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Posts Tagged ‘Arctic Monkeys’
27 Jun

By Michel Dussack

This past weekend, Orion Music + More (Metallica’s curated music festival) took over Atlantic City’s Bader Field for two days of (mostly) heavy music, skateboarding, surfing, car shows, films, and even some horror (Kirk Hammett’s personal collection of horror memorabilia, that is). The festival seemed to be a great success, and during the two days there, I heard only positive things from the attendees. Even during the most brutal of pits that broke out, fans were eager to pick up anyone who tripped, and throughout the entire weekend there seemed to be a sense of comradery that overpowered everything else.

(credit: Matt Ellis)

Day one kicked off with a bang thanks to an aggressive set from Los Angeles based post-hardcore band letlive. (yes, the lowercase ‘L’ and period are included in the band’s name). While the entire band delivered a heavy set that sparked the slightest bit of moshing at 2:30 in the afternoon, it was vocalist Jason Butler that stole not only the show, but the allegiance of the crowd. Throughout their 45 minute set, he exhibited a confidence that is typically reserved for bands playing much later in the day. One such moment came in between songs, when it was possible to hear music coming from a nearby stage. Upon hearing the other band’s music, Butler screamed into the microphone “Yo shut the fuck up over there, don’t you see we’re trying to play a show?” His stage antics continued throughout their set and included climbing as high above the stage as he could and violently shaking the scaffolding that he was climbing on, running off the stage and trying to steal a golf cart (when he released that he couldn’t he resorted to throwing bags of trash out of the back of it) and smashing the clock that the festival crew used to keep time during the day. Indeed, letlive. set the bar high as the first band I caught of the festival.

(credit: Cambria Harkey)

The next band up was Lucero, who struck me as one of the more eclectic choices of the weekend. While the band does have roots in punk, they also have strong ties to the South and thus, country music. However, the crowd was indeed very receptive to the band, especially when they broke out a cover of Jawbreaker’s ‘Kiss the Bottle’ early on. As one would expect, when the band explained that the next song, ‘Women and Work’ was about whiskey, the crowd’s ears perked up and ate it up. Vocalist Ben Nichols has an extremely distinctive voice, and the rest of the band provided a fusion of heavy and country that is quite hard to put down in words. Overall, their set was great; however, I did miss the last couple songs of it to get a good spot for the next band taking the opposite stage.

(credit: Michel Dussack)

Toronto based punk band Fucked Up were next, and after vocalist Damian Abraham explained that it was a dream come true to play with Metallica, he jumped off the stage as the band opened with ‘The Other Shoe’ off their critically acclaimed album ‘David Comes to Life’. Damian made his way through the entire crowd during the show, not returning to the stage until after about 45 minutes of their hour long set. During this time, he allowed members of the crowd to sing parts for him, gave his microphone away while he jumped over a barricade to give high-fives to everyone in the handicap section back by the soundboard, and became the center of multiple mosh pits. In between nearly every song, he thanked the crowd multiple times with sincerity rarely seen in rock and roll. He seemed genuinely shocked that so many of the audience knew the words to the songs and, together with the rest of the band, delivered the best set of the day (besides Metallica of course).

(credit: Cambria Harkey)

As soon as Fucked Up’s set ended, the distinctive sound of Beastie Boy’s ‘Sabotage’ could be heard from the main stage, which meant one thing – The Gaslight Anthem would be taking the stage next. While the New Jersey based band delivered a fantastic set, it was also extremely hard to get into given the distance at which anyone without a Met Club wristband had to stand. Despite this, the band delivered a tight and impressive set which included hits such as ‘American Slang’, ‘The ’59 Sound’ and their newest single ‘45’. They were also the first band of the day that the majority of the crowd seemed to already be familiar with, in no small part due to the fact that they were essentially a local band. As soon as set closer ‘The ’59 Sound’ started, some of the crowd, myself included, began to slowly walk over to the secondary stage for Cage the Elephant’s set which was scheduled to start as soon as The Gaslight Anthem ended.

(credit: Michel Dussack)

Cage the Elephant delivered an hour long set that encompassed both of the bands studio albums, and lots of crowd surfing. Singer Matthew Schultz was unstoppable throughout their set, hardly pausing to take a breath after moving constantly during every song. The band seemed to be slowly winning over the crowd throughout the set, until the end, when nearly everyone in the crowd exploded in cheers during ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked’. ‘Shake Me Down’ followed, and when it came time for the bridge, Matt let the crowd take over vocal duties for him as everyone sang “Even on a cloudy day” over and over despite there not being a single cloud in the sky. The band closed their set with the ferocious ‘Saber-Tooth Tiger’ as Matt climbed his way on top of the crowd, stood on outstretched hands, and threw himself back down onto the crowd. For the large portion of the crowd that only knew a handful of the bands tracks, this was certainly unexpected.

