From the MoSS? Pit: Sunday at Lollapalooza (but pretty much the Cure)

Seems fitting that on the day when musical perfection headlined Lollapalooza, the weather would be perfect too.

Seriously, one of my greatest fears about going to Lollapalooza, something I hadn’t done since the traveling circus days (1994, to be exact), was being among thousands and thousands of people on a 100-degree, high-dew-point kind of day. But when the Cure was named as the headliner for Sunday, I knew that I needed to brave the masses and the potential mugginess to see Robert Smith and Co. one more time.

So it was in 75-degree sunshine (with a slight breeze to boot) that I took in Lolla 2013’s closing day, making the trek with my boy (and devoted MoSS? reader/commenter) Sam and his good friend Tony, whom I met back in my Marshalltown days. We met up with friends who were there all three days (two with ties to my hometown, Waukon, bringing the grand total of people with Waukon ties at Lollapalooza to, um, three, I’m guessing?) and had a hell of a time.

Before I get to the Cure, I should at least mention the other stuff I saw…

palma violets

Palma Violets

Palma Violets: Love the album. Love the energy they brought to the stage. They were having a blast and sounded great. Only thing: they seemed a bit dwarfed by the stage they were on, that being one of the two main stages (Bud Light, bro) in the park. Had they performed in The Grove or even the secondary stage not far from the Bud Light behemoth, I’m thinking it would have been a perfect fit. All the same, good way to start the day, even if I was by myself for this one (let’s just say the post-arrival Park and Ride experience was a stressful one and leave it at that).

Wild Nothing: By this point, I had met up with the friends who had been there for the entire festival, so I spent a good amount of time catching up with them while Wild Nothing played. Sounded great. Jack Tatum mentioned how cool it was to perform on a stage that would be graced by his favorite band of all time, the Cure. He’s worthy of sharing those planks.

MS MR: OK, so I thought I was heading to the stage where Baroness would be playing, but when the huge block letter “MS MR” appeared on the backdrop, um, well, I guess not. But it was the Grove, a smaller space lined with trees (hence the name), so I decided to stay put with my friend Denise and enjoy a little shade and synth. While it wasn’t the “rock your face off” show that Baroness put on (a point hammered home by Sam, Travis, Tony, and Annie a few times throughout the evening), it was a good showing from a band that put out a killer EP. (Not a big fan of the debut album consisting of the same four songs from the EP plus a few more new ones, but whatever.)

Two Door Cinema Club: Between MS MR and this point, a friend of Denise’s joined up with us and we tried to reconnect with the Baroness crew. Text messaging at this point was lagging; while we waited for messages to go through, we caught a couple of songs by TDCC. A lot of people were pretty excited about it; I was not one of them. Soon we decided it was time to head to the other end of the park where the Cure would be playing, a decision made partly to rescue Denise’s friend, who found herself on radar-lock by a drunk dude who made me look young and hip. We’re good people.

Alt-J: When we reached the south end of the park, we decided it was beer time. Sam and Tony magically appeared at the beer tent. It was a glorious reunion, and at least 18 times we heard about how great Baroness was. The girls left to go to 2 Chainz; the boys decided it was wise to go claim real estate near the Red Bull Stage for the Cure, even though Grizzly Bear still had to go on before them. While this was happening, Alt-J was playing in the background. Meh.

Grizzly Bear: So with the sole intention of making sure we had decent spots for the Cure, we headed over to the Red Bull stage. We were able to get a good spot on the left side of the crowd, probably 15-20 human rows back from the front gate. This would be closer than I was when I saw the Cure in 2000, and closer than the first time I saw them, in 1996.

So I’m looking at the following wait for the Cure:

  • 5:30-6:00: Stand around and wait for Grizzly Bear
  • 6:00-7:00: Grizzly Bear plays on Red Bull Stage
  • 7:00-8:00: Stand around and wait for the Cure to go on

Here’s how long these portions felt:

  • 5:30-6:00: 30 minutes (we were happy about our position, so time moved forward)
  • 6:00-7:00: FOR-FUCKING-EVER
  • 7:00-8:00: An hour (it helped that we could hear Beach House on the secondary stage behind us, and Cure fans, despite our reputation for being mopey, can make small talk amongst ourselves)

I don’t get the love for Grizzly Bear. At all. I’ve never liked their recordings. And hearing them live added nothing for me. I get the same vibe from them that I get from Wilco: “Dockers Rock.”

But again, remember the primary objective here: a good spot for the Cure. Mission accomplished. Just deal with this, just like you dealt with Red Red Meat opening for Smashing Pumpkins in 1994, and Elite Gymnastics opening for Sleigh Bells, and Oneohtrix Point Never for Sigur Ros, and that guy who exerted most of his talent trying to hang a tapestry at the Ducktails show in Iowa City. You’re a survivor, I told myself!

I will credit “Adrien Brody” for one thing: as Grizzly Bear’s set was wrapping up, he encouraged everyone to go over and check out Beach House. Yes, I thought, make room up front for me! Of course, hardly anyone took his advice. And almost everyone was thinking the same thing as me: “I hope all these people in front of me are huge Phoenix fans.” (Phoenix was headlining on the other side of the park.)

So while Beach House chilled out across the way, we all pressed forward until we became rather well acquainted with one another. And we waited. Thankfully I was surrounded by three cool dudes from Austin, Texas, and a woman presumably a little north of my age who was seeing the Cure for the first time. And a woman of Latin American descent who, although not the talkative sort, was drop-dead gorgeous. (shrug) And a dude in a Washington Nationals ballcap who was the leader of our platoon, fighting the good fight against people who tried to push past us when there was absolutely no room to be had. He handled all the talking, but he expected us all to stand our ground. And we did, despite the pleas of “but my friend/husband/little brother is up there!” And the ones who kept pushing got ushered the fuck out by the security along the gated central walkway…or they turned around.

While I waited, I caught myself bouncing. I was so excited to see this band, even if they weren’t my “white whale” as they were for everyone in my small circle (except for Sam, who accompanied me to the St. Louis show in 2000). The set list might not be filled with a vast selection of deep cuts, but it’s not like I don’t enjoy the Cure’s singles and poppy side, too. (“Friday I’m In Love” is a bit trying for me, I’ll admit.)

As the clock struck 8, the chimes started. After two concerts without it, I was going to get to experience “Plainsong,” the leadoff track from Disintegration, my favorite Cure song. It was as majestic as it had ever sounded.

