Saturday, August 04, 2007

Preview: Virgin Festival

This weekend, the silence ends. It's been two months almost to the day of my last concert, but that's about to be remedied in a huge way. Dear readers, ÜberDrivel is going to Virgin Festival! First of all, I can't thank Maria, Bethany and everyone at Virgin for this opportunity. It's incredibly empowering, and I will be sure to provide the most comprehensive, multimedia-filled coverage that I can. This is really one of the few musical experiences that one can't have in NYC, which is saying something. Here are the bands that I am most looking forward to seeing, chronologically.

Saturday, August 5th

Shout Out Out Out Out - Dance Tent, 12:00 - 12:50

I was leaning towards starting things off with Fountains of Wayne (it's not Ivy, but I hesitate to bet against Adam Schlessinger), but after hearing this likable track over at chromewaves, I think I'll go with Shout Out Out Out Out. The band's from the ever-prolific Canada, and I guess they aren't too distinguishable from their dance punk/electro-rock cohorts, such details are pretty secondary when you figure the awesomeness of the live show. Definitely looks like a way to start things off right, but I’m not sure if I’ll stick around in the Dance Tent for Petalpusher afterwards (I’m not familiar with his work), or leg it over to the South Stage for the Fratellis, but we’ll see what happens.

MP3: Shout Out Out Out Out - Dude You Feel Electrical

Booka Shade - Dance Tent, 2:00 - 2:50

While sensible residents of the Dance Tent, it's a safe bet that Booka Shade's set will probably differ somewhat from your typical 4/4 beat inflected, Ed-banging House party. This group doesn't crunch so much as weave their electronic sound, and I'm very interested to hearing how this translates into a live setting. I believe some of their new stuff was floating around a while ago, and I look forward to new releases as well.

MP3: Booka Shade - Night Falls

Peter Bjorn and John - South Stage, 4:00 - 4:50

Last weekend, I was making the short (but oh so satisfying) flight from Syracuse to JFK on a comfy Jet Blue airplane. In what is perhaps the sign that Peter Bjorn and John have made it, they had a live set playing in one of the DirecTV channels, which gave me a bit of a preview. While definitely a rock band, with the obligatory last song flameout, complete with extended outro and whatnot, this is definitely a sensitive and earnest bunch. No word on who (if anyone) will be singing back up on "Young Folks," but let's hope it's Dawn Landes, who's opening up for Midlake at Webster Hall on September 8th. Plug!

MP3: Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks
MP3: Dawn Landes - Young Folks (Peter Bjorn and John Cover)

LCD Soundsystem - South Stage, 5:30 - 6:30

LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver is one of the year’s most well received albums, but if anything, I’m even more excited to see them live. Although their electro-minded peers mostly occupy the dance tent, there’s something very refreshing about the full-on band approach, and they should fill out the South Stage very well. James Murphy, while not quite as renowned a frontman as a Billy Corgan or Sting, is a production wizard and as these new songs demonstrate, a pretty interesting vocalist as well. I’ve been digging this recording of their Coachella set (via Culture Bully), and “Tribulations” is one of the highlights.

MP3: LCD Soundsystem - Tribulations (Live at Coachella)

TV on the Radio - South Stage, 7:15 - 8:15

I was planning to check out TV on the Radio at McCarren’s Pool last Sunday, but a combination of rain and uncertain RSVPing thwarted us. I was confident in the fact that I’d be seeing them at V-Fest, and the schedule worked out neatly. To be honest, I’m not quite as enamored with the rest of Return To Cookie Mountain as I am with the awesome “Wolf Like Me,” but seeing them live should provide an opportunity to reassess the material.

MP3: TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me

Modest Mouse - South Stage, 8:45 - 10:00

…And again, being honest, I haven’t heard the new Modest Mouse album at all. I know it’s shameful, but sometimes it is a bit tricky keeping up with everything. But returning to their previous album, Good News For People Who Love Bad News, I really did enjoy the singles (which I suppose is the point), and “Float On” is just one of those songs…kind of inscrutable as far as meaning goes, but really quite irresistible. Here’s a live version of the track, along with Ben Lee’s take on it; you can grab the whole Ben Lee set over at etree. MoMo's at McCarren's Pool on September 8th.