(credit: Cambria Harkey)

Modest Mouse was next up, and despite playing a set filled with great music, they were the most poorly received band of the day. The band’s general mellow vibe didn’t mesh well with the crowd who had been seeing much heavier sets the entire day. The only point in which the band seemed to silence the critics was during their hit ‘Float On’. For the few members of the crowd that were more familiar with the band’s music, ‘Dramamine’ and ‘Tiny Cities Made of Ashes’ served as set highlights. It’s a shame that such a great set was marred simply because the band skewed too far from the “typical” sound that people at the festival were used to.

(credit: Dave Mead)

Sheffield based indie rock band Arctic Monkeys followed, and the crowd reacted in a much more welcoming manner to them. Towards the front of the crowd, hundreds of fans who knew every song were clustered around the quartet. The band packed 16 songs into their hour set, including hits such as ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ and ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’. Frontman Alex Turner was energetic and humorous throughout their entire set, particularly when he introduced drummer Matt Helders as the guy “on your girlfriend’s mind”. The band closed out their set with a powerful trio of songs – ‘Evil Twin’, ‘Brick by Brick’ and new single ‘R U Mine?’ and then it was time for the entire festival to head to the main stage for Metallica’s set.

(credit: Matt Ellis)

As soon as Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ rang out over the PA system, fans knew that it was time for Metallica to take the stage. The band opened with ‘Hit the Lights’ before diving into one of their biggest songs – ‘Master of Puppets’. Everyone in the band sounded in top form throughout the night, and James Hetfield is second to none when it comes to fronting a band. Throughout the night he expressed waves of gratitude an appreciation to the crowd, and led numerous crowd chants and sing alongs. The band played five songs to start of the night before the real reason why everyone was gathered began.

The lights on the stage cut off abruptly and a video detailing the history of ‘Ride the Lightning’ began to play. When that video ended, the band ripped into a stunning version of ‘The Call of Ktulu’ and it became obvious that they would be playing ‘Ride the Lightning’ backwards, just as they had been doing for ‘The Black Album’ in Europe. When it came time for the band to play ‘Escape’, a track which had never been played live, there was a sense of tension on the stage. Hetfield remarked how the band had never played the song, something that the entire crowd seemed to already know, before beginning it. While instrumentally it sounded perfectly, Hetfield simply didn’t have the range to hit every note of the song perfectly. While it was amazing to hear live, especially considering it was the first time being performed ever, don’t expect for them to try it again.

The band continued through the album, before closing out that portion of their set with album opener ‘Fight Fire With Fire’. They didn’t stop there however, continuing on to play ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and close their main set with ‘Enter Sandman’ which featured countless fireworks shot off throughout the song. When it came time for the band to return for their encore, they did so with ‘Battery’ which caused the already large pits to double in size. ‘One’ followed and featured numerous explosions, pyro, and lasers. There were so many lasers in fact, that the band switched off the video screens during the performance, probably for fear of damaging their cameras. The band treated fans to one final song to end the night – ‘Seek and Destroy’ during which all the house lights were turned on and giant Metallica beach balls were dropped into the crowd. The audience took this song as their chance to dispel as much of their energy as possible, though some seemed reserved, knowing they would be doing this all again the next day.

13 Apr

Arctic Monkeys performed “R U Mine?” on Conan.

Watch the video below and pick up the song on iTunes or Amazon MP3

22 Mar

By Michel Dussack

When The Black Keys announced they would be headlining arenas for their tour in support of ‘El Camino’, there was a significant amount of backlash from the music community who insisted the band “wasn’t ready” or “big enough” to be playing such large venues. And then something happened that silenced every critic. They sold out their Madison Square Garden show in 15 minutes. So they put another show on sale for Madison Square Garden, and that one sold out too. Indeed, this was a band that was big enough to be playing arenas and headlining festivals, despite their longtime fans wanting to still seem them in large clubs.

Supporting The Black Keys on this arena tour are Arctic Monkeys, an English rock band who’ve been around for nearly as long as their tour mates. However, the band sounds so great live, and their set time is so generous (they played for an hour at Madison Square Garden) that it almost gives off the vibe of a coheadlining tour rather than Arctic Monkeys supporting The Black Keys. Indeed, rather than the empty arena you typically see during an opening band, the venue was filled about 75% of the way by the time Arctic Monkeys went on, and packed by the time they ended their set. The band crammed 16 songs into their energetic set and they definitely had some big fans in the audience, especially in the front of the general admission area, as there was a group of fans bouncing up and down during their entire set. That’s not to say everyone was moving around, and most of the arena were motionless during their set (though to be fair, The Black Keys had hardly any people moving either). Frontman Alex Turner wasn’t quite enthralled with the reaction they got when they asked the crowd to clap their hands towards the end of the set and remarked “C’mon Madison Square Garden! Clap your hands! Don’t be a dick about it!” The band touched upon all four of their studio albums and even included the new single ‘R U Mine?’ to close out the set on a high note.