How nice it was to hear four Disintegration songs within the first six titles. “Pictures of You” led into “Lullaby”; after “High” (the most underrated of their singles, I might argue) and “The End of the World,” we got “Lovesong.” At this point, Robert mentioned to the crowd that the evening’s proceedings had a bit of a poppy feel, and the band launched two staples of the live sets over the years, “In Between Days” and “Just Like Heaven.” After the final keyboard note of “JLH” ceased, I could hear someone behind me exclaim, “Holy shit! I’m fucking spent, only a half-hour in!”

We got a song from the post-Pornography pop set (“The Walk”), four more songs from Wish (“Friday,” “Doing the Unstuck,” “Trust,” and the powerhouse “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”), the fourth of the Disintegration singles (“Fascination Street”) and that album’s title track, and the song from 1997, “Wrong Number,” the studio recording of which featured Reeves Gabrels, the band’s new fifth member. There was even a song from 4:13 Dream, because, well, I don’t know. Seems like it would have been a perfect time to go with “Play for Today,” and let the rabid fans sing the keyboard line a la the version that appeared on the live album Paris. (I mention this as I wanted to prove to myself that I could find fault with the show.)

The band took a short break before coming out for the all-out pop hurricane encore. Robert mentioned that the “very precise” festival had 21 minutes left, so, augh! We better get crackin’! So out came “The Lovecats,” “The Caterpillar” (!), “Close to Me,” “Let’s Go to Bed,” “Why Can’t I Be You?,” and “Boys Don’t Cry” (“If they pull the plug on us, you’ll need to keep singing”). And then the music stopped, Robert walked to each side of the stage to nod and smile to the adoring fans, and that was that.

Specifics to note:

  • Simon Gallup is the coolest person in music, and plays a hell of a bass. And he appears to be ageless. What a stud.
  • Nice to see Roger O’Donnell once again in the fold. I love that “Trust” was part of the set, which gave him a true spotlight moment, and he was obviously enjoying the proceedings. I think he feeds off Simon’s unending energy, too; he was really getting into his playing at times.
  • Robert is known to alter the original lyric from “Let’s Go to Bed” (which goes “You think you’re tired now / well wait until 3”) to fit the occasion. Usually he refers to an hour even later; he used this line to comment on the “this ends at 10 p.m.” attitude of Lollapalooza. On this night it went: “You think you’re tired now / well, wait until [shrug] 11, I guess.”
  • After “The Walk” finished, someone tapped me and asked me what that song was called. I told him, and then I heard him relaying the answer to another dude. The original inquiring mind yelled, “The what?” So I turned around, yelled, “‘The Walk’!,” and did the old Yellow Pages “let your fingers do the walking” gesture. I got a smile and a thumbs-up in return. I love helping people!
  • I knew I was actually among real people and not in an Internet chat room because I didn’t hear a single person whine about Boris Williams not being the drummer anymore. (It’s been 20 years, and some fans online still won’t let it go.)
  • “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” “One Hundred Years,” and “Disintegration” are played practically every single time the Cure performs a concert, and I think because of that, many diehard fans groan about their inclusion anymore. But for people like me who haven’t been able to see them very often, I absolutely love the fact that I know I’m going to get to hear these three intense numbers. “Deep Green Sea” in particular was searing on this particular night.

The set, both in song choice and performance, shows how multifaceted and multitalented the Cure really is. There are numerous kinds of Cure fans in my opinion (opposed to one person’s opinion that you’re either an “In Between Days” fan or a “Just Like Heaven” fan—what the hell does that even mean?), and I’m guessing that they all left the park very satisfied.

From the MoSS? Pit: Fleetwood Mac

fleetwood mainIf you’ve read some of my posts over the last year or so you may remember that I am a big Fleetwood Mac fan. Their Rumours album was the #10 selection in my part of the “MoSS? Undisputed Top Albums Ever” lists Chris and I made last year. My wife is a huge fan too so when I saw they were coming to Des Moines this summer there was no way we were going to miss it. In need of additional support crew, we looked no further than our Pygmalion Fest/Best Coast concert pals. I’m pleased to report that thanks to their help… No wrong turns this year baby! Although, I wouldn’t have minded making a small 90 minute detour to the Missouri border for some fireworks (this trip being pre-4th of July and all.) Sadly, Iowa does not sell the good stuff.

Anyway, upon arrival in the big city of Des Moines we started our evening off at a martini bar called The Standard. They have excellent food (Tapas baby!), very good/not too pricey drinks and horseshit service. Concert night with one waitress? Come on The Standard! You can do better. They did have a cool little guy/girl band performing while we ate. They did excellent covers of some very random groups. Weezer, Timberlake, Marvin Gaye are just a few examples. I wish I could remember their band moniker so I could give them a plug but sadly, I don’t. Too many boozie drinks that night I suppose. So would I go back to The Standard for another pre-concert dinner?… Probably.

Since there was no opening act, all we had to worry about was getting our first concert beer and finding our seats. Price tag on a can of beer at the Wells Fargo Arena was a shocking $8. 8 bucks? For Coors (Pronounced Kerrs in my house) Light? I was a bit taken aback until the beer wench handed over two ice cold  20 oz. cans. 20 ounces? Shit lady, that’s all you had to say!  I could barely carry them to our seats which were not exactly close. That’s the one bummer about this trip. I can add up the total ticket cost of my last five shows and they are still just under the ticket price for Fleetwood Mac and we were still midway to nosebleed land. Still, there was no way we were missing this one.

fleetwood liveWhen we finally sat down I noticed that the crowd was pretty large. If they didn’t sell out the venue I would be surprised. I was also surprised at the age range of the audience. Since the band members are in their mid-60s, I assumed our thirtysomething foursome would be at the young end of the spectrum. That was not necessarily the case. While there was no shortage of baby boomers, there was probably almost as many 30-40 year olds on hand as well. I even saw a few teenagers wandering around getting a rock and roll history lesson from parents.

We didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for the show to begin.  Fleetwood Mac came on stage a mere 15 minutes after the designated start time. I can deal with 15 minutes. That’s basically on time in rock and roll land. Maybe “The Mac” have given up the rock diva thing after all these years. Or maybe they just wanted to get the show done before the 11PM Matlock episode started. I’m kidding of course. Over the period of the two and a half hour show, not one of the members of the band showed any signs of slowing down. In fact, they seemed to have endless energy.

fleetwood live 2

Guitarist/Vocalist Lindsey Buckingham was onstage for almost every song and still plays flawlessly and ferociously. One of my favorite Lindsey songs is “Never Going Back Again” which showcases his unique guitar work. The live version that night was slowed down a bit from the original but it still shows he has the skills.

