RNDM @ First Avenue



RNDM was one of those shows that I initially saw, and thought, "hey, it's got a guy from another famous band that I like, I wonder if I should go". That answer was, as it turned out, no. That was, until I got an email saying that members could go for free +1. I figured, well if it's bad, I didn't pay for it.

So a friend and I went to check them out. Although I knew they were more on the pop rock side of things and that isn't necessarily my taste, I went in with an open mind. Turned out, I really liked them. As musicians, they were amazing so it was really cool to watch them play. The songs were upbeat and fun which made it a very enjoyable show. Also really cool (or not cool, depending on how you look at it) there was no one there. So we were standing about 2 feet from the stage almost dead center.

The opener, GULL, was also a real treat. He was a one man band, which when you hear that you think of a guy with a drum on his back and maybe a harmonica. He did in fact have a drum, but it was on the floor. He also had a guitar, a mic, a sampler, and a mask (not sure why). This would be one guy on the street corner I'd actually stop and listen to.

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Madonna @ Xcel Energy Center



This had all the ingredients to be a great night. We were going with a handful of friends. We were having dinner at my sister-in-laws place before walking over to the venue. My wife was even going. But even with all that going in our favor, the show, ultimately was a let down.

I had high hopes for this show. I'm mean, all it had to do, was be similar to the previous time we'd seen Madonna, which was my #8 top show of all time.

Paul Oakenfold was the opener, that has to be good right?! Sadly, I don't think it translated well within the arena. Especially when people are just sitting around mingling, waiting for what they really came to see. Plus, I think his song selection sucked. He played all the safe dance choices, definitely nothing that showed he was one of the top DJs in the world. Nero was also on this tour, and I really wished they had played the St Paul stop.

Spectacle-wise, this show was very similar. It was over the top Madonna. However, the thing that it lacked, and when compared to the Sticky-n-Sweet tour, was song selection. This go around she chose to sing alot off the most recent 2 albums. She did cram some hits in, but they were either acoustic (which I think are always dumb) or some mashup/remix versions (also, usually not great).

I'd say the intro that started with Girl Gone Wild, was probably my favorite part of the show. After that, it was all down hill unfortunately. Even my wife who is a die hard fan, thought it was a lame show. Oh well, maybe in another 4 years we'll get another cool show, or maybe not.


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Crystal Castles @ First Avenue




After 11 months I finally cashed in my 2 free member tickets that came with my First Avenue membership. Considering these tickets retailed for $32.50 a piece and my membership was $75, I'd say it was well worth the purchase.

The last, and first time, I saw Crystal Castles was at Lollapalooza 2011. That performance made me a fan, and ensured I'd see them anytime they came through town. So imagine my excitement when I found out they were coming to First Ave, AND I could see them for free.

I started out the packed show on the floor, which was a great spot for viewing. It also happened to be a great spot to be bumped, shoved, and pushed. Needless to say, I moved. I retreated to the 2nd floor, which was more open, and more importantly next to the bar. Still a great view, but more enjoyable. The duo put on a fantastic show. It was loud, loud, and thrilling to watch. I loved seeing Alice Glass climb out onto the audience to drink from a bottle and spit it into the crowd.

Great show to watch, great songs to hear, and I can't wait for them to come back.




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MiMOSA @ First Avenue

MiMOSA @ First Avenue


Another benefit of being a First Avenue Member. I won tickets to this show from the member newsletter. I actually won 2 tickets but just went by myself. I ended up going to a Pandora listener town hall next door that same night. So when that ended I just went straight to the show at First Ave. When I got there, around 9, there was maybe 4 other people there. This worried me. Not because I felt bad for the artist, but because I hadn't seen set times published. I assumed that meant that they may delay the show until an acceptable amount of people showed up. Luckily it wasn't that bad, and started around 10:30, but it sure makes for a long 90 minutes sitting in an empty venue by yourself.

The opening band was not what I would expect for a band opening for an EDM artist. Not only were they not EDM themselves, but they were a rock band. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just didn't dig them, as it wasn't something I would normally listen to.

MiMOSA himself was pretty good. He did get me off my stool and onto the dance floor, although I'm sure the 3 beers I had, helped too. I did like that he played his stuff, mixed with your usual live DJ choice songs. What I liked most though, was that his choices of songs didn't include all the usual crap that every other DJ, be it dubstep or not, chooses to play. So it was nice to hear some older stuff, and some of the lesser played good stuff.