As I said before, for whatever reason (maybe it’s all the new fans) the crowd for this show was insanely tame though when The Black Keys took to the stage with the one-two punch of ‘Howlin’ for You’ and ‘Next Girl’, there wasn’t a seated person in all of the arena, at least that I could see. Dan Auerbach (vocals and guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) were augmented by two touring members for most of the performance, and while they did an excellent job of more accurately recreating the newer, more technically advanced material, I’d be lying if I said the highlight of the set was the portion where they left the duo to themselves. The whole appeal of The Black Keys has always been listening to two people create as much noise as they can, and the addition of bass and keyboards definitely took away from Carney’s expert drumming.

That said, maybe I’m just one of those bitter old fans that would prefer to see the band in a club again. Maybe I am holding on too much to the last time I saw the band, right after the release of ‘Brothers’ when they played to 200 people tops for a Microsoft phone event in an antique car dealership. This four piece is very much The Black Keys now, as it doesn’t appear that Carney and Auerbach would abandon the very thing that’s made them so successful. They didn’t, however, forget about the people that have been fans longer than the last couple of records and were sure to include cuts from every studio album, despite how focused they were on playing newer material.

These aforementioned older tracks, including ‘Strange Times’, ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ and ‘Thickfreakness’ were some of the standouts of the night. Towards the end of their set, during ‘Ten Cent Pistol’, the band took an extended break in the middle of the song waiting for an applause up to their standards before continuing. Auerbach kept the banter short, though he did remark “It’s pretty wild that we’re playing here’ before launching into two of the bands biggest songs, ‘Tighten Up’ and the gigantic single ‘Lonely Boy’ to close out their main set. When the band returned for their obligatory encore, two massive disco balls were brought out for ‘Everlasting Light’ and ‘She’s Long Gone’ followed. To the band, there was really only one way this night could be ended – with a tongue in cheek performance of ‘I Got Mine’ featuring a giant “The Black Keys’ sign coming down from the ceiling. Indeed, one of the hardest working bands in rock and roll has finally got the fame that they deserve.

Arctic Monkeys’ setlist:
1. Brianstorm
2. This House Is a Circus
3. Still Take You Home
4. Library Pictures
5. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
6. The View from the Afternoon
7. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
8. Pretty Visitors
9. Teddy Picker
10. Crying Lightning
11. She’s Thunderstorms
12. Fluorescent Adolescent
13. If You Were There, Beware
14. Evil Twin
15. Brick by Brick
16. R U Mine?

The Black Keys’ setlist
1. Howlin’ for You
2. Next Girl
3. Run Right Back
4. Same Old Thing
5. Dead and Gone
6. Gold on the Ceiling
7. Thickfreakness
8. Girl Is On My Mind
9. I’ll Be Your Man
10. Your Touch
11. Little Black Submarines
12. Money Maker
13. Strange Times
14. Chop and Change
15. Nova Baby
16. Ten Cent Pistol
17. Tighten Up
18. Lonely Boy
19. Everlasting Light
20. She’s Long Gone
21. I Got Mine

07 Feb

Metallica has just announced the first ever Orion Music + More festival set for June 23rd and 24th at Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ. The festival is being co-presented with C3 Presents. The festival will feature music, art and more. Metallica will headline both nights of Orion Music + More and play “The Black Album” in its entirety one night Ride The Lightning in its entirety the other. This will be the only time the band will perform these albums in North America in 2012!

The lineup for Orion Music + More is incredibly diverse. Over 20 bands are scheduled to perform including: Arctic Monkeys, Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse, The Gaslight Anthem, Cage The Elephant, Fucked Up, Best Coast, Hot Snakes, Titus Andronicus, Gary Clark Jr., Lucero, Roky Erickson, The Black Angels, The Sword, Liturgy, and more to be announced.

The Metallica Met Club fan club presale starts tomorrow – February 8th at 10am (Eastern) and runs through Friday, February 10th at 10pm (Eastern). Met Club members get first dibs on buying festival tickets.

These are the two ticket options:

– A Super Special Price at $125 including all fees for a 2-Day pass OR
The MET CLUB ULTRA 2-DAY PASS, which includes Front of Stage Viewing Area Access, Exclusive Ultra Lounge Access & More for $225 including all fees

21 Nov

Born 20 years ago out of punk rock will and unbridled passion, Lollapalooza—founded by Perry Farrell, festival visionary and lead singer of Jane’s Addiction–has rocked through the parks, amphitheaters and fairgrounds of North America before becoming an acclaimed destination festival in Chicago every summer, leaving countless memorable musical moments in its wake. Next year, the festival will once again touch down in South America with the second edition of Lollapalooza Chile in O’Higgins Park in Santiago, March 31 – April 1, 2012, and will venture across the continent for the first-ever Lollapalooza Brazil at the Jockey Club in São Paulo, April 7-8, 2012.

