American Football - “The Summer Ends”
School starts tomorrow. I can hear the leaves turning.
Let’s just see what happens when the Summer ends.
Summer Shows Recap
Hey everybody, I was recently contacted by someone who writes for my school’s newspaper. She is writing an article about Summer shows, and was asking if I could provide her with some information about the many shows that I’ve seen over the past couple months. I wrote her a very lengthy response, so I figured I would post that here as well, in case any of you want to read it. It’s basically a recap of all the shows I’ve seen, some of which I’ve only covered in passing prior to this.
Anyway, this is what I did this Summer…
For me, the summer concert series really began with B.O.M.B. Fest in late May, which took place in Hartford at the Comcast Theater. The festival wasn’t planned very well, and the lineup featured some really bizarre choices for bands in addition to two really irrelevant headliners, but I did get to see a lot of my favorite indie rock bands that don’t come around here too often. At its best, B.O.M.B. Fest was cool because I got to see my favorite local bands (that friends of mine are actually in), such as Midi & The Modern Dance and The Guru, play with my favorite current nationally touring bands like Titus Andronicus, Free Energy, Man Man, The New Pornographers, and Wavves, although Wavves had a pretty disappointing live set. It was fun to see Weezer too I guess, because I was in the front row and they played a set heavy on material from their debut and their second album Pinkerton, which is one of my favorite albums. Also, this guy Bryce (who plays in Chalk Talk, another band I saw at BOMB Fest), stagedove from backstage during Weezer’s set and actually jumped over me. There’s a hilarious video of that somewhere.
Here it is:
In June I saw two shows that are really worth mentioning. The first one took place at Toad’s Place on June 4th, with Okkervil River headlining and Titus Andronicus and Future Islands opening. I got to meet Patrick Stickles (of Titus) for a third time after meeting him again at BOMB Fest the week before and he remembered my name. It was awesome. Titus’ set was pretty good, but it was the same setlist as their BOMB Fest show, which was disappointing. Okkervil River were fantastic, and played for well over two hours with a set heavy on material from my two favorite albums of theirs, Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names. Their new songs also sounded really good. HERE are some photos from that night.
On June 11th my friends The Guru played a special show in celebration of the release of their first official full length album Native Sun at The Space in Hamden. People went crazier at that show than I’ve ever seen at that venue. It was such a fun, life affirming experience, and I was so proud of those guys for being so great.
Then on June 18th I saw The Antlers play a really intimate show at The Space. This band has sold out venues like the Music Hall of Williamsburg and the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn so seeing them play at such a small all ages venue was really a treat. I’m a huge Antlers fan and the show was absolutely gorgeous. I know I took photos of the Antlers show but I can’t find them anywhere.
The last show I saw in June was Bomb The Music Industry! at Lilly’s Pad, the small venue upstairs at Toad’s Place. I had seen them once before opening for Titus Andronicus last summer, but this was the first time I had seen them headline. At the time, I wasn’t actually a big fan of theirs. It’s a shame, because they released their new album Vacation a few days later, and I actually love that album. It’s definitely the best thing they’ve released and I love the change in style. The show was pretty fun and energetic though.
I guess July must have been kind of a dry spell for shows for me because I only saw one that month. I wanted to see The Feelies in Milford in July but I was away in North Carolina. I also wanted to see Animal Collective but my ride dropped out. Anyway, on July 1st I saw my favorite band from Connecticut, an atmospheric emotive hardcore/post-rock/whatever band called The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, from Willimantic. It was my fourth time seeing them, and first seeing them in a headlining role. They played at a DIY venue in downtown New Haven called Popeye’s Garage, because it was literally a tiny garage behind the Popeye’s there. Pitchfork BNM’ed punk band Iceage played there a few days earlier. It’s the real deal. Anyway, they had some technical troubles but they played two new songs that are going to be on an upcoming 12” split with Deer Leap, and they sounded fantastic. Also, Football, etc. opened (along with three other bands) and they were really good.
