Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I'm back

Oxegen Festival - Punchestown, Ireland Posted by Hello

Jesus...amazing week away from home...I miss it already. Some highlights:

*The Edward Hopper Exhibit at the Tate Modern blew me away...can't explain it really...but he's brilliant...captures the most authentic moments of American society perfectly.

*Saw Feist and Buck 65 at the 100 Club on Oxford Street. Got there early caught the sound checks...both are good, but Feist is in a class by herself...Amazing album and amazing stage show. If you see her album out, or her playing nearby, check it out, and let me know. She has the talent to be huge.

*Q-Tip cancelled his show, but, alas, The Killers were playing a sold out show 10 minutes from my hotel at the Astoria...so I went down and got a ticket off a scalper. Hung out with these three 16 year old girls (one of whom may be pregnant) who loved the guys. They were amazing, natch, but the crowd was the highlight...They packed a place the size of Hammerstein Ballroom and had the whole place jumping up and down singing along to every song. It was almost surreal...a complete 180 in comparison to the show at Mercury Lounge just a few weeks earlier. They are full blown rockstars in the UK.

*Managed to hit up this party afterward where Mark was playing a DJ set. Got a chance to talk to Brandon for a while, and he mentioned they're hitting Bowery Ballroom up in a few weeks. Not to be missed.

*Up next was the Oxegen Festival in Ireland...Which I could go on forever about...so here are the brief highlights.

-First day started with Stellastarr* ...Who are so great and so underappreciated I feel. Not very big in Europe, but they played a great set and certainly earned some new fans.

-Rest of the day was great...caught big chunks of the sets of Scissor Sisters, Franz Ferdinand, The Rapture, Snow Patrol, Paddy Casey, PJ Harvey, Complete Stone Roses (more on them in a second) and Kings of Leon, who's set was one of the surprise highlights for me.

-Complete Stone Roses are a cover band, but they are one of the most popular acts of the weekend. You could barely get into where they were playing...and everyone sings along to every song. It’s a sign of how unimaginably popular the Stone Roses are there...I can't even think of another band in the world who could have that kind of following...weird.

-The night continued with a riveting set by The Strokes, who blew through their setlist with about 20 minutes to spare, and then winged it the rest of the way absolutely hammered. The Irish crowd hung on every word Julian slurred out, and danced and sung along to every song. One of my favorite things European crowds do is sing along to the music...pretty crazy to hear 50,000 heads "do do do"ing along to these songs...glad they don't do it here too much tho...you'd get sick of it. I think New York is the only place in the world where The Strokes overkill as kicked in...Cause they are still giants everywhere else. They were followed by another energetic set from The Killers, who looked pretty wasted themselves. Finally I went over to catch the end of The Cure's set, which was solid. Overall an amazing day of music.

-The next day was much more wide open...fewer bands I needed to see, but more I was curious about. Started off with the New Jersey/Dublin Chick duo Saucy Monky, who are hot as hell. They sounded pretty good too. I leaned over to this pimply teenage kid next to me and told him I've never been so happy to see a jersey girl before...I don't think he got it.

-After them, I caught bits of pieces of Future Kings of Spain (about to blow up), Black Eyed Peas (UGH), The Zutons (eh), Pink (huh?), Michael Franti (hard to hate...I tried but he was really good), Keane (better at smaller megastore set),Faithless (Wow!), Ash (eh), Wilco (wish I saw more), and Wu-Tang(um...yeah...more in a second).

-Wu Tang has a pretty solid following in Ireland. It was a b-team Wu...with Ghostface and Raekwon being the only real names...but absolutely stunning to see and hear 10,000 pasty Irish boys shouting along that cash rules everything around them. I left in the middle of their set to go get a good spot for...

-MUSE!!!! MUSE MUSE MUSE!!!! Never has an act been hyped up more...Everyone I talked to told me I had to see them...they were great, amazing, geniuses, etc. I was excited...love the new album, but didn't expect them to live up to the hype...few rarely do...

-to say they lived up to the hype would be the understatement of the year...nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to get. Literally had grown men in tears at times. Mat Bellamy is a true genius...goes from the most complicated guitar riff to the most amazing piano solo in perfect accord. There's nothing else I can say...words can't describe it. It was the best set I've ever seen in person...and I've seen a lot...What more can I say?

-After catching my breath, I couldn't handle The Darkness...I honestly don’t like them enough to stand and watch their set...and it wasn't gonna top Muse, so I had to go in the different direction...

-Ocean Colour Scene was packed, and I stuck around for a few songs, but couldn't see very well, so I left and conceded it was gonna have to be The Darkness...

-As I was walking past the "new band tent" (where the Killers headlined a night earlier), I heard a band come on and play a familiar song...Holy shit, The Shins! I had completely overlooked them. Went in and joined a quiet and interested crowd. Very few had ever heard them before, but they quietly listened on and with every new song, they grew to like them more and more...They were great...just perfect in every way. A perfect compliment to Muse...who were perfect in a completely different way...They had certainly made a handful of new fans that night.

-After them I caught the end of The Darkness...Heard a Thing called love, then an encore that included a number of fun covers. Not bad, but not upset about missing most of them either.

-And that’s about it...I met some amazing people over the course of the week. The Irish really grow on you...At a glance you see all the drinking and the craziness and you think they're Europe’s New Jersey...but they're not at all...everyone gets fucked up, and still can all get along without fighting or being annoying...how perfect is that?

-After packing up my shit, I was walking to catch the bus to Dublin to begin my long trek back to New York...I walked passed these two guys around 9AM...prolly about 25 years old, arms around each other stumbling down the road back to the campsite. As they pass by, I see one of them hand the can of beer to his friend and say, in the most brilliant Irish accent, "Alright...you drink....and I'll walk."

I don't know this makes any sense to anyone reading...I don’t know if this trip makes sense to anyone reading...I don't even think there actually IS anyone reading...but it was such an amazing sight I almost cried. No idea what they had been doing all night, where they were going, where the rest of the beer was...but they had one solitary can between the two of them...and they made it work...Brilliant.

*I met a ton of great people, heard a ton of great music, and had the time of my life. Nothing else to say really...but life goes on...tomorrow I'm back to work...and I have a whole summer in New York City to look forward to...It's hard to complain...


At 5:41 AM, Blogger howard said...

I've been enjoying Muse's glastonbury set just lately - downloadable from here

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