[Side note on the video: Although I did upgrade my mobile to the highly superior iPhone, this could not help my videos from the night. Shitty seats = Shitty video. I was able to find a few YouTube clips filmed by some cat named Jason Smith. Luckily, he recorded some of my favorite performances of the night. Thanks Jason!]

fleetwood live 3Stevie sounded great too. Her voice may not be able to hit the higher notes perfectly anymore but she can still belt out the hits. One of my favorite Stevie songs is “Sara” and I was singing it all afternoon in anticipation of hearing it live as my annoyed support crew can attest. After a couple of those 20 oz. beers I was talking about earlier, I had to take a restroom break. As I was doing my business, I heard the opening lyrics of “Sara.” Talk about bad timing! I was able get  to my seat to in time to catch the last half of the song though. Check out the video below.

Another Stevie highlight from that night was the performance of her solo tune, “Stand Back.” She pulls out all of the trademark Stevie stuff. Air keyboards. Flowing witch/gypsy dress. Waving scarves. And my favorite, the Stevie Spin. That’s right. The Spin. What other rock star can whip the crowd into a frenzy solely by spinning in a circle like a little girl? No other rock star. That’s who. I got caught up in it too. At the sight of the first Stevie Spin of the night, my wife and I turned to each other and simultaneously shrieked “SHE’S SPINNING!!!” Check out the video below.

Every current member from the Rumours lineup (except for John McVie who has never been particularly talkative) spoke to the crowd during breaks in the action.  They all seemed to have the same theme…Gratitude. They appeared truly touched and humbled by the years of love and applause. Even though the ticket price may be a bit high, I suggest you go out and see Fleetwood Mac. Before we know it there won’t be too many bands like them left.

Setlist:

Second Hand News
The Chain
Dreams
Sad Angel
Rhiannon
Not That Funny
Tusk
Sisters of the Moon
Sara
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back Again
Without You
Gypsy
Eyes of the World

Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Stand Back
Go Your Own Way

Encore:
World Turning
Don’t Stop

2nd Encore:
Silver Springs
Say Goodbye

From the MoSS? Pit: Best Coast

This is long overdue. Sorry about that.

It’s not like it wasn’t worth writing about. In fact, it was a good night all around. Consider…

holding best coast poster

Before the signatures were applied.

We took advantage of happy hour at Red’s Ale House in North Liberty. Even though they didn’t have any Golden Nugget on tap, it’s not like the joint was dry. And the buffalo chicken flatbread? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit….

The show was in a church. So now I can tell people that I’ve been to church this year, and not for some “everyone goes” event like Easter or Christmas, either.

The sound was good. The setlist was good. The sightlines weren’t bad, considering that the band wasn’t exactly on an elevated platform.

Good mix of songs from the two albums, as well as the Record Store Day single and some new material.

Bethany looked and sounded great. Bob rocked out. Even though the set wasn’t the longest in the history of live music, I felt I got my fill.

As those of us who follow Best Coast on social media already knew, they had hit the town the night before and got crunk on jello shots. They recapped the night out between songs. They praised Joe’s Place. They slagged off the Airliner. They forgot the name of the third bar, which I later gathered was the Summit from their description of the place.

(Their description, you ask?)

Yeah, so during the show they asked the crowd where they should go out afterward. A few people yelled out “Deadwood,” a venue that has Golden Nugget on tap, if you must know. So our gang figured we’d head over there post-show.

women smiling for camera

Post-show hangout at Deadwood.

And sure enough, they came by. Everyone else was busy doing other things when they came in (peeing and playing air hockey…separately, of course), except for me and our friend Michelle. So the two of us stepped over to them, praised them for taking the advice of post-show venue, complimented them on the show, talked about their exploits from the night before, complimented them again, and went back to our booth in the corner (the “Corleone booth,” I like to call it) to brag to Jess and Jen and Tracy about our new friends.

The ladies ran over and sort of hovered around; Tracy broke the ice and snapped pictures of Bethany with Jess and Jen. Jess also got her recently pilfered show flier signed by the whole BC gang. They were super nice and down to earth, which is fun; hell, they said goodbye to us as we left, rather than forcing us to act like super dweeb fans all over again. Since Deadwood doesn’t have a popcorn machine, I don’t know where Todd hid while Bethany was in the bar.

Anyway, I’m glad they made the trip to Iowa. I’m glad I got to see them after the show, Bethany in her full denim-jacket-with-Metallica-patch-on-back glory.

The new song, “Who Have I Become”:

“Last Year” from The Only Place:

“I Want To” from the first album:

Let’s try that stage jump again:

From the MoSS? Pit: Sigur Ros (with a Ducktails postscript)

silhouette of jonsi

Jonsi’s silhouette towers above the audience during the opening song of the set.

It’s funny, in a way: one of my favorite albums of all time, ( ) by Sigur Ros, is quite serene and ethereal at times…so much so that people often forget the climax moments that punctuate the latter parts of several songs.

Those in attendance Tuesday night at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion couldn’t help but be reminded of the explosive elements of Sigur Ros.

IMG_1653Jonsi, Georg, and Orri, along with a full complement of vocal, string, and percussion performers, dropped two hours’ worth of gorgeous power on our ears, striking a good balance of the back catalog along with a taste of what’s ahead (or recently released) in 2013. The band understands its suitability for visual representation, as evidenced by the stunning, fantastical, and sometimes bizarre content displayed on the widescreen backdrop behind the band (and during the first couple of songs, a sheer curtain that surrounded the stage).

I’m not sure what to praise first, as there is no shortage of positives that came from this show, one of the greatest live music experiences of my life. Jonsi’s strong vocal work? The dude held a note for damn near an hour (wish I would have actually timed it) during “Festival” toward the end of the main set. His voice is as vital an instrument as his bowed guitar, and it was strong all night long, piercing through the bluster with its falsetto majesty while also dialing it back to match the tender moments of “Fljotavik” and “Vaka.”