First Ave is such a great venue, for any type of band, but it's sad to see it with such a low turnout. Granted, it was a weeknight, and it wasn't nearly as bad as when I saw Caspa there. I hope to see more EDM artists there, but with more people would be nice.

Pictures:

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Miike Snow @ First Avenue



Third time's a charm.  I was pumped to see Miike Snow at Coachella, but so were 20,000 other people.  We were so far back we couldn't see a thing.  Lollapalooza rolled around and I thought I'd have my chance. Unfortunately, it was day 3 and I was fighting a crazy hangover.  So although I got to see a lot more of the show than my last attempt, it wasn't enjoyable.  Plus the fact that it was still daylight out didn't help.  So imagine my excitement when they announced a show at First Ave of all places.  
I thought the show was great.  They came out in matching masks and kicked off the show with a bang.  I thought the lead singer was a little awkward on stage, like he didn't really know what to do.  Not sure if that how he normally performs or the fact that he was really sick.  Turns out they cancelled the next show in Chicago.  Overall though, they sounded awesome and I got to hear all my favorite Miike Snow songs.  

This is the set list according to City Pages.


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Amon Tobin: ISAM Live 2.0 @ The Orpheum Theater


The ISAM 2.0 show was one of the most interesting electronic shows I've ever been to. For one, it was in a theater. It became obvious why as soon as the curtain went up. There's no way that stage setup would fit at any of the clubs here. Secondly, this is a show you definitely have to watch, so having a lot of seats with a perfect view is important. Speaking of seating, it is a little unusual to have an electronic or EDM show in a seated venue. I saw some head bobbing going on, and saw a few people get up and dance. I'm guessing more people would have danced, had they not been confined to chairs.

If you saw DJ Shadow's most recent tour, ISAM was the same thing just on a much better and more detailed scale. I thought I had read something that gave me the impression it was suppose be live visuals in tune with the music. The only part that I thought this was true was when he was doing the air piano inside his cube and the image was projected and morphed onto the giant cube. That was pretty amazing to see, but the only "live" visuals that I could tell. Still, it was pretty amazing to think that this was a stationary "cube" wall, and it was moving and in 3D.

The 2 encores were a bit strange. After an hour he came out and waved and bowed, which I thought it meant it was over. Luckily he went back in and kept playing for another 15 minutes or so. Then came out again, waved, bowed and went back in and played for another 10 minutes. I didn't really notice that the visuals were any better or more complex at this point, they were just different. I think If you're going to do 2 encores, you should be pulling out all the stops and blowing us away. It was a great spectacle to watch, but didn't feel like it built up at the end. I think that would have made even more of an impact if you ask me.

This show is a must see. It's not like anything out there right now or at least much different than most stuff. Plus, being in a theater, I think all the kids left their stupid rave shit clothing at home. I didn't see one pacifier or one glowstick!

Here's the City Page's review. They were really reading into this performance if you ask me.

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Lollapalooza 2012

Lollapalooza 2012



Given last year's Lollapalooza was the most awesome AND the worst, I had a goal this year.  Don't. Fuck. It. Up.  I was so close. 

The trip started out as usual, took the Megabus to Chicago with bro-in-law and friend.  Aside from the no a/c and cramped quarters we actually had a pretty good time on the drive.  We passed the time with movies, games, and some drinking. Got to Chicago in one piece, got picked up and went to the bar with the other bro-in-law then headed home and slept.  The next morning we got up, headed out to get some lunch, and then headed to the park and successfully snuck in the bro-in-law.  The first band we caught was at Perry's, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.  I was diggin it, but then got outvoted to head over to Dr Dog.  What a bore that was.  Seriously, it was not my thing at all.  I'm not sure what we did at this point.  I think we went back to Perry's to check out Zedd and caught some of Madeon.  From here we went to Die Antwoord, something that I wasn't going to miss.  It turned out to be my favorite show of the weekend.  They blazed through a quick 1 hour set, hitting all their hits.  I really wished they didn't play First Ave the next night because I think this would have been an amazing show to catch in a club.  We walked all the way back to Perry's to catch NERO, but then decided to walk all the way back to the other end again to get a spot for Black Sabbath.  Although I would have liked to see Bassnectar, I figured this was going to be one of last times to see Black Sabbath live.  Expectantly, Ozzy's voice was a little rough.  It was a lot like seeing your grandpa getting crazy at a wedding, so at least he had a lot of energy on stage.  We did get the feeling he was reading the lyrics to every song, but did a good job keeping up the pace.  It was a good show once you got past the fact that they were past their prime.  

