Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beard of Bees Band

On Sunday night Chris Hansen, who is featured a whole lot on this blog because he came to Europe with us, played at the Hideout.
It was really awesome hearing all those songs again, but what was even more awesome was the special guest appearance by Jeanine.
Quite possibly not a dry eye in the house - I think this photo by Claire Mooney really captures the moment.

: between bands was a game of Bingo and I totally won!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pitchfork '09

This is my second time at Pitchfork, mostly because this is the second July I've lived in Chicago. Last year I had way too much fun, had way too much sun, and drank waaaaay too much Sparks. This year I actually saw a lot more music, made a lot of new friends and ate a lot of free ice cream.

Friday night's write the night was the highlight for a lot of people, not so much me. We went, but were late and ended up running into 1000 friends and never actually saw any of the music. I could hear Built to Spill in the background and that was good enough.

Saturday morning I had to go to the airport to pick up Baptiste so I missed Disappears; which is ok because they're friends from Chicago, I've seen them before and I know I'll definitely see them again. Also missed Dutchess and the Duke but that was ok too because I was going to see them play at the Hideout later that night. The only major disappointment was missing Fucked Up - being the proud nationalist that I am, I always try to see Canadian bands when they come to town, plus The Chemistry of Common Life is fucking amazing.

Early morning (like noon) at Union Park

Bowerbirds were my unknown surprise of the weekend, I had only heard a bit about them and with no expectations I totally fell in love with it. I can't wait to see them at a small venue because they were just a bit too quiet to compete with the poppy fuzz of The Paints of Being Pure at Heart coming from across the park.

Fudgsicle 1 - Lee Cohen 0

Every time I see Ponytail they are better than before; which surprises me every time.
They blew me away at SXSW and rocked it even harder at Pitchfork. Everyone talks about Molly's crazy singing, Ken and Dustin's retardedly awesome guitars but what really kills me is Jeremy's drumming. Really just one of the best bands at the whole festival.

I'm glad this year Pitchfork was oversold and crowded as shit, because it prevented me from attempting to walk through the crafts section - I would have bought these and every other adorable thing in there

I had to return to the airport in the evening to pick up The Thermals which made me miss Beirut and Matt and Kim, which were 2 bands I was really stoked to see, but the hilarity that ensued during the van ride back to the hotel was almost worth it. The Thermals are some funny mother fuckers :)

Day 3 of the festival started out with another favorite band The Mae Shi who were super rad and let us sing "Run To Your Grave" with them onstage.

Mahmood, Bolen and Bobby watching Frightened Rabbit from the shitty VIP side, actually C stage has an ok view everywhere else was totally bullshit.

Frightened Rabbit shoes, what I love most about these guys is their inbetween song banter, but I'm a sucker for a Scottish accent

Alright Blitzen Trapper, I've tried to like your album Furr, and I tried to enjoy your set but I just can't do it. Luckily they were playing at the same time as Killer Whales so I ran over to the B stage for some dancing

The Killer Whales are my favorite Chicago band (or at least in the top 3) and I was totally proud of them for getting to play pitchfork, they don't have anything recorded, they don't have a write up on wikipedia, and their songs are bizzare, beautiful and totally punk. I saw them play a basement show last month where I danced my ass off until it was 2am and I was covered in my own sweat, the bands sweat and the fat dude who took off his shirt's sweat. I hope everyone else loved them as much as me.

The Thermals covered Basket Case by Green Day - I needn't say anything else

ok, so I feel like a douche because these dudes are from Vancouver and have played about a million shows. Lots of times with my friend's bands and sometimes just steps away from where I lived and yet this was the first time I saw them play. I wanted to find them after the show and tell them they were rad but I never found them. They mentioned they'd be back in a few months and I know I'll totally go to see them again. Japandroids were totally the No Age of Pitchfork '09
Sidenote: their promo photo that appears on the Pitchfork website was taken by my freind Leigh and it's totally the best photo ever.

Jacob and Moses trying to escape the brief yet annoying sunshine

Things I would complain about at this years festival:
  • shitty viewing for VIPs; hey I'm a Very Important Person
  • The Weather - most people liked the cooler temps but I wanted it blistering hot, Dena said it best "I have no Patience for Pants"
  • needing a photopass to bring in a camera with a detachable lens, reason why I had to steal photos from flickr

by the time M83 took the stage it was like 6:00 and I hadn't sat down, eaten or drank any water so I had to take a little break and only caught part of their set. I really liked it and I also really liked her outfit. The more sequins the better :)

My morning started 9 hours before this moment with Wayne Coyne pracitcing his ribbon dancing backstage - finally got to see the Hamster ball in real life

The Flaming Lips have got some serious fans, I saw no less than 10 people dressed up as Aliens, a few bunnies and a Banana which may or may not have been related

Totally goosebump inspiring moment, ending the whole weekend with "Do You Realize"
It's hard to make the good things last...

Photo's stolen from Flickr
Clayton Hauck
Bobby Burg
Robert Loerzel
Dirty Black Chucks
Clayton Hauck
Gapers Block
Gapers Block
Cody Braits
Clayton Hauck
myself again

Dutchess and The Duke

Saturday proved to be a very very long day, I had to drive the Thermals, see as many bands as possible at Pitchfork, find time to eat, and then head to the Hideout to see Dutchess and the Duke play with Vacations

I clearly was not the only person excited to see Dutchess and the Duke play, the show was sold out before the doors were even open.
The real highlight was Vacations though :)

Chicago's indie darlings

She's the Dutchess and He's the Duke

Special guests Matt, Melissa and Jared really made Dutchess and the Duke sound awesome live. Also the strings section really killed it. I'm glad I missed them play at Pitchfork because I feel that the small, dark, intimate setting of the Hideout was perfect for this performance.

After the show Bobby stole me a copy of their LP and I've been listening to it on repeat - they're not experimental, they're not trying to improve on something that's already been done, they're just singing some songs and I fucking love it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of Ju-lie

This is the 2nd Independence Day for me in Chicago (or the United States period) and I got an entirely different experience.
Last year I enjoyed the fireworks from the safety of a roof top - this year I was in the trenches, literally. It was like a fucking war zone - there is no describing it and no photos do it justice.You have to be in Chicago on the 4th of July to fully understand the mayhem

We Threw Gasoline On The Fire Now We Have Stumps For Arms And No Eyebrows