How about that the new songs (three from the upcoming summer album, Kveikur; one from the recently released Brennisteinn EP) are absolutely stunning? I spent many of the 24 hours after the show making a deep bass-thump sound (something like “DUHHNNNNNN!”) over and over again, as “Brennisteinn” got lodged in my head, in much the same way that Gotye song ear-wormed its way into Travis while eating at Busy Burger. (“Wow that was one juicy burger!”)

In fact, the main takeaway I had after this night: Sigur Ros rocks so much harder than so-called “hard rock.” As each song reached its conclusion, Orri was killing the drums, Georg was pounding or plucking away at his bass, and Jonsi was attacking his guitar with his bow with the mania of a deranged lunatic (yet with amazing precision).

The aforementioned hopping across the back catalog was great. Four songs from Takk…, three songs from ( ), two from Agaetis Byrjun, two from Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust, and one from Valtari…a great mix. I didn’t hear everything I love, but that would have required at least another hour. For a two-hour show, they hit a great deal of the highlights.

After a two-song encore consisting of “Glosoli” and the best song from the catalog, “Popplagio” (or “Untitled 8”), the band graciously came out and took a bow for the adoring crowd. It was cool to see the big smiles on their faces; undoubtedly there were thousands of smiles (and cheers and whatever else) sent in their direction.

The show wasn’t perfect, but through no fault of Sigur Ros:

  • Oneohtrix Point Never was boring as shit.
  • Beer was $8 per Solo cup; $9 if you wanted an “import” (read: good) beer. I had zero.
  • I swear the same douchebag couple that stood near us at the Portishead show at the Aragon back in 2011 was standing next to us at this show. Making a show of getting high and making out and what not. Why not buy/rent one of the Sigur Ros concert DVDs and fuck on your living room floor in front of the TV?
  • Signs outside the venue made it quite clear that you could not bring in, among other things, “sticks/spikes.” Styx, that I can understand. But sticks? PUSSYFICATION OF ‘MURICA

Also, word on the street is that The Playpen on Mannheim is not the place to go for after-show entertainment. We heeded that advice.

And to end this part on a positive note, we saw Blue Pants, who has to be related to the infamous Red Pants, after the show. Wowzers.

Oh, and the night before…

Todd and I took in the kickoff concert for this year’s Mission Creek Festival. Ducktails, featuring Real Estate Guy (I’m too lazy to see which Real Estate member it is), topped a three-band bill before a sold-out* crowd at the Mill.

* Well, it was a free show, so “sold out” might seem a little loose with the language. But you did have to RSVP to get on a guest list, and that filled up, so I guess you could say standing-room-only. Also, there was free pizza.

Ducktails provided a solid, professional set. Groovy tunes, and Real Estate Guy (I know, I should open a new browser window and Google his name) seemed to be enjoying the show too. Aside from me spilling half a glass of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, it was a good time. Here’s “Ivy Covered House”:

One opening act fell into the same category as Oneohtrix Point Never, in that it was one dude just sort of doing his own thing up there with button pushing. It was a little more elaborate than OPN, but that doesn’t mean it was any good. The other opener reminded me of James Chance and the Contortions minus the brass…and that actually is sort of an okay thing. If you are not familiar with James Chance, um, here:

The MoSS? Pit is growing for the April 27 Best Coast show…maybe we’ll see you in there.

From the MoSS? Pit: The xx

the xx performing

Up close and personal with Romy, Jamie, and Oliver.

I try to write these in short order after seeing the show, but this one took a little bit longer to get going. Several reasons for this…

I stayed in a $40 hotel in Rochester after the show. You might imagine the sort of room you can get for $40 on a Friday night; I will tell you that whatever image you’ve conjured up in your mind, take it down a notch or two. I rolled in about 2 a.m., went to the front desk to “announce” I was there (I say “announce” because I had to shout over the TV, which had the episode of Family Guy on Adult Swim cranked up to 11), and waited for the clerk (fresh from his role as a zombie on The Walking Dead, if one can judge a book by its cover) to stop talking about his taxidermy habit and offering to have dinner with me in his office before I could just go to my room and shower. (Cue the Bernard Herrmann music.) Eventually I got to my room and crashed for a few hours before hitting the road at 7 a.m.

I left Rochester early not only because I was staying at the Bates Motel, but because I needed to get back to my old stomping grounds to attend a benefit for my good friend Aaron. It was a great day, not only because I was able to see a bunch of good friends, but also to see how well Aaron is doing. Much like Wu-Tang Clan, Guillain-Barre Syndrome ain’t nothin’ to fuck wit’, yet Aaron is already kicking its ass just months after the diagnosis (and that’s with an extended, scary stay in ICU in the interim). A lot of people came out and a good amount of dough was raised for my friend and his family, and I walked away from the live auction portion of the festivities with a gift for Tracy: a hot air balloon ride for two, complete with some bubbly to drink while in the air. Thankfully my dad didn’t follow through with his threat to run up the bid on me…

I also didn’t want to write my thoughts about the show immediately afterward for fear that I would knee-jerk my way through it, saying things like “This is without a doubt the best show I’ve ever seen in my life” or “You know, Romy actually is kinda cute” or anything else filled with hyperbole.

So here I am, nearly 48 hours after the final notes of “Stars” had run their course, and I’m left thinking…

“This is without a doubt the best show I’ve ever seen in my life.”


It would be more accurate to say “This is arguably the best show I’ve ever seen in my life,” because I’ve seen some pretty cool shows, especially lately. M83 at the Pageant earlier this year was killer; Portishead in Chicago last year is the one that might still hold the throne even after this xx spectacle. And there’s the first time I saw Explosions in the Sky, which was pretty special; The Cure on the 2000 Dream Tour was epic, too, going nearly three hours and playing a ton of stuff off Pornography.

But this…this was amazing.

Romy and Jamie

Perhaps more than anything else, consider the nature of the xx’s music. The personal feel, the minimal instrumentation that allows the emotion of the music to expand exponentially. The show was played at First Avenue, which isn’t exactly the largest venue in the world. Also consider that I was able to be right up front, along the rail just in front of Oliver Sim, adding to the intimacy of the moment.

And all my best-laid plans for the show came together. I was flying solo (or with all my friends, right?!) for this one, so I decided I was going to nerd out, drive up to the Cities early, and be the first person in line outside First Ave. I would go in, grab a pint of something from the bar, and then park in front of the stage.

