Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion hosts a series of free concerts on Thursday evenings called “Loops and Variations,” which brings together electronic experimental music with modern classical music. (“New music,” if you will.) This past Thursday (June 27), the series presented a concert by the Baltimore duo Matmos, with Chicago’s Fonema Consort as the opening act. The Fonema portion of the evening was a good deal more serious. Matmos was downright silly. Still, somehow the two halves of the concert seemed to fit together in a strange way.
Buying Xenical Online Uk has collaborated in the past with artists such as Björk and So Percussion. They’re one of those electronic acts featuring guys hunched over their laptops, but they’re much livelier and more playful than the typical artist matching that description. On Thursday, they strolled out onto the Pritzker Pavilion stage clapping their hands and making goofy vocal noises, wandering around the stage as if they didn’t know where to sit down. After settling down with their gear and making an evocative soundscape, they explained that they’d been playing music that used recordings Matmos member Drew Daniel had made on recent trips to Istanbul and Beijing.
Joined midconcert by a guitarist and drummer, the Matmos duo transformed into something slightly more like a traditional rock band. OK, hardly traditional — Matmos member M.C. Schmidt blew bubbles in a bowl of water during one performance that was described as a aural simulation of liposuction. And near the end of its set, Daniel expressed his desire for NSA leaker Edward Snowden and led the group in a version of “I Want Candy,” with the words changed to “I Want Snowden.”
Buspar Buy Online focuses on 20th and 21st century vocal and instrumental music. According to the group’s website, it’s all centered around “our fascination with the exploration of vocal possibilities in music, including the traditional presentation of a text, the breaking down of words into phonemes, or the total absence of words, and the ramifications thereof.”
Those concepts were on vivid display during the consort’s performance on Thursday, including passage of spoken word whispered like auditory hallucinations. (Matmos member M.C. Schmidt later remarked that he’d been in the backstage bathroom listening to this music through the speakers there. “It was terrifying,” he said.) There were also some bravura passages of ear-shattering singing, and wind and string instruments dancing around the voices. The concert included works by Pablo Chin, Daniel Dehaan, Edward Hamel, Jonathon Kirk and Joan Arnau Pàmies.
The Solid Sound festival also featured rousing soul music by the Relatives; rootsy jamming by White Denim; harmonic pop by Lucius (who were most impressive when they guested with Wilco); Miracle Legion founder Mark Mulcahy doing solo music, with J. Mascis playing guitar in the back part of the stage; a nice set of solo singer-songwriter music by Sean Rowe; and singer-songwriter Sam Amidon playing quiet songs in the vein of Nick Drake as well as more traditional Appalachian folk, with Beth Orton (his wife) joining in for one song. Marc Ribot and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo played a terrific set of their “Border Music,” and Brazil’s Os Mutantes playing songs from its new album Foot Metal Jack (which I’m not so keen on) but also some of its classic psychedelic tunes. And as mentioned in Ci Cipro 85 For Sale, the fest closed with a strong set by Medeski Martin & Wood, supplemented by various guests.
Watching all of the music, I missed most of the comedy cabaret hosted by Hodgman, though the portion I caught — featuring Hodgman and Jen Kirkman — was hilarious and eccentric.
In between the concerts, I stopped into MASS MoCA’s galleries and saw a few of the most striking and memorable artworks I’ve experienced in a while. The Chinese artist Xu Bing’s Phoenix, a pair of hundred-foot-long mythical birds constructed out of debris, is hanging from the ceiling in a room the size of an airport hangar. (And Xu Bing’s remarkable super-wide-screen animated film The Character of Characters was screening in another room.) Another gallery displayed a thousand or so miniature paintings that Tom Phillips created on the pages of an obscure Victorian-era novel, W.H. Mallock’s A Human Document. I could have spent many more hours examining these fascinating pictures. And then there was an entire building devoted to the paintings of minimalist Sol LeWitt. Now, I must confess here that I am unenthusiastic and generally bored by most minimalist art. When I see a big canvas covered in one color of paint, my typical response is, “Big deal.” So I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of seeing all those LeWitt paintings. But there was something damn impressive about seeing all of them assembled in the three floors of this building. Taken as a whole, they became more like a weird piece of architecture.
