Alex and I arrived shortly after Jeff on Sunday and hurried to meet him just as Times New Viking were getting ready to start. To be honest, I've never been 100% in love with their recorded music, but their live show was a blast. The trio stopped between each song to discuss their next move and they cranked out a surprising amount of voltage for a three-piece. Also, Beth Murphy is rrrrrrrrreally hot.
We skipped Dirty Projectors and the opening of Boris to merch around a bit and get set up to see HEALTH, which ranks as the biggest mistake I made all weekend. First of all, the B stage was running behind due to adjusted showtimes after the El Guincho pullout, which meant that we had to sit through most of the High Places set. While they made interesting music, I was about as engaged as I would have been by two people reading from Bartlett's onstage. Another hot girl in the band, though.
Next up, HEALTH, a noisetet from L.A., came out with their specific brand of screaming, shrieking ear violence. I liked the group's aesthetic philosophy and I would have been interested in hearing more of the set, but Chicago's biggest cocksword took a spot next to us and insisted on clobbering the living dogshit out of me during each of HEALTH's "songs." I got fed up with battling Mr. Cuntlips after about ten minutes and we slipped away to get better spots for Les Savy Fav.
As it turns out, I owe that pretentious dicksuck a thank you because we were superclose for LSF, which turned out to be the highlight of Sunday afternoon. Lead singer Tim Harrington wore a headband with a small camera attached and started the set clothed in a neon fringe getup that he shed before the conclusion of the first number to reveal shiny, skintight leggings that left one of his legs bare. (Note: if you've never seen Harrington, he's a flabby, balding nutcase who looks like a disgruntled bear). During the second number, Tim leapt from the stage and ran through the audience, stopping to lie down in front of Jeff, Alex and I for a bit while we all mugged wildly at his camera. Further antics included: donning a Sherlock Holmes outfit and encouraging the crowd to contact their alderman to buy the park so that we could have a concert there every day; climbing into a garbage can which the crowd hoisted, followed by a hilarious Oscar the Grouch impression; rolling in mud before delivering another hilarious monologue about Native American rituals and an explorer named Charles Chicago; anointing each of his band members with mud; starting every song with something along the lines of "oh, this song, sweet!"; a skintight body stocking which was anatomically labelled and said "every body has a body." While Harrington's escapades were the highlight of the concert, the band's set was unspeakably tight and featured "Yawn, Yawn, Yawn" and "The Sweat Descends," amongst other superhits. A total blast.
We then skipped most of Dodos to eat and get good spots for Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, which meant catching the tail end of the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, a tight act that just didn't appeal to my taste. On the heels of that, Ghost and Rae should have been awesome, but they ended up being my biggest disappointment of the whole festival. They were fine and did a fun version of "Nothin' to Fuck Wit'," but overall they seemed tired and never played more than two minutes of any song. Not bad, but not as mind-blowing as the Clipse show from '07.
Alex and I skipped out then to catch Spiritualized and Dinosaur Jr. To ensure a good spot for Dinosaur, Alex and I saw J. Spaceman from across the field. He was undoubtedly the loudest fucking set of the entire weekend--he was louder from across the park than Dinosaur was from twenty feet back. I'm not super-familiar with his stuff, but he played my favorite two tracks from Songs in A&E and didn't speak to the audience once during the set. Also, though his band kept playing, Pierce hurled his guitar at the drummer and walked offstage two minutes before his set was over, coming back out to wordlessly clap his hands and stare into space. If the "is this dude still on drugs?" jury was still out, I think they're returning a verdict sometime soon.
Spiritualized's ungodly noise got me superjazzed for Dinosaur and, as they warmed up, Alex leaned up to shout "I think I may shit myself from noise!" Though he didn't (how awesome would that be?!?) they were mindblowing. Mascis is a guitar god, although he seemed about as interested in playing a show as he would be in fighting an actual dinosaur. Lou Barlow was still really into what was going on and Murph is as thrilling a pure rock drummer as I've ever seen live. The power trio opened with "Been There All the Time" and "Back to Your Heart," my two favorite songs from Beyond. After the show, I asked Alex if it was obvious that they didn't like each other. His observation: "I don't think it matters because of how fucking good they are." Sage.
Spoon closed out another superb weekend of indie rock in the park with a tight set that, though not as good as the show I saw them play last October, was by no means disappointing. With some canny light effects, they played a solid mix of older and newer songs. Bradford Cox--of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound fame--joined the band onstage as we were leaving to bring the 2008 festival to a close.
Greatest Misses of the Weekend:
Names I'd Like to See Next Year:
Belle & Sebastian
My Bloody Valentine (ha)
Dumbest Conversations I Heard:
"You know who they should get for next year's Don't Look Back? Guided by Voices doing Bee Thousand!"
"How are they gonna put Ghostface back here with this shitty speaker?"
To which Alex responded:
"How do you work with that shitty brain?"
As the 19-year-olds were passing a joint:
"No man, I have too many addictions already."
"But...you don't drink that much?"
"Yeah, I don't...but I have a HUGE collection of books and records."
-This one was actually Jeff, but I'm counting it anyway