The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Microbrew Review Monday

Due to Matrimonial Shenanigans, Chuckles is posting this week:
This Week's Beer: Foggy Bottom Ale
I bought a six pack of this brew because I have lived in DC for five summers since attaining approved alcohol consumption age and never tried it. The label claims that it is an 'english style pale ale' and 'elegantly hoppy'. Some pale ales have a flavor that requires you brace for impact while raising the bottle, I'm talking about you Sierra Nevada, but I found this to be a beer that is quiet in comparison. The ale did not have any yeast in the bottle, which I have noticed seems popular these days, as if pale ales need to further segregate themselves from any Macrobrew by being cloudy. Yeasty beers tend to go way overboard with a flavor that is less in your face as it is pounding in your face. I found this to be a welcome change, as if the brewers decided to let flavor do the talking. It has a decent flavor without overpowering your chosen appetizer or snack. I would recommend this brew to accompany any indian style curry or even a tikka. On the whole, my current mood has me looking for a beer with subtelty and flavor and this beer has a goodly amount of flavor but all the subtlety of an ox.
Overall Review: Sure
As this is my first beer review on the blog I will clarify my review positions. They are in order of the first being worst: Only if the 30 pack costs less than $10; When there is nothing else; So long as we keep this between us; If the alternative is wine or soda; Sure; Why not?; Sounds good; As long as I haven't been drinking it every night of the previous week; Any given morning; Even in class or at work.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Three simple rules for weddings

Most people already know these rules. In fact, I am pretty sure I knew these rules. However, it doesn’t hurt to make them explicit, preferably before you might consider violating the following rules. With no further ado:

1) While at the reception, just because there is unlimited draft beer doesn’t mean you need to drink ALL of it
a. Especially if most other people aren’t
b. Especially if you are flying out early the next morning (note: this sub-rule had been previously established but apparently needs to be reinforced)
c. Especially if you don’t have a defined place to stay the night
2) While at the reception, you probably shouldn’t hit on the groom’s sister
a. Especially if you are staying at his (and therefore her) parents house
b. Especially if you are inebriated enough to not notice which particular words are coming out of your mough (again: I think this rule was previously existing, although not with the desired specificty)
3) While at the groom’s parents house after the wedding, you really shouldn’t say how you were trying to hit on said sister
a. Especially on your cell phone in front of the aforementioned parents
b. Especially once she’s home
c. Especially when she stumbles in drunk and is puking in the bathroom

So, there are three simple rules, and helpful sub-clauses, to make attending a wedding simple and easy. I think Wedding Crashers would have reminded me about these rules but I was too lazy to ever see it. All I know is it is 8am, I just got three hours of sleep after drinking at least three pitchers of beer, and I’m currently waiting for my head to explode at the airport.

Note: this will surely be edited once I get home and am at least somewhat recovered

I wrote this in the airport and I’ll keep it because it’s almost funny. Here is a grainy digital photo of her back so that she remains safely anonymous on the internet. Since she's in Minneapolis, I can safely have a giant crush on her without having to worry about running into her and trying to say something witty.

I talked to the groom this afternoon and I seem to have escaped without any permanent damage. Hopefully, the forty-five minutes I spent telling his parents how wonderful he is managed to cancel out the forty-five seconds of lewdness.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Shuffle Conspiracy Friday

Now I know why I normally do this at work where I haven’t accumulated the baggage.

