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Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 18, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

...SO I WENT TO THE INTONATION FESTIVAL at Union Park in Chicago:

AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS o­n SATURDAY was a solo set from A.C. Newman, who is perhaps best known these days as o­ne of the main New Pornographers. There are leagl downloads at the links; I'd recommend the title track from the upcoming NP album, Twin Cinema. But I didn't get too many pictures of Newman, as I was delayed at the "Will Call" window for a hunk of his set.

THE BEST SET I SAW WAS FROM Canada's Broken Social Scene. They were a little rawer than o­n their current release You Forgot It In People, (which you can stream in RealAudio at the link), which scored a 9.2 at Pitchfork. But it worked for me and was a particularly impressive performance given they had to drive 15 hours to get to the show.

Sadly, BSSer Leslie Feist is touring behind her solo disc, but o­ne of their labelmates, Stars' Amy Pillan, filled in admirably.

The size of the band really didn't hit me when reading the liner notes to their stuff, but they were a guitar army with a horn section to boot. Although they featured the current record (with "kc accidental," "almost crimes," "cause=time" and "anthems of a seventeen year old girl" standing out), they also played new material that sounded quite good.

THE GO! TEAM, which just signed with a Columbia, is not totally my bag, baby, but Thunder, Lightning, Strike scored an 8.7 o­n the Pitchfork and the comparison to 70s and 80s TV theme songs is an apt o­ne. So there was enough of a kitch factor for me to enjoy their set. You can hear a few tracks from the Memphis Industries label.

One of the surprising things about their set was the degree to which members would switch instruments. A guitar player might also play keyboards or even a recorder or a harmonica; the drummers also sang or played guitar or even banjo, and so o­n...

The band was very big o­n audience participation, exhorting the crowd to do cheers, sing dance or sway their hands. Normally this is cheesy pandering of the worst kind, but it fits in perfectly with their turbocharged sound. Coincidentally, the band's Ian Parton just gave an interview to the Japan Times.

SUNDAY KICKED OFF with Thunderbirds Are Go, which put a little techno frosting o­n the standard Detroit garage sound. A little ska here and there also. The music didn't really grab me, but they played well and with energy.

Next up was Dungen, which is pronounced "doon-yen" o­n the fjords of Sweden, where this quartet has been cooking up a brew that draws from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelein and early Pink Floyd.

Oh yeah, a little Jethro Tull also, though the flute came out for just o­ne number of their too-short set. The band was plagued by some technical difficulties, but largely maintained a good sense of humor and knew enough English to convey it. For example, they announced that "they are o­n a different voltage" (in Sweden), so they bought a special transformer: "it doesn't work." And thanking everyone for coming early, whereas they "were o­n a 24 hour thing" and would be headed off to bed. Or: "We sing in Swedish; if there are questions, we take them afterward -- for now, we play."

I lunched during the gothic set of Xiu Xiu and Techno of Out Hod so that I could get up close to bring you the Hold Steady, who began in Mpls. and have ended up in NYC.

If you've been reading my stuff regularly you know that the Hold Steady is a "bar band," but not just any bar band. To use the references that pop up in the reviews, imagine a group made up from members of Thin Lizzy, (old) Aerosmith and the E Street Band, with the Boss supplying the lyrics in the style of Greetings From Asbury Park and sung by Bob Mould.

X

And while I wish you could hear "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night," you can (and should) download "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" from the band's site.

Here's a picture of local boy Andrew Bird doing his own thing with violin and xylophone.

Unfortunately, that's about the time the batteries in the camera died and the festival would not allow re-entry. So I have no pics of the Wrens, who were o­n of the few bands in the core Pate age bracket and who were the tightest band I saw at the fest. Dang good for a group that hasn't put out an album since 2003's highly-rated The Meadowlands. It ticks me off no end, as there was o­ne spot where they had about a dozen fans o­nstage playing percussion, which was quite a sight.

Nor do I have pics of The Decemberists, who I've mentioned at this site several times. Not as tight as the Wrens, but the sextet seemed to be enjoying themselves and it came through in the music, whcih takes some of the edge off of material about suicide pacts and WWI trench warfare. Kill Rock Stars has some legal downloads. You can stream a live performance at KCRW. However, this would be killing music.

Fortunately, now that we have the wonderfulness that is the internets, you can see scads and scads of photos at Flickr. Here's o­ne of The Decemberists. UPDATE: Here's a clearer one of the Decemberists and a apparently rare one of the Wrens. And a whole mess of the Hold Steady. And there's o­ne just for Ken King.

UPDATE: Jim DeRogatis has a review of day one at the Sun-Times in which the pot looks at the kettle and proclaims it black. According to Jim, the indie scene is too pseudo hipster these days, but his main criticism of Broken Social Scene is that they aren't Olivia Tremor Control...

Read full article: 'Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.'
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Comments

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Re: Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.
by KenK
on Jul 18, 2005
Regarding that photo:  what <span>is </span>that guy's name?

Re: Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.
by Karl
on Jul 18, 2005

Y'know, they said it a couple of times, even mentioning that he had a CD for sale at the merch tent(!), but I couldn't make it out. By Sunday afternoon, he was sort of a running joke -- buy his CD, you can listen to it right before you listen to any other CD...


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