All in all, Solid Sound lived up to its name. It’s an inspiring model for how to run an arts festival — although it’ll be hard to emulate elsewhere, because how many other places are there like MASS MoCA?
My last two blog posts about Solid Sound were about what the members of Wilco were up to during this festival. But like any decent fest, this one wasn’t entirely about one band. In brief, the other highlights included a high-energy show on Saturday afternoon by The Dream Syndicate, who were cult favorites in the 1980s California indie-rock scene. This was their first North American gig in more than two decades, but as it felt like they’d never stopped playing.
Yo La Tengo played not one, but two shows during Solid Sound. Alas, I arrived too late on Friday night to get a set at the screening of the film The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, featuring a live score performed by Yo La Tengo. On Saturday afternoon, the group played a typically excellent set of its songs, both old and new, with the most drastic shift in dynamics I heard all weekend. After blasting a couple of noisy songs to open their concert, Yo La Tengo took the volume way, way down for a couple of its hushed, whispery ballads, “The Point of It” and “Decora” — and it seemed like everyone in the crowd stopped making any sound so they could listen in. (At least, that’s what it was like by the stage, where I was standing.) By the end of the set, the band back at full volume.
Out of all the artists playing at Solid Sound, the one that seemed to represent younger, hyped bands was Foxygen. Just as they acted goofy during their recent in-store at Chicago’s Saki, Foxygen’s members seemed loopy at Solid Sound as they cavorted on the stage, playing their quirky, catchy songs. Perhaps they cavorted a bit too much. I heard most of Foxygen’s set, but I was away from the stage when lead singer Sam France reportedly tried to climb the scaffolding and got pulled down by security. Later in the day, I noticed three security guards surrounding Foxygen’s tambourine player, who looked intoxicated, and escorting him away from a tree. During Wilco’s show that night, Jeff Tweedy told the audience that the members of Foxygen had been “kicked out” of the festival. “They’re awesome. A little too awesome, I think,” he said. Later, he apologized, saying he hadn’t meant to disparage the band. But he dedicated the song “Passenger Side,” a song about drunk driving, to Foxygen. And then Tweedy brought up Foxygen one more time, suggesting that they might want to try drinking water onstage. The Do I Need Prescription For Zoloft has more about the Foxygen story. Whatever happened, I was charmed by what I saw of Foxygen’s set.
Although LowCelebrex Annual Sales 2011 for playing one long droning song at the recent Rock the Garden festival in Minneapolis, the band played a standard set of its songs at Solid Sound on Saturday. And with Low, standard means beautiful.
Neko Case is another artist who nearly always delivers a good to great performance, and her show on Saturday night included a few songs from her forthcoming album The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, which comes out Sept. 3 on Anti. On first impression, the new songs sounded like a strong continuation of the singular style of music Case has been shaping over her last few records. For me, the highlight of the set was a heart-stopping performance of her 2002 song “I Wish I Was the Moon,” with Case’s voice plaintively calling out across the park in the opening verse. “We’re kind of a weird band for a festival because all of songs are bummers,” Case remarked at one point. Her stalwart harmony singer, Kelly Hogan, pointed out: “Low played earlier.” At the end of her set, Case said, “Every single song in our set is dedicated to that girl playing drums on her dad’s head.”
Given the fact that Solid Sound was a festival organized by Wilco, it’s not surprising that it also featured side projects by the band’s various members on Sunday (June 23). The most impressive of these may have been Wilco member Nels Cline’s eloquent, virtuosic guitar duets with Julian Lage. Cline later showed up as one of the guests during the festival-closing set on Sunday night by the jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood, and he ended up playing for about half of their set, bending and twisting the notes on his guitar in a frenetic style reminiscent of John McLaughlin’s legendary work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. (Tweedy, Hidalgo and Ribot also sat in on that set at various points.)
