May 28th, 2013
|11:17 pm - BFD 2013 Scorecard|
Another year, another BFD! It was the least exciting lineup in years since I had heard of very few of the Festival Stage bands, but I was looking forward to making new discoveries. My companions this year were Jamie, Rick, and Cortney! Follow along in pictures!
Bonnie + The Bang Bang: The lead singer wore a funny hat, and they had handclaps and a banjo. More like Mumford and the Bang Bang, am I right? B/B+
Youngblood Hawke: We only caught the tail end of their set, but they reminded me a little of Grouplove with their male/female vocalists and fun indie pop. I liked "We Come Running." At the end, everyone was banging on drums. I am a sucker for everyone banging on drums. Like, it happens ALL THE TIME at concerts, and I don't even care, I love it every time. It's just so fun! B+
Twenty One Pilots: None of us had ever heard of Twenty One Pilots, but we were mighty intrigued when they came out in skeleton costumes. "We want you to like us, but first we have to give you a reason to," said the lead singer. And then they gave us a reason to, as he broke into rapid-fire rap that transitioned into indie pop with a little bit of screamo and then back to rap and back and forth and just listen to "Ode to Sleep." And then before we knew it, he had pulled out a ukulele and was singing about buying his mother a "House of Gold." It was clear he could actually SING. It was just these two guys, and they were hopping genres with ease and completely mesmerizing the audience. Here, also listen to "Holding On to You" and try to make sense of their sound. The best description I could come up with that the time was Imagine Dragons meets Passion Pit meets Childish Gambino. One of my favorite songs was "Car Radio," which was about having your car radio stolen and now you have to sit in silence and not be distracted and have to face all the thoughts in your head and I TOTALLY GET THAT. These guys were especially awesome at doing my favorite drumming thing; they even threw in a bit of raas in there by hitting their drumsticks together before drumming together. Every year, I have a BFD discovery. Some band I've never heard of impresses the hell out of me and I become obsessed with them after the show. Last year, it was Imagine Dragons. This year, it was Twenty One Pilots; I bought the mp3 album at the show for us to listen to as we tried to get out of the parking lot, and I've been listening to it all the time since. A-
The Neighbourhood: So in comparison, these guys were deathly boring. They weren't BAD, and the singer actually had a decent voice, but they sounded like some guys who were high one day and thought, "Heeeey, we should start a band!" And then they did. No one asked for them, but here they are anyway. B
Atlas Genius: They were from Australia and they were touring with Silversun Pickups, so I thought they were worth listening to. And they were. Just not worth staying for when my compatriots were in the Subsonic Tent. B/B+
Robert Delong: Jamie was out on a Sunday listening to house music! That sounded terrible, said her friend. Her friend was wrong, because we were watching Robert Delong sing and drum and make music with a joystick and a Wiimote. He also had a hilarious robot spokesperson later who told us about his new album and his website. I mean, it was just the voice; he didn't have an actual robot. I didn't really care about his songs or anything, but he was fun to watch. B/B+
The Airborne Toxic Event: They continue to be a fun time, and I really ought to buy an album one of these days. "Sometime Around Midnight" is fantastic, and I like a couple other songs as well. The lead singer remains entertaining. "Here's my problem with modern music," he said, "there aren't enough fucking bass solos." So they had a bass solo. "I'm a simple man," he said later, listing some examples and ending with "I like a drum solo in the middle of my song." So they had a drum solo. Also, they covered "Ring of Fire" in the middle of a song for some reason. B+
Fitz and the Tantrums: Jamie was a fan of the band, but they weren't totally my style. A little too much soul for me. They were fun, though. They have a saxophone! If you like bands with saxophones, you might like these guys! B/B+
Jimmy Eat World: They were surprisingly good! Jimmy could really sing, and Eat World could really make good music. After hearing a bunch of new, up-and-coming bands, it was interesting to compare them to an established, popular band and realize oooh they're successful for a reason. It turns out I know a lot more Jimmy Eat World songs than I have illegally downloaded. I should illegally download more. Or buy something, I don't know. They have a lot of albums and a lot of songs! Jamie was kind of puzzled at everyone's reaction because they were her least favorite band so far. Not that they were bad, but they didn't do much for her. Because they were punk-pop, they were maybe not as interesting musically as some of the earlier bands, but they were super catchy and fun to sing along to, and I enjoyed them. And I liked them more since they were actually good live! B+/A-
