The Arctic Monkeys are riding high. They recently enjoyed a gig at one of the U.S.’s biggest music festivals in Lollapalooza and their new album Humbug released in the UK at #1. It’s now available in the States and fans of the band are snapping it up. The Arcitc Monkeys took a calculated risk too. Humbug is a departure from their normal fare. To me, it’s a good thing. Not that I didn’t like them before, but the new record has a new complexity to it, while keeping with the catchy tunes and lyrics that grabbed me in the first place. They were also smart in recruiting Josh Homme to co-produce Humbug – his credits include Queens of the Stone Age.
Lead singer and songwriter Alex Turner cites Jimi Hendrix and Cream as a couple influences in putting together Humbug, and it shows. The music is decidedly darker than past releases, it even has some 60′s trippiness to it. Some fans will undoubtedly be let down by the lack of pop-inspired, hop-up-and-down beats, but others will appreciate a further exploration of their style. None, however, should be disappointed by Turner’s way with words or the way he delivers them. And by all means Arctic Monkeys retain their uniqueness. In fact, they have one of the most interesting sounds to come on the scene in some time. And that’s impossible to change.
Below is a video of “Crying Lightning,” their first single from Humbug. Below that are a few more tunes from the new album.
Welcome home, Eddie. Chicago loves Pearl Jam. There are few tours that come through town with the level of anticipation as the Seattle band and Chicago’s hometown hero. Whether it be Lollapalooza, Eddie Vedder on a solo tour or even just Eddie singing the seventh inning stretch at a Cubs game, Chicago buzzes when the Pearl Jam bus rolls into town. And that’s no exaggeration – out of about 22,000 seats sold at the United Center for each show this week, the Pearl Jam fan club accounted for about half of those seats. But fans weren’t just sitting there – they were ready.
Just as Eddie Vedder has the capacity to send chills up and down one’s spine, you imagine he and the band feel the same way when 22,000 voices sing every word to every song. Never is that more evident than “Better Man,” where Vedder handed over singing duties to the fans for the first half of the song. He relished in the moment then offered a sort of apology, explaining, “it’s fun for me.” The truth is, Vedder didn’t have to sing a word and you still would have heard every lyric, even the cover songs. But then you wouldn’t experience the power of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. At times, it’s like getting punched square in the nose – you’re dazed and awestruck and your senses are twisted and heightened all at once. You feel alive (pun very much intended) and you get the experience of hearing huge arena rock music that feels it was meant just for your ears. (‘Alive’ was epic, by the way.)
Remember the video for “Evenflow,” when Eddie was climbing all over the stage and all over the theater, into the crowds? Maybe they’re older and a little more tempered, but the energy is still there. So is the attitude. Eddie described how guitarist Mike McCready got really angry when he didn’t get to play “Evenflow,” that he wanted to kill somebody. Eddie pointed to the crowd and noted that McCready could start “with this guy.” Turns out, the guy was wearing a shirt that said No Evenflow. “Sir, we take requests, not orders,” said Vedder. “You should know better than that.”
I made it to the Monday performance, August 24. And it was awesome. The setlist was killer too, you can find it here. Some personal favorites during the set were “Corduroy,” “Not for You,” “Do the Evolution,” “Yellow Ledbetter,” “Black,” and of course “Alive” and “Better Man.” But honestly, there wasn’t a single song that didn’t leave me wanting another.
Below is a video we shot for “Black.” It was one of the best performances of that song I’ve ever heard. And below that is “Nothingman.” If you want to see more, start searching YouTube – videos are popping up every hour. Passionate fans, I tell you.
Have some favorites from the show? Please share with a comment after the post!
Lastly, remaining Pearl Jam tour dates are listed below the video.
