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The Illin' Music Thread

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Category Archives: Concert review

Long time no see! I’m in the middle of finals, and to prolong my procrastination, I’m posting on here. Fun times!

Wye Oak, a folk-tinged indie rock band from Baltimore, came to Colby a few weeks ago and put on the best coffeehouse show of the semester. It was also probably the least well-attended show of the semester, due to two school groups performing at the same time.

These guys are awesome. The band is composed of Jenn Wasner singing and guitar-ing, and Andy Stack drumming with one hand and playing synth bass with the other hand (baller!). Jenn has a haunting, beautiful voice that really stuck with me after the show was done and over. (and maybe Mikel will develop a new celebrity crush on her)

If you can see these two live, do it! It was awesome to see two people so passionate about their music. They also rocked the fuck out for just twenty people or so, which was also cool because sometimes bands get pissed off at low turnouts. I think it would be interesting to compare how they play when the crowd is bigger and can give more energy to them during their performance with their Colby show.

I bought The Knot, their new album, after the show. My favorite song off it is “Siamese”. It’s dreamy, and really reminds me of driving in the winter. Check it out!

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Hello lovely readers (hi mom!!!!  [god I hope not.]),

So this past Wednesday evening I was blessed with the opportunity to see one of the most hyped up-and-coming indie/alternative bands of the year, Phoenix.  You might know a song of theirs from that Cadillac commercial or maybe from the New York, I Love You trailer.  You might even be the proud owners of their whole discography, in which case I probably don’t have to tell you that this band is seriously awesome.

Hailing from France (Versailles to be precise–the same area that has brought us Daft Punk, Air, and the guillotine), these guys sure know how to rock.  Not only are their compositions unique and interesting (especially those on their newest effort, my pick for the album of summer ’09, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), there is also no question that these guys know how to put on one hell of a show.

The concert took place at the Aragon Ballroom in uptown Chicago, an extravagant Spanish-themed rock club that at the time seemed packed way beyond its 4500 person capacity.  I got the feeling that this was one of the bigger shows this band has ever played from their incessant “thank yous” and the statement that, “it’s never like this back in Paris.”  Anyway, it’s great to see so many people interested in what was once a small alternative rock band from France existing in the shadows of the country’s more popular musical exports such as Air, Justice and Daft Punk.  In fact, Laurent Brancowitz, one of Phoenix’s guitarists used to play in an indie band called Darlin’ back in the day with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, who later became the world-renowned electronic duo Daft Punk.

Back to the point, Phoenix’s set was not only long (an hour and a half!–almost unheard of for young rock bands these days), but also varied and well balanced.  They played just about every song off of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in addition to a slew of older hits and slightly less well-known gems.  Although the new album is considerably more popular (and in my opinion better) than the older releases, some old singles such as “Run Run Run” from 2004’s Alphabetical got the crowd going.  That said, no song got people moving more than the hit single, “1901.”  The dynamic in the room during this final encore song created an almost religious experience.  It was one of those moments where you felt like the crowd was moving as one and that nothing in the world could stop you from rocking out and having a good time.  The electricity in the air could have powered a small factory.  Phoenix could not have picked a better way to end the show as I’m sure that everyone left the concert just as I did, wishing and waiting to go see them again.

Here are a few selections of my favorite Phoenix tunes:

From Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Lasso

From Alphabetical, Run Run Run


So we make this plan to go to Cambridge to see some bands–me, Cosme, and Cali. We borrow my friend Nicole‘s car and make the three-hour drive from Colby to Cambridge. We stop by my house for some home cookin’ thanks to the Patch Parents n’ Tay and Cass, and we head for the Middle East (the club, not the region of the world).

I pick up our will-call tickets, get stamped, Cali gets stamped, and then they deny Cosme. What the fuck, Middle East Upstairs? It’s a long story, but we ended up talking to the asshole at the door, two managers and three cops to no avail. I’ve never run into such a problem with ID before. So basically, this is for you, asshole at the door.

We chill in Central Square for a bit, talk to people going to the show, eat some food, until Starfucker comes on. I felt terrible because Cos couldn’t get into the show, but if I made the drive down, I felt as though I should at least go to see one band.

Something that sets good bands apart from great bands is if they create their own world that you can completely buy into. Starfucker is one of these bands.