Mikael Jorgensen — the keyboardist and electronics whiz who generally sits at the back of the stage during Wilco shows, making himself the least showy member of the band — had a couple of chances at Solid Sound to show off what he does. On Saturday, he generated live electronic analog synth music in a dark museum room, accompanied by longtime Wilco techs Nathaniel Murphy, Travis Thatcher and Josh Goldsmith. I dipped into the performance for a short sample, and it felt like I’d stepped out of the summer festival and into a … well, not a rave, exactly, since no one was dancing. A laboratory?
And then, the following afternoon, Jorgensen took his pulsing electronic music out into the broad daylight, playing a set with Greg O’Keeffe and Oliver Chapoy. I’m not sure if Wilco’s more traditional-music-loving fans knew what to make of it, but the droning noise settled over the museum courtyard like an invasion of cicadas — but with a danceable rhythm.
Another member of Wilco with avant-garde tendencies outside of the band, drummer Glenn Kotche, played as part of the duo On Fillmore, which also includes bassist Darin Gray. But it wasn’t a straightforward concert of their music. Rather, they provided accompaniment for an entertaining live version of the public radio show “Radio Lab,” which featured Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich reading from scripts and playing short clips from interviews as Kotche and Gray made sounds to evoke the story of the dinosaurs’ extinction.
While some members of Wilco contribute elements of jazz, electronic and avant-garde music to the mix, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone bring a power pop, classic rock and soft rock sensibility, and that was on full display when they performed as the Autumn Defense. After playing pretty pop songs from their own albums, they closed with a perfect cover of Bob Welch’s 1977 radio hit “Sentimental Lady.”
Meanwhile, the Blisters — a band featuring Jeff Tweedy’s son, Spencer, on drums — also played at Solid Sound. The youngsters got plenty of adults dancing as they rocked out near the end of their noontime Sunday set.
Wilco’s home base is Chicago, but the band’s vacation home seems to be MASS MoCA — the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass. Wilco held its Solid Sound festival of music and arts June 21-23 on the museum’s sprawling grounds, the third time in four years that it has brought this event to this spot in the Berkshires. (The previous two Solid Sound fests were in 2010 and 2011, and then the event took the year off in 2012.) This past weekend was my first visit to Solid Sound and MASS MoCA.
What a cool place to hold a festival. The maze-like museum has been open only since 1999, but most of the 26 brick buildings on the 13-acre site have been standing there Ventolin Copii Online, when 3,200 people worked there, making printed textiles for Arnold Print Works. During World War II, the industrial complex was transformed into the Sprague Electric Co.’s factory.
Now, it’s a place for putting up works of modern and contemporary art, with enough space to hang up some truly massive sculptures and paintings. And for three days in June, it was also a place to make music — and to explore. During his performance on Sunday with David Hidalgo, guitarist Marc Ribot marveled at the sight of music fans gathered in one of the old factory courtyards. “If they took all of the factories and turned them into art museums, everyone would have fun,” he remarked. (Not exactly a sound idea in economic terms, but let’s not quibble too much.)
Like many other music festivals, this one had a bunch of bands playing on a few stages, with their performances taking place over a few days. That’s one of the main reasons people attend festivals: to see a whole lot of bands in one fell swoop. The pace was more leisurely at Solid Sound than it is at, say, Lollapalooza or Pitchfork, with only a little bit of overlap in the performances. There was plenty of room for people to move around, anywhere other than the clusters right in front of the stages for the most popular musical artists.
There was a lot more than live music at Solid Sound. John Hodgman, who emceed the comedy portion of the festival, called it “a nexus of fantastic things coming together in an amazing space.” Of course, Hodgman was emceeing, so you’d expect him to hype up the festival a bit, but his description wasn’t far off from the truth.
