Categories
Alabama Shakes Beck Beirut Blind Pilot Blitzen Trapper Damien Jurado Fresh Espresso Girl Talk Gorge Amphitheater Grouplove Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop Jack White Of Monsters and Men Pickwick Poor Moon Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside Shearwater Silversun Pickups The Cave Singers The Head and the Heart The Shins THEESatisfaction Tom Brosseau Tune-Yards We Are Augustines Wild Flag Yellow Ostrich

Did you make your Sasquatch! schedule yet? Here's our picks!

{Sasquatch! 2010 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

It seems crazy to be talking about it already, but ready or not, 2012's Sasquatch! Music Festival is right around the corner! Next weekend, in fact, we'll be packing up our cars and celebrating the impending start of summer by spending a long weekend in the sun, poring over four days of band schedules and making the most of our annual trip to the Gorge Ampitheater in George, Washington. The last few years have given us festival weekends for the books {here's some proof from 2011 and 2010}, and this year looks like it will be no exception — there's tons to see every day no matter what your personal taste is, and at the moment it looks like the weather is going to hold out, too! So, let's take a look at some of the highlights that we can't wait to take in — and you can play along at home by making your own Sasquatch! day-by-day schedule here.

FRIDAY

{Sasquatch! 2010 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

There seems to be a build built in to the fest, both per-day and over the course of the weekend, too: Friday starts by easing us into a warm bath with the smooth sounds of Allen Stone, who will be kicking things off at the Sasquatch Stage at 5:00p. And if that "blue-eyed soul" sound isn't your thing, don't worry — you can take it in the opposite direction with the post alt.indie vibe that Yellow Ostrich does at 5:15p on the Bigfoot Stage instead {pop on over here for a sample of what we love about these guys}. Then, Iceland's made-famous-to-Seattle-via-KEXP allstars Of Monsters and Men take the 6:00p spot on the Sasquatch Stage, while recent buzz band Polica blow out the Bigfoot Stage at 6:30. There's plenty to experience Friday besides (and around) these four picks, but our last can't-miss recommendation is 110% for Girl Talk's set at 8:30 on the Sasquatch Stage, sure to be a power-hour that will leave the crowds (and us!) happily hopped-up in preparation for the next three days of music.

SATURDAY

{Pickwick / by Victoria VanBruinisse} {Charles Bradley / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

We can't really think of a better way to begin the first weekend day of Sasquatch! with back-to-back sets of awesome on the Sasquatch Stage, first with Pickwick at 12:00p, followed immediately by Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires at 1:05p. {It's worth noting that we've been buzzing with love for Charles Bradley since his set in KEXP's Bumbershoot Music Lounge last year, and we can't wait to catch him on the big stage!} Well-primed, we'll head into some modern American roots tunes from Blitzen Trapper at 2:10p on the same stage, and we'll cap the first part of the day off with what's sure to be one of the best revival-jam sets of the weekend, Alabama Shakes at 3:00p on the Bigfoot Stage. Speaking of, we're quite sure you're in the loop with AS's recent release, Boys & Girls, but just in case you haven't gotten into it yet, check it out here.

{Thee Satisfaction / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{tUnE-yArDs / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Saturday shakes up at 3:30p, with a turn for the funkier side: THEESatisfaction will be bringing all the goodness from their latest release {and then some!} to the Yeti Stage right about then, and there's tons to check out over the course of the afternoon and early evening (Portlandia, Kurt Vile and the Violators, and Dum Dum Girls stand out as choices worthy of your festival time) before Helio Sequence's Bigfoot Stage set at 6:30p and Metric's Sasquatch Stage set at 6:40p. Those bleed into our absolutely-can't-miss pick for Saturday, tUnE-yArDs on the Bigfoot Stage at 7:30p {!!!!!}, and the night caps off with The Shins and Jack White back-to-back to close out the Sasquatch Stage starting about 8:10p.

SUNDAY

{Fly Moon Royalty / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Holy schedule conflicts, Batman. Too many great bands to see is absolutely a wonderful problem to have, but we're still not sure how we're going to manage seeing even a little bit of everything we want to get to on Sunday! We'll warm up with Hey Marseilles and Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr doing sets on the Sasquatch Stage at 12:00p and 1:05p respectively, and then we'll dash up the hill to catch one of our {many} favorite Merge acts, Hospitality, at the Bigfoot Stage at 2:00p. Hopefully there's time to catch a little bit of Fly Moon Royalty at the Maine Stage, as they've got a set starting at 2:15p (and if their performance at this year's Dancing on the Valentine celebration is any indicator, ps, we are definitely in for a treat) before a coin toss that decides between Blind Pilot's 3:15p Sasquatch Stage set and Gardens & Villa's 3:30p Yeti Stage set. After that, we'll be back to the Bigfoot Stage for The War On Drugs and Deer Tick's sets starting around 4:00p, catch a little bit of M Ward down on the Sasquatch Stage at 5:25p, and split ourselves into clones to catch the entirety of both Wild Flag's Bigfoot Stage set and The Head and the Heart's Sasquatch Stage set, at 6:20p and 6:40p respectively.

