Riot Fest 2019: Do You Realize??

Big music festivals might not be the ideal way to experience music you’ve never heard before, but from a quantity perspective it’s hard to beat. I figure I saw 30 bands at Riot Fest this year, and of those, I had previously never listened to 13 of them. And that’s what makes a fest so compelling for music fans: there’s the potential to stumble across your new favorite band on the way to the taco truck.

Of course, the odds of that happening depend a great deal on the fest(s) you attend. Glorious Noise covered Lollapalooza from the time it settled in Chicago in 2005 all the way through 2016, when it expanded to four days and gave up any semblance of quality control. We’ve been going to Riot Fest since then. What makes this fest unique is in a world where everybody listens to everything on shuffle and even the fluffiest of mainstream pop is given critical acclaim, Riot Fest has stuck with its original idea of showcasing punk rock bands.

For fifteen years!

Their definition of punk has expanded its umbrella beyond old school hardcore to make room for some hip-hop, reggae, and jangly indie pop as well as founding fathers of rock and roll like Jerry Lee Lewis and, yes, even the Village People. But the focus has always been consistent and if you still prefer guitar bands, there’s really no other fest that compares. I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about Riot Fest booking Ariana Grande anytime soon. Better find a focus or you’re out of the picture…

Continue reading Riot Fest 2019: Do You Realize??

Headlights Dim to Dark

Back in 2007 a book titled The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, written by Marilyn Johnson was published. That came to mind when I read of the death of Ric Ocasek because given last week’s piece on the passing of Eddie Money, I didn’t want to be tagged as the Official Glorious Noise Death Correspondent. [Sorry Mac, you’re now officially the Death Correspondent; your new business cards are in the mail. -ed.]

Still, Ocasek deserves more than a few lines on Twitter. First know that he was a 75-year-old male. And according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, Health, United States, 2017, With Special Feature on Mortality (I didn’t make that up), in 2016 life expectancy at birth for a male is 76.1 years. So he wasn’t far from that. And being a male is particularly troublesome vis-à-vis, well, living, as the report says, “In 2016, age-adjusted death rates were higher among males than among females for heart disease, cancer, CLRD, diabetes, stroke, and unintentional injuries,” and if there is any dim light associated with that list of bad things, the sentence continues, “and were lower among males than females for Alzheimer’s disease.” Which one could interpret as saying, “If you’re a male married to a female of approximately your same age, she may not know who you are before she dies.” And if all of the songs about love that we’ve listened to over the years—including those by The Cars—that might be even more heart-rending than death itself.

And before leaving that dark subject, know that, again going back to that Special Feature on Mortality, in 2016 73% of all deaths occurred among those 65 years and older, and lest anyone who is from 45 to 64 feels smug, the number of those dying is 19.7%–and while that number isn’t near 73%, the death rate for those from 25 to 44 is a mere 4.9%, so that 19.7 percent isn’t as good as you might think.

But let’s pull ourselves out of this spiral to oblivion and get back to Ocasek.

Continue reading Headlights Dim to Dark

New Sleater-Kinney video: Can I Go On

Video: Sleater-Kinney – “Can I Go On”

Sleater-Kinney – Can I Go On (Official Video)

Directed by Ashley Connor. From The Center Won’t Hold, out now on Mom and Pop.

It’s kinda fun to hear S-K go full New Wave, but I think it works. And the sentiment is certainly irrefutable.

Everyone I know is tired
And everyone I know is wired
To machines, it’s obscene
I’ll just scream ’til it don’t hurt no more

I dig the lead guitar tone; sounds like the producer is loaning them her effects pedals, ha ha. Love the “oo ooo-wooo” background vocals too, embracing and twisting the classic girl group vibe.

Sleater-Kinney: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Eddie Money, R.I.P.

OK. This is admittedly taken from when the news, such as it is, was breaking, but it strikes me as almost haiku-like in its brevity and appropriateness.

The entire first piece from the Washington Post on the reported death of Eddie Money:

“The onetime police officer trainee sang his way to pop rock stardom in the late 1970s, then became a self-deprecating staple of MTV while battling drug and alcohol abuse.

“This is a developing story. It will be updated.”

The story will be. Eddie won’t be. He died, reportedly, from esophageal cancer.