AWOLNATION: The only song I knew was "Sail," and it's a decent song, but none of us really cared for the band. They were basically loud and screamy without being interesting. I enjoyed my Vietnamese sandwich and kumquat limeade much more. B-
Of Monsters and Men: Jamie and I had been waiting all day for them! After liking them at last year's BFD, I had bought My Head Is an Animal and become totally addicted. They played all my favorite songs! I mean, I love the entire album, but they played my top songs: "Dirty Paws," "King and Lionheart," "Mountain Sound," "From Finner," "Little Talks," "Lakehouse," and "Six Weeks." They have TWO accordion players, and one of them also played a great trumpet solo during "Little Talks." I thought they sounded great and really played to the space. Rick became a fan, as I knew he would. Also, there was adorable drumming at the end. A-
Silversun Pickups: A BFD mainstay on the Main Stage! See what I did there? I had also become addicted to Neck of the Woods, which was SO GOOD and much better than Swoon, so I enjoyed hearing "Skin Graph" and "The Pit" live. They also played a couple songs from Swoon and, of course, "Lazy Eye." It was interesting to see how different Neck of the Woods sounded; they had changed their sound in a GOOD way. Brian always has the most entertaining stage banter, and this time, he explained that Nikki, their bassist, had found out she was pregnant at last year's BFD ("So which one of you did it?"), so Sarah Negahdari of Happy Hollows was filling in. She was from the Bay Area and had gone to many BFDs, so she was kind of sparkly-eyed and nervous about actually PLAYING at BFD. Sarah was fun to watch because unlike Nikki, who normally stood pretty stalwart, she danced around while playing. B+/A-
Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington: Whaaaaaat. Yeah, I know. They were the secret special guests on the lineup! They opened with "Sex Type Thing," which was a good song for Chester, and it worked! I mean, obvs it was weird and sort of felt like karaoke Scott Weiland is Scott Weiland, but it worked. I liked that Chester had a very different persona onstage than he did with Linkin Park. He was strutting around like a rock star. The BAND was still the same, so the MUSIC sounded great. I had forgotten how many STP songs I knew and loved. They played lots of classics like "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart," "Wicked Garden," "Big Bang Baby," "Vasoline," and others, and they also played one new song, "Out of Time," which was clearly written for Chester because it took advantage of his screaming ability. Overall, I really dug the set! Well done, Chester. B+/A-
30 Seconds to Mars: So basically Jamie and I spent the entire show making fun of Jared Leto for trying way too hard. She was counting the number of times he said "fuck" or any variation, and I was rolling my eyes every time he asked something stupid like "Has anyone heard of a song called 'Kings and Queens'?" It was Jared Leto playing a rock star, and it was kind of embarrassing since he wasn't very good. He sounds okay on the album, but he really can't sing live. Plus, it was just him up there, his bandmates relegated to the sides in the shadows. It was The Jared Leto Show. Fortunately, he embraced the theatricality of all, so he had weird guys on drums for some reason, an evil bowling pin balloon, floating animals, I don't even know. And he started the show in the audience and made his way down to the stage, which was pretty fun. B
Passion Pit: Oh, this is what real musicians sound like! I couldn't believe the Passion Pit vocals came from a human! It was just this guy singing in a falsetto! He also cursed a fair bit, but we decided he was more sincere about it. I only knew a few songs, but "Sleepyhead" was good times, and I could appreciate the talent. B+
And then it was time to wait in the parking lot for an hour and watch a couple have sex in the passenger seat.
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Twenty One Pilots - House of Gold
There's a group named after a Herman Wouk novel? Huh; I didn't think people still read him (it's Youngblood Hawke, btw).
My my, they're literate indie popsters!
So, this may not be the most relevant part but...why were you waiting in the parking lot for an hour?
When many thousands of people are trying to leave at the same time...
Ah, after the fact I thought it might be that...