Two other dudes had the same plan, so I was third in line when I got there. The line got longer and longer during the ensuing hour between my arrival and when doors opened, and I soon was bumped to fourth in line when the second guy in line was joined by his daughter. She was wearing red pants and a sweet jacket, which prompted a text message exchange between me and Todd (who was in Florida) in which we reminisced about the girl with red pants and cool jacket at the Gardens & Villa show in Iowa City during last spring’s Mission Creek Festival.* It must be the uniform of choice for cool music girls everywhere. The xx fan girl later asked her dad if she could get a tattoo when she turned 16, but only “if it means something to her.” (He said no.)

(* – Gardens & Villa and the Girl with the Red Pants were the only things we enjoyed about our night out at Mission Creek—Dirty Beaches and The War on Drugs were complete letdowns—so we didn’t write a “From the MoSS Pit?” entry. We should have, though. The funny thing: we were behind Girl with the Red Pants the entire show, so we were all under the impression that no one could rock red pants the way she did AND have it all put together from the front as well. When she finally turned around…boy, were we wrong. Todd’s better half agrees with this sentiment, by the way.)

Some people walked by and glanced at the poster announcing tonight’s lineup. The three college kids behind me in line joined me for a laugh when a passerby uttered to his friend, “Who’s playing—oh, Double X.” This name-bungling was one-upped by a panhandler who, after being rejected in his quest for spare change, asked the guys in front of me, “Who’s playing?” One of them responded, to which the panhandler said, “Who? Ex-Lax?” A shitty thing to say, to be sure. (Ha!)

Oliver and Jamie

Oliver and Jamie during the encore.

Soon enough it was time to go in. I quickly got my pint and grabbed my spot at the rail. Two very nice women, April and Jessica, stood next to me (young Red Pants and her dad also landed on the rail, on the other side of A&J). The floor quickly filled up. Not far from me, I noticed a guy in a Flogging Molly shirt who had been pacing around outside First Avenue begging to buy anyone’s extra tickets. At one point his ladyfriend smelled a clove cigar that was being smoked by someone in line, and she offered to buy one of those. Flogging Molly Shirt comes around the corner and says, “I’m trying to find us tickets, and you’re buying cigarettes!” I later heard that he bought two tickets for $120 apiece; face value with fees was $38, and that included a legal digital download of the Coexist album. (But still a shrewd purchase, if you ask me.)

You know what else ruled about this show? It started 30 minutes EARLY. 2:54 took the stage at 8:30 even though the show was billed as starting at 9:00. And they were great. I thought they sounded a little heavier live than what you get from their recorded material, but that’s not a criticism. (Todd included them on our May mixtape, if you want to hear a sample.) The band was well received, and they kept things moving along by playing an economical six-song set.

2:54

2:54

John Talabot was next. I like his music just fine, but knob tweaking punctuated by the occasional series of crash-cymbal pounding isn’t the most thrilling equation for live music. It was the exact kind of show I feared I might get with M83, to be honest; where M83 succeeds by playing a lot of it live, Talabot and his button-pushing sidekick just sort of stood there. Frankly, the xx could have worked out a deal with Talabot where they said, “Look, how about we just play your music during the stage transition from 2:54 to our set?” and it would have been just as valuable. I will listen to John Talabot again this year, I’m sure, so I’m not ripping on the music (for the most part). It just didn’t work for me as a live act.

John Talabot

John Talabot

Talabot’s was a relatively short set as well, and then it was go time.

Sometimes I prefer it when a band sounds ragged live, so I know I’m getting an experience that differs from “just hitting play.” I’d rather bands like the xx don’t sound that way; I want the perfection, and I want the atmosphere they create on the record to be present in this live setting. But I don’t want an exact carbon copy of the album, either. Can you run through the material as if it’s a perfect take, but not have it sound exactly like the songs I’ve played ad infinitum?

The xx can do that.

Sure, the minimalism of the music allows for better odds in terms of solid reproduction of the sound. But they sounded great, both in voice and in instrument. And Jamie xx is a man on a mission behind his setup, pounding out beats on pads or grabbing drumsticks to beat away on real drums or plinking away at piano work.

To my ears, Coexist just gets better with each listen, and the new songs sounded fantastic here. Scroll back up to watch the opener, “Angels,” and take a look at “Sunset” below.


I really liked the way they reworked a couple of the old songs, particularly “Crystalised”:


And they incorporated one of the best songs from the first album (“Shelter”) within one of my favorite songs on the second album (“Swept Away”) and pulled it off seamlessly.


They played every song from xx, and nearly all of Coexist. The encore was a three-song blast of “Intro,” “Tides,” and “Stars,” and after my chest was pummeled by the last few blasts of bass toward the end of “Stars,” my heart was full.

From the MoSS? Pit: The Avett Brothers

fabulous fox theatre

The Fab Fox before the show.

I thought I’d be writing this post in early 2012, seeing as the Avett Brothers were going to play a show in Iowa City around that time. Since shows at the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge rarely sold out, I waited and waited and waited to buy my ticket and then when I finally thought seriously about getting my ticket…fuck. Sold out.

My beloved Sleigh Bells maybe filled half the room when they played there in April. That’s hyped-as-fuck Sleigh Bells. With $18 tickets. Half-filled ballroom.

The action on the Avett tickets told me a couple of things:

I am lazy, as I waited weeks to take action on those tickets. (I did not make the same mistake with the xx, whom I will see at the sold-out First Avenue show!)

The Avett Brothers must be really good live, if they are selling out a room in Iowa City with little media hype, no SNL appearances, not soundtracking commercials, no new album out, etc., etc.

The first point was simply a reiteration of known fact. The second point was driven home by their performance at the Fabulous Fox Theatre (which is indeed quite fab) in St. Louis.

It was worth the extra drive, if you ask me, for a number of reasons.

t and c

12 years!

First off, the show gave my better half and I the chance to celebrate our anniversary in a way that differed from your typical dinner at the local Biaggi’s or Red Lobster or at home with some Papa Murphy’s. Let’s leave the little fella with my folks, drive a few hours, get a hotel room, enjoy a big city, enjoy some tunes, sleep in the next morning, drop in on some family, and come home to our boy who could hardly stand being away from us those 32 hours or whatever.

(It’s been 12 years as of Sunday. We’ve experienced a lot AND it feels like time has flown, if that makes sense. And with only a few exceptions, she still hates my music. I love her anyway.)