{We Are Augustines / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

After that, the night finally slows down to a dull roar, with our miss-it-and-you'll-regret-it-forever pick for Sunday, We Are Augustines, who will be taking the Yeti Stage by storm at 6:45p. After soaking in their incredible, fully legit, dare we say "indie rock" (post indie rock?) sounds, we'll have plenty of time for the Walkmen's 7:30 set at the Bigfoot Stage before sauntering down to cap the night off with Beirut's 8:10p Sasquatch Stage performance. There's plenty going on well into the night for anyone who isn't out of steam by then, most notably Bon Iver's headlining set and James Murphy's DJ set, but it's pretty likely that we'll be too wiped out at that point to do anything but head back to the hotel and gear up for a fourth day of incredible, amazing music.

MONDAY

The long weekend will absolutely be going out with a bang, with a schedule on Monday that rivals the running around we'll be doing to catch a little bit of everything on Sunday. And again, just like the other three days of the fest we'll be easing into the {fingers crossed!} sunshiny bliss with bands like the alt-country Sheepdogs at 12:00p on the Sasquatch Stage, maybe a little Gold Leaves at 12:15p on the Yeti Stage, some Grouplove at 1:05p on the Sasquatch Stage {we'd love to hear this live super bad!!}, and a side of Poor Moon at the Yeti Stage at 1:20p before the day kicks fully into gear.

{Damien Jurado / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Shearwater / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

It'll be back-to-back-to-back mayhem after that, as we try to catch some of Gary Clark Jr.'s 2:10p Sasquatch Stage set and Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside's 2:35p Yeti Stage set before sprinting over to see Damien Jurado at 2:45p on the Bigfoot Stage. It'll be incredible to get that Maraqopa vibe going on a stage that size, and we're quite sure that they're going to blow the roof off of the afternoon — a tough act to follow, but we'll be prolonging the feel-good vibes by taking in Fresh Espresso on the Maine Stage at 4:25p, Shearwater on the Yeti Stage {OMG} at 5:40p, and then we'll try to catch as much of John Reilly and Friends (feat. Becky Stark and our old pal Tom Brosseau) on the Yeti Stage at 6:45 and the Cave Singers on the Bigfoot stage at 6:50p as we can before we're ready to drop. And as if that weren't enough, between Silversun Pickups and Beck closing out the night on the Sasquatch Stage, we're going to make sure to get our Ted Leo & The Pharmacists on at 7:50p on the Yeti Stage to make sure we do our exit right.

It is for sure going to be a weekend to remember — we hope our suggestions have been helpful in cutting through all the choices you'll be making over your four days at the Gorge, and we'll see you up there! And if it still feels too crazy to sort through, remember to head on over to that handy Sasquatch! schedgie-making page, where you can not only build a custom timetable but! you can also listen to a song from each artist to see if you dig on it enough to fit it into your viewing for the day. It doesn't get much easier than that!

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse. From top: Sasquatch! 2010, Long Winters Crowd at the Sasquatch! 2010, Pickwick / Charles Bradley at the KEXP Bumbershoot Lounge 2011, THEESatisfaction at the Triple Door, tUnE-yArDs at Sasquatch! 2010, Fly Moon Royalty at DOTV 7, We Are Augustines at Austin City Limits 2011, Damien Jurado at the Fremont Abbey, Shearwater at the Triple Door. Sasquatch! 2012 is sold out.}

Categories
Alabama Shakes Beck Beirut Blind Pilot Charles Bradley Deer Tick Girl Talk Grouplove Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop Jack White Mark Lanegan Band Pickwick Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside Shearwater Ted Leo & the Pharmacists Tenacious D The Cave Singers The Head and the Heart Tune-Yards We Are Augustines Wild Flag

Totally legit: Sasquatch! 2012 lineup announced

{Physics / by Max Cook}

{Matthew Caws of Nada Surf / by Max Cook}

In the throes of a killer party at the Neptune last night, we were thrilled beyond belief to find out the details on another most excellent year for the Sasquatch! music festival, taking place out at the Gorge on Memorial Day weekend {May 25-28}. Sasquatch! is by far one of our favorite fests every year, and 2012 is going to be no exception.

