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It rained like a motherfucker in the early afternoon, so I stayed put at a birthday party, playing Jenga and drinking potent punch. Thanks to the vodka, I figured it’d be best to #livetweet the festival, to help my memory (obvs.). Thanks to the rain, I arrived an hour later than planned and was disappointed to only catch the ass-end of FLYING LOTUS, which involved some MC on stage and a remix of “Hard N Da Paint.” Heard FlyLo has a new record out this fall, and I can’t wait to hear it. Seeing him in Union Park in 2010 at the North Coast fest was a highlight of my summer and I fully ride for his live show. Check him out.
FlyLo ended and I turned 90 degrees to watch WILD FLAG on the other big stage. There were roughly twice as many people there Saturday as there were Friday, and movement was slow in the crowd. Wild Flag opened with a cover of “Evil” by Television. That proto-punk sound set the template for Carrie Brownstein’s other songs, and the set was off to a strong start…until the other guitarist/vocalist Mary Timony brought down the energy. This happened every time Timony took the mic, but I was pleased to see that Carrie Brownstein still does outsized rock moves on stage, like she used to do in Sleater-Kinney. I want their album but am scared I’ll only like half the songs.
After maybe half of Wild Flag’s set, I headed to the smaller stage to see L.A. rapper SCHOOLBOY Q from the Black Hippy crew. Q’s dark “Habits and Contradictions” has been getting a lot of plays at the crib, and I was excited to see him. He did not disappoint, doing a high-energy set with plenty of “Throw your hands up” and “Let’s get this side to bounce!” type audience participation. Q also took the cake for best between song banter: “Who’s from the bad part of town? Make some noise! Who’s from the good part of town? Who’s from the aight part of town?” and “All my white motherfuckers out there, make some noise. Yeah! Niggas ask me why I fuck with white people. It’s cos niggas don’t come to shows!” Something I’ve noticed about live hip-hop: MCs with louder deliveries on record do better live because they’re used to shouting. Meanwhile, guys with a more laid back, or nuanced delivery - like Q - lose their vibe live as they barrel through songs that have more menace on record. Still, good show, good songs, good artist.
Went to see a couple SLEIGH BELLS songs because my girlfriend loves them and wanted me to report back. Their music is fine by me, but it didn’t fair well outside. I noticed that the rock bands who don’t have bassists (Wild Flag, Japandroids, Sleigh Bells) all sorta sounded like ass on an outdoor stage. Oh well. The guitarist was wearing a Void shirt and that made me happy.
Walking back, I ran into my friend Sooz from school and me and her crew made our way to a prime spot about 20 feet in front of the small stage soundguy for CHROMATICS. Chromatics are a sleek dark synth pop band best known for their contributions to the “Drive” soundtrack. Their music sounds like the inside of a sexy car at night, so I was skeptical of how it would come off outdoors at 6pm in summer, and also dying to see them because their album “Kill for Love” has probably got more plays than anything else at my dojo this year. So, stick with me while I geek for a while. They played with a four-piece lineup: three creepy, pale guys dressed in black and one creepy, hot woman in black and red. The drummer played an electronic set, one guy alternated between synth and affects-heavy guitar, the woman sang and sometimes played guitar, and the other guy, who I think is the bandleader, just played synths. It was impressive to watch him at work because he was doing a lot of the affects and modulation by hand on stage, and playing live instead of sequencing in. The tight live band recreated the huge sound of their album onstage, and the physicality of it was particularly impressive after CLAMS CASINO’s half-assed set the day before. Another thing that was cool was discovering that some of the sounds on “Kill for Love” that sound like synths are actually really processed guitars. Case in point, “Lady,” which they opened with after doing a darkwave synth build for a couple minutes. My only gripe with their set was that it was too short. They took up their time with longer songs, like “Lady” and “These Streets Will Never Look The Same,” and closed with their cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” I wish I’d heard “The Page” and could have watched them for twice as long. Looks like I’m gonna have to catch them at a club sometime soon. Their crowd was the most hipster that I’d seen that day. Logan Square must have been empty. Things began to change toward the end of their set as the mooks who had been watching Sleigh Bells and HOT CHIP began swarming in to get prime spots for DANNY BROWN.
I stuck around and got surrounded by 19 year old br0bags, one of whom was short and doing the back and forth waddle that my girlfriend calls the “fat guy shuffle.” That was all well and good except for the fact that he kept rubbing his butt up on me. I was going to loudly tell him to stop trying to freak with me, but he looked like he might cry if I did so I waited it out, figuring the crowd would shift when the music started. DANNY BROWN, probably the most gleefully filthy rapper I’ve ever heard, came out like a ball of energy. He started solo, with just a DJ, and did his tongue twisting, pussy licking deconstruction of grime and trap rap before bringing out one of the Bruiser Brigade to ratchet up the energy for a set that was mainly his harder songs like “Die Like A Rockstar” and “Bruiser Brigade” and “Blunt After Blunt.” With his hypeman practically screaming the hooks to these songs and people crowdsurfing, the vibe during Danny Brown was close to that of a hardcore show with one notable exception - there were a remarkable amount of women going apeshit for Danny Brown. We’re talking dancing hard, rapping along and even trying to rush the stage. Note to other MCs: Write some rhymes about cunnilingus.
Once Brown’s set wound down, I caught some booming, swelling noises from GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR and got on my bike, happy. I saw some terrific music.
Not actually listened yet.. but I know it will be tight. Freshness from the Flying Lotus.“Here it is…Lovers Melt 2 Download this and share it with everyone who loves music.”
My last bike shop shift
rum at a street festival
free Flying Lotus.
cosmosgramma by flying lotus
viva last blues by palace
roots by curtis mayfield
wet cement by eddy current suppression ring
sir precious left eye…father of inigo montoya by big boi
there’s a riot goin’ on - sly & teh family stone
double nickels on the dime by the minutemen
this lonesome world by al scorch
since it’s hot as a fat man’s crotch out there, i thought i’d post a link to ‘july heat,’ a beat tape by flying lotus. it’s more dilla hip-hop than his recent stuff. sounds good on the train when the sun’s coming up.