NOTHINGMAN (via YouTube and edvedhead)
|Aug 28 2009||8:00P||Outside Lands Festival||San Francisco, California|
|Sep 21 2009||8:00P||Key Arena||Seattle, Washington|
|Sep 22 2009||8:00P||Key Arena||Seattle, Washington|
|Sep 25 2009||8:00P||GM Place||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Sep 26 2009||8:00P||Clark County Ampitheater||Portland, Oregon|
|Sep 28 2009||8:00P||E Center||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Sep 30 2009||8:00P||Gibson Ampitheater||Universal City, California|
|Oct 1 2009||8:00P||Gibson Ampitheater||Universal City, California|
|Oct 4 2009||8:00P||Austin City Limits||Austin, Texas|
|Oct 6 2009||8:00P||Gibson Ampitheater||Universal City, California|
|Oct 7 2009||8:00P||Gibson Ampitheater||Universal City, California|
|Oct 9 2009||8:00P||Viejas Arena||San Diego, California|
|Oct 27 2009||8:00P||Spectrum||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Oct 28 2009||8:00P||Spectrum||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Oct 30 2009||8:00P||Spectrum||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Oct 31 2009||8:00P||Spectrum||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
For those of you out there who have hesitated to see The Dead Weather because Jack White is on drums – well that’s just silly. But at any rate, this video clip should change your mind. Sound Citizen Joni Kabana was kind enough to send us this video of White ripping it up from a very recent Dead Weather show at The Roseland in Portland, Oregon.
The video is excellent quality. Of course, so is the musician. We keep hearing nothing but positive things about Dead Weather live performances. If you happen to check one out, please let us know!
Special thanks to Joni – check out her website!
Want to be a Sound Citizen? Ask us how – email us.
On a late Saturday night/early Sunday morning for our final Lollapalooza aftershow we hit up Schubas to see Dan Auerbach, front man for the Black Keys, touring on his solo album, Keep it Hid. Schubas is one of those places that get’s top-flight talent in an intimate setting and personally I’m a huge fan.
Opening up was Cage the Elephant. I saw them at Summerfest and besides their hit “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” it was largely unimpressive. So, we sat that one out and took a load off on a barstool and sipped some delicious Corona instead. Auerbach came on around midnight.
I don’t have a lot to say about this show, except that if you ever get a chance to see Auerbach – with the Black Keys or solo – take it. One factor that slightly disappointed was the constant din of the crowd. It seems to be a common problem with Lolla aftershows – maybe it’s the all-day drinking of those who attended the festival during the day.
Below is video of “Whispered Words.” You’ll want to watch it to the end. Current tour dates after the video.
|Nov 5 2009||8:00P||Newport Music Hall||Columbus, Ohio|
|Nov 6 2009||8:00P||The Majestic Theatre||Detroit, Michigan|
|Nov 7 2009||8:00P||Phoenix Concert Theatre||Toronto|
|Nov 8 2009||8:00P||Le National||Montreal|
|Nov 9 2009||8:00P||The Paradise||Boston|
|Nov 11 2009||8:00P||Webster Hall||New York, New York|
|Nov 12 2009||8:00P||Theatre of the Living Arts||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Nov 13 2009||8:00P||Sonar||Baltimore, Maryland|
|Nov 14 2009||8:00P||Cat’s Cradle||Chapel Hill, North Carolina|
|Nov 16 2009||8:00P||The Orange Peel||Asheville, North Carolina|
|Nov 17 2009||8:00P||Variety Playhouse||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Nov 18 2009||8:00P||House of Blues||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Nov 20 2009||8:00P||Minglewood Hall||Memphis, Tennessee|
|Nov 21 2009||8:00P||Cannery Ballroom||Nashville, Tennessee|
|Dec 3 2009||8:00P||Turner Hall||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Dec 4 2009||8:00P||First Avenue||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Dec 5 2009||8:00P||The Vic Theatre||Chicago, Illinois|
|Dec 6 2009||8:00P||The Bluebird||Bloomington, Indiana|
|Dec 8 2009||8:00P||Southgate House||Newport, Kentucky|
|Dec 9 2009||8:00P||House of Blues||Cleveland, Ohio|
(Video included) It might have been wet all day last Friday at Lollapalooza, but it didn’t rain on my Band of Horses aftershow parade. After drying out my shoes, changing my socks and having a drink on a friend’s couch, we headed to House of Blues – along with our ticket giveaway winner, Ms. Eva Swan.
First up was Cass McCombs. I knew nothing of him, but heard good things. So we settled on a spot near the bar on the left side of the stage, I grabbed a terrible piece of luke-warm pizza from the beer tub girl, and a can of beer. Immediately, I didn’t know what to make of McCombs. And I still don’t. It was a little hard to concentrate too – the crowd was awfully chatty and loud. So that was disappointing. From what I heard though, I liked it and McCombs deserves much more exploration. He’s unique.