We're particularly excited about partying down with the likes of Jack White, Beck, Tenacious D, Beirut, Girl Talk {hell yes!}, The Head and the Heart, Tune-Yards, Wild Flag, Blind Pilot, Mark Lanegan Band, The Cave Singers, Grouplove, Ted Leo, Deer Tick, Alabama Shakes, We Are Augustines, Shearwater {!!!!!}, Charles Bradley, Pickwick, Hey Marseilles, Sallie Ford, Dyme Def, Fresh Espresso, and Katie Kate — but by no means does that even scratch the surface of the seemingly-zillion fantastic bands included on this year's lineup. As usual, there's a thoughtful mash of notable locals and squee-worthy headliners, so much so that slapping down the ticket price to spend the long weekend with twenty-plus thousand of your closest friends is an absolute no-brainer.

Tickets go on sale Friday, February 11th, and you can more info on everything at the official Sasquatch! site here. And stop by the imaginary flickr pool to check out some of our best shots from 2011 and 2010!

See you at the Gorge!

{Photos of The Physics and Matthew Caws courtesy of Max Cook.}

Categories
Adam Cohen Beck Duffy Elbow Estelle Franz Ferdinand Hot Chip Imaginary Scoop Lily Allen Mick Jones Peaches Rufus Wainwright Scissor Sisters The Hold Steady The Kooks TV on the Radio Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Lily Allen covers The Clash with Mick Jones, Hold Steady covers Bruce…

I know we just got done with the 2008 lists, but this one's clamoring for my top compilation spot for '09 already!

Not only is the track list out of the stratosphere, but a portion of the proceeds go to charity, too. Read on (bracketed emphasis mine, obvi):

WAR CHILD ANNOUNCE HEROES FULL TRACK LIST AND ARTIST LINEUP

HEROES TO BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 24, 2009 ON ASTRALWERKS RECORDS

For immediate release:

War Child and Astralwerks Records are pleased to announce the full track list and artist lineup for the new benefit album, Heroes, which will be released on February 24, 2009. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Heroes will go to support War Child, an award winning charity that provides humanitarian assistance to war-affected children in some of the most devastated regions of the world.

The album's concept mirrors one of the intrinsic aims of War Child's effors in war zones around the world — to place faith in the next generation. We asked some of the biggest legends in music history to select a classic track from their own songwriting canon, and nominate an artist from the next generation to create a modern reworking of that classic song. This album is the result: 16 exclusive and truly inspired cover versions.

The track list in full:

1. Beck (Bob Dylan – "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat")

2. The Kooks (The Kinks – "Victoria") [!!!!!]

3. The Hold Steady (Bruce Springsteen – "Atlantic City")

4. Hot Chip (Joy Division – "Transmission")

5. Lily Allen feat. Mick Jones [YOW!] (The Clash – "Straight to Hell")

6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (The Ramones – "Sheena is a Punk Rocker") [okay, stop it!]

7. Franz Ferdinand (Blondie – "Call Me") [this is getting ridiculous…]

8. Duffy (Paul McCartney – "Live and Let Die")

9. Estelle (Stevie Wonder – "Superstition")

10. Rufus Wainwright (Brian Wilson – "Wonderful & Song For Children") [!!!!!]

11. Scissor Sisters (Roxy Music – "Do the Strand")

12. Peaches (Iggy Pop – "Search and Destroy")

13. Adam Cohen (Leonard Cohen – "Take This Waltz")

14. Elbow [GET OUT!] (U2 – "Running to Stand Still")

15. The Like (Elvis Costello – "You Belong To Me")

16. TV on the Radio (David Bowie – "Heroes")

I think I just had a heart attack.

Tons of information on the album, the charity, and so much more at War Child's website. I can not wait to get my hands on this!

Categories
Beck Beehive Das Vibenbass Estelle Fall of Troy Grynch Kinski Live Show Review M. Ward Man Man Mono In VCF Nada Surf New Faces PWRFL Power Saul Williams Thao and the Get Down Stay Down The Girls The Walkmen Throw Me the Statue

Bumbershoot 2008: Day 1

Bumbershoot is a musical extravaganza, spanning the three-day Labor Day weekend with more bands, arts, and elephant ears than anyone can possibly capture. We had a posse of imaginary writers (ChrisB, Chris Estey, imaginary elle, imaginary dana, and Cory), and photographers (Chona, Kyle, Nathan, and Andrew) all over Seattle Center, trying to capture the frenzy and mayhem of Bumbershoot 2008. Below you can see and read about our adventures during the first day, which kicked off with local electronic duo Beehive and ended with superstar Beck, and covered over 20 other bands in-between.