Day two started out with us running to see Chief Keif at Perry's.  He's a Chicago rapper that was granted a spot within a couple weeks of the show.  He had a couple songs that were catchy, but wow was he a horrible live performer, not that that is any different than every other rapper.  I even think he lip synced most of hit short set, which makes it even more ridiculous.  Did I mention it was crazy hot outside? It was really hot, so just by standing still watching this show, we were all drenched in sweat.  So what better time to start drinking.  Now, in order to repeat last years early Saturday departure, I really paced myself and didn't over do it.  So we hit Doomtree, which I thought was good.  I've not actually seen them live yet, so it was good to see a MN band, outside of MN.  We went back to check out Star Slinger at Perry's, but weren't all that impressed and decided to hit the grass and watch Neon Indian and relax and get some drinks.  Then the storm came.  All off the sudden, Neon Indian stops, announces that they have to stop playing and we all have to leave the park.  Mind you, the weather at this point is perfect.  Sunny, hot, and not a cloud in the sky.  We figured we'd just wait it out in the park, but they literally kicked every person out of the park.  Since 90,000 people were hitting every bar right outside the park, we decided to go a little further to avoid the crowds.  So with my expert navigation skills we made it to an empty parking garage, where we rode out Tropical Storm Lollapalooza.  As it passed we found a McDonald's grabbed some food and head the show was back on.  Getting back in we were able to see Skream & Benga, which were ok.  Kinda glad I didn't see them here in Mpls. Then Calvin Harris came on.  That was a blast.  It was a welcome change from all the dubstep being played at Perry's that weekend.  From here, I left everyone and went to see Avicii.  I'd seen Santigold and RHCP before, so it was an easy choice to see Avicii.  Now I like Levels, it's a good song, but it is played out.  So I thought it was hilarious that he started out his set with it.  Hopefully he meant it as a joke, but probably not.  I had a great time at this show, all by myself.  I later described my experience as dancing for my life.  Just a fun fun time.  As soon as the show was over, I grabbed a cab right outside the park and headed to the Bro-in-laws for the annual Lolla after party.  Pretty happy I made it this year, but it was pretty much a blur from here on out.  Got to his place, ran into some MN friends that were in town for a bachelorette party and coming to the party.  Went inside, said some quick hellos, changed, and was almost immediately pulled into a game of flip cup.  Then almost just as quickly we headed to the bar.  Again, dancing like crazy and dry humping (no idea why) everyone there.  Then shots, then nearly passing out, cab, and more passing out, got home, passing out, puked, and finally bed.  

Even though I made it to and through the party, Sunday I felt miserable.  I thought I was going to rally, making it to brunch, but then couldn't eat, and had to go home and sleep for another few hours.  I finally made it back to the park at 5.  Ugh.  It's tough having a monumental hangover and hanging out with people who are hammered.  People bumping into you, talk yelling at your, and waving drinks in your face, does not help a hangover in any way.  I caught a bit of Toro Y Moi, Big Gigantic, and then Miike Snow.  I was able to get a spot sitting to see Miike Snow, which was so nice.  Luckily I'm seeing them here in Mpls soon, which will be a much better experience.  I did manage to see Jesse from Breaking Bad walking away from Miike Snow, which was crazy.  Finally to end the night, I sat on the hill and watched Jack White.  It was good, but I couldn't see shit, so that was a bummer, but I wasn't about to get up and move.

My goal next year is to definitely make it to Sunday without a hangover that causes me to get to the park at 5 and hate being there.  We'll see. 



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Knife Party @ The Brick



When I saw that Knife Party was going to be in MN I jumped at the chance to see them. Actually, in reality, I sat and waited almost until the last minute to see them, but when I found out there weren't actually going to be at Lollapalooza, that prompted me to finally get a ticket. This time around, I went with 3 other guys which made it a lot more fun.

This was all part of the Global Dance Festival tour.  I think it started in Denver and has branched out to other cities and is put on by AEG, which the Brick (now Mill City Nights) is an AEG venue.  The other 2 nights looked appealing, but as a (older) father of a 2 year old with a full time job, I have to pick and choose my shows I attend.  Knife Party was the obvious choice for me though.  

When we got to the Brick, it wasn't that crowded, and in fact, it really didn't fill up much as the night wore on.  It could have been the fact that it was a Wednesday night, but I haven't been to a show yet at the Brick that was crowded no matter what night it was on.  We got there as AC Slater was performing.  He was fine, but I suppose any DJ could have been up there and done about the same.  I was kinda meh about him.

