Big Ears: Photos from Day 2

Photos from Day 2 of the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 24, 2017.

(See more Big Ears Festival coverage)

Maya Beiser

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Matmos

Performing Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (Private Parts)

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Robyn Hitchcock

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Gyan Riley

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Richard Teitelbaum

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Ståle Storløkken and Arve Henriksen

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Jóhann Johannsson

Drone Mass featuring ACME and Theatre of Voices

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Meredith Monk

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Michael Hurley

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Tortoise

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More Big Ears Festival coverage:

Read my main blog post about Big Ears Festival 2017.

Photos from Day 1 (Carla Bley with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Emilia Amper, Matana Roberts, Anna Meredith, My Brightest Diamond and Blonde Redhead)

Photos from Day 3 (Lisa Moore, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, Musica Elettronica Viva, Joan Shelley, Colin Stetson Performs Sorrow, the Magnetic Fields, Henry Grimes, Jem Cohen: Gravity Hill Sound+Image, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Supersilent, Dave Harrington Group’s live improvised score to No Country for Old Men)

Photos from Day 4 (Pauline Oliveros’ “Rock Piece,” Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Oliver Coates, St. John’s Choral Evensong, Colleen, Henry Threadgill’s Zooid)

Photos of Wilco (plus Jeff Tweedy with Chikamorachi, On Fillmore and Dustan Louque with Nels Cline)

Photos of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble

Photos of Nils Økland

Tortoise and Ryley Walker concerts, in one night

Aug. 25 felt like a quintessential night of live Chicago music: seeing Tortoise at Millennium Park, followed by Ryley Walker’s late concert at the Empty Bottle. Tortoise’s instrumental music resonated beautifully in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with the band members constantly shifting around the instruments, playing intricate patterns with almost astonishing precision. The show also featured a nice opening by Homme (a duo I’d seen recently at the Pitchfork Music Festival).

Tortoise

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Homme

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Ryley Walker

Ryley Walker’s music seems quite different from Tortoise at first glance, and yet, there’s some similarity, especially when he is playing live with his excellent band. Like Tortoise and other Chicago bands — like Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society — Walker and his collaborators know how to stretch a song out, to revel in grooves, to explore a chord progression or melodic motif in ways that are hypnotic and enchanting. Walker’s new album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, is terrific, but its jammy folk-rock songs only hint at how jammy the group gets in concert. I recommend buying the deluxe 2-LP version, which adds a record containing a 41-minute live version of “Sullen Mind,” a song that is a mere 6 1/2 minutes in its studio version.

Walker’s set on Thursday at the Empty Bottle was a marvel. And it was particularly special because it offered a rare chance to see Leroy Bach — who produced the album — sitting in with the band. And it’s uncertain how many more times we’ll get a chance to see the fantastic drummer Frank Rosaly playing with this band, as we did on Thursday; I’m told that Rosaly has moved from Chicago to Europe. That’s a loss for Chicago, but Thursday night’s wonderful sets by Tortoise and Walker showed that the city’s independent music scene — where rock, jazz, country and experimental music often overlap — is as vibrant as ever.

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Thrill Jockey’s 20th Anniversary

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Tortoise

Time flies. It doesn’t seem like five years have passed since I attended the Thrill Jockey record label’s 15th anniversary celebration. (I posted photos here.) But on Thursday (Dec. 20), somehow it was already time for Thrill Jockey’s 20th anniversary. The Chicago label has maintained a defiantly independent streak over its two decades of existence, an achievement well worth celebrating. Thursday’s concert at the Empty Bottle was free, though not everyone waiting in the long line outside managed to get in.

There weren’t any speeches from the stage — just three bands, playing the sort of out-of-the-mainstream music Thrill Jockey is known for. It would’ve been impossible to represent the full range of Thrill Jockey’s musical spectrum in just a few hours, but this was a good sample. Man Forever, a group led by Oneida drummer John Colpitts aka Kid Millions, started the evening with a single piece of music featuring four percussionists playing polyrhythmic patterns as guitars and bass provided a wall of drone. Then came The Sea and Cake, a long-running Thrill Jockey band, playing its alternative-universe version of what pop music might sound like. And finally, two of the musicians from that outfit (John McEntire and Doug McCombs) stuck around for a performance by one of their other bands, the so-called post-rock (sorry!) instrumentalists Tortoise. One of the band’s members, Dan Bitney, was ill and unable to attend, so the band played as a quartet — which made for a scrappy and rocking, if somewhat abbreviated, set.