Second, we were able to hang out with our good friends JD and Sondra (the latter of which went to the Sleigh Bells show 30-some weeks pregnant, totally earning the respect of the MoSS? crew), sitting in the outdoor dining area of Kota Wood Fire Grill, drinking drinks and eating eats and enjoying the ambience of an urban arts scene quite different from a typical night in downtown C.R. It was good to get away and yet enjoy the comfort of our friends’ company.

Third, there’s no way standing around the cavernous IMU Main Lounge could hold a candle to sitting in the balcony of the gorgeous Fab Fox, with its ornate touches and outstanding acoustics.

The stage was set for the Avetts to dominate…and dominate they did.

The evening was billed as, um, “An Evening with the Avett Brothers,” which meant no opener. In old guy speak, that also meant we’d get more than two hours of music from the headliner and still be leaving the theater around 10:30. Winning! (Right?!)

The Avetts opened with “Die Die Die” and proceeded to kill it for the next 140 minutes. These guys can do a little bit of everything: raucous romps, slow burns, mournful moments. They criss-crossed through the catalog with ease. They profusely thanked the crowd every two or three songs. They had energy to spare throughout the set.

And if I were to start a “fantasy band” league, I’d have to rank Seth Avett as one of the blue-chip players. That guy can do so much so well. He played his guitar with reckless abandon, he showed great touch when manning the keys, and sang his heart out. And he did his best to propel the beat via stomping the stage at every turn.

Scott’s no slouch either, providing the signature banjo sounds and his own solid vocal work, and Bob Crawford owned the stand-up bass.

Perhaps the greatest moment of the night came just past the halfway point of the show. A single overhead spotlight shone down on Scott and Seth as they sang “Murder in the City,” a song from their 2008 EP The Second Gleam. The brothers stood within the small-diameter circle of light, singing “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name.” The simplicity of the song strips the lyrics bare, and their delivery comes off as sincere rather than hokey.

Then Scott walks off, leaving Seth alone in the spotlight, where the younger brother absolutely stunned the sold-out theater with his rendition of “Souls Like the Wheels” from the same EP. It was nothing short of magical to hear him deliver line after line, punctuated with the last verse:

Souls like the wings
Spreading out away from bad memories
Make us capable of taking off and landing
Alive with understanding
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go

You could hear a pin drop for a few moments before the room came alive with hoots, hollers, applause, and screams of joy. It was one of those moments where I once again found myself entranced with live music, the kind of moment where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It was also the kind of moment where you might fear the show, or at least the main set, was over. But nah…instead the stage lights come up, the rest of the band takes their places, and Seth says, “OK, I think we’re getting warmed up now.”

I didn’t shoot any video (too scared, as there were venue staff everywhere) but I see someone shot a song from the encore, another intimate affair from the Brothers Avett. Enjoy.

Something about live music in St. Louis. I’ve seen six shows there (The Cure, Jose Gonzalez, Explosions in the Sky, Interpol, M83, the Avetts) and all six were superb. Can’t wait to go back. And hopefully next year I’ll hit the Pygmalion in Champaign-Urbana…

From the MoSS? Pit: Pygmalion Music Festival 2012

In an odd twist of fate, your favorite MoSS? scribes bought tickets to different concerts for the same weekend. Since Chris was already booked up, I needed to quickly drum up a support crew for my trip to the Pygmalion Music Festival 2012 in exotic Champaign-Urbana, Ill. I put an ad in the local hipster paper hoping for a quick response.

Wanted: Concert support crew for middle aged pop culture blogger. Applicants must love music, fear no danger and have access to gas money. Nunchaku skills a plus but not required. Safety NOT guaranteed.

Unfortunately, response was less than enthusiastic. As a backup plan, I recruited my wife and another couple to come with us. We all piled in the MoSS? Mobile and took the long drive to Illinois. The trip to Champaign was uneventful. Directions were good and we made it to all destinations without incident. The return trip is another story. We may have taken a wrong turn and ended up 45 minutes out of our way. Now, as our group leader/driver, I take full responsibility but I do blame the Pygmalion Fest schedule. The headliner Best Coast didn’t go on until almost 1AM. I’m old. With only 3-4 hours of sleep, its a wonder we didn’t end up in Lake Michigan. Luckily, one of the top notch support crew members caught my mistake and we all remained dry.

Back to the festival. We started the night at very cool bar in downtown Urbana called Crane Alley. I can’t recommend this place enough for people visiting the area. They have like 42 billion beer varieties, B+ jambalaya and a drink called The Sex Panther. I didn’t have The Sex Panther that night. In a town full of college girls I didn’t think it appropriate since my wife was with me. The last thing I needed was excessive amounts of senior pictures being thrust my direction since apparently I am like catnip to underage coeds.

After dinner and drinks, we left Crane Alley to head over to the show at The Canopy Club. As we walked out of the bar, I heard the familiar sounds of the band Tennis. They were playing an outdoor venue as the opening act for shit-rock band, Dirty Projectors. (I swear I could burp the alphabet to bagpipes and it would sound better than Dirty Projectors). The music was coming from a parking lot about a block away so we walked over to take a look/listen. I love Tennis’ record, Young and Old, but was still pissed at them. Tennis was supposed to do a show in good old Iowa City back in July. As a matter of fact, I bought tickets to that concert the same day I bought the Pygmalion tickets. If only I had known the evil red-headed monster, Conan O’ Brien, was lurking behind the scenes to ruin everything. He booked Tennis to play on his “show watched by dozens” which forced them to cancel the show in Iowa City. No more Team Coco for me. Team Fallon all the way now baby. I was able to get a little video of them singing my favorite song from Young and Old, “Petition”.

[Disclaimer: Chris is usually the mastermind behind these MoSS? Pit posts. He takes video with his highly superior iPhone. I’ve a got a crap Android and concert video generally sounds like a rhino farting into a bass drum. Yes, my video from the evening is less than good]

We watched Tennis until it was time for us to head to our show at the world famous Canopy Club, deep in the heart of the U of I campus. Doors opened at 8PM. They scheduled 6 opening acts and headliner Best Coast was to go on at 12:45AM. This was going to be a marathon not a sprint.