In a feat of cultural exchange last April, Lollapalooza Chile captured the eyes, ears and imagination of South America. In 2012 the continent will experience a double dose of this Lollapalooza magic when the festival makes back-to-back weekend stops in Chile and Brazil. The two festivals will share some–but not all acts–on their bills. Lollapalooza Chile and Lollapalooza Brazil will both welcome the Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, MGMT, TV On The Radio, Bassnectar, Band of Horses, Thievery Corporation, Peaches, Cage the Elephant, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Friendly Fires, Foster the People and Tinie Tempah.

Fresh from triumphing over the elements with this year’s Lollapalooza U.S. headline set of a lifetime, Foo Fighters are sure to turn equally dynamic main stage closing sets in both Brazil and Chile– performances that will mark the Foos’ first trip ever in Chile as well as their first Brazilian appearance in over a decade.

Festivalgoers in Chile will experience rare treats with Bjork and Avicii, as well as an eclectic collection of bands including progressive rockers Los Jaivas, the socially conscious Juana Fe, punk rock giant BBS Paranoicos, and the Chilean revelation of rockorgánico, Camila Moreno.

Lollapalooza Brazil will host the triumphant return of Jane’s Addiction and a special blend of iconic indie rockers from every region of the country, including Plebe Rude from Brasília, Wander Wildner from Porto Alegre and Cascadura from Salvador. “The people of Sao Paulo have been very active–twittering me whom they want to see in the 2012 Lolla lineup,” states Farrell. “Judging by all the requests, they are going to erupt. We really delivered for them. Now, I want them to show me how you party in Brasil!”

Both of these two-day music extravaganzas will take place in a gorgeous urban setting, with multiple music stages, an electronic tent, amazing local fare, and a Kidzapalooza area for the little rockers.

Lollapalooza Chile will return to O’Higgins Park in Santiago on March 31 – April 1, 2012. Discounted two-day passes are on-sale now, while supplies last. After that, tickets will be available at the regular price at

For more information about Lollapalooza Chile:


Lollapalooza Brazil will take place at São Paulo’s Jockey Club, April 7-8, 2012. Two-day Pre-Sale passes will be available on November 22 at 0h01 am for current e-list subscribers only. Tickets on-sale to the general public on November, 28 at

For more information about Lollapalooza Brazil:




































































































Lollapalooza: Lollapalooza was born two decades ago when Perry Farrell, lead singer of fabled alternative rockers Jane’s Addiction, started planning a farewell tour for the group. His idea morphed into a larger-than-life musical roadshow that would bring music, culture and community to fans across North America, before finding a permanent home in Chicago’s historic Grant Park in 2005.

Lollapalooza was reborn as a summer destination festival, delivering an ever-more diverse array of 130+ artists from all genres on eight states. Widely considered one of the premier festivals in the world, Lollapalooza continues to thrive in the Windy City getting bigger and better with every year. This year’s gathering was headlined by Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, MUSE, My Morning Jacket, DeadMau5, Cold War Kids, and A Perfect Circle.

Perry Farrell is one of the most influential and original musical figures in recent history. Dubbed as the “Godfather of Alternative Rock,” Farrell fronts Jane’s Addiction which formed in 1985. Creating a new genre and musical movement, Farrell and Jane’s Addiction changed the music scene and paved the way for bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and STP. In 1993, Perry created Porno for Pyros, a daring evolution to his diversity and growth. As well as being a groundbreaking musician, he is the creator and founder of Lollapalooza. Launched in 1991, SPIN magazine listed Lollapalooza as the #1 tour that changed the world. Known for its musical diversity, Lollapalooza was instrumental in exposing alternative music formats to the masses and establishing a sense of commonality across a fragmented demographic. The first of its kind, Lollapalooza quickly established itself as a lifestyle festival, pushing the envelope and exposing concert goers to a subculture of ‘alternative’ living and art, and provided a platform for numerous environmental and human-rights causes as well. As a constant creative force, Farrell continues to push his own artistic horizon as a music producer, electronic music performer and visual artist, as well as a rock icon. In November 2011, he was honored at the annual Billboard Touring Conference & Awards with the “Apple Award.” Perry is the first-ever recipient of this award, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of legendary promoter Bill Graham’s death. Perry received this honor because Billboard recognized that Perry has always given fans special experiences, as Graham did before him (the “Apple Award” is so named because Bill Graham gave out apples to fans leaving Fillmore West shows).