Next up was 12th Planet.  I would have to say he was actually the best act of the night.  Not only for his song selection and skills, but his energy.  You can tell when an artist goes that crazy on stage, they're really into the performance.  Which it turns out, was the opposite of Knife Party, more on that in a second. He was stage diving, taking pictures of/with the audience, and jumping around and dancing like a mad man.  His set was awesome and did a great job at getting the audience pumped for the final act.  But then what a let down that was.

Knife Party (of one) came on.  I thought to myself, aren't there 2 guys in Knife Party? Yet there's only 1 guy up there.  And this 1 guy, with a cap on pulled down over his eyes, basically stood still the entire time and smoked.  What a joke.  Their music, which I was so into recently because it was so intense and hard and bass-y, couldn't have been more different than the guy up there giving it to us.  I was originally so pumped to see these guy(s), that it was such an incredible bummer because of what we saw.  I later learned via Twitter that someone had a cold, although I couldn't tell if it was the guy that was a no show, or the guy that didn't move. So yeah, it was an awful performance.  

So what was suppose to be a crazy night of huge tunes, turned out to be a bust.  The only redeeming items of the night, were seeing 12th Planet, and executing the best photo-bomb of my career (see below).





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Liars @ First Avenue




Another benefit from being a First Avenue Member.  Members were invited to attend the Liars show for free, plus bring a guest.  I asked the brother-in-law if he wanted to go, which he did, as did a friend of his.  I was able to get both of them in for free, which kicked off a fun night.  Then we scored the Tweet Table, which got us a table on the 2nd floor right by the bar.  So we were able to sit, enjoy some beers, and have an awesome view of the stage.  I'll definitely be renewing my membership next year because of stuff like this.

The opening band was UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, which I had higher hopes for.  In the end though it was a disappointing performance for me.  I had an impression they were a little harder style rock band with some electronic touches, but guess not.  They were a slower/grinding rock band which in my opinion just didn't go anywhere. Not that I did any research prior to the show, but felt like I had seen or heard them before.  Oh well, no matter, we were there to see Liars anyway.

I must have been really off on what I was thinking the bands would sound like live, because I thought Liars would be much more low key.  I was pleasantly surprised by how wrong I was.  They really come on with a ton of energy and got us moving, even while we sat at our table.  The set seemed a little short, which sucked, but they pounded through it with force and the audience loved it.  I'll definitely catch them if they come through MN again

Here's their setlist from the night.  I've created a Spotify playlist for the songs I could find.


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Porter Robinson @ Epic Nightclub




So, the real reason I went to this show was because I won a free ticket.  It's not that I didn't want to go, but going by myself, the fact it was a school night, and that it was at Epic (which I'd never been to) didn't really motivate me to buy a ticket.  Well it turns out, I had an awesome time.  I've entered tons of SIM Shows ticket giveaways before, never winning anything.  In fact I've even given them shit for not awarding tickets they've held contests for.  So I was pretty surprised to hear I one a ticket to Porter Robinson.  


The M Machine opened up for Porter and I was really glad I came early to see them.  They started out a bit slow although I enjoyed their sound, it was music that I would read to.  Not something that would get me dancing really.  Before you knew it though, they were picking up the pace and the show started to really transform. By the time they finished, the crowd was going crazy and everyone was dancing.  That was pretty awesome.  

I secured a spot right up front at the barrier so I had a great view with room to dance.  Porter Robinson came on and blew the crowd away.  He played a lot of great songs that kept the energy going the entire time.  You do expect to hear some of the same stuff every other DJ plays live, so it was nice that although he did hit some of those songs, his whole set wasn't full of them.  I know performers basically do the same "performance" at almost every show, so it's funny to see videos online of Porter Robinson doing the same pantomimes for the same songs.  Some of them were a little over dramatic and ridiculous.  It was hard to tell if he was having a good time or just going through the motions, but he did seem to take himself a little too seriously. 

Aside from his funny "act", the music was great.  With an additional pleasant surprise from the opening band, the night was great.  



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River's Edge Music Festival 2012



In all honesty, the line-up for St Paul's inaugural River's Edge Music Festival, could have been worse, and I still probably would have gone.  I was happy to finally have a proper music festival in the cities, but having Scissor Sisters and Diplo on the bill made it an easy choice.  The other bands we saw only sweetened the deal.  

The previous festivals, music or not, I've attended in MN have been no where near comparable to the likes of Coachella or Lollapalooza, both of which I've attended for the last 5 years.  I'm not talking in size, as the two latter, are massive, but in execution.  I'm was happy to see though, how smooth everything went, and how well it was organized.  From the ridiculous number of bathrooms and beer tents, to the food and drink options, to the grounds and stages.  Everything was really well done.  I'm really excited for the next 4 years since we were guaranteed 5 years of this.  I just hope they don't drop the ball next year. 

