Monday, June 28, 2010

You Missed Out: Green Music Fest

I couldn't write yesterday after the fest, because I was exhausted. It was the first outdoor concert day that the summer heat actually drained my energy over the course of a few hours. The first three were spent at the CHIRP booth, asking the good liberal and independently-minded fest-goers to write a quick letter to Senator Durbin to approve low frequency FM in Chicago. It's halfway there. Just needs to pass in the Senate now.

But during a beer break I went over to the main stage to check out a bit of Fang Island. This might be a buzz band, but I honestly can't tell if their wave is coming or already swelled and settled. Either way, they're another one of those Yeasayer or Sleigh Bells pseudo-psych bands who sound triumphant with an excessive amount of vocals, but are light on any real musical depth. Enjoyable enough though. Especially in the middle of a summer street fest.

The highlight of the fest was Maps & Atlases, a Chicago band who has been doing the math-rock thing for a few years but now breaks to rock it straight. I got relieved of my CHIRP tabling duties just as their set started, and upon seeing the wildly bearded lead singer, realized I had just told him about the CHicago Independent Radio Project a mere moment prior. He walked up to the table, and was very interested in the history of the station. I wish he would have asked if we play his band's music, because I actually just wrote the positive record review of their newly released album for DJ's heavy rotation this week:

"Indie-pop can get old pretty fast, but Maps & Atlases seem cautiously aware of the field they’re playing on. String quartet bridges and quirky toy-piano fronted hooks staple Maps & Atlases into that tired genre, but the band’s compositional intelligence outweighs any gimmicks. With a knack for unexplored harmonies and a lead singer with one of those voices that’s almost too unique for its own good, the tunes on Perch Patchwork are surprisingly accessible. Each track lives in its own world, but the album isn’t a mess either. Chalk it up to successfully subtle art-rock. "

Their live show brings the rhythms to the foreground, with speed and intensity. Think Anathallo meets Foals meets Dirty Projectors. Oh yes. The new album is definitely worth buying this week.

And then my wife met up with me, with puppy on leash. This is wonderful, but all the more tiring. Everybody is coming up asking to pet him, what's his name/breed/age, how many girls' phone numbers have I been getting, etc.. So by the time the usually slow, depressing and boring David Bazan started, I was ready to head home.

Luckily, Bazan had a full band with him, and they were playing some relatively uptempo stuff. I think Bazan might be less depressed now that he's no longer a Christian. That's the vibe I got as I saw him comfortably playing his songs up on stage. Still, I felt bad for the guy. For the rest of his career, that initial aspect will remain a part of his history. He'll never be able to rid himself of that "christian" connection. Then I feared the same thing for myself. I have no idea where I'll go from here, but if I do end up somewhere with a larger platform, someone can always look back and say "Oh, Dylan Peterson. Yeah, he started as an editor at Relevant Magazine."

But, as long as David and I aren't depressed with what we're doing at present time, I guess there's nothing to worry about. In that sense, I'm proud of him. As he covered Dylan's "Man in Me," I thought about the man he's become. When he was Pedro the Lion, he really wasn't mature. I certainly wasn't mature at Relevant either (I'm still not...). But as time goes on, humans have the potential to learn. They don't have to remain where they started. In fact, they shouldn't. That would be suicide.

All of these thoughts I could not compile yesterday. It took an existential attack at 3 AM and spending some time sitting on the floor with Arlen and Ecclesiastes 9 before I could figure out what I had to say. I'm glad Pedro the Lion is dead and that my dog is here with me. Verse four says, "Anyone who is among the living has hope--even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!"

We're all a bunch of dogs. I resent the way the Bible generally uses dog metaphors, but this is the only instance in which I think it's positive. We don't have to be royalty in order to live life well. We just have to keep our hope maintained. Not hope for riches or success, just hope for ourselves. One way I do that is by going to street fests on the weekends.

I left Green Music Fest towards the end of Bazan's set, because Arlen looked hot and tired (and I was too). So, if you were expecting to hear a show review of Cloud Cult, too bad. Check the other blogs. Later dogz.

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