As we walked in the main stage area the group Withershins was playing. They are a self described shoegaze band from right there in Champaign. We only caught about a song and a half but I really liked what I heard. They have a ’90s distortion rock sound to them. I was reminded of Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins or Sonic Youth. Here is a link to their Bandcamp page. The new record isn’t a bad listen.

http://withershins.bandcamp.com/album/silver-cities

Zeus

The next band up was Zeus. A classic rock influenced outfit from Toronto. That’s in Canada. These guys look and sound like they were transported here from 1971. I downloaded their new album Busting Visions to listen to during the trip and really enjoyed most of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly think they were that great live. Don’t get me wrong. They were fine. I just wasn’t feeling it at that point I guess. They did play a fun cover version of the Genesis song “That’s All” but other than that I didn’t find them too memorable. Take a look/listen for yourself with the shitty video I took of them doing their song “Are You Gonna’ Waste My Time?”.

Hospitality

After Zeus was Hospitality, an indie pop group from Brooklyn. That’s in New York. I was pumped to see them but nearly missed the show. The support crew and I were having drinks and gabbing in the upper level seats at the Canopy Club when I heard some music coming from the lobby. Apparently, they decided to alternate acts from the main big stage to the small intimate stage in the front. I quickly got down there and was able to shoot this short shitty video of “Friends of Friends” until the rest of the horde arrived and got in my way. Enjoy!

They did put on a great show though. I enjoyed their self-titled record but the live show sounded even better. They even played a few new songs. Judging by the crowd reaction during those songs, the follow up LP is going to be good.

Once again, this was all happening at times that I am normally in bed. So, I needed a pick me up. Luckily, my top notch support crew smuggled in some mini vodka bottles and we knocked back a Red Bull and vodka.

1st Red Bull and Hawkeye “Hot Guy” Vodka time

Lord Huron

Next up on the main stage was Lord Huron from Los Angeles. That’s in California. This was a band I was on the fence about. I have their EP Mighty and listen to it on occasion but they are not a go to band in my iPod playlists. Lord Huron’s music is full of vocal harmonies and amazing percussion and they definitely showcased that during the live show. Here is my shitty video of “The Stranger”.

2nd Red Bull and “Hot Guy” Vodka time

Best Coast

After Lord Huron was Laetitia Sadier. She was playing in the front lobby area. I familiarized myself with her music before the show and was not a fan. So the crew and I stayed in our upper deck seats and knocked back yet another Red Bull and vodka while the roadies set up the Best Coast stage. Reports from the hipsters that sat behind us were positive about the Sadier show. Again, I was less than interested.

1AM. Finally Best Coast time. After a long night of music and drinks we were all ready for the show to start. Apparently, Bethany from Best Coast had a similar evening because one of the first things she mentioned in between songs was the lateness of the showtime. She also admitted that she may have had a few too many libations and was struggling not to get sick on stage. Now that’s the Rock and Roll lifestyle baby! You couldn’t tell based on her performance though. They played a mixture of old and new songs and they all sounded great. Here is my shitty video of the “The Only Place”.

Later on, the booze may have started kicking in because she started forgetting song titles. I did get shitty video of her arguing with a kid in the front row about a song title. I believe her exact words were, “Fuck that. I said it wrong! I’m sleepy!”

Hey kid! Don’t fuck with my girl Beth!

After that she started forgetting song lyrics. They actually started the song “Bratty B” over because she screwed up the words. I caught some shitty video of the 2nd attempt at “Bratty B” and subsequent apology before the next song, “When I’m With You”.

She ended the show with “Boyfriend” and hurried off the stage with her hand over her forehead. I was certain there would be no encore. Most of the crowd filed out of the main stage area. I was in the front lobby waiting for the female support crew members to use the bathrooms when I heard the much smaller crowd in the main room cheer. Best Coast was back on stage. Boot and rally! They played a one song encore. A cover of the Nirvana classic “About a Girl”. I didn’t take any shitty video of the encore as I just wanted to enjoy the final song.

It was a long night but well worth the it. You can’t beat fun with great music and great friends.

Much too late. Can’t wait until next year.

From the MoSS? Pit: The Dark Knight Rises

First off, what can be said about what happened in Aurora, Colorado? Jesus.

On a much lighter note, a quick snapshot of the MoSS? crew’s night out at the movies…

beers

Any excuse to go to BWW for some beers and wings (two and twelve, respectively).

About 10:50, we figured it was time to head to the theater, the legendary…

galaxy 16 cine exterior

(whispering) WEH-REN-BERG! WEH-REN-BERG! WEH-REN-BERG!

Parking lot was packed, but, well, you know, the new Madea movie was playing, so no surprise.

Once inside, on my way to the Fandango kiosk, I see a hero in line. I have to get my photo taken with him.

batman and an awesome writer

Batman (left) and Chris

As you might have assessed by the results of the pic, I skipped the asking permission part of the photo op. I put my arm around the dude, put the camera at arm’s length, and fired. I did say “thanks” though.

That is not Todd behind the mask, if you were wondering. Todd could never pull off that look.

We got there at 11, and still had to sit all the way in the second row from the front. My neck is killing me.

That is my only complaint from the night out. Solid movie. Satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Especially the part where The Flash ran really fast through the streets of Smallville. That was unexpected.

3:05 a.m.

Old guys shouldn’t be out this late.

From the MoSS? Pit: M83/I Break Horses

m83

M83 performing at the Pageant on May 2, 2012. Photo from Chris’ iPhone.

Where to start…

How about with this: I wish I lived at the Pageant in St. Louis, as long as cool bands keep coming through there. I’ve seen three shows there, and they all probably rank among my favorite 10 shows of all time (Explosions in the Sky, Interpol/School of Seven Bells, M83). The sound is amazing. Sight lines are good pretty much everywhere. If you want to dance and jump around, the floor beckons. If you’re old like me, you can grab a seat in the balcony. The middle of the semi-circle balcony provides a great head-on view; the sides put you very close to the stage, but because of the perfect sound, you aren’t obliterated by the nearby speakers. At the Interpol show, they even had a wait staff coming around the balcony, taking drink orders. (The only order involving Pageant staff this time: I was ordered to stop recording video during the show. Boo.)

In other words, it’s the anti-Gabe’s.

I Break Horses

Maria Linden

Maria Linden

I knew nothing about this band when we left Iowa; Todd brought along the debut LP on his mp3 player, so I at least got a taste of what we were in for. The songs were pretty cool, but I had no idea we’d be watching Rachel Bilson’s doppelganger on lead vocals. That was a pleasant surprise. (And when I say Rachel Bilson-esque, think Summer after she started dating Seth Cohen on The O.C., not quite as glossy as when we first met her and Marissa Cooper, but still smokin’ hot.)