We ended up seeing 11 bands over 2 days, and for $99, that's a steal.  Especially considering some of the bands we saw. 

Saturday: Kinky, Gardens & Villa, Scissor Sisters, Datsik
Sunday: Civil Twilight, MIS, AM & Shawn Lee, The Flaming Lips, Diplo

I'd say my best band of the weekend was Scissor Sisters.  Although they were stuck at the smallest of the 3 stages, this was actually a benefit to us.   Showing up as the show started we were able to get right up front and center, and get a great view.  They played all their greatest songs and tore through their set with a ton of energy.  I even scored a set list, which I think was the first I've ever gotten at a show.

I was hoping for the same with Diplo.  He was playing at the same time as Dave Matthews, so I hoped most people would be watching DMB.  However, Diplo proved to be more popular that I expected.  It was actually pretty crowded for his set, but we still managed to get a great spot.  I did enjoy most of his song choices, and liked that he talked to the crowd.  I'm not sure why I was hoping for more, but like he mentioned, the stage was huge for 1 guy.  It would have been nice to have a more intimate DJ stage setup. 

One piece of the festival that was interesting was the Silent Disco.  You rent a pair of headphones which allow you to listen to 1 of 2 djs spinning at the same time.  Initially I thought this was really weird.  Well, I was right. The music was good when we checked it out, but I think people were there to witness the spectacle rather than actually dance.  My hope was this was a way to stay open into the night while avoiding noise violations.  Instead, this ran during the day and only 1 hour past the end of the festival. 

We'll see what, if any, adjustments are made for next year, but regardless, I can't wait!


Video:
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Van Halen @ Xcel Energy Center



Van Halen are one of the few classic bands that I would even consider seeing live now.  So when they finally got around to reuniting with David Lee Roth and setting up a proper tour, I had to go.  Now, if they had reunited with Sammy Hagar, I doubt I would have even considered it.  Initially I was a little skeptical about how they'd sound, specifically how DLR would sound.  But when really positive reviews were coming out about their initial club shows, that pretty much sealed the deal for me.  I was lucky to have a buddy willing to go with me too.

Before the show we looked up the set list of a previous show.  We were pretty happy with what we saw.  It was very heavy on early album songs with a drum solo and guitar solo.  They kicked it off with Unchained, which is one of my favorites.  Unfortunately, it didn't come off as explosive as it should have.  I think they looked nervous, and shaky.  Luckily within a couple songs they started to really warm up.  That's not to say it was perfect.  Understandably this isn't the same show you'd see in 1984.  But wow, DLR has a really hard time keeping up with the lyrics.  Initially I was really worried because he was speaking all the words to the songs.  Not singing, but speaking.  They really depended a lot on Eddie and Wolfgang for singing.  DLR played more like a hype man or backup singer role.  Strangely he could still hit the high notes but he chose the oddest times to do it, and not when you'd think he would.  I think if he just sang the songs like they were suppose to be sung, it would have sounded great.  Instead he did what he did, which was not great.  

The drum solo was something I was pretty pumped to see.  It was both the opposite of what I hoped it would be, and also the more I thought about it, exactly what I should have expected.  To be honest, I'm not even sure Alex played for most of it.  They had some bizarre Miami inspired lights and accompanying track.  It wasn't until they cut that, that it actually sounded like he was really playing.  Pretty disappointing.

Probably the biggest, although, not the only, WTF moment of the show, was David Lee Roth's acoustic guitar solo/intro to Ice Cream Man.  They showed this video of his dogs and he explained how he's a professional dog handler and how they can heard sheep.  He's also hoping to tour Europe soon with these dogs.  I really failed to see how this seemed like a good idea for an arena rock show.  It was just so random and I would have never thought I'd see something like that at a concert.  It really felt like a infomercial of some sort. WTF, indeed.

The guitar solo on the other hand was exactly what I'd hoped it would be.  I wouldn't' be surprised if it was the same solo you'd see in the 70s or 80s.  It was amazing.  For a 50+ year old guy, it's amazing what Eddie is still capable of doing.  

I'm glad I went.  I saw some of my favorite songs ever, performed live.  And hey, most of them sounded pretty good too. ;)


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Adam 'MCA' Yauch 1964-2012




The Beastie Boys are easily one of my most influential and favorite bands.  'Licensed to Ill' was the first cassette tape I purchased back when I was 11 years old.  I've bought every album they released, and everything that came out as a single, bootleg and rarity.  