1. Cooper Temple Clause – A.I.M.: A song I dig from a band I think is British; I can’t be bothered to do the research. Anyways, very fuzzy sound (which I like) and it borders on prog territory and is definitely Radiohead influenced. Plus, the singer has a great voice. 8/10
2. Mustard Plug – The Freshman: Oh how I hate this song. No, wait, that’s the original version. 2x the speed, some horns, and scruffy vocals (aka a ska cover) and now it warms the cockles of my heart. Maybe cause I’m an asshole. 9/10
3. VNV Nation – Saviour: Wow, some British industrial music. It made sense in college. Fast little keyboard line and a good pace overall. I’m actually kind of liking it and I suppose I need to deduct another point for that 3/10
4. Pearl Jam – Corduroy (live @ Philly 7/5/03): I like this version better than the original album version. It’s faster and they play it pretty tightly. I know they’re days of cool have long since passed, so I’ll give it a 6/10 although I keep wanting to go to 7.
5. Pearl Jam – Yellow Ledbetter (live @ Philly 7/5/03): This is the song to close out the show. Eddie’s voice shows the strain a little. It sounds a little too much like almost any classic rock ballad. Plus, it makes me try and explain two Pearl Jam songs in a row…so 4/10
6. Pearl Jam – Betterman (live @ Philly 7/5/03): OK, now you [the shuffle-o-thing] just hate me. This song is great to sing along at concerts but audience participation third hand is only so much fun. Plus, three PJ songs in a row…I can already sense Capt. Trollypants lying in wait 4/10
7. Pearl Jam – Light Years (live @ Chicago 6/18/03): Mother of god, four in a row. I swear there’s other stuff on my computer. I don’t even know what to say. At least this song is pretty obscure. Unfortunately, it’s for a reason 3/10 from shame
8. OK Go – C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips: Well, something different. They’re from Chicago, this CD is really poppy and this song is about as goofy a tribute to a woman as there is. “Get Over It” was the radio hit (at least in Chicago). This song has some cowbell and it gets me away from Pearl Jam but it’s not my favorite …5/10
9. Sonic Youth – Youth Against Fascism (live @ Rome, Italy 11/26/92): It’s Sonic Youth. Indie cred restored. Lots of feedback, driving beat, simple lyrics. 7/10
10. The Strokes – Someday: I don’t care what you say about them. The Strokes brought me back to music and this album still makes me warm and fuzzy inside. This has to be one of my three favorite songs on the album. Happy guitars, the fuzzy voice, the simple little breaks. It was a moment of clarity. 9/10

5.8/10 Better luck next week, I suppose.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Vote for Butterstick!

Hey, I just wanted to give some love to Unrequited Narcissism for their awesome post on naming the new panda at the National Zoo. The official zoo page has some ridiculous Chinese names like Tai Shan or Qiang Qiang.

It's perfectly clear from looking at the picture that this little guy's name should be something far more accurate ... like Butterstick. So check out the modified survey that the folks at UN put up here and vote!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More Apology

What a great way to introduce Socrates to the world. Why this dialogue has never been covered as a great legal thriller is beyond me. Let John Grisham massage the script a little and I think we've got a winner.

This dialogue really sets the tone for future discussions. Socrates puts out a few central tenets that we will turn to again and again. Here's three central tenets that I think he espouses in this dialogue and will be helpful to refer back to in the future:
1) The unexamined life is not worth living
corollary: It is folly to believe you have wisdom that sets yourself above others
2) You should always act honorably, or for "the good."
quote: "Powerful as it was, the gov't did not terrify me into wrong action." (32d)
3) People naturally prefer good actions (25c-26a)

The basis for all of these ideas are explored in other dialogues. The Apology is just an excellent summary of Socrates and his life, compared to the later, more abstract, Socrates in the Republic and other dialogues.

When I first read the Apology, one question that came up was whether or not Socrates was a martyr. I argued vehemently that he was not. I still think so but find it hard to pin down the distinction. Using the clever device of definitions, here's the definition of martyr that I think makes it so tricky:

2. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.
a. One who endures great suffering: a martyr to arthritis.
b. One who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy.

In the sense of 2, I think he is a martyr. He does suffer death to stay true to his principle and to impress upon his children and followers the importance he attached to these principles. However, in the sense of 3, especially 3b, I think he is not a martyr. He is not trying to make a spectacle of himself for these principles. He is unwavering in his defense of his principles but he is not trying for the spectacle that I associate with a traditional, Christian martyr.

As for the role of artists, there are some other dialogues that explore those connections so I'll put that off for now. The Meletus section is the fun part about the early dialogues and one reason I think they "Philosophy 101" can be an approachable course. You have this guy out there asking, "why, why, why?" to these same answers teenagers have been given for years. Now, here is the opportunity to actually think these ideas through with others. It shows the reason philosophy is a part of everyone's life and makes the case that everyone can benefit from having their beliefs challenged (see, even Plato supports the punk ethos).

Next week we'll start to actually discuss particular concepts [of law] but it's always good to remember why philosophy doesn't have to make everyone's eyes glaze over.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Response to Apology

Well, this is only a week and a few days late, so I am actually ahead of my college schedule. However, given the fact that my college schedule could have been maintained by anyone who rode the extremely short bus to school, the fact that I keep such a schedule should mean that I am quite the putz. Well, that is my defense, or in Ancient Greek, my Apology. This is my response to Socrates’ Apology in the court of Athens.