The music was pretty good, too. The drummer was playing an interesting set; I don’t recall seeing a electronic kick drum in action before. Rachel Bilson (real name: Maria Linden) had tons of charisma, which compensated for the occasional dropoff in her mic (OK, so the sound isn’t always perfect for the openers). They were a good warmup for M83, and earned another listen during our return trip to Iowa.

Here’s their rendition of the first song from their album:

Now’s the time on MoSS Pit where we acknowledge college kids who review the arts

Before I say anything about M83’s set, you can get another take at the following link.

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rftmusic/2012/05/m83_pageant_review_setlist_photos.php

If you click that link, you’ll read a review by Blair Stiles, who may or may not be a distant relative of Teen Wolf’s good friend. She noticed Todd and me in the balcony (“middle aged men…sprinkled in the balcony”), but Todd and I are used to getting noticed when we go out (no senior pictures changed hands this time, though). She also gave us some important details (“The woman in front of me was so close that I had to keep brushing her well-conditioned locks off my notebook”; “Despite tight security, I smelled a spliff or two being lit up through the night”). It’s a fascinating read. The description doesn’t resemble the scene I remember, but all the same, a must-read.

To be fair, Blair got some things right

OK, her review rang true on two occasions:

  • The response to the sax player, who killed it at the end of “Midnight City” in particular
  • The guy who won the contest to tour with M83 was a lot of fun to watch

The use of a sax player can be a dangerous proposition. Sometimes it works:

But if you don’t have superstars like Simon Le Bon to keep the brass man in check, you end up dealing with this:

Or this (shudder):

Thankfully, M83’s sax guy was epic in a true sense. He did his thing, delighted the crowd, and left. Well done, sax man.

And yeah, the guy who played some guitar and bass and electronic cowbell was fun to watch. Energetic, multitalented, and able to pull off wearing a shirt that looked something like a Blackburn Rovers top (my Premier League-loving friends are nodding and smiling right now). But come on, he’s not the mastermind here…

That’s Anthony, without a doubt

He was confident in his singing. And despite what Blair Stiles might tell you, he wasn’t afraid to roam away from his keyboard setup and rock out. He would approach singer/keyboardist Morgan Kibby (a hot little number herself), and shred the hell out of his guitar while channeling his inner Prince, dropping to his knees before Morgan in an attempt to sex things up, perhaps.

And you can’t beat the Frenchman’s accent. “She worships Zatan like ay fazzer” (read: she worships Satan like a father); “Death izzer boyfriends” (read: Death is her boyfriend); “Zaint Loo-eez!” (read: St. Louis!).

The show was sequenced well: a natural starter (“Intro” from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming), a soaring song from mid-catalog (“Teen Angst” from Before the Dawn Heals Us), and one of the big songs from the 2008 breakthrough album (“Graveyard Girl” from Saturdays=Youth). Then the new single (“Reunion”) from the latest album. We got a song off the eponymous debut, we got a Daft Punk cover, and we got more epic songs from Hurry Up (“Steve McQueen” and 2011 Song of the Year candidate “Midnight City”).

And the decision to have live drums was a good one, and employing this particular drummer (Loic Maurin) is an even better choice. Damn he was tight! Live drums allow these songs to pack an even greater emotional punch.

Here’s a good portion of “Teen Angst.” I made sure to record this song (as much as I could get away with, anyway) because it was my introduction to M83. Shortly after my son was born in 2006, my friend Jeff had sent me some CD-Rs full of random tunes, and this song was one of the standouts. I decided to become an M83 fan. I was justly rewarded with Saturdays=Youth and Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming in the years to follow.

You know what was so cool about this show? The fans—young and old, hipster and bro, cool and nerdy—all were appreciative of the show they’d seen. And the band that was showered with this affection seemed genuinely moved by the standing O they received after a blistering encore consisting of Saturdays=Youth gems “Skin of the Night” and “Couleurs”. Even the hyperactive guitar man and the ultra-suave sax guy seemed moved by the crowd’s roars of approval.

They earned them.

From the MoSS? Pit: Sleigh Bells

sleigh bells posterIn our first “From the MoSS? Pit” dispatch, we teased that we would be attending the War on Drugs/Dirty Beaches show at Mission Creek. Yet no post materialized on Music or Space Shuttle? Trust me, it was for your own good. Dirty Beaches was a total letdown (rambled through two songs from the album, then droned on for 30 minutes). War on Drugs singer spent half the night yelling “Whoo!” That gave the crowd something to do, mimicking each one for the majority of the set. The sound sucked—but it was Gabe’s, so what else is new?!

But Sleigh Bells…well, yeah. Absolute fucking dominance.

Sixteen songs from their two albums. Relatively good sound at another venue notorious for bad sound (IMU Main Lounge). Energy aplenty. Sweet light show. And a great crowd (although smaller than I ever would have imagined—come on, Iowa City!).

I was far from convinced that the show would be a winner, as I endured two travesties earlier in the evening: Donnelly’s Pub was out of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, and Elite Gymnastics tried to scare everyone out of the IMU with its opening act. As scary as the absence of ale might sound, trust me, the Elite Gymnastics fiasco was much worse.

Constant shrieking guitar; off-kilter live drumming performed by someone wearing a “Fuck Real Life” shirt; a lame karaoke-style video display, which didn’t seem to help the vocalist, as he stopped “singing” (read: mumbling) at one point and then pointed at the video projection and said “these are the lyrics I should be singing, so, um…Iowa City!” It was bad, bad, bad. Which surprised me, as the recorded material on Ruin is pretty good. Alexis mentioned during the SB set that this was Elite Gymnastics first tour—a surprise to absolutely no one in attendance.

I did not take video of EG. I wouldn’t do that to my phone.

But I did grab some footage from the SB set. First up, the pre-concert intro music and set opener “Demons” (the lights come up around the 1:40 mark):

And I was able to get Alexis talking about this being their first trip to Iowa, before they lit into “Born to Lose”:

We got seven songs from Reign of Terror and a whopping nine from Treats (but not “Run the Heart,” sadly). They skipped my least favorite song on each album, and played a song that I love but didn’t think was a guaranteed inclusion in the set list (“Leader of the Pack” from Reign). Alexis sounded good, even while crowd-surfing, and they all seemed to be having a good time.

Just like the people in the crowd. (Including the pregnant lady who hung with the MoSS crew for the evening!)

Click here to see our friend Bill Adams’ photos from the show.

Next week: M83