As for the first two tunes, my niece is due any day now, in fact she was due on Tuesday and in the weeks leading to her arrival, I’ve listened to these songs so many times BMI is going to start charging me. Tom Petty was right, the waiting IS the hardest part.
Tom Petty – “The Waiting”
Justin Townes Earle – “Can’t Hardly Wait”
Kelli Schaefer’s Doe Bay SessionBeen Here All My Days
Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Gem Club – Breakers
Dan Mangan – “Leaves, Tree, Forest”
Canon Bros – “Out of Here”
Robin Bacior – Rest Our Wings
Numero Group Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Quiet Life – San Luis Opisbo
Damien Jurado – “The Loneliest Place I’ve Ever Been is In Your Arms”
Champagne Champagne’s Doe Bay Session
Richard Swift – “Lady Luck”
S – I’m Not As Good As You
Avians Alight – s/t
Apricot & the Beginners
Sera Cahoone’s Doe Bay Session
I’ve never heard DCMF described as anything but an amazing experience, a weekend of performances, creativity, and collaboration in a place whose very name conjures visions of adventure. This year Dawson City has drawn in the talents of performers as diverse as Vancouver’s indie folk-rock geniuses Yukon Blonde and dance punks Shout Out Out Out Out, each of whom drive the crowd to musical ecstasy in their own way. Also included on the lineup are Amelia Curran, Rich Aucoin, and Shotgun Jimmie.
Naturally, Canada’s answer to SXSW has a more populist spin. NXNE is hosted in the country’s largest population center, and in addition to showcases and panels hosts free outdoor concerts by major artists right downtown.This year’s roster features everyone from Devo to the Dodos, including SotS favorites Shad, Land of Talk, Braids, P.S. I Love You, The Pack AD, and Dirty Beaches.
Wristbands are on sale now. Early bird pricing (through April 25) gets you a standard pass for $50 or priority access for $150.
A festival lover’s festival, Osheaga draws in the big names and this summer has added a third day to accommodate more of them. Headliners include Eminem, Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, and Broken Social Scene. Unlike most big festivals, though, Osheaga takes place minutes from an urban setting, offering chances for hotel accommodation, extra-festival tourism, and late-night poutine in the city the dish calls home.
Three-day passes range from $217.50 – $369.50 and are available now.
Few festivals have more indie cred than one founded in part by former Eric’s Trip member and current solo songwriter Julie Doiron. Conceived in 2006 by Doiron and some friends as “a more feasible way to get all our friends together than a wedding,” the now-beloved Sappyfest will run for the sixth time this year. Though no lineup has been announced yet, there are reasons to feel optimistic: last year’s performers included Diamond Rings, P.S. I Love You, Cousins, Daniel, Fred & Julie, Hollerado, and Holy Fuck.
If you want to take the gamble, early bird passes are available now for $60.
Calgary’s Sled Island has booked a near-infinite lists of bands, including Dandy Warhols, Minus The Bear, Of Montreal, The Sword, Cursive, Thee Oh Sees, Justin Townes Earle, Wild Flag, Dum Dum Girls, Jeff The Brotherhood, and Starfucker. Do you like music? Then you will find something you like here.
Festival wristbands are on sale now for $179, or $349 for VIP access.
Prefer to visit Winnipeg when the temperatures are measured in positive numbers? You’re probably smarter than I. Spend a few days enjoying the weather just outside of town and taking in sets by Blind Pilot, Dan Mangan, Chuck Prophet, Jeff Tweedy, Imaginary Cities, and Tegan and Sara.
Tickets are on sale now; 5-day festival + camping passes are $229.
As most folk festivals aren’t just about folk, Winnipeg Jazz is not just about jazz. The festival’s Club Series hosts a varied line-up of independent artists like Blonde Redhead, Shad, and Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and the (free!) opening weekend offers Les Jupes, Royal Canoe, The Lytics, and The Appleseed Cast on an outdoor downtown stage.
Tickets are sold separately for Club Series and larger Theatre Series concerts, but one $75 pass allows access to all Club Series shows all week.
This festival has only announced a few names, but they’re doozies: Stars, Great Lake Swimmers, Plants and Animals, The Wooden Sky, and Jenn Grant.
$60 Early Bird weekend passes available May 20th.