I was lucky enough to see them twice back in the late nineties.  I was hoping in 2009 to see them a third time at Lollapalooza.  Unfortunately that would prove to be the beginning of the end for MCA, as they canceled their performance due to his cancer.  

I will definitely miss him, as well as the band.  I grew up with them, and can recall so many different moments throughout my life that they have been a part of.

MCA, RIP: Hear His Beastie Boys Legacy in 15 Tracks
Beastie Boys – Grand Royal (Mixtape by Mick Boogie)
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Rusko @ Myth Nightclub



Up until this show, I thought I liked some bass.  This show proved that you can definitely overdo it though.  Especially when songs are played that don't appear to have music and are just all bass. Between the ridiculous amounts of bass and the insane lights, this was one of the most disorienting shows I've ever been to.

I was actually a bit afraid of going to Myth, never being there before, and the fact that it was in the burbs, 20 miles away. Luckily it's a really nice venue.  It had a ton of space and a ton of great vantage points.  I was able to snag a great spot straight back in the middle on one of the platforms.  Perfect view all night.  

It's pretty amazing that Rusko can do what he does every night.  That guy did not stop moving throughout his whole set.  And I'm not just talking about bobbing around, he was doing full on dance moves.  It made me tired just watching him.  Add in the fact that he obviously was drinking the whole time, the guy was a machine.  He was very entertaining to watch which is a nice change of pace when it comes to DJs.  

Overall I thought it was a great show.  Like I said, the bass was a bit much, and the lights, while impressive, were a bit much too.  However, I'm glad I went, and really enjoyed the music.  Kinda looking forward to another show at Myth, just not the drive there and back. ;)



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Spotify:
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Coachella 2012



We took a decidedly different approach this year to checking out bands.  In previous years, we actually ended up seeing very few complete sets, but lots, and I mean lots, of partial sets.  So this time around, we took our time and set some priorities.  Which I think made it one of the most fun years we've had yet.  The full list of what we saw is below, but overall, we saw 24 bands throughout the weekend.  I think one of the other changes that made this the best of the 5 years going, were the shuttles.  One of the most stressful things about going to Coachella, is driving to and from the grounds.  Especially from.  After spending 9+ hours in the desert heat (except for this year, which was in the 60s) the last thing you want to do is spend up to an hour just trying to get out the parking lot, and another hour or more driving back to your hotel.  The shuttles, when you can find them ;), which we had some issues the first night back, were awesome.  We jumped on board, and within 10 minutes were on the road.  Out of the 6 legs we spent on the shuttles, I think I slept through 5 of them.  The shuttle ride was anywhere between 40 and 60 minutes.  Definitely worth the money.

This was also one of the coolest years we've seen.  In fact, the first day it actually rained.  Usually it's near 100 degrees, and in fact, the second weekend it was 106.  So I'll put up with 60/70 degree temps over 106 any day.  Spending 9 hours a day on your feet, jockeying for a spot to watch or dance, takes a toll on your body.  When it's 100+ outside, it just makes it that much worse.  So the cooler temps were really nice, and made things a lot more comfortable.

Some of my highlights were, Madeon, which had a great danceable set.  Swedish House Mafia for their incredible set, and amazing stage show. Santigold had a great set, which we listened to some of from the beer garden on a sunny day. Justice, although 20 minutes late, put on a hell of a show, driving though all of their hits.  Calvin Harris for the last 2 songs we were able to catch, which featured Rhianna, and closing with his hit Feel So Close, which was a perfect accent on the weekend.  And finally, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.  Not only for an incredible stage show, but the fact that we got to see, Warren G, Wiz Khalifa, Hologram Tupac, 50 Cent, and Eminem.

My disappointments were, SebastiAn, which had a really dark, and disturbing stage show.  Although we were in a good spot for David Guetta, we ended up leaving early because his set was so choppy and honestly, really amateur.  Unfortunately, we left just before Usher came on to sing along live.  I really want to see Miiike Snow, but so did half the attendees, so we couldn't see anything and moved on.  I was glad we saw Beats Antique, because now I know I don't ever have to see them again.  I thought their sound was OK, but pretty repetitive and bland.  Since Dada Life get so hyped about being big name DJs, I was hoping for more.  But it seems like the bigger name you are, almost the worse you are as a DJ.  Again, another choppy set that was just OK. I had high hopes for Gaslamp Killer, but he was so out there, that it turned me off.  I'd like a little bit here and there, but overall was let down.

