The Analog Hole

Monday, July 03, 2006

Intonation Fest: Day 1

Okay, so I didn't see some of the opening acts. Everybody knows that showing up on time is bad form. Here it goes:

Devin The Dude:
Nice rapport with the crowd, good rhyme skills and a DJ with some skills of his own. He doesn't stray too far from hip-hop's time honored "I love weed and pussy" formula, but he's got a point, so why fuck with a good thing? The highlight of his set would have to be the thirty seconds worth of a James Taylor cover that had the crowd busting its nut. I later found out from the guy working the HiFi Records booth that he once heard Devin do a Todd Rundgren cover at a show. I can only hope an album of covers is in the works.

Jose Gonzalez:
A Swede with Argentinian roots sound exotic and interesting right? Well it isn't. He had all stage presence of a school kid at a recital. James Taylor and Van Morrison should sue for copyright infringement.

Ah, the one band I *had* to see on Saturday! If you haven't heard these guys, go get their album. A few years ago, Dave One and Pee Thug (one's jewish; the other's arab) meet in the used synth section of Guitar Center. The result? Cheeky retro synth pop played with a wink and smile. Did I mention the Peter Frampton talk box Pee Thug uses? How about the clear acrylic flying V guitar that Dave One wields? Are you convinced yet?! Trust me, it'll rock your ass *and* make you dance. Speaking of which, their repeated pleadings to the audience to dance and "do a two step", was the only detraction from an otherwise great set. Expect a new album in early 2007, btw.

Speaking about dancing, one of my pet peeves is when musicians come into town and berate and brow beat the audience for not dancing. Listen, this is Chicago. We don't dance here. Some people, some of the time, may, but they are the exception, and not the rule. Or more likely, tourists. If you see head nodding or fist pumping, take that and be happy. This is how we show affection. Trust me, we're more than generous with the applause when you deserve it. You must under stand though, that this is the Midwest. It's a place where sitting on your porch counts as recreation, and even exercise in some counties. Sloth is a goddamned cultural institution and you ain't gonna change that. While tropical climates may warm caucasian blood to make salsas, tangos, and a whole litany of fiery dancing, here, the bleak winters and lake winds keep our blood cool and decidely still.

High On Fire:
These guys were so bad, I couldn't stop laughing. I hate metal, and these guys area perfect example of why. Listen: I love Motorhead. I think GG Allin is a prophet. I've listened to more Industrial music than most of y'all put together. But the crap those guys played, it was awful. Most songs, as a rule, have verses followed by a chorus, with maybe a bridge thrown in to keep things interesting. With these clowns, you couldn't tell where one song ended and the other began. Oh my but the random screeching was so delightful. ("The darkness in my soul!" Not sure really, it could've been "Mommy didn't love me!" for all I could tell, I had my earplugs in by that point) Hell, I thought they were tuning up for the first fifteen minutes. I expected a tiny stonehenge to descend slowly from the ceiling at any moment and be trod upon by a dwarf. No, that would give them too much credit.

The Stills:
So many band members, so much movement around the stage, so little music. You could have gotten the same sound with half the men and material. Another wanky band with junior high poetry for lyrics sung by some effeminate sounding git. Remind me to not both checking out the music scene in Montreal if I ever go there.

Roky Erickson:
FUCKING INCREDIBLE! I can't even begin to tell you what a privilige it was to have seen him. But wait, let me back up a bit. Before the Grateful Dead, before Sgt. Pepper's, there was the 13th Floor Elevators. Yeah, they pretty much created psychedelic rock, and Roky Erickson was there leading the way. Probably leading too much, as he was doing heroic amounts of LSD, which led to several arrests and a stint in a mental hospital. All this for a guy, who by all accounts, wasn't all that stable to begin with, which makes one hell of a tragic story. Flash forward to 2006, and you've got Roky Erickson doing his first gig outside of Austin, Texas in 26 years! And he did not disappoint. His rendition of "You're Gonna Miss Me", which some of you may know from Lenny Kaye's classic Nuggets, sounded just like 1966. It was brilliant and heart wrenching. The fans gathered 'round the stage gave him the most applause out of anybody at the festival. Once he finished, Sam and I had to go take a walk through the exhibitor booths, just to let the music sink in. It was like having one of those incredible, mind blowing orgasms where you can't move afterwards. You just have to sit and let it keep washing all over you.

Take Kodo and pump it full of the manic angst of modern times. Then you get 4 Japanese musicians manning 3 drum sets, a synthisizer, a small army of effects and beat boxes and a microphone. Sheer madness. I'll definitely be getting some of their albums.

Big disappointment. Every stereotype of a rap show was played out perfectly. 4 guys strutting across the stage backed by a talentless DJ. Shameless self promotion. Not so much music as bass that could be felt in Aurora. Emotionless, uninspired delivery. Over two dozen women from the crowd dancing on stage while he gives a stirring rendition of "I Want Pussy". For those that haven't heard that one, it goes like this: "I want puss-ay!". Repeat.

Lady Sovereign:
Just alright. Not that she was bad, but I'm just not a fan of anything remotely hip-hop or rap that comes from overseas. The accents and the staccato delivery just sound silly. Okay, I do dig M.I.A.; go listen to her instead. One notable thing though: a painter was on stage doing his thing on a canvas while she performed, presumably using her as his muse. Dash of pretension perhaps, but also a decent concept, so she gets points for that.

The Streets:
See above. I just giggle whenever I've tried to listen to his albums. He did have some decent beats though, and did work the crown like a complete professional. Total charisma. I can see why he's so damn popular across the pond.

Intonation Fest

Wow, Intonation Fest was an absolute blast. Two days of fresh, live music with my fellow music freaks. The weather was gorgeous, with the exception of Sunday night, when the temperature was downright cold. Union Park made for a great venue, with wide open spaces near the stage, but plenty of shade when you needed a rest. All the acts went off without any major problems, so cheers to the organizers for having their shit together. Thanks y'all.

There was talk of trying to get more minorities out for the festival by making the lineup as diverse as possible. Well, while the crowd was mainly white, I really wouldn't qualify it as such. Those in attendance were more hipster than white if you ask me. It was veritable sea of ironic t-shirts as far as the eye could see. When you put together such a diverse group of artists, you get the music geeks coming out in droves, regardless of what ethnicity they hail from. This ain't Hipster University, so why try to fill quotas? Shut up and enjoy the music...


Hey y'all, welcome to my newest and second blog. This blogging thing can be addictive, so I figured I'd start a new one to keep some of my more serious posts separate from the brain droppings and non sequitors you'll still find over at Chico vs. The World.

On this blog, I'll be posting about music and things going on in the city, which often enough tend to overlap. For openers, I'll be posting my (much delayed) musings about Intonation Fest.

What's with the name anyways?