Brutal. Godspeed to him.

Here’s the thing. Eddie Money was a man who had plenty of hits. “Take Me Home Tonight.” “Two Tickets to Paradise.” “Shakin’.”

Great? Nope.

Summer music? Absolutely.

Drink a lot of beer and sing along to these songs? That is arguably why they exist.

Continue reading Eddie Money, R.I.P.

Dick Clark’s Summer ’68 Action Tour for Teenagers

Okay, this is insane. I didn’t totally believe it was real when I saw this old advertisement come across my twitter feed the other day:

Summer 68 Action Tour for Teenagers

New! Dick Clark Action Tours, Inc. Summer ’68 Action Tour for Teenagers! Hollywood! Hawaii! Mexico! 21 dazzling days of freedom & fun! Come on along! Aug. 9th to 29th. Only $775 from Los Angeles. See Happening ’68 in Action!

I mean, what?!?

It seems so unbelievable. What parent in their right mind would allow their teenager to go off with a bunch of strangers to Hollywood and Hawaii and Mexico for three weeks? Sure, parenting was considerably more laissez-faire back then, but come on.

As wild as it seems, somebody actually thought this was a good idea. And that someone was Dick Clark, the world’s oldest teenager who would’ve been 38 that summer. “Happening ’68” was a Saturday afternoon music show on ABC TV hosted by Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere of the Raiders. It was apparently popular enough for ABC to create a weekday spin-off (“It’s Happening”) that debuted in July. So it’s no surprise that Dick Clark Productions thought they had their finger on the pulse, so why not extend the brand and cash in? But how could a travel program for teenagers possibly work?

Continue reading Dick Clark’s Summer ’68 Action Tour for Teenagers

New Bonnie Prince Billy video: At The Back of the Pit

Video: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “At The Back of the Pit”

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "At The Back of the Pit" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Jacob Forman. From I Made A Place, due November 15 on Drag City and Palace Records.

Heck yeah! The fact that the world is doomed isn’t going to bring down our Bonnie Prince, no sirree. He’s already gearing up for the post-apocalypse with a jangly Cosmic American jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark.

When we hear the frogs again we’ll be set to raise our heads
And it won’t matter then if the rest of the world is dead.
Yes between you and me we’ve got a re-population kit
The world will rise again from the back of the pit.

And there’s a new album on the way, too, the first new collection of Will Oldham originals since 2011’s Wolfroy Goes To Town. Oldham says, “In recent years, the whole world of recorded music, in the way that such music is conceived, perceived, recorded, released and distributed, has been atomized. I tried holding my breath, waiting for the storm to pass, but this storm is here to stay and its devastation is our new landscape. What else is a person to do except what he knows and feels, which for me is making records built out of songs intended for the intimate listening experiences of wonderful strangers who share something spiritually and musically? I started working on these songs thinking that there was no way I was going to finish them and record and release them. This was a constructive frame-of-mind that protected the songs until this frightening moment when we let go of them and give them to you.”

We’ll take them from here!

Bonnie Prince Billy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Sincere Engineer video: Dragged Across The Finish Line

Video: Sincere Engineer – “Dragged Across The Finish Line”

Sincere Engineer "Dragged Across The Finish Line" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

From Red Scare Industries: 15 Years of Tears and Beers.

I saw these guys open up for the Hold Steady in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. I only knew a few of their songs beforehand but I was excited to see them live. They put on such a great set that I bought their record afterwards and even asked frontwoman Deanna Belos to sign it!

And now they’ve got a new song out ahead of them playing Riot Fest this weekend. I can’t wait to see them again.

Deanna Belos told Riot Fest, “This song is half about not letting the successes of others demotivate you, and half about recognizing that sometimes you need to help your friends and sometimes they need to help you.” When asked about the music video, Belos said she “wanted to beat the haters to calling us a garbage band.”

Sincere Engineer is playing Riot Fest on Sunday at 3:40 PM on the Rebel Stage.

Sincere Engineer: twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

Morrissey’s U.S. tour started this week and ticket sales are less than fantastic. In fact they pretty much suck. I am aware of this because I have been tracking the resale market over the summer, as I ruminate on attending. I feel miserable about the pending show here, which is perhaps appropriate given Moz’s penchant for writing and performing songs celebrating that emotion. Except in this case my misfortune stems from having bought tickets months ago in the presale.