Band of Horses finally took the stage somewhere around midnight. Again, the crowd was chatty. Must be something about Lollapalooza because the last time I saw them at the Metro, people were captivated. It was a great set anyway and they unveiled a new song from their upcoming album. That song leads off the video below. I don’t think I could be disappointed by BOH in any way. But I will say this – the crowd matters. The set at Lollapalooza was better. The crowd was into it and so was the band. (Read about Band of Horses at Lollapalooza)
Enjoy the video from House of Blues, and I also included a video from their Lolla set (courtesy of palmofyoureye), where Ben Bridwell spent the last couple songs in with the audience. Watch it.
(Video included) What a weekend. Three days and nights in Grant Park, a night at House of Blues and another night at Schubas. I’m beat. But it was worth it.
When the lineups were announced for Lollapalooza, people everywhere were saying that it was one of the weakest lineups in recent history. We disagreed. Then the Beastie Boys had to cancel (get well MCA) and the peanut gallery grew louder. While the headliners drew criticism, we said early on that it was the “supporting” acts who deserved the most attention. They didn’t disappoint. And, for that matter, neither did the supposed sub-par headliners.
We also made some early show-stealing picks for our Lolla tour including Band of Horses, The Decemberists and Jane’s Addiction. In the case of Band of Horses they did steal the show – quite literally – from Jane’s Addiction.
Playing right before Jane’s, BOH decided to extend their set by a good three songs, continuing to play while Jane’s started their set. “We gotta blow that shit out!” said BOH’s Ben Bridwell before launching into a rocking “Wicked Gil.” And he wasn’t done. “Should I keep going?” he asked, before playing “Ode to LRC.” Then, “Let’s do one more!” as he climbed down to the crowd and led us through “The General Specific.” Between songs, you could see the frustration building for Janes Addiciton’s Perry Farrell before he shouted, “What the fuck is this?” and then called them “crackers.” In all fairness, BOH got a late start due to Lou Reed running late. But when you butt in on the festival’s organizer … it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that 2009 could be BOH’s last Lollapalooza appearance.
It was worth it. BOH absolutely killed Lolla. The crowd was enthralled and the band appeared to be having the time of their lives. Bridwell commented several times about how amazing the crowd was and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that he meant every word. I’m a big Jane’s Addiction fan and, for me, it’s a close call. If it weren’t for Jane’s disappointing end (‘Jane Says’ is a classic but I’ve heard it enough for two lifetimes – and I know I’m not alone) they would have been my highlight performance. Farrell then ended the set with a nice proposal, then a lengthy discussion about the 2016 Olympics, kids, life, “thank you’s” to crew, organizers, and so on. The crowd waited for another song that was never played.
This year goes to Band of Horses. Unfortunately we have a missing video. But check back for the aftershow video from House of Blues.
The Decemberists were also very good, as was Snoop Dogg, Andrew Bird and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s proved to be a more-than-capable fill-in for the sorely missed Beastie Boys.
Before the video, a few Lolla highlights you won’t see:
- The Raveonettes were great and so were Silversun Pickups.
- The entire festival was well-organized.
- Not one pat-down from security for me, in all three days. Security was light, but it seems to have worked. Turns out, no matter how much pot is smoked people don’t want to fight.
- Friday’s hours of rain resulted in mud wrestling. Unfortunately, it was all dudes.
- Beer was plentiful, mostly cold and actually reasonably priced – $5 for a can, allowing for stockpiling. Cleanup was also outstanding, due to volunteers and a rewards program from Lolla.
- The North side of the park is better – closer proximity to just about everything and a convenient exit after the shows. You can also simply turn around to hear either North side stage. However, there was a highly advertised North side entrance gate, but that was only open for half a day.
- The porta-potty’s. That’s right. They served two non-traditional purposes.
- The set on the North side of Grant Park backed up to a fence and Columbus Drive. Waiting in line, suddenly two guys came flying from behind, landed on top of two porta’s, dismounted (one somersaulted) and dashed into the crowd amid a throng of high-fives and cheers on their way to a free day of Lolla. Well done, sirs.
- The set on the Southeast side provided an impromptu baby-making session for one couple, complete with door pounding. Yikes.
- This guy.
On to the show. The video below includes clips from 11 different artists we saw. Surely there were other great performances that we missed. There’s also one highlight of a couple who took a swim in Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain. It had to be done, and I’m glad it worked out for everybody. Almost everybody.
Hope you enjoy the video. We have more from each artist we will upload later.
Have some highlights of your own? Leave a comment and share with us!