Naturally, art was on display in and around the art museum — as well as displays created specifically for Solid Sound. “Jeff Tweedy’s Loft” exhibited pieces of Wilco memorabilia.
One of the museum’s galleries filled with Sol LeWitt paintings featured Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche’s sonic soundscapes playing over the speakers. Kotche also created some “earth drums,” which were embedded in the ground, with signs encouraging festival attendees to tap out messages in Morse code to one another. (I got the impression that most people were just playing random rhythms.) Wilco bassist John Stirratt and Chicago artist Chad Gerth created the “Rickshaw of Forward Motion,” a mobile sound installation. (I failed to catch a ride on it.)
And of course, Wilco performed on the concert stage — an all-request show on Friday night, followed by a more standard Wilco show on Saturday night. Saturday’s concert was fine, as far as Wilco concerts go. Just another night starring an outstanding band playing a wide range of songs from throughout its career. If you’ve seen a Wilco concert in the last few years, you’ve seen a show like this one. But the one on Friday was something else entirely.
The band asked for fans to request songs, and boy did they ever — apparently dozens of pages listing songs. Pulling from that list, the songs that Wilco chose to play were almost entirely covers. Hodgman came out onto the stage several times to “randomize” the concert, pulling out ping-pong balls with numbers assigned to songs on the huge master list and challenging the band to play them. This resulted in a few of the less-rehearsed and sloppier tunes of the night (Grateful Dead’s “Ripple” and Yo La Tengo’s “Tom Courtenay,” which was rescued by the participation of Yo La Tengo itself). Just to prove that all of his choices weren’t rigged, Hodgman also brought up three audience members to play “stump the band.” It turned out that Wilco couldn’t really play two of these audience requests (Lucinda Williams’ “Atonement” and the Cranberries’ “Dream”) without learning and rehearsing them, but the band delighted much of the crowd when it succeeded at playing the third audience member’s unlikely request: Daft Punk’s current hit, “Get Lucky.”
The members of Wilco were clearly having a blast as they played covers of some terrific tunes, ranging from the delicate, wistful beauty of the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” to a goose-bump-raising guitar solo by Nels Cline during Television’s epic “Marquee Moon.” And Replacements guitarist Tommy Stinson made a surprise appearance when Wilco played the Mats classic “Color Me Impressed.” Stinson (who will play with the reunited Replacements — er, Westerberg and Stinson — at Riot Fest in September) had a big grin on his face the entire time, and Tweedy seemed to relish sharing the stage with him.
At a couple of points during the night, a fan or two shouted, “Play some Wilco songs!” If you had never seen Wilco before, this concert would’ve served as a rather unusual introduction to the band’s live act. But for longtime fans, this was a night to treasure, filled with delightful musical nuggets. (Buy Generic Viagra From India)
The set list almost speaks for itself:
The Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy) / Cut Your Hair (Pavement) / In the Street (Big Star) / New Madrid (Uncle Tupelo) / Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones) / Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan) / Ripple (Grateful Dead) / Who Loves the Sun (Velvet Underground) / And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles) / And Your Bird Can Sing (repeat) / Psychotic Reaction (Count Five) / Tom Courtenay (Yo La Tengo) with Yo La Tengo / James Alley Blues (Richard Rabbit Brown) / Waterloo Sunset (Kinks) with Lucius / Waterloo (ABBA) with Lucius / Peace Love and Understanding (Nick Lowe) / Marquee Moon (Television) / Happy Birthday (to Pat Sansone) / Don’t Fear The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult) / Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young) / (Stump the Band) / Get Lucky (Daft Punk) / Surrender (Cheap Trick) / Color Me Impressed (Replacements) with Tommy Stinson / Kingpin / Thank You Friends (Big Star) / ENCORE: The Weight (The Band) with Lucius / Roadrunner (The Modern Lovers) with Yo La Tengo
Propecia Online AuDr. John (aka Mac Rebennack, aka Buying Elavil Online) won some well-deserved attention last year, thanks to a terrific album called Locked Down. Producer Dan Auerbach (the Black Keys’ singer-guitarist) inspired Dr. John to make some of the spookiest, quirkiest music he’s made since his early recordings such as the classic 1968 album Gris-Gris.