Enjoy!

Beehive, Wells Fargo Stage

Beehive must be one of the most hard-luck bands in Seattle. The local electronic duo had gotten a difficult timeslot – Saturday at noon but tried to make the most of it. They played an energetic rock set that lasted about 35 minutes, simulating a rock band with electronic instruments. To get the crowd on their side early started off with two covers known by everyone in the fairly large crowd – “We Will Rock You” and “Helter Skelter.” Overcoming a scratchy microphone, they got a lot of the crowd to stand and even a few danced. They found their groove early and singer/programmer Alethea, or “Butterfly Beats,” delighted the crowd with her soulful voice. (ChrisB)

Beehive. Photo by Andrew Waits

Beehive photo by Andrew Waits

Beehive photo by Andrew Waits

Beehive photos by Andrew Waits.

 

New Faces, EMP Sky Church

I’ve seen this band a bajillion times — I practically stalk them — and this was a very good show. They had a great dynamic with a pretty big turnout. They owned that huge stage. (Chona Kasinger)

New Faces photo by Chona Kasinger

New Faces photo by Chona Kasinger
New Faces. Photos by Chona Kasinger.

 

Throw Me the Statue, Rockstar Stage

An important aspect to booking festivals is kicking things off with a band to set the right mood. Throw Me The Statue was just such a band, with their undemanding pop tinged with elements such as a backing horn section. Their crowd was comfortable enough to stand or sit, a few head bobbers sprinkled here and there. (imaginary elle)

Throw Me the Statue. Photo by Chona KasingerThrow Me the Statue. Photo by Chona Kasinger.

Throw Me the Statue photo by Kyle Johnson

Throw Me the Statue. Photo by Kyle Johnson.

 

Neko Case, Samsung Mobile Mainstage

It makes sense to put former Washingtonian Neko Case on the mainstage at Bumbershoot because it was the first time I’ve seen her in a venue big enough to contain her voice. She played for about 75 minutes and was funny and likeable throughout, making note of playing depressing country songs in the middle of the day. “Deep Red Bells” and “That Teenage Feeling,” played back to back sounded enormous and expansive – especially with three different guitar parts (Jon Rahouse on petal steel, Paul Rigby on electric guitar and Case herself playing acoustic guitar). She and longtime collaborator Kelly Hogan joked midway through the set that it was too early in the day for them to get wasted. Their humor was hilarious and provided a necessary balance for the emotional content of her set. {see the setlist} (ChrisB)

Neko Case. Photo by Nathan Feder.Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. Photo by Nathan Feder.

Photo by Kyle JohnsonNeko crowd. Photo by Kyle Johnson.

 

Das Vibenbass, Wells Fargo Stage

The aptly titled quartet Das Vibenbass bring the jazz vibe and bass to the 21st Century music listener, bringing the genre to a more accessible level. Hell, as their set progressed, I started to realize I wished we were listening to the local band–an upright bass, saxophone, drums, and vibraphone–in an exclusive, smokey hidden jazz club with a gin, rather than out in the sunshine on fold able chairs. Wait a minute… are they playing a jazz rendition of “Black Hole Sun” not in a cheesy Kenny G covers Top 40 sort of way, but a very slick, enjoyable way? Never mind, they do know how to bring jazz to the modern ear. Their entire set was brilliant, definitely fetching all the praise they have received, such as being nominated in the Seattle Weekly for Best Jazz act. Doesn’t hurt that their saxophone player was a good looking, well-dressed fellow as well. (imaginary elle)

Das Vibenbass by Kyle Johnson

Das Vibenbass photo by Kyle Johnson

Das Vibenbass photo by Kyle JohnsonDas Vibenbass photos by Kyle Johnson.

 

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, KEXP LoungeThao and the Get Down Stay Down

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down by Andrew WaitsThao and the Get Down Stay Down photos by Andrew Waits.