First of all, they performed in drag with tons of lipstick. I thought about how it would have been fun if we had brought down my lit professor so he could analyze how the band was deconstructing normative views on gender. However, for me, it created this strange, otherworldly vibe that was totally awesome. It seemed as though they were grandmothers performing concise, well-written and fun fun fun dance songs.

The highlights were my favorite song of theirs, “German Love”, and their cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.

“German Love” was sandwiched in the beginning of their schizophrenic set. They seemed somewhat uncomfortable in the beginning, playing songs for a minute or so until they degenerated into feedback and old tv/radio soundclips. With “German Love” they seemed to hit their stride, and, as with the rest of their set, played it (as we say in Boston) wicked tight, khidd! I was surprised that a band so young could be so together, and it only made the song more danceable.

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was spot-on, too. It was fun and reflected upon their gender-bending in an ironic, silly way. Usually hipster irony bothers me, especially in concerts, but it was so heartfelt it almost seemed like they weren’t aware of it, or it was an accident or something.

I also enjoyed how hypnotizing some of their songs were. I felt as though I was in a trance for some of their songs.  As the bass drum thumped in my chest and the synths bounced off the walls into my ears, I closed my eyes and felt happy and warm. Any band that can do that to me gets an ‘A’ in my book.

Two small grievances: I wished the concert was longer and that the band was mixed better.

My friend Cali mentioned after the show how she hadn’t danced like that while sober in a long time. If you haven’t danced like THAT while sober in a few months, check this band out. They will, as they say in “German Love”, give that to you.

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This past weekend was Loudness here at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Loudness is the first weekend the campus is not “dry”. Lol. Good times with the word dry. “The campus is so-o-o-o-o dry. No one has parties. Dry. Dry.” Okay, sorry. Gt’s at improv shows.

But anyways. Colby usually has a dance on Friday, and then a concert on Saturday night. The dance happened, nbd, but the concert was the real highlight of the weekend. Usually the concert is someone like Guster, Chitty Bang, Cake, etc. But Colby College stepped up its game this weekend and got Dan Deacon. Good fuckin’ times with Dan Deacon at Colby College, khidd!

First of all, the opener he brought was a clown. I think that’s the most brilliant opening act ever. Dan Deacon’s act was more or less a clown act, although please throw away all of your connotations and associations with that phrase. It was a clown show in that it was just pure, madcap, unapologetically childish fist-pumping sweaty screaming fun. No cheap, maudlin clown jokes or make-up here, please.

I’d heard from my friend Caleb back home that his shows are incredible. Although it wasn’t the best concert I’ve ever been to, I’ll put it up there in my top 10. He performed in the middle of the audience (which admittedly was bigger than I thought it would be, since your average Colby student usually listens to Kenny Chesney and T.I.), which was split between mostly inebriated people on the dance floor and mostly inebriated people on the periphery who were kind of just looking on in semi-horror.

Dan Deacon rejuvinated not only my love and overall level of happiness, I feel as though he turned Colby into a happier, more spiritually-fulfilled place that can still be felt ALL THE WAY UNTIL MONDAY. Now when does that happen at Colby?

His music was almost religious for me in tone and intent. His animal screaming over pumping synths and drums blasting at 184 bpm, vocoded and distorted with delay, reached an almost church-like level of devotion and awe at the power of love and how we are all human beings, at coming together for a silly concert over a silly weekend.

His crowd mind-control games were hilarious fun. The sassy dance-off was pure joy to behold, as was the interpretive dance led by my friend Willa. The human tunnel was awesome, as well–it’s not every weekend at Colby where people come together to do something other than get drunk over the ‘ruit table–not that I have anything against drinking. I guess that’s partly why this concert was so special to me. It seemed as though everyone there was truly into it, and that we were all ready and happy to make art on a weekend night in a place where art generally takes a back seat, regardless of whether it’s the weekend or not. It was also nice to see dancing–silly, crazy dancing–instead of the usual grinding that takes place on dance floors everywhere on Saturday nights.

Anyways, all the paragraphs above are just a long-winded way of saying: what a fun, brilliant, creative concert! If Dan Deacon is playing a show near you, go see him! He will blow your mind!

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