May 20, Edmonton, Alberta
May 21, Calgary, Alberta
May 22, Vancouver, BC
Cultivated by music website Weird Canada, this traveling one-day festival features 19 underground Canadian bands (this [http://weirdcanada.com/2009/07/safe-language/] is not those [http://www.myspace.com/feralchildrenseattle] Feral Children) on two stages. SotS crush-band Dirty Beaches and paganesque fog-folk mystery man Wyrd Visions are on the bill along with Makeout Videotape, Red Mass, GOBBLE GOBBLE, The Famines, and a “Secret Surprise Guest” to be announced May 10.
We’ll be sharing our final favorite photo of 2010 later today, one we think sums up our 2010 beautifully, but we’d be remiss to not share these 10 other photos we took and loved in the last year. While we didn’t get to write about them individually this December, they are doubtlessly some of our favorites from the last year … in fact, I think that Holy Fuck photo above might be my favorite shot that graced Sound on the Sound all year. Too many awesome photos to share, not an awful problem to have.
We hope to have an even more difficult time narrowing it down to 30-40 photos in 2011!
Discs of Fury ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
New Pornographers at Sasquatch ::: photo by Abbey Simmons
Sound on the Sound Presents at Columbia City Theater ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Doe Bay Session Audience ::: photo by Abbey Simmons
Five more photos we adored from 2010 after the jump
If you hadn’t gathered, we go to a lot of shows here at Sound on the Sound. For the past four years, I’ve been at shows more nights than not and with the surge of amazing music happening in Seattle, I could truthfully go to two or three shows a night and still miss something great. Reflecting on all the phenomenal performances I’ve been treated to in 2010, I feel spoiled and humbled. Knowing there’s still a few weeks left in 2010 and that there’ll surely be at least one more show that would qualify for this list, makes me feel excited.
Knowing that and that I will surely fidget with the order of the list after I hit publish, here are my 20 Favorite shows of 2010. They span festivals and venues big and small and the list, while not enumerated, is in a ranked order with my very favorite at the top. I tried not to include every single Drew Grow & The Pastors’ Wives show I saw in 2010, but it was hard. This list, since its a photographic representation, only includes shows where I was allowed to have my camera, which means hands down one of the best shows of the year is not on it: Shabazz Palaces at Neumos back in January. With those disclaimers, I’m happy to share my favorite shows of 2010. And, of course, I want to know: what was your favorite show of 2010?
Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Over the next two weeks we’ll be posting all kinds of reviews and photos from Bumbershoot’s 40th Festival and now that we’ve somewhat recovered from the big bash, we wanted to get things started with photos from Day One.
When it came to line-ups, Bumbershoot clearly didn’t save the best for last. Saturday was stacked with some of our favorite performances of the whole festival: two sets from Justin Townes Earle, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs who were joined on stage by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and the always enjoyable experiments of Atlas Sound. And of course, we topped off the first night with a sold-out mainstage set from the legendary Bob Dylan, which dominated conversations for much of the weekend.
More on that later … for now, photos.
Crowd at Grynch ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
The Head and The Heart ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Justin Townes Earle ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Star Anna with Mike McCready ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
The Maldives ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
See the rest of our favorite photos from Day One after the jump.
There are hundreds of acts to choose from at Bumbershoot’s 40th incarnation, but everyone has a single artist they are most excited to see, the one they cannot miss. For me, that’s Justin Townes Earle’s 4:45 set today at the Mural Amphitheater (Starbucks Stage) … and the above video has a lot to do with it.
I had never seen or heard Justin Townes Earle before his performance at the Bird on a Wire Festival in Pullman, WA. I took a front row seat in an old high school auditorium, with little to no expectations of what was to come and certainly with no idea that I was about to bare witness to one of the most powerful, palpable musical moments of my life.
I am certain it was not one of Earle’s favorite shows. Before taking the stage, the bluesman had gotten some bad news and the tumult of emotions he was dealing with were exposed as a fresh, pulsing wound with every shaky second of dialogue, angry stomp, constant wiping of the brow, and eyes that begged me to put my camera down. (I did, luckily someone didn’t.) What I witnessed that night was both grieving and catharsis for Earle and nowhere was that more clear than his final song of the night, a cover of The Replacements “Can’t Hardly Wait,” dedicated to all the musicians he had loved and lost over the past year.