August is only half way over, though, and I’ve already seen four great shows. Sufjan Stevens played at Prospect Park in Brooklyn on August 2nd and 3rd and I was at both of the shows. Collectively, they were my favorite show of all time and the highlight of my summer if not my whole life. Seriously. I wrote a huge review of that show with pictures and stuff on my blog and you should check it out:
Here are some more pictures from both nights.
The first night was breathtaking and full of surprises for me, and the second night was a huge awesome dance party in the pouring rain except it wasn’t shitty dance music, it was Sufjan Stevens and he was amazing.
It was funny coming back from Brooklyn on August 3rd and then going to a completely different show on August 4th. I went back to The Space to see Grown Ups play with a bunch of great bands, but I was mostly there to see The World Is A Beautiful Place… again for the fifth time. I can’t get enough of them. Grown Ups were okay, TWIABP was awesome, and the other openers Legs Like Tree Trunks, Martin Luther King, High Pop, and Deer Leep were also great.
This past tuesday I saw my most recent show, which was pretty funny actually. I’ve seen a lot of punk rock basement shows, but none like this. I’m used to dingy basements and tiny, packed rooms for house shows, like The Cookie Jar in New Haven was before it was retired as a venue. Instead, this show was in a basement in Easton, CT, probably the least punk place in the world. It was at this massive house with fountains and shit. It was hilarious. I brought Jared Eisenberg along because he had never been to a show that wasn’t in a giant arena or something before, and he said that he had a really good time. It was just funny because I was trying to explain what punk was about to him, and then we pull up to this house that is even bigger than his… it was just really funny. But I went because Suns were headlining and releasing their new EP Be Good Boy and because a bunch of other great bands were playing, some of whom I hadn’t checked out before. It turned out to be a pretty awesome punk night after all. Co-Pilots were amazing. Maharati was kind of an oddball choice because they were a hardcore punk band, but they were touring so whatever. Year In Review was kind of a cutesy pop-punk band with 90s roots, and they were pretty good. Ovlov was incredible. They sounded just like a 90s indie rock band like Sebadoh or something and it was really great seeing them play with such admirable apathy. They really didn’t care how they sounded, which worked because they sounded fantastic. Martin Luther King played at this show too, which was their last show before the members all go off to college. It was amazing though, and everybody was really into it. Finally Suns played, and I was surprised at how much I was into it. I went crazy at that show. I wish I had taken pictures. Sometimes those basement punk shows can really be more rewarding than anything else. It’s about losing your sense of self-importance and reveling in the communal acceptance that punk provides. It doesn’t matter that the new Suns EP is ‘just okay’. It was an amazing show, and I loved everyone who came.
Anyway I realize that I just recounted my entire musical summer to you, and I’m sorry that I basically wrote a novel just now, but hopefully that will give you something to go on. Feel free to use whatever, but I guess if you’re going to use pictures or quotes or anything, just source them back to my blog.
Thanks for reading!
Introducing: Summer Albums Project
So, the Summer is here. In addition to the summer Mix CD compilation that I have made and will be mailing out soon (send me your address in my ask box if you want a copy), I have some other plans that will hopefully add some spice and excitement to this blog during the lazy summer months. Today, in an effort to clear up space in my downloads folder and in the hope of expanding my musical horizons, I am starting something called The Summer Albums Project.
The concept of this project is simple. Every day, to the best of my abilities, I will listen to an album that I’ve never heard before. I will then write a relatively short review on that day’s album, and provide a download link for anyone who might be interested in listening to it too. These albums will be chosen mostly at random, and many of them will be culled from my oversized downloads folder, which is filled with albums that I downloaded at some point but never got around to listening to. Some of these albums are by artists that I’ve listened to before, but never fully explored. Others are albums by bands that I’ve been wanting to check out for some time. Some of the albums I downloaded so long ago that I don’t even remember who they’re by or what they sound like.
As I said before, the Lewis and his Blog Summer Albums Project will start today. The first album that I’m going to listen to will be Tallahassee by The Mountain Goats. Stay tuned for that! Once this project has gotten started, those interested will be able to view all Summer Albums Project entries in one place HERE.