Socrates was, in my estimation, the greatest man that has yet lived. Marconi, Babbage, Newton, de Beauvior, Curie or any others are fairly insignificant in their influence by comparison. This dialogue is the simplest evidence of the verity of that statement. Socrates is direct and uses plain language in his dissection of his accuser’s arguments for his prosecution. He outlines his quest for wisdom, in present times this would be called the path to enlightenment. The Oracle at Delphi declared that there was no one in the land wiser than Socrates. He marched all over Athens asking questions of those whom others called wise and found them all lacking. Finding none able to satisfy his need for a wise being, be concluded that perhaps the Oracle was being sly and claiming that all are equally wise or, more likely, equally stupid. For those who don’t know the story of the Oracle of Delphi, the Oracle was a massive, say two storey, hollow statue inside of which the priests could give answers to seekers and pilgrims, while they lit torches and incense to provide atmosphere and invoke a godly presence. These things are pretty impressive even today, I saw one in one of the roman ruins along the west and southwest coast of Turkey. It was smaller and looked like it could barely fit one person inside at a time, but if I were a man less erudite, I would think it rather godlike. But I digress.

The bit about the poets is still very true today. The arrogance I have encountered among those who consider themselves artists continues in nearly all forms of art. The funny thing about artist’s arrogance even extends to those who relate to the artistic community. Like Jim Jarmusch’s film, a director I find quite funny, Coffee and Cigarettes or the movie Reality Bites, those who think they live some sort of bohemian lifestyle and aren’t even artists think that they have some sort of knowledge of the universe that can only come from being outside a society. I find the people that aren’t even artists that claim a sort of wisdom from being in proximity to artists or supporting artists to be extremely ridiculous. The artists are at least tapping into their inspiration and transforming this into some tangible product, but the neo-bohemian does nothing of the sort besides drinking lots of coffee. The artist has inspiration but no real comprehension of that inspiration or whence it comes. This is not wisdom. This reminds me of something I read in my high school philosophy class, probably by Jung or Capra, about the difference between Modern Man and Pseudo-Modern Man. Defense Exhibit 1 in the case for Socrates being the philosophical Elvis and doing everything first. On page 23, section 38A-B, you find elements of existentialism. Socrates discusses his desire to live an examined life and an implied pity, or perhaps disgust, for those who refuse to reflect on their existence. Defense Exhibit 2, your honor. On page 25, section 40A-41D there is a sort of Pascal’s wager. Death is either a sweet release or a meeting of all those who have died and reside in the underworld/Heaven. Defense Exhibit 3.

My favorite part of the dialogue is when he is directing questions to Meletus. Socrates seems to get pissed and really skewers the shit out of his accuser’s claims. In comparison with his jocular tone while conversing with Euthyphro, one gets the feeling that Socrates seems extremely angry and I can feel his voice rising in volume and forcefulness as he continues his obliteration of the frivolous claims of his accusers.

Socrates was never overconfident or frivolous in his defense, except perhaps for the part where he suggests the amount of his fine of one mina (something like one hundred or one thousand dollars), but even then he was making a sentence that was in accordance with his situation and the laws of Athens.

Buddha was an important thinker and so too with Confucius, Chief Seattle and many others from many cultures, but Socrates did so much so early and we are lucky that Plato’s writings are complete and have been saved throughout the years. To conclude, Socrates is and always shall be The Man.

Another great idea

I saw this at Martini Republic and thought, yes...reviewing booze. It's a great idea! They do wine mostly and that is obviously useful. Hoewever, while I can drink an entire bottle of wine, I don't know that I would be making the most inciteful of comments. Instead, Microbrew Monday's are born because 1) It gives me an excuse to drink on Monday and 2) A little alliteration goes a long way.

Bonus reason: "microbrew review" on technorati reveals only a smattering of mentions and no regualr features so, while not an original idea, perhaps I will at least whore out the site hits. Or it could fail miserably.


Another idea that I’m sure will not actually make it to completion.

Chuckles and I were talking about philosophy and Plato and eventually it got into our heads that we could work through all of the Platonic dialogues (since we both already have the book) piece by piece in a trendy weekly format. So we are doing that, from Plato: The Collected Dialogues, and we will see how far we get before it gets totally off track and over-procrastinated, i.e. it’s already one week late because of Chuckles wasp sting.