This year definitely reminded me why I go.  It was a blast and I absolutely cannot wait until next year.

Day 1:
SebastiAn, Feed Me, Madeon, Afrojack (partial), the Black Keys (partial), Swedish House Mafia

Day 2:
Jacques Lu Cont, Zeds Dead, Kaiser Chiefs (partial), Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (partial), Sebastian Ingrosso, David Guetta (partial), Miiike Snow (partial), SBTRKT (partial), Radiohead (partial)

Day 3:
Santigold, Beats Antique, Dada Life (partial), Gaslamp Killer (partial), the Hives (partial), Justice, Calvin Harris (partial), Florence + the Machine (partial), Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg

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Reptar @ The 7th St Entry



Reptar was a band I discovered by combing through the bands coming to First Ave.  I really liked their sound, and they were playing the Entry for $10.  So how could I not go?  Well, it wasn't until after I bought my ticket and put the date on my calendar, did I realize I was already seeing Kasabian in the Mainroom that same night.  Whoops.  Well, lucky for me the Kasabian show was done at 11:15 and Reptar was still playing.  What the hell I said, let's go see another show!  

I was able to catch the last 40 minutes of their set and I hope I can see them again because I liked what I saw.  It was upbeat, dance-able, and the guys were pretty friendly and engaging on stage.  For their last song they invited a few audience members onstage to dance.  This is something I'm always fascinated with.  For one, how come I never get picked, and two, how do they mitigate the risk of inviting a bunch of assholes on stage?  It looked like Reptar is still figuring out this equation.  It was pretty funny watching the lead singer shove some drunk idiot dancing next to him, for bumping into him and knocking stuff over.  When the song ended, the drunk idiot asked the lead singer something which I couldn't make out.  I could however understand the response, when the lead singer said "Get the f*ck out of here".  So I guess you never know who's going to join you onstage, but either way, it makes for a fun show to watch.

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Kasabian @ First Avenue



I actually have to thank my wife for this one.  I had never heard any of Kasabian's material, although their name was familiar.  But in 2009 my wife had me buy 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum' because of the single 'Fire'.  Which I ended up liking.  So when I saw they were making a stop here at First Ave, I figured I'd go check them out live.  before the show, I brushed up on their older material, along with their new album.  

Here is the City Pages review, which was a lot more positive than I would have been.  The music was good I'll give them that, but the lead singer had a really weird presence on stage.  It was like every move of his was choreographed and he was always a little off.  He did all the normal lead singer things, pointing at the audience, talking to specific people, getting the crowd to sing or clap along.  It was just when he did these things it wasn't like he was actually communicating to OUR audience.  He was pointing to people in the back that I don't think existed or pointing to people that weren't doing anything other than standing there.  As if in his mind he's thinking "here's where I point...ok, point!" or "remember to call out someone in the back 'YEAH YOU!'".  It seemed awkward, a little phoned in, and somewhat phony to me.  Obviously I was in the vast minority in my opinion considering the crowd was going bonkers through the whole set.  I actually had to move at one point because the girl next to me kept whipping me with her hair.  

Like I said, the music sounded good, the stage lights were pretty awesome, but the "show" was a little underwhelming.  I did manage to record "Fire", which I found out by a quick Google on my phone that it was to be the 3 song of the encore.  And sure enough it was.  

And hey,  there was cake. ;)



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Feed Me @ The Brick




Let me start off by saying the night ended with me getting my car towed.  The following morning I fainted, hit my head, and cracked a tooth.  This is all unfortunate obviously, but even more so since I had an awesome time at the Feed Me show.  From the start, I was really nervous about this show.  Mainly due to the fact that it was the 3rd concert at The Brick, and the first one was a disaster.  Plus, going to a new place that I've never been to, by myself, in downtown on a Friday night, I wasn't sure what I was in for.  But to my surprise I found an amazing parking spot, almost across the street from the venue.  This was a great start for sure.  (It wasn't until after the show I realized it turned into a tow-away zone at 11.  I got there at 10.)  

Once inside, I immediately saw why there was so much negative feedback about the first show here.  Luckily, it wasn't nearly as packed and those issues weren't issues at all at this show.  I was there early enough to check out some of Bro Safari's set which I thought was great.  He dropped Dipo's 'Express Yourself', which got the crowd really going.  Then Kill the Noise followed with a pretty solid blistering set.  It seemed like he had a few technical issues, but with all the bass, sometime's it was hard to notice if the sound was accidental or on purpose.  In any case he played it off like a pro.  Finally, Feed Me came on and did not disappoint.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I danced almost the entire set.  Not only did his set sound great, but that stage setup is pretty amazing.  I don't know if it was the same, or at least I didn't get a good look at it at Lollapalooza, but it's amazing close up.  

