Although each of their studio releases has been enjoyable, White Denim are a band that frequently gets tagged with the "but they're so much better live!" label. For the first time in the band's career, White Denim enlisted the help of an outside producer (Wilco's Jeff Tweedy) during the Corsicana Lemonade sessions, and the results sound an awful like... a White Denim record. Meaning, there are a few legitimate standouts on here, but most of the songs could be easily switched out with tracks from previous albums without really upsetting the apple cart. That being said, it's nice to see that the buzz leading up to the release of this record has given White Denim somewhat of a higher profile, so hopefully one of the planet's most criminally underrated acts finally gets its due.
Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
This is music for the kids, because the kids like taking the drugs. Atmospheric, intense, massive, lovingly layered electronica.
Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the most punchable of them all? What a happy coincidence that these guys start making shitty music right as their already-outsized public persona becomes totally unbearable. Thanks, assholes!
What is there to really say after a show like this other than "I wish I'd brought my frickin' camera?"
Arcade Fire has actually played the *two* best live sets I've seen this year. Plus, Neon Bible is my favorite album of '07 so far, and "Intervention" is the year's best song. Should this stand up, they'd be in line for the rare Triple Crown of Music (best tour, album and song) that would seem to signify that *surprise* they're the best band in the world at this time. Seriously, who can top 'em? Comets on Fire? Maybe, if Avatar had been louder and more unpleasant. Mogwai? Whither the stateside live shows?? Radiohead? Well, we'll just see how In Rainbows turns out. Plus, if they keep pulling shit like insisting on playing at the Theater at MSG, they aren't going to help their standing.
So I picked up my friend in Chelsea around 5 PM before the show. This was the first time I had been to Randall's Island in five years, since the terrible Boo 7 festival. What a nightmare -- I remember that some brain surgeon told me "you'll love The Executioners, they're awesome." I didn't, and they're awful. The only pleasant memory I have of that shitshow was an "overserved" friend running around through the mud like a jackass.
Got inside the concert field right as Les Savy Fav were finishing their set, which worked out just fine; not so much a fan. Immediately, a Brooklyn oom-pah band started up right behind where we had put down my pick-a-nick blanky. Wish I had more to report re: Blonde Redhead, but I have the feeling that a giant outdoor festival is not the ideal forum in which to appreciate their music. What I noticed seemed kinda droney and mopey, not to mention that they had to compete with a beautiful sunset. Shortly, we had met up with another friend and his crew right before LCD Soundsystem took the stage. Holy freekin' sheet, mang, what a surprise - these guys were incredible. I have a pretty big soft spot for electronic-ish acts that actually play their instruments onstage instead of some dickhead just playing his "2006 Sex Mix Vol. 2" playlist or whatever. Very, very danceable, and my friend (an amazing dancer in her own right) wound up racking quite a few admirers amongst said onlookers.
The crowd was expectedly almost 100% white kids, which led my buddy Josh to remark that we should go loot Williamsburg because, face it, it's totally empty. Lots of ironic tee-shirts. What exactly is the significance of "Iowa is for lovers" though, and why would anyone buy that shirt?
By now the sun had completely set and the stage rush started when the intro to Arcade Fire's set (a crazy Christian preacherwoman animatedly suggesting that enemas be doled out as punishment, I think) began. By now I was kinda drunk and still stoned, and I predictably started panicking when I lost my friends in the stage rush. As the set opened with "Black Mirror," "Keep the Car Running," "Laika" and "No Cars Go" I feverishly tried to contact them... finally they met up with me by the beer tent. Of course, as usual, I got a l'il weepy weepy during the midset "Intervention" and the "Neigborhood" songs. Song-wise, no "Windowsill" or "Ocean of Noise," but no gimmicky shit, either, and a couple of cool rarities. Encore: "Headlights Like Diamonds," followed by "Wake Up," a song tailor made for 20,000 plus to belt out the wordless "Whoa-oh-oh" chorus.
Walked back to the car exhausted, and drove home pretty confident that, again, I won't be seeing a better show in '07. Win commented during the show that Arcade Fire won't be playing New York for the next couple of years, which... I mean, what am I supposed to be pissed? They've already played NYC eight times this year by my count, and I had tix for all but the ultra-impossible-to-get Judson Church shows. It's understandable that they'd want to keep shit more manageable than they did during the seemingly neverending tour for Funeral, so let's not begrudge 'em that. Slash PLEASE COME BACK AS SOON AS YOU CAN!