That starts tomorrow and here’s at least the first five: Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Charmides, and Laches.

Oh, my new pet blog is 3 Bulls, although I’m still not sure why.

My latest take on living vicariously through my weekend will probably happen tonight or tomorrow. Short summary: Loquat, meh; Gold Chains & Sue Cie, fun.

I fly out to Minneapolis Fri-Sun so no posting then, not that it will really be any different from my usual schedule.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's Friday, and still no cat

Instead, on to the music. Of course, I really ought to get some more music on my computer so I don't include the same songs all the time.

1) The Sames - Heartpine: I really like this little North Carolina indie band and they make some excellent music, I'll give 'em 8/10
2) NOFX - Don't Call Me White: It's from Punk in Drublic and it's California power-punk in all it's glory. 7.5/10
3) Bright Eyes - I Woke Up with this Song in My Head This Morning: The latest poster child of indie music. It's alright and the premise is kind of funny 6/10
4) Built to Spill - Linus' Song: This song goes to 11! Nostalgia + excellent rock = good. If you don't like Built to Spill, you're just wrong. It's live (bootleg, I believe) and the sound wobbles a bit so it goes back to a mere 10/10
5) The Neins Circa - Flo: One of my "pet" bands that I trot out whenever I need to cite a band no one else has ever heard. This song has a great narrative track and nice melody 7/10
6) In the Country - How to Get Acquainted: Norwegian piano trio playing interesting stuff. This song is rather minimalist with some interesting build-ups and tones. It always takes me a minute or two to switch out of rock mode (see previous six songs) but then I like it 7/10
7) The Postal Service - Clark Gable: I know, I know. But I love this song so dearly. It has the line "I kissed her in a style Clark Gable would admire (I thought it classic)" and the lyrics to this song (which I so rarely even pay attention to) are just so perfect. So... 8/10
8) The Polyphonic Spree - Middle of the Day: Not the strongest effort on their first CD. Kind of drags and the horns take a little while to find the proper tone. I'll say 3/10 because I haven't ragged on anything yet
9) The Amazing Pilots - I've Got Wings Irene: This is one of those songs I'm not even sure why I downloaded it. It Looks like they open for Pedro the Lion and that's sort of what it feels like. Rather sedated rock. Not my thing and just not really impressed 2/10
10 ) Agentss - Agentss: Brazilian new wave precursors. I knew that download would come in handy. A weird intro and then some very keyboard-effect song that makes you understand why they are described like that. 7/10 so I end on a high note

6.5/10 --> I did good this week. At least I think so.

Tonight, some Kill Rock Stars bands and tomorrow SF local bands to start figuring out that "scene."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Glory days of yester-decade

These guys need to get way more attention (looking at you, Pinko). I don't have anything this cool, but I'll package together something this weekend for my non-contest non-victory!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Ponys

Despite initial skepticism from the Polish judge, The Ponys put on an excellent set at Lollapalooza. I wanted to see more and since they played at Bottom of the Hill on Friday, I decided to go see them. On Friday, I was already in a fairly rock'n'roll mood. I was craving those bold power chords some powerful bass lines and frenetic drumming. The Ponys came through in spades.

They play what I kept wanting to call late 60's-early 70's straight-up rock. But, somehow, it wasn't. There is a little more movement than that and some definite Sonic Youth influence. They even include a quote from Thurston Moore (of SY), in his role as a music columnist at Arthur, ("If you are not hip to their chuff, you are out of some loops, pal. Way out.") on their press page. I don't know if it was because they never slow down or what -- but they really seem to the best of garage rock which is swirling together a million different styles without relying on any of them. Stealing a line from their record promotion, "Somehow, the PONYS cleverly destroy everything that you used to hate, and then force you to love it." The only thing that took away from the set at all was after they finished playing the crowd clapped some but it was not terribly thunderous and a number of people actually left. After about three minutes of half-hearted clapping The Ponys came back for the encore. The crowd was actually smaller! I just felt a little embarrassed for them. That, however, seems to be the new trend -- the encore whether deserved or not. I was glad they played another song but if it was me I don't think I would have bothered. Other than that, everything was great. They played for a little more than an hour and I really need to remember to try and at least bring my camera to these things if I am going to try and post about them. Oh well, I really enjoyed their set and am definitely a fan now.