Lotus Producciones *
Lotus production is a company dedicated to promote and produce events in Chile since 2005 with one main reason to generate unique moments to all music fans. Lotus produces the Lollapalooza music festival in Santiago a multistage festival that has become an icon of the live music industry in Chile.

Geo Eventos *
A joint venture among Globo Organizations and RBS Group on Brazil, Geo aims to promote and produce events in the sports, entertainment and business. Geo’s main objective is to create unique experiences prioritizing quality, security, innovation and sustainability. Among the events promoted by Geo are F1Rocks, Tênis Espetacular, ASP Surf Word Tour Rio, HSM, Expo Money and FIFA’s World Cup Preliminary Draw.

WME represents elite artists from all facets of the entertainment industry, including motion pictures, television, music, theatre, publishing, and physical production. WME also advises some of the world’s most recognized consumer brands to create entertainment-based marketing solutions. Based in Los Angeles, WME has offices in New York, London, Nashville and Miami.

C3 Presents *
C3 Presents creates, books, markets and produces live experiences, concerts, events, and just about anything that makes people stand up and cheer. C3 produces the Austin City Limits Music Festival and Lollapalooza in Chicago. Along with these multi-day, multi-stage festivals, C3 books and promotes more than 1,000 concerts in arenas, theaters, casinos, and clubs across the US. In 2009, C3 was the number three promoter by sales in the US, and the number seven worldwide. In addition to event creation and booking, C3 manages the careers of select artists.

28 Sep

Written By Ace Ubas, Photos by Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging

The first weekend of the fall season meant that the Hollywood Bowl’s summer concert series was coming to a close. Fortunately, the L.A. Philharmonic made sure they capped off their series by spotlighting five indie acts to play in a not-so-indie venue. At first glance, the festival-esque lineup of Smith Westerns, Warpaint, Panda Bear, and co-headliners Arctic Monkeys and TV on the Radio would all seem to be “too small” to play a venue that plays host to symphonies and orchestras. Armed with Trader Joes bags filled with snacks and wine, the tens-of-thousands of attendees proved that their favorite bands are never too small for any venue.

By the time I got to my seat, Smith Westerns were done playing and Warpaint had just begun their set. The night was a homecoming for the all-female quartet, as they have been touring Europe for most of the year. Having only 25 minutes to play in front of their hometown crowd, they made sure no time was wasted as they opened with the eponymous track, “Warpaint.” The guitar duo of Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal brought their 80s-style riffs that resonated nicely throughout the venue. On “Bees” and “Undertow,” their harmonized vocals seemed to be a bit muddled, but it gave their singing a dream-like quality to them. On set closer “Elephants,” the guitarists again showed off their skillful musicianship, backed by the tight rhythm section of bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg and drummer Stella Mozgawa. It’s easily their best song live, as they even extended the song into a psychedelic jam session. I only wished that they played a longer set and when the sun was down because their ethereal, spacey sound would’ve been better experienced under an evening sky.

As Warpaint was finishing their set, the stage rotated 180 degrees to reveal Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Lennox) of Animal Collective fame. But he wasn’t alone, as he was accompanied by Space Boom (moniker of former Spacemen 3 member, Peter Kembler). Opener “You Can Count on Me,” from the latest effort Tomboy, pretty much outlined the rest of his set. Lennox’ Beach Boys-esque melodies seemed to work well with the layers-upon-layers of synth swirls, electronic glitches, and soundscapes. Aided by visual projections, Lennox and Kembler concocted a mean, hypnotizing cocktail of ambience and dream-pop that gave off a psychedelic effect. However, there was a big flaw to their set: Panda Bear just seemed lost in the Bowl. With a minimal setup and relying on visual projections, Panda Bear is better experienced in an intimate setting. In an amphitheater, it’s tough to feel the full effect of that particular style of music.

With Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” blaring over the sound system, Arctic Monkeys took the stage and looked to create the same impact like they have across the pond. Donned in his usual leather jacket and pompadour haircut, frontman Alex Turner led the rest of his Sheffield mates to deliver the most electrifying set of the night. Like their abrasively-titled latest album, Suck It and See, the quartet opened with “She’s Thunderstorms.” By the time they played the appropriately-titled “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair,” the crowd was on their feet.

Since their hour-long set consisted of 17 songs, there wasn’t that much time for banter. However, the few times that Turner quipped, he showed off his charisma like pointing out drummer Matt Helders’ stars and stripes shorts or asking how the crowd was doing in his best 50s rockabilly voice. Speaking of Helders, he was an absolute ape behind the kit without missing a beat such as on songs “Brianstorm,” “Pretty Visitors,” “Teddy Picker,” and “The View from the Afternoon.” The most impressive thing about the Arctic Monkeys is their ability to play various styles of rock – from the blues-inspired garage number “All My Own Stunts” to the rock-n-roll “Brick by Brick,” to the 60s-influenced “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala.” Personal favorite “Crying Lightning” featured thick, low-tuned bass lines from Nick O’Malley that was paired with Turner’s wailing of the lyrics, which gave the song a dark, creepy feeling to it. “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” remains the band’s biggest hit that caused the crowd to roar.