It was a performance by a man on the edge and it was the most palpably human and connected I have ever felt to an artist. This was not an intended confessional of a heart on his sleeve singer songwriter. Earle didn’t mean to bare so much of himself, he was just trying to get by, to make it through the songs. Despite his fastidious fashion, charming Southern banter and history lessons about the geography of the blues he was singing, from the front row it was clear Earle was struggling.
His version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” that night was equal parts bang and whimper. And from my vantage point, it was clear that finishing his performance was more laborious than triumphant for Earle himself. For the rest of us, it was more the latter. In an electric moment after Earle’s final punctuated stomps, long after his voice had cracked with emotion that could no longer be contained, the crowd erupted in standing ovation. As the grateful audience stood, wowed in the wake of a powerful performance — Earle rushed off stage. When he thought he was no longer visible to the crowd, he tore off his thick rimmed glasses, dropped his guitar as if it were a painful burden and crumpled into his own lanky frame. From my misty-eyed front row vantage point, I could see it all and I ached for Earle. While the rest of the crowd cheered for minutes on end, stomping and chanting his name, I excused myself. There was no way Justin Townes Earle was returning to the stage to perform another song, he’d already left it all and more on that stage.
So why am I so excited to see Justin Townes Earle again? Because on what appeared to be one of the worst nights of his life, he put on one of the best performances I have ever seen and not just for the emotion he displayed, but for the breadth of knowledge he imparted on the audience. For his reverence for the Blues and singing songs that took me back to sitting on a sweltering couch with my Great Grandma in Mississippi, listening to Southern standards on a crackling radio. And then of course, there was the emotion of the performance, the desperation in his eyes and his voice, things that will replay in my mind and on my spine for decades to come. Earle put it all out on the line and suffered through that night, not for some big wigs or a sold out crowd, but for those of us sitting in a high school auditorium in Pullman, Washington, approximately in the middle of nowhere. And for that, for offering himself at his most vulnerable, for honoring his fans and his promise to a small town festival, Earle has earned a life long fan.
Do you enjoy mind-stimulating activities such as Soduku, New York Times Crossword Puzzles and/or Apples to Apples? If so, then you deserve a pat on the back and possibly an invitation to tutor me in a few of those areas. Especially in regard to crossword puzzles, I’m so terrible I don’t ever see myself leaving the “word find” circuit. Luckily for people like me, there is alternative mind-stimulating game that accurately judges the content of someone’s character in three simple words. Marry. Fuck. Kill. If you want to call into question a friend’s lack of taste in other human beings, flawed thought process or how well they react under pressure, you play this game.
If you’re not familiar, let me clue you in. You are given three options and you select “marry, fuck, kill” depending on what fictional scenario you may or may not want to happen in reality. However, I’m going to change some of the terminology. America is founded on Puritan belief (and the decimation of native populations) and I feel like we all need to get back to our Puritan roots. In keeping with the Puritan tradition, I’m changing “fuck” to “copulate with genuine feelings of desire” and I’m changing “kill” to “feverishly ignore.” Puritans had no problems with the idea of marriage, so I’m going to leave that be. I know I should have created more of an accurate “Marry.Fuck.Kill.” scenario using spreadsheets with color coded cells to signify scheduling conflicts, but those plans didn’t fit in my budget. Below the musical acts are broken down into the following categories. Some acts will just be listed while others will have brief descriptions. Enjoy.
Bands you want to “Marry” – These are bands you’ve already loved (or should have loved) for a long time, now you’re ready to make that everlasting commitment. You have long ignored all the flaws and blemishes related to these acts due to your blinding love for them. They might have disappointed you with a few bad songs, a bad album or a lackluster live performance, but you stand by them because you’re suffering from the most fortunate chemical imbalance there is, love.
Bands you want to “Copulate with Genuine Feelings of Desire” – These are the bands that you’re just killing time with. Maybe you’re waiting for a more desirable band to start their set or maybe you’ve had one too many PBR’s and suddenly that bassist with the nose ring is looking hot! Easy tiger, keep your cool. You don’t want to wake up in the morning with schwag from a band that you’re not sure you like. I’m not saying these bands aren’t worth your undivided attention, I’m just not sure you’ll have a long-term relationship with them. Make no mistake if you find love here, I’ll be happy for you.