 

The Girls, EMP Sky Church

In the dark crowded Sky Church at the Bumbershoot Festival yesterday afternoon there was briefly the flavor of a late 70s small club show, with the one “wavo” band in town that “got it.” The transgressive energy of sleazy humor (“Fixing The Chairs”), light-hearted Futurism, clipped robot rhythms, weird stop-starts (“TV Glow”), and shuffle beats from Shannon Brown (vocals), Elie Goral (drums), Derek Mason (keyboards), Vas Kumar (guitar), and (bassist) Griff happily entranced the hometown Seattle mob. The crowd wasn’t frenzied but it was very cheerful. Just like the shared similar aesthetic Figurines and Futureheads, The Girls is even better live than their recordings, wishing they would add more of that spontaneity and rawness next time out to their songwriting. It would be great if this city had its next Screamers, and this band maybe could be a contender for that role. (Chris Estey)

The Girls photo by Chona Kasinger

The Girls photo by Chona KasingerThe Girls. Photos by Chona Kasinger

 

Grynch, Fisher Green Stage

Grynch photo by Kyle Johnson

Grynch photo by Kyle Johnson

Grynch photo by Kyle Johnson

Grynch photos by Kyle Johnson.

 

Mono in VCF, KEXP Lounge

Mono in VCF photo by Andrew Waits

Mono in VCF photo by Andrew Waits

Mono in VCF photo by Andrew Waits

 


Nada Surf
, KEXP Lounge

The KEXP Lounge is such an amazing refuge from the hurried, elephant-eared pace of Bumbershoot. There a few hundred lucky fans can see bands in a intimate dark (air-conditioned) setting. Catching Nada Surf acoustic style was definitely a highlight of my Bumbershoot experience; Matthew and Ira’s spot-on harmonies positively sent chills down my spine. Also of note: the bassist for Osma did an admirable job filling in for an injured Daniel Lorca. Watch a video of the band performing “Weightless.” (imaginary dana)

Nada Surf photo by Chona Kasinger
Nada Surf photo by Chona Kasinger

Nada Surf photo by Chona Kasinger
Nada Surf photos by Chona Kasinger.

 

Fall of Troy, Exhibition Hall

Fall of Troy photos by Kyle Johnson

Fall of Troy photo by Kyle Johnson

Fall of Troy photo by Kyle Johnson

Fall of Troy photo by Kyle Johnson

Fall of Troy photo by Kyle Johnson
Fall of Troy photos by Kyle Johnson.

 

PWRFL Power, EMP Sky Church

PWRFL Power photo by Andrew Waits

PWRFL Power photo by Andrew Waits

PWRFL Power photo by Andrew Waits

 

The Walkmen, Rockstar Stage

The Walkmen photo by Chona Kasinger The Walkmen photo by Chona Kasinger

The Walkmen photo by Chona Kasinger

The Walkmen photo by Chona KasingerThe Walkmen. Photos by Chona Kasinger.

 

Estelle, Fisher Green Stage

Estelle, the British R&B/soul star, delivered what will be one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Playing before a huge crowd on the Fisher Green stage, she more than lived up to the buzz surrounding her new <em>Shine</em> album. On stage she reminded me of a cross between Sharon Jones and Lily Allen – two of my absolute favorite performers. Her band was tight and funky – although I wish they would have been funkier; their obvious influences are Parliament/Funkadelic, The Famous Flames and The Dap Kings and only on a few songs (“Pretty Please” and “American Boy”) did they seem to break out. “American Boy”, the #1 UK single that also features a cameo from Kanye West, closed the set and the enormous crowd sang along and danced – it was one of those great moments where a huge and diverse crowd shares a fantastic performance of a song that is the soundtrack to a whole lot of summers. (ChrisB)

Estelle photo by Nathan Feder

Estelle photo by Nathan Feder
Estelle. Photos by Nathan Feder.

Saul Williams, Fisher Green Stage

Saul Williams photo by Kyle Johnson

Saul Williams photo by Kyle Johnson

Saul Williams. Photo by Kyle Johnson. Saul Williams. Photos by Kyle Johnson.

 

Man Man, Rockstar Stage

Man Man photo by Chona Kasinger
Man Man photo by Chona Kasinger
Man Man. Photos by Chona Kasinger.

Man Man photo by Andrew Waits

Man Man. Photo by Andrew Waits.
Man Man. Photos by Andrew Waits.


Nada Surf
, Starbucks Stage

Nada Surf photo by Chona Kasinger
Nada Surf photo by Chona KasingerNada Surf. Photos by Chona Kasinger.

 

West Indian Girl, EMP Sky Church

West Indian Girl by Andrew Waits West Indian Girl. Photo by Andrew Waits.

West Indian Girl. Photo by Chona Kasinger.West Indian Girl. Photo by Chona Kasinger.

West Indian Girl. Photo by Kyle Johnson.
West Indian Girl. Photo by Kyle Johnson.

 

Kinski, EMP Sky Church

Kinski photos by Kyle Johnson

Kinski photos by Kyle Johnson
Kinski. Photos by Kyle Johnson.