Arctic Monkeys went from 0-60 in mere seconds as soon as their set started and never looked back. When I saw them for the first time at Outside Lands in San Francisco, they put on one of the better performances during the festival. But after seeing them for the second time at the Bowl, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that they are one of the best bands to see live.

In a night that already featured four musically diverse acts, New York’s TV on the Radio continued the trend to cap the night off. Their music wasn’t as intense and frenetic as the band before them, but it definitely was more emotional and captivating as they opened with “Young Liars.” You can sense the focus and intensity immediately as vocalist Tunde Adebimpe, guitarists Dave Sitek and Kyp Malone, bassist Jaleel Bunton, drummer Jahphet Landis, and trombone player Dave Smith were all on sync, building tension before reaching the climax of the song. That kind of chemistry was seen throughout their entire set, making it hard to look away.

They played a well-balanced set, consisting of 12 songs from each of their four full-lengths. “Dancing Choose” didn’t get the crowd to dance necessarily, but it kept them on their feet while an old classic like “Staring at the Sun” came off more dynamic in a live setting. There was a stark difference in mood between the older songs and songs from their latest album, Nine Types of Light. “Will Do” is the perfect example of this as the soft melodies and Adebimpe’s smooth crooning gave the song a touch of romance.

A touching and endearing moment came during “Forgotten,” where the soulful Adebimpe, in a preacher-like manner, asked the crowd if they have ever experienced darkness. He then led the crowd to a chant of “1-2-3 light!” in order to push all the darkness away. You can’t help but think that this was a very fitting tribute to their former bassist, Gerard Smith, who died of cancer earlier this year.

Being their most popular song, it was only appropriate (and a bit predictable) that “Wolf Like Me” was saved for last. By this time, most of the wine-induced crowd was on their paws, howling away word-for-word. Rather than playing a layered, mid-tempo, art-rock version (like on the album), it was more of a faster, guitar-driven, “punk” rendition. And if that wasn’t enough, they came back for only a single song encore with another classic in “Satellite,” which was a fast-paced number that showcased the mesmerizing back-and-forth vocal melodies between Malone and Adebimpe.

Unfortunately, once TV on the Radio exited the stage for good and the venue lights came back on, everyone’s summer was officially over. But least they didn’t leave with an empty stomach. With five acts that catered to various musical taste buds, thousands of people walked backed to their cars satisfyingly stuffed.

27 Sep

Arctic Monkeys performed “Reckless Serenade” on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Watch the video below and pick up the album Suck It And See on iTunes, Amazon MP3, CD

19 Aug

For our second day of coverage at Outside Lands Festival, our writer Ace Ubas mostly stuck to the heavy hitters to catch Muse, The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys. Check out his review below as well as photos from Marcello Ambriz

Toyota Free Yr Radio Tent presented by KZSU 90.1: Vetiver

Since I’m in San Francisco, I figured I should check out some of the local talent that the City by the Bay has to offer. Luckily, I stumbled upon the Free Yr Radio tent and checked out the San Francisco quartet Vetiver. Since they were playing later on that afternoon on the Sutro Stage, they played 3 songs to a handful of people. After playing “Wonder Why” from their latest effort, The Errant Charm, they surely infected me with their country charm and folk sensibilities. After answering a couple of questions from the radio host, they ended their session with the b-side “Wishing Well” and “More of This” from the album Tight Knit.

Lands End Stage: OK Go

Having been known for their widely popular music videos, it’s expected that OK Go put on an eye-catching, attention-grabbing live performance as well. With a voice intro telling men and women to scream, to which they obliged, the quartet entered the stage with each member wearing brightly, solid colored suits. They jumped right into “Do What You Want” to a surprisingly packed Polo Field.

They followed it up with “White Knuckles” that featured both a bass solo from Tim Nordwin and a brief guitar solo from Andy Ross. At one point, vocalist Damian Kulash turned into a preacher and proclaimed San Francisco to be a ‘dirty town’ and its inhabitants ‘sinners.’ According to him, there was only one way to cleanse the city: with the song “What to Do.” But they arranged the song in a rather unique manner, using only an arrangement of bells. After cleansing the city of its sins, Kulash’s bandmates left the stage, leaving him with his acoustic guitar. He jumped into the crowd and said that it was better if he played “Last Leaf” with everyone around him. It wasn’t hard for the band to instill energy into the crowd, as they consistently interacted with them. It also didn’t hurt that they played “Here We Go Again.”