This is one of those shows that I wished I had my wife, a few friends, or both to go with.  I think anyone would have had a great time, out on a Friday night, dancing their asses off.  Even if you had to drive me to the impound lot the next day.

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Andrew WK @ First Avenue



I'm not sure if I would have gone to see Andrew WK at First Ave had he not been doing the "I Get Wet" album in its entirety.  But since he was, I went, and was really pumped to go.  I don't think I've ever listened to any of the other Andrew WK albums, I did however own "I Get Wet" when it was first released 10 years ago.  (Side note, you can tell you're getting older when albums you enjoyed in high school and college start celebrating their 10 and 20 year anniversaries.  It's crazy, and depressing at the same time.)  Anyway, the show was pretty much what I expected.  Loud, sweaty, and lots of moshing.  I did agree with the City Pages review, in that you could tell he didn't quite have the energy he may have had 10 years ago.  That was displayed by the fact that he let the band do a lot of the vocals and he almost played the role of a back up singer.  Nevertheless, I thought it was a fun show to watch.  In fact, it was nearly 2 and a half hours long, but never once did I get bored.  

It was great to see a fun party album like "I Get Wet" performed front to back, live.  It was even funny to see a real live mosh pit.  Can't say I remember when the last time I saw one was.  



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Saul Williams @ Triple Rock Social Club



I think I saw Saul Williams a few years ago at Lollapalooza, and was actually disappointed.  I remember seeing him and thinking that it was a lot louder and punk-ier than I was hoping for.  So when I saw he was stopping at the Triple Rock, I decided to give his music another listen.  What I heard wasn't what I remembered seeing live.  I really liked it, so thought I give it another shot.  It turned out to be a pretty good show live.  Maybe being in a smaller indoor venue helped keep things a little more contained.  Whatever it was, it worked.  

The show itself was great, except for one particular fan.  I initially got a great spot on the floor near the front, and for a few songs was really enjoying myself.  Aside from the really drunk girl bumping into me, there was plenty of room.  But quickly I learned who I was standing in front of.  A group of douchebags.  I know this because they kept threatening to throw their beer at anyone who was going to use their phone to take pictures or video.  Something that I fully intended on doing myself.  After they yelled a guy next to me about it, I figured I'd grab another beer and find another spot to camp.  No biggie, until the main douche decided that he needed a change too, and ended up standing in front of me.  It didn't bother me much, but was a little distracting since I moved to be away from this idiot.  

Overall the show itself was great, and I would definitely see him again live.  As long as it was inside a small club, that is.  Unfortunately, douchebags attend concerts too.  


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Heyoka @ The Cabooze



I really didn't know what to expect from this show, but was hopefull.  I found Heyoka by checking out what was coming up at the Cabooze, and liked what I found on Spotify.  I was a little weary, although it was electronic, it did sound a little like hippie electronic.  I felt that it sounded descent, but didn't really go anywhere.  But what the heck, I'll check it out anyway.

As I've mentioned before, it's awesome to be able to get the set times via Facebook or Twitter so you know when exactly you should be there.  Still fighting my cold, and being really tired in general, I wanted to make sure I didn't get there too early and end up sitting around.  I mean, that's valuable couch time I could be taking advantage of. So when I saw the time Heyoka was to go on was 11:45PM, I thought "Holy shit, there's no way".  Thankfully I was able to sit to watch the show.  Which sounds so ridiculous to admit, but if I could have brought in a chair I would have.  

The crowd was pretty interesting.  It was as if a Phish concert had let out next door and people wanted to stay out and dance.  There were so many white people dreads, it was just like pipe/incense shop employee convention.  The patchouli and weed smell just added to the ambiance.  

As far as electronic shows go, it was just meh.  I thought his song choice was weak.  It could have been a lot of his own songs for all I knew, he seems to have so many, and they all kinda sound alike.  His mixing was pretty weak too, along with the over all flow of his set.  And the icing on the cake was he was just boring to watch.  I know he's a "dj", but if you rely on your laptop that much, you're not putting on much of a show.  Between pushing buttons on a controller and adjusting his laptop, he really had no other personality.

I was probably in the minority in my opinion, since he had the room dancing the whole time.  But honestly, that crowd would have danced to the sound of a broken frosty machine



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