Bands you want to “Feverishly Ignore” – I’m not saying these bands suck, but now might be the perfect time to pretend to be having a meaningful text message conversation far away from the stage.
We’ve just returned from the first big Northwest summer music festival to arrive home to the line-up of Bumbershoot, the fest that marks the end of summer and the festival season. It’s Bumbershoot’s 40th Anniversary and they’re pulling out all the stops, booking big name headliners like Bob Dylan, Mary J. Blige, Neko Case and the return of Hole.
As exciting as Bob Dylan is, his shows are hit and miss. (I saw him about 10 years ago and couldn’t decipher “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” until the third chorus) But the best thing about Bumbershoot is you could avoid the Mainstage all weekend and still see tons of great bands. I know, because that’s what I’ve done the past few festivals. Off the big stage there’s still plenty of talent to get excited about including: Justin Townes Earle, Dave Bazan, The Thermals, Japandroids, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Atlas Sound and many more.
As usual, the festival has done a great job booking local bands as well. You can see a few Sound on the Sound favorites at the fest including: The Moondoggies, The Maldives, Hey Marseilles, People Eating People, Zoe Muth and Her Lost High Rollers and Fresh Espresso.
Here’s the full line-up so far:
Headlining: Bob Dylan / Mary J. Blige / Weezer / Hole / Rise Against / Neko Case / The Decemberists / J. Cole
Also Playing (we’ve bolded the bands we’re most excited for):
LMFAO / Billy Bragg / Ozomatli / Angelique Kidjo / Solomon Burke / The Dandy Warhols / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros / Jenny and Johnny (featuring Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice) / Jamie Lidell / The Raveonettes / Balkan Beat Box / Motion City Soundtrack / The Thermals / Ra Ra Riot / The English Beat / Justin Townes Earle / Booker T. / Surfer Blood / The Bouncing Souls / Japandroids / Bob Schneider / Anvil / Bomba Estereo / Jay Electronica / Aterciopelados / Baroness / James Cotton “Superharp” Blues Band / David Bazan / Meat Puppets / Crash Kings / This Providence / Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express / The Moondoggies / The Whigs / Greg Laswell / Civil Twilight / Trampled By Turtles / The Clientele / Atlas Sound / Laura Veirs & The Hall of Flames / The Budos Band / Bobby Bare Jr. / Horse Feathers / Vienna Teng Trio / HEALTH / Plants and Animals / Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime / Wheedle’s Groove / Hey Marseilles / Kings Go Forth / Sweet Water / Delorean / JEFF the Brotherhood / Chris Pureka / Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra / Garotas Suecas / The Maldives / The Constellations / Coryell, Auger, Sample Trio / Grynch / Visqueen / Victor Shade / Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs / Fresh Espresso / Pete Molinari / Sista Monica’s “Singin in the Spirit” / Lay Low / Unnatural Helpers / Idiot Pilot / The Round / Wild Orchid Children / The Cute Lepers / Feral Children / Fences / Caspar Babypants / The Tripwires / Fatal Lucciauno / Loch Lomond / The Physics / THEESatisfaction / School of Rock All Stars / See Me River / Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers / People Eating People / Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme / Brent Amaker & The Rodeo / Born Anchors / Slender Means / BOAT / McTuff Trio / Parlour Steps / The Redwood Plan / Helladope / Lisa Dank / Greta Matassa Quartet / The Lonely H / Matt Jorgensen Quintet / Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies! / Great Waves / Brian Vogan / Johnny Bregar with more to come, including comedy, performing arts, film, literary and visual arts!
Being a lifetime Seattlite (at least so far), it’s in my temperament to be naturally set against anything related to Pullman. It’s irrational and rather childish, yet this way of thinking persists on the west side of the mountains, to the point where Pullman might as well be Mordor, the only fount of evil from which all bad things come. I wanted to hate our jaunt to the college nemesis’ lair, but I couldn’t. I had way more fun than I would have ever expected. And truthfully, I saw no evil beyond the expected abuse of the color red.
For eyes unclouded by rivalry, Pullman is just a smallish town nestled among the impressive Palouse hills, a place that despite being a college town, remains off the beaten path when it comes to popular music. This being the case, small town “charm” was in many ways very evident at the First Annual Birds on a Wire Folk Festival, compared to if it was conducted in the impersonal big city. This charm made for the overall highlight of what was truly a volunteer driven festival of still modest proportions. It was that element which made the ins and outs of the experience enjoyable in a way that could never be possible with platoon of over-eager security personnel tasked with quashing people who are judged to be having too much fun.