 

!!!, KEXP Lounge

I really enjoy !!!, the Sacramento-based, punk/funk/jam band but writing about them gives me fits with MS Word’s grammar check; using Google isn’t any easier. Still, their 30+ minute set in KEXP’s music lounge was great fun. Playing mostly newer songs (singer Nic Offer even said that they would give us “a hit and a half”), they still delivered the same dance punk they are known for. Offer might have forgotten a few times that this performance was being broadcast on the radio because he dropped the f-word a few times. The funniest time was when he said that he thought the room was full because we were all “the fucks who are going to see Beck tonight” (!!! and Beck is the most unfortunate scheduling conflict of the weekend) and threatened to give a crappy performance for the last song. They didn’t; in spite of their threats, they still rocked. (ChrisB)

 

M Ward, Rockstar Stage

M. Ward photo by Andrew Waits
M. Ward photo by Andrew Waits

M. Ward. Photo by Andrew Waits.M. Ward. Photo by Andrew Waits.

 

Beck, Samsung Mobile Mainstage

Did you think Beck was watching a legend in action, as Imaginary Kiku did? Or did you think he was, in a word, bullshit, as ChrisB did? Our imaginary coverage has a little something for everyone.

Beck. Photo by Kyle Johnson.Beck. Photo by Kyle Johnson.

 

Categories
Beck Live Show Review

Bumbershoot 2008: Beck

When I ask myself why I had such an incredible time at the Beck show, there is only one answer that truly explains it: because it’s Beck. To many people this line of reasoning is not justifiable at all, but to many others (plenty of whom were at the show as well) it makes perfect sense.

To me (and a great number of my friends), Beck has become a legend: less of a man and more of a mythical being. We have agreed that we want to know nothing of his life, his childhood, romantic affairs, nothing that would take away the splendor of his stage persona. So we thoroughly enjoyed his performance at the Main Stage on Saturday, although to be honest had it been any other band I would have been underwhelmed. But it was Beck.

The first thing about a Beck show that makes it distinct from most other concerts is the audience. Because Beck is, as Futurama put it, “a musician-poet who transcends genres even as he re-invents them”, the crowd he draws is extremely diverse. There were gangsters, indie kids and pot heads, there were tweens and baby boomers, and there was at least one man from England. These people weren’t just relaxing in the back either; they were packed into the claustrophobic first 50 feet from the stage.

There was a long wait after Band of Horses left the stage and the massive crowd cheered for basically any slender blonds who made their way on stage, of which there were two who were not Beck. When the man of the hour finally did arrive, he did so exactly how I would want Beck to do it, and if it weren’t for the Bumbershoot announcer’s annoyingly necessary introduction, it would have been perfectly discreet. Dressed in a too big black coat and a matching fedora, Beck walked on and just launched right into “Loser”.

As the performance went on the massive board of bulbs behind Beck illuminated to form increasingly complex shapes, from simple geometric polygons at first, to dead trees, flames, and even Beck himself. The set was full of hits and most likely satisfied all walks of life that came to his show. There was the sweet and catchy “Think I’m in Love” and the complex rapping of “Where It’s At.” Halfway through the show he abandoned the problematic mic he had been using and donned a headset, “like ‘N SYNC” he informed us. Then he and his very attractive band abandoned their instruments and took up some clunky electronic remote controls. With these they lay down some digital beats and performed the 8-bit masterpiece “Hell Yes."

Being in the audience and surrounded with people all singing along, I realized how remarkably catchy all of Beck’s choruses are. Although most of the verses are unintelligible, his choruses are short, simple and addictive, and if anyone wasn’t singing along then I respect their willpower but frown on their repression.  

I thought the set was very well arranged. It consisted of mostly hits (of which Beck has many), a few songs I was less familiar with, and about three quarters of the way in there was a period of slower songs which were just what I needed after dancing the whole time. He couldn’t have chosen a better song to close with (a standard encore with the five minutes suspense; “Is he coming back!” “He must be, they’re tightening the drum heads!”). The final song was “E Pro,” with a chorus that is simply na nas, but had everyone jumping and singing along raucously. There was even a mini mosh pit where I was standing.

It’s true that he did not address the audience very frequently during the show, and it may be a valid point that this stop in his tour was probably the same as any other stop, but I think that’s just a part of Beck’s appeal. He doesn’t try to make you like him with witty banter or funny stories. He simply presents to you his music and lets you take what you want from it. He’s the kid in school who doesn’t talk much but everyone knows is the coolest person in their grade. Some bands you want to get to know and therefore you want them to chat up the audience, but with Beck, I think its best he remains a mystery.