After all that, let me say a few quick sentences about The Occasion (link to their MySpace page which has several songs) who opened for them. They are from New York and definitely have some of that Joy Division vibe going on. The thing I really liked about them was they had their bass super fuzzy and then they would play these simple little lines on the keyboard that sounded almost out of tune but were very high and clear and provided this really nice counterpoint to the bass. Their set started out very slow and slowly picked up intensity. The last two songs were much more vibrant. It was a nice transition although I think it is one of those things that you can appreciate more when you have more familiarity with the slow songs. It took me a while to get into them at all. I think they have some potential but I don't know that I would go just to see them.

I missed Miss Alex White's set which makes me feel a little foolish but oh well.

Here's a few The Pony MP3's (from their site)

Little Friends (which they played)

GLaSs CoNVeRsaTIons (which I'm pretty sure is the song I first noticed at Lollapalooza)

(edited for spelling)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Afternoon Internet Wanderings

I find this to be really cool, I'm just not sure why. Check out the whole site though.

My inner feminist, I guess? Plus, Dork Tower.

Yet another reason I will someday rule Iceland with my iron fist.

Provide your own!

The Logic of Spock

I was reading through Chuckles (Yes, we'll maintain our secret identities even though everyone knows who we are) recent rash of comments and I thought I'd address his comment about Spock.

All of us, who can even begin to claim we are nerds, surely know the scene in The Wrath of Khan where Spock claims, "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few." The question is, can you reach that conclusion through a strict application of logic? The problem to me, is, can you care about "the good" without an appeal to external sources.

I have been trying to read Russell and Wittgenstein (well, a biography of him) recently and so have a rather narrow view of logical foundations at the moment. Wittgenstein says that we probably can't even express anything about that. Actually, I don't really have a firm enough grasp of him yet to try and bring either of them into the conversation yet. I think if you can accept the idea of good you can try this experiment. I still have trouble seeing how you can logically introduce values into this discussion. Where would they come from?

Alright, there's my deep thought for the day. Have at.

Totally Irregular Friday Random 10

1. Blur: Badhead -- It get's 5 for being a Blur song but I can't give it any more than that because it's fairly generic. Mostly, it makes me wish it was "Charmless Man." 5/10
2. The Even: Shelter Two -- It's Ian McKaye gone all quiet. 4/10 today, more points on other days
3. The Dead Milkmen: Rastabilly -- This song cracks me up 8/10
4. Okkervil River: For Real -- Downloaded from Pitchfork; they're decent, stripped down, indie pop. 6/10
5. The Zutons: Long Time Coming -- get up out of your chair for that sax! Not their best song but fun 7/10
6. Kaiser Chiefs: Born to Be a Dancer -- sounds a lot better live, it's a little too slow to be great on the CD 3/10
7. The Wrens: 13 Months in 6 minutes -- a particularly slow one from them but I like them too much for it to be less than a 6/10
8. bang sugar bang: Super Cool -- Pretty good example of California pop-punk. 7/10 because I'm liking the rock today
9. Party Ben: Louis XIV vs Devo vs. The Knack -- it's a mash-up extrordinaire. Except I'm not terribly impressed. 2/10
10. Nedelle: The Natural Night -- Cool singer/songwriter from Oakland. 7/10 because I can

Overall: 5.1/10 because I am liking myself mostly today

Bonus, almost cliched, track: Johnny Cash: Ring of Fire

MP3 links for a few
Nedelle: The Natural Night
bang sugar bang: The Machine Gun Song
Okkervil River: For Real

edit: I confirmed tickets to The Ponys for tonight. Let's see how they sound in a smaller venue, huzzah!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Reverse Chronological order

The pictures below were added in order so they show up in reverse. I'm too lazy to fix that. So go to the bottom and scroll up. Or just know you are working your way back in the future! Anyway, glad that is finally done.