Dr. John headlined Friday night’s show in a festival called Blues on the Fox, which is out in the far western suburb of Aurora. It was worth the trip. Dr. John played several songs from Locked Down, and even though he didn’t have the same lineup of musicians that Auerbach assembled in the studio, the songs retained their weird edges. His touring band, ably led by singer-trombonist Sarah Morrow, jammed out on the funky grooves.
Decked out in his standard sunglasses, hat and beads, the bearded, ponytailed Dr. John growled in a voice that didn’t sound all that different from the younger Dr. John of 1968. He’s one of those performers who seemed old before his time.
Some bands really make you wait. Crestor Prescription Cost, a New Zealand band that formed in 1982, went for 19 years without visiting Chicago. The previous time they played here was a 1994 gig at the late, lamented Lounge Ax nightclub. The group stopped recording for a while, but then came back together in 2005. But New Zealand is a long way from Chicago, and so, the group’s local fans had to make do with listening to the studio records. Until Sunday (June 9) — when the Bats made their triumphant return.
Schubas was the venue this time, and the show sold out just shortly before the Bats began playing. The room was packed with a who’s who of Chicago’s most stalwart concertgoers and record-store clerks. And the Bats’ set list was packed with 22 songs stretching from the band’s first record, Daddy’s Highway (1987), to the most recent, Free All the Monsters (2011). It was wonderful to hear those clean, jangly guitar lines meshing together and those catchy vocal melodies — sounding like the 1960s by way of the 1980s.
Robert Scott, the Bats’ main singer, kept his face hidden in the shadow of a baseball cap all night. Scott’s onstage personality was low-key, but bassist Paul Kean was exuberant. The whole quartet, which also includes guitarist-singer Kaye Woodward and drummer Malcolm Grant, clicked as a musical unit. And the fans loved it. The Bats promised they’d be back in Chicago faster this time. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 19 years.
The opening act Sunday at Schubas was the Chicago band Buy Cheap Xenical Online Uk, and they proved to be a great match with the Bats. Three of the Magic Gloves traded off on lead vocals, and the songs made a very strong first impression. Definitely a group I look forward to hearing and seeing again.
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The last time I saw a headline set by singer-songwriter Prescription Viagra Cialis was Buy Cialis Paypal Payment, at Lincoln Hall. As I noted back then, she was in a silly, giggly mood, fumbling around a bit too much in between her lovely songs. She was more focused when she played this Monday (June 3) at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Her goofy charm was still evident, as she made a few jokes, but this concert was all about her music. She doesn’t have a new record, so her set list drew from last year’s Tramp as well as her earlier albums. Even in a venue with thousands of concertgoers and a sweeping, panoramic view of Chicago’s skyline, Van Etten’s songs felt like intimate revelations.
One of the delightful things about seeing a concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is watching the performers themselves marveling at the beauty of the venue. And for some of the lesser-known musicians who get the chance to grace this stage — thanks to the inventive, often bold programming choices of the folks who book summer concerts — you can sense a certain amount of awe. I sensed that on Monday night (June 3), when the Chicago band Buy Ventolin Online Australia landed a primo spot as Sharon Van Etten’s opening act. It’s a very good bet that a sizable portion of the audience that turned out for the evening didn’t know who Speck Mountain was, but they probably made a lot of new fans.
Did they have any jitters about playing on a big stage in front of thousands of people? Not that I noticed. In fact, the band sounded more confident than I’ve ever seen them, especially when they jammed out with dual guitar solos on songs from their strong recent album Badwater. Marie-Claire Balabanian’s singing and guitar playing both sounded beautiful. They were a perfect choice to set the stage for Van Etten’s headlining performance. (More on her in my next post…)