Beck left us as suddenly as he came. Like some legendary antihero, he rolled out of town leaving grateful villagers and broken hearts in his wake. It seems like everything Beck does is instinctive, like he can just naturally shift from pop to rap to folksy blues. I think his show had that same natural feel, like you weren’t necessarily watching a performance, but you were watching Beck do what Beck does. And that’s the best (and really the only) thing I could expect from him.

Categories
Beck Imaginary Scoop

Is Beck Bullshit?

I don't want to write too much on this to take anything away from my friend Imaginary Kiku's forthcoming review of Beck's performance last night at Bumbershoot (and I know we're in disagreement already). I do, however, want to put this out there and ask the question that was running through my mind for most of last evening: Is Beck bullshit?

When Beck was on stage, he went mostly through his catalogue of hits – and some of them are very good ("Devil's Haircut", "Loser", "Where It's At") and those were well received. When he closed out his set (before the encore) with 4 or 5 slower, less signature songs, the crowd was indifferent at best. This was also the same performance he could have given at any stop on his tour – there was nothing about this that made it unique. Is Beck becoming an oldies act? One small group in my section was debating the merits of visual vs. performance art late in the set and when I left I overheard a handful of Scientology/L. Ron Hubbard jokes.

Maybe I'm mistaken. I did spend a lot of time listening to Odelay during my teenage years but have only enjoyed a few singles recently and haven't really cared for a proper Beck release in the 2000s. He didn't sound bad or screw up any lyrics or anything. I was disppointed. Am I full of shit? Was I (second-hand) smoking the marijuana that was prevalent throughout the set? Comment below and let me what you all thought.

Categories
Beck David Cross Devendra Banhart Feist Imaginary Scoop Les Savy Fav Peaches Rilo Kiley Sloan Smoosh Sonic Youth The Arcade Fire The Postal Service Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Let the Halloween video parade begin: Sonic Youth, Smoosh, Beck, Arcade Fire unite!

Halloween is nearly upon us. Many could argue that it actually starts tonight with tomorrow being the BIG night (appropriately full with Halloween theme'd dress up shows and all).

Here's a video put out a while back from The North American Halloween Prevention Initiative. It's kinda weird and it was hard to get my brain around it before the morning muffin… but it features a ton of awesomeness in the line-up — and that's good enough for me. Bands featured: Arcade Fire, Beck, Buck 65, David Cross, Dessert, Devendra Banhart, Elvira, Feist, Gino Washington, Les Savy Fav, Islands, Malcolm McLaren, Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Peaches, Postal Service, Rilo Kiley, Greg Kursten, Roky Erickson, Sloan, Smoosh, Sonic Youth, Tagaq, That Dog, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

There's more out there… what have you got?

Categories
Beck Imaginary Scoop

Beck+Designer=Sketchel?

Beck Sketchel

Save for my Project Runway addiction, I'm not into fashion design. Usually I'm just a vintage clothing kinda gal – so the closest I usually get to buying something new is at a merch table at the Croc. I love the band t-shirt! So much so that I'm in the process of making a quilt out of my retired stash of t-shirts (finally the worn-thin 1988 REM shirt will see the light of day!).

Beck is now cashing in on folks with a band-t-shirt fetish like mine by working with international designers to create a conceptual and functional art object – also known as a custom bag they've named the Beck sketchel. The sketchel (bag) showcases an exclusive design by French artist Genevieve Gauckler, who also contributed art to Beck's new album sleeve. Personally, I have no idea who Genevieve is (although I can assume she's fairly notable in the Nordstrom's scene)… but I appreciate the colorful bag she's designed to coincide with the Beck cover. Neat!

The limited edition shoulder bag is available at the Beck online store.

 

Categories
Beck Geffen Record Review

Guero

For the record, I prefer "Gwhere-oh" as opposed to "Where-oh." According to the second track on Beck's newest record, the pronunciation is actually closer to the latter.

Guero, (pronounced however you'd like; most people know what record you're talking about), is most aptly described as a single-disc box set. As a prolific, dynamic songwriter who has matured and changed over time with each of his records, broad expectations of "What is he going to do next?" accompanied the release of Guero.

The result is what you'd expect: A record you'll love if you're a diehard Beck fan, and a record you'll wave off if you aren't.