MP3: Modest Mouse - Float On (Live)
MP3: Ben Lee - Float On (Modest Mouse Cover)

Sunday, August 6th

Girl Talk - Dance Tent, 12:30 - 1:10

Previous disclaimers aside, I have been digging Girl Talk’s splice-tastic Night Ripper of late. Girl Talk does some interesting things with music that I wouldn’t really listen to otherwise, and I couldn’t help grinning when the familiar likes of Annie’s “Heartbeat” came on. Conveniently enough, the album also features snippets of the Smashing Pumpkin’s “1979” and LCD Soundsystem’s “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House (a complete list of samples is here), and I'm wondering if he won't incorporate a few more V-Fest'ers in the set. If you can’t make it this weekend, Girl Talk plays at Webster Hall on September 15th.

MP3: Grizzly Bear - Knife (Girl Talk Remix)

Regina Spektor - North Stage, 1:10 - 2:00

Regina Spektor charmed me from the moment I heard “Us,” and it’s wonderful to see her receiving all the attention she so deserves for her latest album, Begin To Hope. It’s particularly refreshing when a somewhat left-of-center artist gains such attention, and while this set won't come close to being the loudest of the festival, with gems like these, it won't need to be.

MP3: Regina Spektor - Fidelity

Spoon - North Stage, 2:25 - 3:15

Speaking of getting away with things, I was pretty taken aback when details of Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga were first released (“Black Like Me!?" indeed), but despite the outlandish titling, it’s very much the Spoon we all know and love. I think I still prefer Gimme Fiction, and this new album doesn’t really have that one track that bowls you over (and sells Jaguars), but I’m looking forward to a set that will blend material old and new into something groovy, rocky and distinctly Spoony.

MP3: Spoon - I Turn My Camera On (Live)

So, I’m not really sure what’ll happen in between sets here. Is it worth catching the last half of the Explosions in the Sky set? How about Bad Brains? One things for certain, I will not be panicking, nor discoing. Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy a couple hours free of ear blasting, and I hear having dinner is good once in a while. Still, it’s pretty impressive that this is pretty much the sole gap in an otherwise packed schedule; I have to tip my headphones to the organizers.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - North Stage, 5:15 - 6:15

Yeah Yeah Yeahs just released a new EP entitled Is Is, which is an interesting move at this point in the band’s existence, but they did release a bunch of them back in the day. Despite my endearment towards female singers, YYYs have been a little abrasive, and I’m still a little taken aback by the first half of Fever To Tell. Still, Karen O is a heck of a frontwoman, and this should be a good one. Here's the current single from the aforementioned EP.

MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Down Boy

Interpol - North Stage, 6:45 - 8:00

If I was only able to see one band over the entire festival, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick Interpol. Aside from the fact that they’re one of my favorite bands, I hear they’re absolutely mesmerizing live. I’ve only given the new album a few listens, and while there are definitely some quality tracks, I am most excited to hear – and generally prefer – their older material, but I've grown fond of their current single. Although it isn't a terribly drastic progression, Interpol is pretty okay sticking to their guns.

MP3: Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver

While I would be perfectly satisfying with Interpol as my last set of the festival, the fun doesn’t end there. While 311 was fun back in the day, I’m torn between the resurrected Smashing Pumpkins and seeing the combination of the second half of a long Deep Dish set and a brief but potentially interesting M.I.A. set. We’ll see what happens, but I'm sure it will be a blast. And that, my friends, is what festivals are all about.


Anonymous said...

It's "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" for the Modest Mouse album, not the other way around.

mjrc said...

wow, you are going to have some day! for what it's worth, i think you're making the right choice to skip fountains of wayne. i saw them a couple weeks ago and they were pretty blah.

tv on the radio are great live, you'll enjoy them. tunde adebimpe is an incredible front man.

i'm dying to see lcd soundsystem. almost got to back in june but couldn't at the last minute.

can't wait to hear your full report!

Culture Bully said...

Hey Roland - thanks for the link!

butter team blog said...

live music master, i come to you with a question - any word on how i can get a copy of daft's lollapalooza set without selling my soul to a third world torrent tyrant that might do unspeakable things to my beloved mac?

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