The Flaming Lips
Everyone has a story about the first time they saw the Flaming Lips live, but I believe my first experience rivals the best. Somehow I let this band slip through the cracks for the years leading up to Sasquatch 2006. The only Lips album I had listened to was the Soft Bulletin, and I new nothing about their lives shows. I heard so many people in the campground buzzing about how great they are live, so I had a mental note, “Do not miss the Flaming Lips.”
That afternoon, god (while chuckling about how moronic it was that I was wearing only sandals, shorts, and a thin button up shirt over a tee shirt) decided to empty out his ice machine on my face. At least that is what it felt like. I’m sure there were 20,000 other people that felt like they were also being picked on when the hail storm hit. I’m not sure what was more torturous, being pelted by giant balls of ice, or being greeted by a Tragically Hip set an hour later when the music resumed? My Canadian friends, stand in front of the mirror and say out loud, "I like the Hip because they play great music." Then take a deep breath, and say it again. Repeat four more times. Now be honest here, how many of you maintained eye contact with yourself the entire time? It's okay, I like Bryan Adams, we can still be friends.
Back to the story, apparently the festival was allowing re-entry because of the storm, but I didn’t get the memo. I was prepared to be cold, wet, and miserable the rest of the day, and seeing the Flaming Lips was my only motivation. My clothes were so drenched that I stripped down naked in a honey bucket to wring them out. I may or may not have spent ten minutes longer than needed there, because it was about 10 degrees warmer than being out in the cold breeze. Willingly standing next to a pile of human refuge with only a small piece of plastic separating us, just to stay warm, is about all I need to say. I really didn't want to miss the Flaming Lips.
Sometime briefly after it got dark, the announcement came which proved to be the nail in the coffin for my friend. The Flaming Lips, who were scheduled to play before Ben Harper, had agreed to play after, so the Harpers could play their regularly scheduled slot. I was digging the first 30 minutes of Benji’s two hour set, but then he took the pace down a couple notches and played his softer hits for the remaining 90 minutes. That nearly put me to sleep, and caused my friend to bail.
The Lips came on sometime after 12:30 a.m., which led to about an hour of my shivering jaw dropped while I stared in amazement trying to figure out what in the hell I was witnessing. The show will forever remain in my top five greatest concert experiences, and I have not missed a chance to see them live since. If this will be your first time seeing the Flaming Lips, I'm confident they will provide you a memorable experience you will be telling people about five years from now, especially if you are a democrat.
Because they are playing the Soft Bulletin all the way through, I'll keep the suggested tracks short. I'll also recommend you check out "Do You Realize," since they will likely play that tune near the end. This will be THE highlight of the festival, so you don't want to miss it.
1. Race For The Prize (The song they typically open their shows with)
2. Waitin’ For A Superman
3. The Gash
4. Do You Realize
I didn't get into Wye Oak until a couple months before the lineup was released, but I've spent 15+ hours listening to their catalog, so my opinion is educated, if not somewhat dissenting. I have no interest in their first album, If Children. They were still trying to find their style, and to be brutally honest, the duets did not work. Their next album, The Knot, was a giant step forward, which is why I spend so much time listening to them. Personally, I think their best songs reside on this album. Their EP, My Neighbor/My Creator, is pretty fun, and signalled another leap forward for what was to come. Then Civilian came out last month. Maybe I'll eat these words in the future, but it isn't as good as The Knot. It does sound like their sound has evolved like I thought it would, but the really catchy songs aren't there. I like those tunes that stick to your brain, which should mean my suggested tracks will be accurate.
This duo (yes, they are only a duo) consists of Jenn Wasner on vocals and guitar, and Andy Stack on drums and keyboards, which he allegedly plays simultaneously. Jenn's vocals are very calm and effortless, bringing a very soothing sound to most of their songs. They still rock out, so don't think this will be a boring live act in which you really need to like their music to get it. The band I would most compare them to is the Cranberries, some mellow female vocal ditties mixed with upbeat rock songs. Wasner's voice reminds me of the Cranberries singer on a couple songs. I'm excited to see how their tunes translate live. You should be too.
1. That I Do
2. I Hope You Die (it's morbid, but it's the song I think of first when thinking of Wye Oak)
3. Civilian (title track from their new album, this track should show off the best each has to offer musically)
5. If Children Were Wishes
6. Mary Is Mary (eight minute epic)
7. Holy Holy (sounds like it will be a really fun song live)
8. For Prayer
9. The Alter
To really get Das Racist, you have to listen to more than just a couple songs, but I'll try to give you the cream of the crop. It's tough though, because they put out two mix tapes last year, totaling nearly three hours worth of music, so with the good, there is a lot of bad. Since I like math, I'll just estimate their output to be something like this:
11% is "holy shit" brilliant
12% is amazing
19% is great
39% is pretty good
19% is annoying
Then they take these five categories, throw them in a blender, and spit them out on literally every song. If you are looking for the annoying, you'll find it. If you are looking for the brilliant, you'll find it. If you want to experience all of their "amazing" and "holy shit brilliance," you should just listen to their mix tapes. You might not even catch it the first listen. It's some of the best hip-hop I've heard in years, and is loaded with clever rhymes on current events and pop culture.
Just think, if they wanted to trim out that extra two hours, and make one album, it might be the greatest album of 2010. They chose not to do that, instead saying, "this is who we are, take the good with the bad." It's witty, funny, and entertaining, everything knowidyuh strives to be. I've never referred to myself in the third person, but I feel it's very hip hop, thus appropriate. Although the Sasquatch blog does not endorse illegal activities, Das Racist smokes more weed than there's food at the store. They said so.
1. Amazing (their best straight up rap song)
3. hahahaha jk?
4. Don Dada
6. You Oughta Know (start here if you want a ridiculous fun song)
7. All Tan Everything
8. Rainbow in the Dark
9. Return To Innocence
9. Puerto Rican Cousins
10. Coochie Dip City (let's get stoopid and dance)
I had my Villagers write up all prepared, then they cancelled yesterday right before I posted this Quadros. Add a one day delay, and I'm somewhat cheating by writing about a band with only one EP in existence.
Givers made a name for themselves opening for Ra Ra Riot and the Dirty Projectors. They have a very earthy reggae type sound, with catchy pop vocals and duets from the male and female lead singers. Their only EP came out in 2009, and their debut full length is due out any day now. Those who have seen them live seem to really dig them, so while I haven't seen them yet, I feel safe including them in my recommendations. Drums, bongos, piano, harmonies, horns, electronics, guitar solos, they have everything working, and can go any direction with their debut. If they have even two or three songs with a similar catchy vibe as "Up Up Up," their debut will be huge. I'm merely passing on the Internet hype to you. If they blow up, you can say you saw them when. If they flop, forget I said anything, kay?
1. Up Up Up
3. Ceiling of Plankton
4. Saw You First