We’ll get to the “Morrissey: Provocateur, dick, racist, or all of the above?” question eventually, but let’s start with the presale. If you are as frequent a concertgoer as I am, you probably understand the double-edged sword that is the fan presale. For some artists, it is the singular way fans can get tickets at face value—which is already a total screw-job, but at least better than buying in the even more jacked up secondhand market. Tickets cost astronomical sums these days, far outpacing inflation compared to a decade ago. Staggering tack-on fees don’t help, but grumbling about that seems like yet another a quaint relic of the ’90s, like rock bands that play actual guitars. If you want to see big name touring artists who sell out venues, you’re going to get robbed, period.

But what about those performers who don’t sell out their shows right away? They still have presales. Plenty of their tickets still get diverted to the scalper market and posted on Stubhub and the like for outrageous sums. At least initially. But then the supply and demand teeter-totter often swings back and throws the fan into the dirt. The show doesn’t sell out at all. Not initially, not after a few months, not ever. The promoters then panic and start offering tickets at TJ Maxx prices. This sucks for the fan that many months before shelled out face, as the value of those tickets plummets.

Change your mind? Change of plans? Can’t get the day off/find a babysitter/afford to go anymore because the economy tanked and you lost your job? You’re screwed. Don’t need as many tickets because your buddies bail? Hope those assholes paid you because otherwise you’ll never recoup your outlay.

Continue reading Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 41

Rolling Stone issue #41 had a cover date of September 6, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Joe Cocker by Steven Shames.

This issue is back down to 32 pages after several issues features 40 pages. Wonder what happened?

It also contains three separate reviews of Blind Faith’s debut (“the reincarnation of Cream and Traffic”), plus a full-page profile of the band. Must’ve been a big deal.

Features: “Bill Graham Explodes: Quitting San Francisco” by Ben Fong-Torres; “Atlantic City: Pop! Goes the Boardwalk” by John Lombardi; “Blind Faith” by Ritchie Yorke.

News: “Seattle Gives Peace a Chance” by Ed Leimbacher; “Sky River Will Flow Again” by Ed Jeffords; Fears and Follies Kill ‘Wild West’; Ten-Year Sentence On Sinclair Bust; “Everyone Went to the Moon” by Hendrik Hertzberg; Kinks Come Up With Surprise; Another Death at Leary Ranch; “The Groupies of Anna” by Tom Miller; “Tracking Down the Dope Fiends” by James Cadur; “Steve Paul Splits The Scene” by Jan Hodenfield; Beach Boy: ‘They Can’t Hear Music’; Committee Leaves TV Rock Show; Roundup of Rock; Random Notes.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 41

New Pixies video: Catfish Kate

Video: Pixies – “Catfish Kate”

PIXIES – Catfish Kate (Official Video)

Video created by Neirin Best and Lianne Pierce. From Beneath the Eyrie, due September 13.

It’s easy for music snobs to scoff when a band gets back together years after splitting up and has the audacity to release new music. Especially if they don’t have all the original members. How dare they! How crass! They’re diminishing their legacy!

But really, who the hell are we to tell somebody how they can or cannot make a living? What kind of privileged bourgeois bullshit is that? Charles Thompson has every right to don his Black Francis persona and make Pixies music with or without the participation of Kim Deal or the approval of a bunch of pin-headed geeks furiously typing into their phones.

I’ll admit I would have never gone out and bought a ticket to see the new incarnation of this band when they recently opened up for Weezer on tour. But a pal had an extra ticket and I tagged along and I’m really happy I did.

Not only is going out with your friends and seeing live music a life-affirming thing to do in general, but seeing the Pixies in concert reminded me that Joey Santiago is one of my favorite guitar players and Dave Lovering is a hell of a drummer and Black Francis has written some of the greatest songs of all time. Of course you’re going to miss Kim Deal’s incomparable voice and chug chug chug bass, but the new girl gets the job done. They sound good. They are good.

And “Catfish Kate” is a good Pixies song. Sure, you keep waiting for Santiago to go nuts and it’s disappointing that he never does, but hey, it’s a creepy song about woman getting abducted by a catfish. What more do you want from the Pixies in 2019?

Pixies: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.

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