The first night of the fest we hung around the larger venue, an old high school-cum-community center with stages on opposite ends of the building. A Pullman version of the Phinney Neighborhood Center or a Good Shepperd Center if you will, housing a hodgepodge of wholesome activities and community oriented events. One stage was housed in the Gym, a massive space that one could easily imagine hosted its share of sock hops. With only two stacks of speakers on the floor just in front of a makeshift stage, had surprisingly good sound, and a bit of natural reverb to boot. That a “beer garden” was situated under a retracted basketball hoop with very tasty beer at a reasonable price just to the side of the stage only endeared us more to the gym. Kicking off the evening with Goldfinch, beer in hand, I had to admit to myself this wasn’t such a bad situation at all. Moseying on over to the other stage in the school auditorium proper, we discover Rocky Votolato finishing up his solo set to a huge, appreciative crowd that then proceeded to pack the lobby and the only exit waiting patiently in line at his merch table. [Rocky wins. Cue the "Rocky Theme".] Now that’s a start to a festival.
The Moondoggies were on their last night of a month long tour that took them to SXSW and had accumulated magnificent beards via an ongoing bet. Anyone could shave their beard whenever they wanted, but the consequence was a square punch in the jaw. Not open handed, a punch… and by the looks of their beard, clearly a punch in the face was a strong deterrent to shave. You don’t need to see their faces to appreciate the rock though, and true to form, the Moondoggies brought out the first dancin’ in the aisles moment of the fest. Backstage they related stories aplenty of tour, including a harrowing tale of Deja Vu I would never have believed had it not come from the person who had just lived to tell the tale once again. (View a must watch $5 Cover band documentary on the Moondoggies to get the full tale about the first incident.) This would would be but the first note of mortality we would ponder this festival weekend.
Damien Jurado was to take us late into the night, which kinda seems his M.O. these days: filling hot rooms full of people and then cracking jokes between songs. This night’s repoire, no matter how weird the circumstances may have seemed, was easy-going from the start on Jurado’s part. Conscientious of the size of the room and stage he remarked that he wasn’t a performer, not like Neil Diamond anyways. All I could think was, “If only you could see yourself on stage. Sitting there all lonesome playing your guitar. All riveting and shit. Just hush.” He also remarked that he been a happier person recently, and doing his “new song a week” project was a positive experience so far. Jurado had a bundle of new songs to play as a result, some from Saint Bartlett that’s arrive in May, others of a more recent vintage. One song was just a day old. “Arkansas” from his soon-to-be-released record is just an incredibly good stripped down pop song. That’s right, a pop song. I didn’t forget to tell you he’s been a happier guy as of lately, did I?
Goldfinch ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
Goldfinch w/ Steve Norman ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
The Moondoggies ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
Damien Jurado ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
Damien Jurado ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
Day two started out with local band Hueco, representing the organizer Stereopathic music, as well as the larger Inland Empire music scene. To my mind, more bands need to remember the blues as a foundation to other things, and the five members of Hueco would probably be happy to teach them a lick or two; they’d probably be trading solos to pass the time anyway. Saturday finally brought us to the the third venue, under the eaves of a re-purposed church called the Belltower while taking in Portland trio Mimicking Birds. Gaining recent notoriety for the support of fellow Portlander Isaac Brock, the only real support these three gentlemen need right now to make their splash is a looper pedal. Frontman Nate Lacy has a soft voice and a soft disposition, and when singing recalls the timbre and inner sophistication of Paul Simon. Our afternoon highlight was an impeccable set of new and old Sera Cahoone songs in the auditorium, followed by a two-hour Saturday dinner break for the entire festival. Wait. Dinner break? I’m telling you: small town charm. I’m not at all opposed to the idea of slowing down the pace of my life.
This Friday and Saturday, Pullman WA is the place to be if you want to see great local music. Yes, that Pullman. We already introduced you to the reason for all this great music, the Birds on a Wire Festival, but now we also have the festivals full schedule.
Who else will be making the drive east for Birds on a Wire?