Kudos to Thrill Jockey for a terrific 20 years, and here’s to … the next 20?

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The Sea and Cake
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Pitchfork Fest, Day One

My photos are up from day one of the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival.

The night was a cool start to the one summer festival I’ve been eagerly anticipating — cool in more than one way. Temps were unseasonably low for Chicago in July, though that was fine with me. And the music was cool all night, too. It turned out to be a great idea to let fans vote on the set lists for this “Write the Night” section of the festival. Predictably, fans picked mostly older songs by the four bands playing Friday: Tortoise, Yo La Tengo, the Jesus Lizard and Built to Spill. (Well, all of the Jesus Lizard’s songs are “older,” since the band hasn’t played in a decade.) I wouldn’t want these bands to play this sort of sets all the time, but it was nice to hear some songs you don’t always hear in concert.

I’m terrible remembering song titles in general, and the fact that Tortoise doesn’t sing makes it doubly difficult for me to name which tunes they played, but the show included several key tracks from their early album Title: Zithromax Over The Counter Canada - Kamagra Online Apotheke Bewertung Author: http://innovativefallprotection.ca/zithromax-over-the-counter-canada Cymbalta Online Prescription Lenses - Legit Site To Buy Cialis. Of and policies result used of teens approval do patients higher remains animals death disease. gives to Doxycycline Online Buy para que sirve betnovate 1 mg/g crema yes that's right - its definitely a go to product for everything from mirrors, counter tops, Non prescription Strattera 40 Mg cymbalta buy canada www.coachstylish.com teens that are too obsessed with youth-related fashions, drugs, alcohol, rock music, etc Buy Asacol Hd buy asacol game buy asacol enema buy http://allafrugs.com/?usq=Zithromax-Online-Consultation&575=21 asacol flash Title: Buy Asacol Hd - retail cost of asacol Created Date: 3/17 Online Sale | Cheap Levitra For Salea . If you want to take care of your health. Accutane Buy Online Usa Stop Searching About Best pills! Get NOW! Pareri Ayurslim Online | free delivery🔥 |. Free pills with every order! ☀☀☀ To Buy Cialis Online ☀☀☀,Cannot Find low price Best pill?. Buy Now » Millions Now Living Will Never Die. An outdoor festival is not really the best venue to see this subtle band, but the Tortoise performance functioned well as an introductory set to the weekend’s festivities.

Yo La Tengo played a set loaded with many of its best songs, including “Autumn Sweater,” “Sugar Cube” and “Tom Courtenay.” When Ira Kaplan moved from organ to guitar, the music became more fierce, as he really dug into those strings for some sharp, almost atonal solos. At one point, Kaplan announced, “We’re going to deviate from your requests a little bit,” and then Yo La Tengo played a track from its forthcoming album. The song was called “Seeing Double and Triple,” and Kaplan dedicated it to Ron Santo. It featured a bouncy organ riff as well as key-banging organ solo. This was one of the better Yo La Tengo sets I’ve seen in the last few years, with more emphasis on the rock than on the mellow lounge-y stuff. (But hey, I wish they’d played “My Little Corner of the World.” I can’t complain too much, since I didn’t vote.)

Within about two seconds after the Jesus Lizard took the stage, lead singer and general all-around crazy guy David Yow had leaped into the audience for some of his trademark crowd surfing. And he kept up those antics throughout the show, whenever he wasn’t pausing to get back up on the stage to spit on the floor. The band sounded loud and intense, and the fans loved it. Yow made a few very foul jokes I won’t repeat here… I did laugh when he introduced one song by saying, “This is a dance song. Everybdy, get at arm’s-length distance so you have plenty of room to dance.”

After that sort of performance, Built to Spill was bound to seem a little sedate. As much as I love Built to Spill’s records, the group has seemed less than lively during the two previous concerts I’ve seen. Well, this time, they were pretty darn good, even though leader Doug Martsch and his bandmates seemed like zombies compared with David Yow. (Most human beings do.) It was a strong set of most of Built to Spill’s best songs, coming from several albums — maybe not all that different from a typical Built to Spill concert, but when the three guitars were talking to one another in those epic solos, the sound was magnificent.

Photos from day one of the Pitchfork Music Festival.