -- but it's also because it was damn good. Though both Jenny and Blake are among the nicest rock stars I've ever met (check out my Spin.com interviews with them here) I've never been a fan of theirs on record. But live, there's so much charisma; Jenny looks completely at home being a rock star and Blake her #2, and the songs sound so much more rich and powerful. It doesn't hurt that the not-full-at-all audience made up for the lack of purchased tickets by singing at the top of their 15-year-old lungs: this is obviously a band that's become sort of cult heroes, and this next generation of music lovers could do much worse.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bonnaroo '08

I'm back from Bonnaroo, and my brain is mush -- probably not from drugs, but from reajusting to sitting in front of a screen instead of in front of (or behind) a stage, so these are going to be some quick highlights. For the record, I was there for work, though not music-related, really; you can see what I did here and here. Nothing like something unconventional to keep things going...

Musical highlights:

Swell Season: Glen and Marketa project true musical bliss, whether it's through her boldly subtle piano playing and vocals or his truly cathartic caterwaul. I've seen them before, I'll see them again, but I've never seen them this commanding.

Solomon Burke: The pimp of pimps; too heavy to walk/sit down himself, but with enough soul power to have a woman wipe him down in between songs and to convince a horde of 20-something bikini'd girls to be his backup dancers. No one is this cool for real.

Pearl Jam: No surprise here, but I bet Eddie Vedder'll be repeating Thom Yourke's thoughts in interviews soon, namely that Bonnaroo re-affirmed his faith in festivals. I'd also bet on them at Coachella next year, now, and I'd bet the set won't be half as good.

My Morning Jacket: For fuck's sake, why'd I leave and miss "Get Down On It" and "Home Sweet Home?" Ask my beer. At least I saw Kirk Hammett sit in on "One Big Holiday" and a bit of "Oh Sweet Nothing." Anyone have recordings of this? It was probably hard to get, since it was in the middle of a torrential rain storm.

Lowlights: Missing most of Metallica, who rocked, to sleep in prep for MMJ. And Kanye: Dude, way to ruin my (and about 20,000 other people's) trips. All it would have taken was a before-set apology and all'd be forgiven; now, you just look like a chump.

and some backstage thoughts: Taking pictures of people eating is harder than it looks. I should, however, take more pictures with hot girls. I may be in love with a groupie; Paige, if you're reading this, sorry for calling you a groupie, but I've heard things :). Sneaking food's easy if you get to know the woman serving it; waiting in line for free beer's rarely worth it, and Jack Johnson sounds best lying in a tent waiting for the night to begin. And one more thing: I have "heard" that a great life experience can be had if you're um, rolling, and there's a karaoke tent that has a live band with which to sing Bel Biv Devoe's "Poison." I'm just saying.

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