This past weekend, I saw a lot of bands perform. Technically, I only went to 2 concerts, but I caught 7 acts, all pretty great, some amazing.
It all started Friday night when I went with my concert girlfriend Noelia to the Bright Eyes show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (you know, the place with the movies). We strolled into the graveyard with our picnic items (OKAY FINE, Crazy Creek chairs, frosted animal crackers, and whiskey...it's ALLOWED there) and heard a familiar voice. I won't go through the ridiculous details of how we realized Kurt Vile was playing in the sunset, opening for Mr. Oberst, but there is he was in all his grunge-y glory. People were spread out all over the cemetery field with their blankets and baskets, the large stage in the corner looming againt the backdrop of palm trees and dusk (wait...did I really just write that? Ew.).
Then Conor Oberst and crew came out and the stage lit up with different colored column fixtures. No camera could really do it justice so my tiny, flashless Blackberry was kind of useless to say the least. Whatever, you had to be there. Without trying to sound incredibly cheesy (too late), Bright Eyes was a really beautiful, emotional experience. I was never originally on the Bright Eyes train (except I remember "Lover I Don't Have to Love," making me uncomfortable in a good way), but this concert made me realize what a beautiful lyricist Oberst is and how hard he can actually rock. Bright Eyes did INCREDIBLE versions of "Poison Oak" (Oh GOD do I love this song...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjHACWmO0jQ) and "Landlocked Blues" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6707rEMoUo4). Oberst was also in a WONDERFUL mood...something that I've heard is a rarity when he performs. Anyway, it was an amazing show.
Sunday I went (with Noelia, duh) to the Hollywood Bowl (you should know this place...http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/) to see The Smith Westerns, Warpaint, Panda Bear, The Arctic Monkeys, and TV on the Radio. I know, five bands seems insane, but only the Monkeys and TVOTR played full sets. The Smith Westerns were solid, but I don't love their music (kind of George Harrison-esque, as Noey put it...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEeWAY0oEOc). Warpaint blew my Goddamned head off. Here is the video for their song "Undertow," which I LOVE, and it's directed by actress Shannyn Sossamon, the band's original drummer, who founded the group with her sister Jenny (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMkqbY0oGKQ). I know, that is a lot of information. The new drummer, Stella Mogzawa, is basically the best thing since Dave Grohl. You guys know I love a drummer, but this lady is so ACCURATE and yet BRUTAL in the way she plays, I almost forget the pretty melody that's being put down on top of it. I say ALMOST, because Warpaint really is a great band that you have to see live to fully appreciate. Also Emily Kokal's NOSE IS THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN. Just saying. Here is what they looked like:
That picture actually makes us seem further away than we really were. I swear. Then Panda Bear brought the audience to a spiritual place with their haunting electro-chants (they opened with this and I adore it...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQUlJ81kFBA&feature=related). Noah Lennox didn't say a single word, but he did sing into the mic VERY passionately, look:
It was cool. Then Alex Turner and his Arctic Monkeys brought some SEX to the Bowl (seriously, Turner has this whole dark James Dean thing going on now and the guitarist Jamie Cook looks like a more fashionable Channing Tatum with a guitar...a good thing). The Monkeys also have a very good drummer, Matt Helders, but he plays much faster and dirtier than Stella Mogzawa and was wearing a really gross pair of American flag balloon pants, though I appreciate his respect for the US. This isn't my favorite song by the dudes as I prefer when they don't do their psuedo-Oasis routine and rock a little harder, but this IS more representative of their image right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlYJKfunfC0&ob=av2n
TVOTR was of course, fantastic and so fun to boogie to (especially after some rose wine and triple-cream brie cheese) and I shouldn't even have to paste a song by them, but here's this because I just love it so much: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N31oFeinFY. You're welcome people.
PS Did I mention I went to Bon Iver at the Shrine last Monday? They were wonderful. Pretty sure I cried during "Blood Bank." Here is an awesome picture:
You had to be there.