Beck has gone from the crazy eccentricities of his breakout single "Loser" to mind-bending dance rock on Odelay, to the Radiohead-tinged intimacy on Sea Change. And on Guero, Beck compiles elements of seemingly each of his past seven records. Standout tracks on the record parallel whatever the listener's favorite Beck album is — huge Sea Change fans will find themselves drawn to the track "Girl" for the similarities between it and the Sea Change track "Sunday Sun." Only after thinking "Girl" might be the best track on the record will they realize Nigel Godrich (production wizard of Radiohead and Sea Change fame) had a hand in the mixing process. And indeed "Girl" is a fantastic track; but then again, I thought Sea Change may have been the best record of 2002.

The first track off Guero is "E-Pro," a little taste for the Odelay fan in us all. The catchy guitar riff, the semi-danceability: it's so very familiar. Oh, oh, wait…here comes another Odelay-esque moment in "Black Tambourine" a few tracks later. And then of course the single "Hell Yes" is eerily familiar to Beck circa 1996.

Come to think of it, "Black Tambourine" could have been on Mutations too.

Guero might not be the next step in Beck's long walk down the road of musical maturation, but it's a nice little side-step shuffle dance before he moves on to whatever else he has up his sleeve.

In any case, Guero, however you choose to pronounce it, is a good record. It's enjoyable, it's fun, it's Beck as an unfinished Rubik's cube, with all colors showing on all sides.

Categories
Beck Benaroya Hall Live Show Review The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips and Beck

What does forty bucks get you on a Saturday night? In a recession, more than you might think; three disco balls, the best acoustics in the world, and a crash of zoo animals waving flashlights around a darkened, foggy auditorium. Forty bucks gets you Beck and The Flaming Lips (hereon to be known as "The B/Lips") at Benaroya Hall on a Saturday night making like a bar mitzvah band on holiday.

The zoo animals waving flashlights were actually volunteers dressed up in rabbit, tiger, and lion suits and they crowded the edges of the stage for the length of the opening set. Very festive, like a cross between Maurice Sendak and Randy Wood. Too bad The Flaming Lips' lead singer wasn't singing better or else we might not have needed to be so distracted by the menagerie; Wayne Coyne sounded like he had strepped throat and had just gargled lye and his singing was more like a muffler backfiring than the melodic voice heard on the albums. Fortunately this didn't matter too much. Like I said, the zoo was out and they made all things cheerful.

An hour later, Mr Beck Hansen appeared alone on stage in front of a gauzy black curtain and performed 3 songs o solo mio. His voice did not sound sick or damaged, quite the opposite in fact. Anyone that thinks his voice sounds gorgeous on "Sea Change" has only heard it at half-volume. The Beck could sing a lullaby to Ariel Sharon that would turn the man into tree-hugging, bong-blowing, barefoot-skipping child of everlasting soul love. Later on in the show he sang "Nobody's Fault but my Own" kneeling down playing a harmonium with a turqouise light shining down that put tremblors through my heart and stardust in my head.

The B/Lips were an interesting combination together, sort of vaudeville-esque. Beck and Coyne blazed a good chemistry, though Kramer upstaged his younger (headlining) friend a bit too much for my tastes. They engaged in hilarious badinage. But at the end Beck was first to leave while Kramer stuck around waving lights and soaking up the applause. One is quiet, sardonic, while the other is frenetic and psychedelic, like Jim Morrison and Captain Trips sharing a bill: Good idea on paper, a bit muddled in execution. They did sing a duet of "Who Loves the Sun" that was faithful and fresh, and the harmonies were decent, so it weren't all tar and feathers.

As the enormous screen looming in backdrop glowed and glimmered with streaks of aquamarine, violet, orange and pink staining and fusing into each other, The B/Lips played heavily from "Midnight Vultures," which seemed to please the sold-out crowd all to pieces. A few selections from the new album sprinkled with "Odelay" and "Mutations" tracks (set list can be seen below) all came off well, with the band offering enlivened interpretations and Beck pointing, screaming, and robot dancing with muted enthusiasm. He gave the impression of deep mordant thought, as if his mind were bent of healing a shattered heart. Not once did Beck smile. Maybe he's that low-key or maybe he's bottled-up. Certainly he's anything but silly or a tricked-out cheese-slicer. The eking voltage of his performance did seem out of step with his wild funky numbers, even so, and I wished he would get back to that 12-string alone and share some more of his beautiful ballads.

This has been Imaginary Boy Martian Capella reporting memorex from Seattle.

The B/Lips set list:

Guess I'm Doing Fine
Side of the Road
Do You Realize???
The Golden Age
Get Real Paid
Loser
Cold Brains
Lonesome Tears
It's All in Your Mind
End of the Day
Pressure Zone
Who Loves The Sun
Nobody's Fault but my Own
Lost Cause
Readymade
Nicotine and Gravy
Devil's Haircut
Where It's At