Blog Archives

Local Natives

Denver, CO
Ogden Theatre
Map of Colorado, USA
4 Stars
They don’t suck. Attending this show was a bit of an experiment for me. I loved Local Natives’ debut album and, many years ago, had gotten around to seeing them live while touring their sophomore album Hummingbird. (One of my favorite albums of any year or genre, I believe Hummingbird is without flaw and, if you haven’t heard it, you should stop reading this and seek it out.) The first time I saw them was at an outdoor festival, in the afternoon, in sweltering heat, with a horrible crowd of drunks; the second time was as an opener, in the afternoon, in sweltering heat, with a horrible crowd of hipsters. Both times, they played great, but the crowds HATED them. Was I missing something? Did one of my most favorite bands actually suck and I just wasn’t seeing it? I had to find out, so I jumped at the chance to see them play my local theater, touring behind their terrific third album, as headliners this time. And this time … THE CROWD WENT APE SHIT. It was awesome. We danced like animals, we sang along to every word, we cried. (Really, I saw a girl in the front row crying.) Okay, this is better. These are my people. And the band was charged, generous, filled with energy, happy. Their harmonies were gorgeous, their playing, tight. (The bassist was stoned out of his mind but his playing, too, was tight.) I’ll see them again, confident they don’t suck. Setlist

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The National

Morrison, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Map of Colorado, USA
2.5 Stars
Weirdo in front. Does Matt Berninger spend every show walking around the stage like an Autistic guy deserted in a movie theater? Is he always so uncomfortable in his skin when he performs? The frontman never stopped walking quickly back and forth across the stage and rarely looked at the audience. Is he always like this? Because it’s annoying. That was the unshakable thought nagging me the entire time The National was onstage. I really wanted to like this band’s concert — there’s a cinematic quality to their songs that I figured would be perfect for Red Rocks — but goddammit that guy made it a chore. My beloved Local Natives opened so there was that … but even their support couldn’t win over this ticket buyer. This was a strange one. Setlist

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Carnival time Lollapalooza 2013

Vampire Weekend

The Killers

Mumford & Sons

Jake Bugg

Family Of The Year

Local Natives

The Lumineers

Two Door Cinema Club

New Order

Knife Party

Chicago, IL
Grant Park
Map of Illinois, USA
4.0 Stars
festival-crazy chicagoans. My experience with festivals before attending Lollapalooza in Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park was limited to smaller regional stuff. This was my first big fest. The number of stages was a bit overwhelming but it offered an extraordinary range of experiences: from a little set in a cozy grove of trees to a massive, straw-covered meadow with no shade in sight; from a tiny stage set for a few scruffy rockers to a 100 foot-high DJ booth and light show. The lineup was plenty diverse, too, even if the constituency wasn’t (too many over-privileged college kids with painfully hip wardrobes). Aida and I caught huge sets from The Killers, Vampire Weekend and Mumford &Sons, and smaller ones from Ellie Goulding, Jake Bugg and Family Of The Year. We even caught an incredibly intimate set from the latter in a corner of the festival shop; we were 5 feet from the band and had a great chat afterward. And I managed to get a taste of some EDM from Knife Party, reminding me that I’m too old for this shit but still down for anything when it comes to live music. I’m not sure I need to do another big fest any time soon — too much strategizing and angling for space to be able to see your favorite artists — but the enthusiastic and welcoming local contingent (and their impressive skyline) made it worth the effort. Setlist

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