More Photos of OK Go at Outside Lands Festival

Lands End Stage: Arctic Monkeys

For the days leading up to Outside Lands, the one band that I continuously listened to was the Arctic Monkeys. From their first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not to their latest Suck It and See, I was getting myself pumped to see them live for the first time. The only downside to them playing was that they only had an hour-long set. However, that didn’t stop them from packing all the songs they could as they played around 15 or so songs.

They opened up with the barreling “Liberty Pictures” and from the very first note they played, the crowd was fired up. Guitarist Jamie Cook showed how loud he could get by playing blistering riffs that echoed throughout the field. “Crying Lighting” saw drummer Matt Helders creating a catchy marching beat while vocalist/guitarist Alex Turner howled the lyrics. The crowd participated on songs “Brick by Brick,” “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala,” and “If You Were There, Beware” as they sang along and clapped their hands as loud as they could. Overall, they played a good balance of songs from all their albums, which appealed to both new and old fans. It would’ve been appropriate if they played “Fake Tales of San Francisco,” but they ended the show with garage numbers “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “Do Me a Favour,” as they put on one of the better performances of the weekend until…….

More Photos of Arctic Monkeys at Outside Lands Festival

Lands End Stage: The Black Keys

The Black Keys hit the stage. I have a confession: prior to their performance, I never really gave the Black Keys a good listen. Yes I said it. Other than a couple of singles off their latest Grammy-nominated album Brothers, I didn’t really care for the Akron, Ohio duo. Why? Because blues-infused garage rock never really appealed to me. That’s until I heard them live.

With the stage decorated by an oversized dream-catcher and a humongous tire with their name on it, drummer Patrick Carney and vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach hit the stage to a thunderous ovation. I was immediately sold and regretted not buying into the hype early on as they took charge of the stage and the crowd by force. By the time they got to the third song of their set, “The Breaks,” my head began to hurt because of the head bobbing I was doing. Auerbach’s soulful singing on “Chop and Change” hypnotized the crowd, while “Howlin’ For You” and “Tighten Up” got the loudest cheers, for the obvious reasons.

They even played a new song where they brought out a few other musicians to help them along. But with their sound, you would already have thought that they have a full band. On a stage so big with tens of thousands of people watching, it’s hard to image that such force can come from only two people. Both Auerbach and Carney are so ridiculously good at their instruments that the Broken Social Scene would blush that they have who-knows-how-many members. Congratulations Mr. Auerbach and Mr. Carney, you gentlemen have managed to feed me my crow and it’s quite delicious.

More Photos of The Black Keys At Outside Lands Festival

Lands End Stage: Muse

Muse should be used to playing in front of thousands of people on the festival circuit. Just a couple of weeks ago, they headlined Lollapalooza so Outside Lands should be a breeze for them. Patrons did have a choice, however, as Girl Talk played at the same time as Muse. People who chose to watch the British act made the best decision they could ever make at a music festival.

With sirens blaring and fog arising from the stage, Muse emerged from the back as they jumped right into a trio of hits in “Uprising,” “Supermassive Black Hole,” and “Hysteria.” They even threw in a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner leading into “Hysteria.” By this time, the crowd was already in a state of ecstasy (and maybe the drug too, who knows).

The pace slowed down every time vocalist/guitarist Matt Bellamy sat behind his piano such as on songs “Guiding Light” and “Butterflies & Hurricanes.” He proved that he has a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde complex: he is a beast holding his six-stringed weapon, but vulnerable and powerfully emotional behind the ivory keys. But these songs showed just how big Bellamy’s voice really is. There is no venue in the world that can contain his theatrical/operatic voice.

“United States of Eurasia” reminded me of Queen. It starts off beautifully with a piano ballad, but an epic explosion of sonic fury follows after (that’s how amazing it was). Other songs they played included “Citizen Erased,” “Resistance,” “House of the Rising Sun” that led to “Time is Running Out,” “Starlight,” and set closer (and personal favorite) “Stockholm Syndrome.” During this group of songs, the crowd was jumping and moshing with intense passion as they were drenched in green rays of light.

And if that wasn’t enough they came back for a two-song encore with large balloons falling on the crowd. The first of the two was “Plug In Baby” that featured bassist Christopher Wolstenholme on the harmonica while they ended the night with “Knights of Cydonia,” where the crowd got loud as they can as they sang and cheered until the very end. There really is nothing left to say, other than what a way to end a night. My mind is officially blown.