The fruits of victory! Posted by Picasa

Ask Pepe about this one. He's the graphics guy. Posted by Picasa

The Arcade Fire singing YMCA...or not? Posted by Picasa

We tried to explain where the shirt is supposed to be but Matt never really listens Posted by Picasa

More Chicago. And some balloons. And a crazy white Jamaican Posted by Picasa

Dinosaur Jr. And, yes, I'll admit they maybe look like Dinosaurs. But they can light it up! Posted by Picasa

Kasabian. You know you think you are cool when you're willing to wear a sweater to play in 100 degree (40 C for everyone else) weather. Posted by Picasa

hey, hey, we're The Walkmen and people say we're messing around... Posted by Picasa

Digable Planets. Groovy (and blurry) Posted by Picasa

The Pixies. Happy now? Posted by Picasa

That's Perry Farrell. Guess I should've gotten a picture of him in one of the crazy shirts. Oh well. Posted by Picasa

Hey, that's Primus! And giant ducks! Why are we here waiting for The Pixies? Answer: Lollapalooza hates us and forces us into these dilemnas Posted by Picasa

It's Chicago, and people. I was required to take this photo by tourist regulations. Posted by Picasa

If you look closely, you'll notice the Kaiser Chief lead singer fulfilling one of the rock festival required events: climbing the scaffolding. Good set and great energy. Posted by Picasa

Look, that guy in the black shirt that's kind of taller, well, he's the lead singer of And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Our Dead... but, hey, you get the SBC logo and I know everyone wanted to see that. Posted by Picasa

M83 was the first band I bothered to take a photo of. More because I'm not used to being a photographer than anything else. Posted by Picasa

The "new guy" shows his commitment to those all-American values: alcohol and tobacco. Or is it just incriminating foregrounding??? Posted by Picasa

Pepe LeGal shall rue the day! Posted by Picasa

The all important bracelet for said weekend o' doom Posted by Picasa

Memories of some Chicago heat in Grant Park one weekend

Lollapalooza Weekend o’ Doom

Personally, it was an amazing weekend. I hung out with three good friends (plus one new guy – also awesome) and we saw a ton of bands. There were some excellent performances and we managed to get up close for the bands we really wanted to see. Of course, the burritos were plentiful as well.

To lead off the festivities, on Thursday night, we went out for a drink and that oh so important burrito. On Friday, we had a lunch of some quality, and I mean quality, Ethiopian food that took almost two hours. I thought I was full after that but I managed to make room a few hours later for some all-you-can-eat fish’n’chips at the Duke of Perth. That’s another favorite haunt. We got a motley assortment there, with everyone from my parents to the always dangerous Carlo. It worked out alright and we tried a number of Scotches during the course of the evening. I could really get used to drinking 18 year old malts. The only sad occasion was the lack of the Belhaven Wee Heavy, my standby beer. I hope that it is just a temporary glitch and not a discontinuation. After that we went to Small Bar and had a few more drinks and met some other folks and talked and then, to one of the newest of the A-list late night burrito joints, El Famous Burrito. There, I was introduced to a wonderful new burrito option – milanesa. It is breaded steak and if you can’t fry your burrito, well then, hey, fried steak in the burrito is a pretty close second. It was quite tasty and I agreed that it was an acceptable late night addition.

Onto Saturday, we prepared to attend the event known to mere mortals as Lollapalooza. We had an excellent, but far slower than we anticipated, breakfast at Sweet Thing. We got to Grant Park and headed in for the festivities just before noon. I’ll provide my reviews chronologically and then fill in any narrative details I miss.

The Redwalls: The first band of the day. Recommended by Matt based off of a three song NPR spot. They are good musicians and are a cross of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They featured a little distortion, some vocal harmonies, and oversized aviator glasses. They seemed fine and I wouldn’t mind seeing them at Café du Nord but they don’t inspire huge feelings of awe. Of course, I did only stay for two and a half songs so this is not a definitive statement.

Hard-Fi: Let us all sing the praises of the internet and music blogs. I was turned on to this band only a few days ago by the newly returned Teaching Indie Kids to Dance Again. I downloaded the mp3 and it seemed ok but based on the description of the overall sound I knew I wanted to see the show. I pestered the rest of the group into seeing this set. Hard-Fi came through in spades. They put on an excellent show, managing to inspire sporadic dancing from the crowd, and definitely came to play. They covered The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army and it was a winner. He sang the vocals pretty dead on and they completely rearranged the rhythms. I don’t really know how to describe it but I can say it was an unquestionable success. Our whole group came away from that set with the feeling that Lollapalooza was now underway.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead: A disappointment. I don’t think they really liked the crowd (it seemed a little frat boy-ish), or maybe I just still really want to like them, but they did perform up to expectations. The band didn’t really seem to be pleased and so, despite smashing a guitar and destroying a drum set, they didn’t prove to be that great. I would give them one more chance but this definitely was not a great set. However, they do get consolation points because they provided those mandatory acts of destruction for a quality rock festival.

Kaiser Chiefs: The lead singer was hoarse and yet they were at Lollapalooza. He sang what he could, he jumped as much as he could, and provided the other necessary event of any multi-day rock fest by climbing up the supports on the side of the stage to sing. They were a lot of fun. I don’t feel like, at present, they’re out to revolutionize music but they do provide a fun atmosphere and quality 80’s-style brit-pop.

Brian Jonestown Massacre: This would have been a let down if I thought I liked them to start with. Unfortunately, the choice was between this and Dashboard Confessional so I really didn’t know what to do. Mostly, we ended up getting food. Extra disappointing since Perry Ferrell introduced them. We listened to the first third of the set and the songs were alright but he kept losing it and swearing at Dashboard because they were on the main stage and were louder. Overall: meh.

Cake: It’s just not the same anymore. I have a sneaking suspicion they changed their trumpet/keyboard player (again?) and I thought he flubbed at least three different entrances. The trumpet lines are not very challenging but he just wasn’t getting good sound out of the trumpet. Regardless, they did play Rock’n’roll Lifestyle, The Distance, Short Skirt Long Jacket, Mexico, and The Carpenter (?). Plus, how can you really hate a band that complains because there are no ¾ time songs on the radio. Not as good of a set as when I saw them a few years ago.

Blonde Redhead: Well, the girl wears a slinky, leopard-print dress and has an excellent voice. Their music may be alright late at night in a club where there is a little more trance and dance but we were outside in the summertime and I was falling asleep. Others, however, kept telling me they put on a good set so I have to accept the fact that it just might not be my kind of music. I do love that X-O song though.

Primus: We didn’t really hear much of this set as we went to get in the infield for The Pixies. They were one of only two bands to decorate the set (two giant inflatable bathtub duckies) and the man can still play the bass guitar. I wish I had given them more of a listen but we all have to make sacrifices, heh.

The Pixies: They are The Pixies. They bring the music. The crowd goes crazy for them and they generally play a good set. At this point, my biggest complaint would be that they seem to play within the same set of songs every time. There were a few songs I hadn’t heard live (Subbacultha) but it was all the hits: Debaser, Where is My Mind, Here Comes Your Man, etc. They do it so well, however, that it is hard to be upset with them. I was jumping like mad and yelling along with everybody else.

Digable Planets: I don’t like hip-hop as much as I should. These guys (and gal) were great. I could tell that during the show. Quality rap, solid organ music, DJ Jedi did some good turntable work and yet I couldn’t quite get into it because the music is just a little too foreign to me. I am glad I went to see them because they reinforced the fact that there is some quality hip-hop out there and I need to be listening to more of it. The lyrics were good and political and intelligent without being trite which is always a hard line to walk. Definitely a good set.

Weezer: We caught the last four songs and they were good. It was hard to pass them up to see Digable Planets but what can you do? I enjoyed the songs but we were too far back to really get into it. Still, it was good to hear some of their songs and they closed the show down with Surf Wax America.

Ambulance, Ltd. (Schuba’s): This was the Lollapalooza after-party at Schuba’s. Ambulance played a good set including a few new songs. This was one of those sets where I felt like they did a good job but it just wasn’t my favorite music.

The Walkmen (Schuba’s): Wow, what a way to end the day. We were seven or eight rows back for most of the show and Schuba’s is so small they’re right there with you. They were intense. They played for over an hour and then there were two two-song encores. They covered The Monkees’ “I’m Not a Stepping Stone.” It was a blast. We moved up to the front for the encore and jumped around like crazy. I doubt I’ll ever get to see them up close and personal like that again and I am so glad I did. I got a poster off the wall and got to shake the bands hand outside afterwards. If only I’d brought a Sharpie!

So, what narrative moments did I miss? Well, we took cell phones to try and keep in touch when we separated (didn’t do that much) and they were pretty worthless. You could never hear anything over the glorious music. Seriously, they had the timing down to where there was rarely more than two or three minutes between bands. We managed to find each other, although we learned Matt would never make it as a FBI agent because he would stare right at one of us and not recognize him. I almost tackled him three times. The food was no more expensive than usual festival prices ($5 for most sandwiches and beer). There weren’t many sideshows or alternative causes featured. However, I will give Perry and the Lollapalooza crew the benefit of the doubt and say that when you only have one festival and get the tremendous lineup that he did, you have a little less reason to do that; not that I can really remember a Lollapalooza (’91-’94) that wasn’t full of good music and as a result I never really would have spent any time at those sideshows when they were available.