More PHotos of Muse at Outside Lands Festival

17 Aug

Arctic Monkeys played the Land’s End stage at Outside Lands Festival on Saturday. Our photographer Marcello Ambriz was there to get some cool shots of Alex Turner and the band. Check them out below:

16 Aug

For our final day of coverage of Lollapalooza, our writer Michael Zonenashvili would have to make the most difficult decision of the weekend: Foo Fighters or Deadmau5? Find out which he chose below. (Photos courtesy of Lollapalooza Flickr page)

The Joy Formidable:

The Joy Formidable by Matt Ellis

The best set that could possibly happen so early in the morning. The UK’s Joy Formidable could play the extended outro of “Whirring” as an entire set and I’d be more than fine with it. What preceded that closing song, was a quick slew of songs from the thunderous album “The Big Roar.” The crowd clapped along without any prompt from the band, only encouragement after already starting, Ritzy Bryan saying, “Fuck yeah! Keep doing that.” Massive double kick drums, all the bass strings hit at once, and Ritzy’s army of guitars compact into one made it the loudest non-headlining show of the weekend. I always like to consider Ritzy Bryan to be the My Bloody Valentine incarnate that’s actually listenable/discernible. But yeah, back to that outro. A ten minute extended version of “Whirring” concluded the set, complete with Ritzy and crew thrashing their instruments, meddling with pedals, and Ritzy smashing a guitar into a gong. A perfect wake up call.

Noah and The Whale:

Noah & The Whale by Matt Ellis

I came to the stage expecting a cheery, ukulele ridden, completely inappropriate for a main stage set. Only one of those rang true. Being clad in matching suits was not the only thing that made Noah and the Whale seem like they were trying to be The National. New songs were droney and little too post-breakup to keep the crowd interested. The violin that cut through all their album tunes shifted from whimsical to eerie, and the songs as grey as the suits. A ukulele wasn’t the only thing missing from the most anticipated track, “Five Years Time.” Replaced with a guitar, and stripped of all charm, the song had me(and seemingly others) completely disengaged. Perhaps they would’ve just been better suited for the stage in the shade.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. hasn’t given up their shtick. They still came out in racing suits, only to strip them off before starting to play – it is hot, after all. I hadn’t yet seen them post-album release, but a little did change. Even more tight on the harmonies, on point with dynamics, and with no decrease in enthusiasm. Even stage banter was inspired and sincere, balancing between cheesy cuteness and festival-y togetherness. My only complaint is that they traded their cover of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” for a Celine Dion one. Probably not a career defining move, but it’s not too late to go back.

The Cars:
The Cars by Steve Wrubel

“I should learn how to play that one.” murmured Ric Ocasek following the career defining “Just What I Needed.” Even he knew something was up, and that’s what made the set a little disappointing. Compared to last year’s “legacy” act, Devo, The Cars made me feel old and dated themselves as well. Can’t blame it on being tired of old tunes; even new songs from “Move Like This” lacked enthusiasm and volume. The audience awkwardly bobbed to “My Best Friend’s Girl” as I sat on a hill and feared the impending storm.

Arctic Monkeys:
Arctic Monkeys by Jack Edinger

Delayed by thirty minutes due to the second strongest storm of the weekend, the Arctic Monkeys refrained from making too many jokes about the weather and got straight to the music. It was a shame that after every song I’d have to actively hope that the next one wasn’t from “Humbug,” but songs from “Suck It And See” melded well with old tracks, and the band luckily got a 45 minute set instead of being cut down to 30 by the storm. Just enough time to appease the crowd with songs like “Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “When the Sun Goes Down” that were significantly more enthused and energized than when played on the “Humbug” tour. Maybe all Alex needed was a haircut, but whatever it was, the band is starting to get their groove back.

Explosions in the Sky:
Explosions in the Sky by Dave Mead

Every time, Explosions in the Sky is a completely cathartic experience without even needing lyrics. Perfect buildups to even better payoffs riddle their extremely precise set. An artistic approach to volume and crescendo establishes the band as one deserving of their almost religious following. Perhaps there were only previous fans at the stage, others walking by to see the Foo Fighters and wondering “why aren’t they singing yet?” but those fans were into it. The crowd would be at Explosions’ side until the rain washed the set away, and the Foos started to blast across the park.

Deadmau5 by Matt Ellis

I passed up seeing a stadium rock band to see a DJ I hate. Was it worth it? Completely. After the brief, torrential storm that turned any blade of grass left on Grant Park into mud, we had all potentially garnered pneumonia but had made it to the North Stage. Upon passing the hill to the stage, we had the first glimpse at Deadmau5′s massive production. His famed Cube setup was bolstered by more lights and crazy rigging, and apparently that was only about half the setup that was allowed with the weather. The Deadmau5 set had an entire field dancing and jumping in mud, and I guess something converted me. Seeing everyone in a field lose their collective shit regardless of being covered in god knows what was exciting. Even the remix of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” was tasteful, a nice nod to the band that everyone hopes will headline Lolla with each announcement released.

Deadmau5 was able to convince thousands of people to opt out of returning to their hotel to shower, in favor of being dirty and listening to some great beat drops accompanied with great lighting and design. And fine, I don’t hate him, “Ghosts n Stuff” is a pretty fun one, I admit.