After Schuba’s we walked over to Picante for a burrito and we got in just as they closed. I was finally hungry after all the food from Friday. We ate and rehashed the day and then hopped a cab back to Pedro’s. Matt headed off to his girlfriend’s place and the rest of us showered and then passed out on whatever objects would support our weight. Mine was the loveseat/footstool combination at an angle which normally makes it impossible to sleep but I passed out in seconds.


Well, how else can you start the day off than with a ridiculously enormous burrito. Seriously, I ate the thing and couldn’t eat again for 10 hours. La Pasadita’s honor was restored.

We got off to a slower start and the temperature broke 100 so we were a little more cautious on Sunday. But it was still excellent. Onto to the music…

The Ponys: We arrived a few minutes into their set. They were completely rocking out on the stage and made us feel guilty for missing any of their set. Very much straight ahead rock but done well and they managed to get their sound to fill up the area. Score one for the Chicago kids (I think that’s where they’re from).

Kasabian: I had heard some talk about an Oasis attitude and was tired of their single. But Pedro was excited. So I went. They rocked. Very British, not quite as 80’s sounding live. It was really hot though so we wandered off to get some water and position ourselves for Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur, Jr.: I can never badmouth the Rolling Stones again. J. Mascis looks so old but he plays so good. So good. Actually, both Dinosaur, Jr. and The Pixies caused me to want to jump around like mad but then watching the band calmly standing there playing their songs I wasn’t sure how appropriate it was. This was my favorite set of Lollapalooza. It was an hour of pure rock’n’roll and it was amazing. They’re loud and fast but very little feedback. Tight, three piece power punk. The forerunners of grunge music.

Satellite Party: This is Perry Farrell’s new gig. It is a supergroup of sorts with some other quasi-famous members but it is pretty clearly Perry’s deal. And their album is supposed to tell the story of how Perry gets beamed up by some aliens and they have a super party in space. And he made a joke about space having no laws – but the laws of physics! It was not funny. And then, it hit me, Perry Farrell is the next Wayne Newton. You heard it here first. Sorry, the music didn’t leave much of an impression. A little bit of a groove, Perry did some crooning, and the scantily clad dancers did some dancing.

Ben Kweller: An average set. He sounded exactly like he did on the album. It was fine but not terribly inspiring. There have to be some bands that don’t do it for you.

The Arcade Fire: I’ve managed to miss these guys three times since the day after Thanksgiving last year. This show was like salt in the wound. They were awesome. Seriously amazingly cool. A couple of them would run around like maniacs during the set. They played drumsticks on motorcycle helmets and each other’s head. They have a French Horn. They’re songs are catchy but interesting. They have some of the best choruses around of any group out their. I can’t say enough good things about them. The songs aren’t too heavy but they are very enthusiastic.

Spoon: Kind of a disappointment. Of course, they followed The Arcade Fire so they had a tough act to follow. Plus, we were kind of beat. Listened to it, liked it, but didn’t get to appreciate it the way I should have. They suffered a little bit from being on the 2nd stage because I could always sort-of hear Widespread Panic in the background. Nevertheless, nice Austin indie music provided a chance to sit down and take a breather.

The Dandy Warhols: They started out well, playing some later 90’s rock stuff and then got sidetracked by teaming up with some people from Brian Jonestown massacre. I just was not into it. I would have gone to see The Killers but that was a mob scene and nobody else wanted to go. We ended up moving over to be in position for Death Cab.

Death Cab for Cutie: They played a solid set including three songs off their forthcoming album, which was neat. They still sound like DCfC. We weren’t that close to the stage but I had an excellent view because I was looking over a sea of teenage girls. I realized there weren’t many tall people up front which I found amusing. Again, they played well, they sounded pretty standard, and it was nice. It was a long weekend and this was the end and I’m sure that played a part in my take on this as well.

One final burrito wrapped up the weekend. Good shows, good times. Feel free to add your comments. I know I didn’t end up providing a ton of musical detail on any band so I’ll provide any additional particulars. Plus, you can weigh in on the Dinosaur Jr. vs. The Pixies debate.

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