July 27, 2005
by Rod Cline
Living in small-town Montana it is very, very rare that a show
comes along. Somehow someway I've seen Bob four times in the past
seven years. Each show has been distinct; looking back over my
dozenish Dylan concerts, each show has been quite unique indeed
and I like that about Bob!
August 18, 2005
The Scene Pavilion
* * * * *
by Rick Brown
As soon as
Devo marched out on the Scene Pavilion stage ... standing at attention
while saluting the crowd ... it became obvious to any real Devo-tee,
that this was to be a homecoming ... a “best of” Devo
performance. Looking dapper in their yellow jumpsuits they also
had donned the “power domes” (which are really inverted
red plastic flowerpots) atop their respective pinheads. These
spud boy fashions are from two distinctly different Devo eras,
the first “Are We Not Men” look, topped with the headgear
from the later “Freedom of Choice”. And like Devo’s
fashion puree ... the concert was delightfully all over the place.
Opening with the upbeat “That’s Good” the band
had a mellower, more integrated sound than in the past. Ordinarily
this might offend loyal fans. But as the spuds ground through
tune after tune with assembly line precision, they displayed their
prowess as innovative rock musicians. In the past, the weirdness
of the visuals and abruptness of the lyrics, along with Mark Mothersbaugh’s
yelping singing style, overshadowed the instrumentation. The balance
also made the songs sound fresh and reminded everyone of the lyrical
relevance that drew fans to Devo in the dismal days of disco to
Brothers Mark (lead vocals) and Bob 1 Mothersbaugh (synthesizer)
with brothers Jerry (vocals, synth, and bass guitar) and Bob 2
Casale (synth, guitar), all originally from Akron, Ohio, were
joined by hired gun Josh Freese on drums. “Going Under”,
“Whip It”, “Girl U Want”, “Uncontrollable
Urge”, “Gates of Steel”, “Blockhead”
... these are forgotten gems. I was reminded of the band’s
clever ability to turn a phrase lyrically ... many times combining
sexual innuendo with double entendre as in “Smart Patrol/Mr.
“Smart Patrol ... nowhere to go.
Suburban robots monitor reality.
Common stock ... we work ‘round the clock.
We shove the poles in the holes!!”
the tongue in cheek philosophy of “Wiggly World”:
never straight up and down!!”
the theology of de-evolution in “Jocko Homo”:
made man ... but he used a monkey to do it.
... I can walk like an ape, talk like an ape
Do what monkeys do.
God made man ... but a monkey supplied the glue.”
lyrics from Devo’s past thrown unmercifully in the face
of today’s “Intelligent Design”. The spud boys
even ripped off their jumpsuits, revealing black shorts, shirts
and elbow and knee pads. It felt very much like 1978. And after
Jerry was greeted with cheers when he inquired about how many
of us believed in De-Evolution he sardonically apologized. “I’m
sorry we were right. You don’t have to look far for proof.
It starts at the White House and trickles down”.
Devo remains very much a northeast Ohio band in attitude. By that
I mean ... in an affectionate way ... that they are simultaneously
sarcastic without losing a touch of blind optimism. This is the
mark of a Clevelander ... and Akron is most certainly a sibling.
This was evident in their rendering of “Freedom of Choice”
where the audience was both chastised for desiring freedom “from”
choice when in fact, we have freedom of choice.
Use it or lose it. Apparently, not much has changed in 30 years
... except that we have chosen less freedom.
The music flowed so well the show seemed over quickly. Devo did
only put in 75 minutes. And although they played a good number
of tunes, including the disjointed cover of the Stones’
“Satisfaction” the crowd was left hungry for more.
Omissions like “Beautiful World” and “Working
in a Coal Mine” seemed painfully obvious. And Booji Boy
was nowhere to be seen. Yet the music was so unabashedly political,
relevant and earnest the karma by show’s end was refreshingly
inspiring. A lot of rock concerts can leave an audience feeling
drained. Devo’s dynamic performance left this home town
crowd obviously rejuvenated ... almost giddy. And as we all filed
out of the Scene Pavilion ... walking the banks of the Cuyahoga
River ... it struck me how connected the crowd had been on this
fine August evening. Once again the wisdom of the spud boys from
Akron proved true.
Hurricane Relief Efforts
Guru in a Suit
by Matt Carmean
The Short North
* * * 1/2
by Rick Brown
picked a lousy night to go see Shadowbox’s
Freak Show this year. Oh, it wasn’t raining
or anything like that. No. Jimmy Mak
was on vacation. Now I don’t begrudge the man a rest. It’s
just that two of the more popular sketches included in Freak
Show are crowd favorites Campfire
Boys and Jason’s
Scary Stories. And Mr. Mak OWNS these skits. Without
him ... try as they might ... even Gabriel Guyer
couldn’t carry it off. Without Jimmy’s childlike enthusiasm
both were humorous yet missed the uproariously anarchistic
innocence with which Mak performs
them. Fortunately Mr. Guyer DID manage to make Zoltar – Life of the Party ... a children’s birthday
party story ... a delightfully dorky success.
White Stripes, The Greenhornes
The Greek Theatre
August 16, 2005
Los Angeles, CA
*** (of five)
by Ted Kane
pairing of the Greenhornes and the White Stripes at the
Greek seemed like a winner. Two retro-minded bands, from
Ohio (Cincinnati) and Michigan (Detroit) respectively, at
an attractive, modestly sized outdoor theatre in the hills
of Griffith Park. The kids in the audience, some of whom
were very young and perhaps attending their first rock concert,
seemed very enthusiastic. My experience, however, was rather
mixed. Both bands played pretty well, and I certainly liked
parts of both performances. It's just that, after a certain
point, I can't go quite so far as to say I really enjoyed
the evening on the whole.
with Thomas Rumpleberry”
by David Hochman
am sitting at the Royal Ladeeda Hotel on New York’s
East 65th Street, a six-star hotel so extravagant, so exclusive
that it is not mentioned in any reference guides, not even
the phone book. As I wait in the lobby, I am passed by Danny
de Vito and Pamela Anderson, he immaculately dressed, she
in a bikini, holding hands and sharing a giggle. I’d
often heard this is where the rich and famous go to have
a fling without the press finding out.
by John Bennett
and Wine in California Wine Country
November 1, 2004 I had just downloaded
the website for The Vineman Half Ironman triathlon, and
I realized that a bit of serendipity was in force. Ever
since 2000 when I lived in Kona, Hawaii, the home of the
World Ironman Triathlon Championships, I had desired to
finally take the plunge into triathlon, but as of yet had
failed to do so. Now, here I was faced with the statement
on The Vineman website that, “Today is the first day
to sign up for the July 31, 2005 Vineman Half Ironman”.
Lo and behold, for a mere $201.00 entry fee I could submit
myself to the rigors of swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles,
and then running 13.1 miles in the heart of Sonoma County
California, the heart of Wine Country.
(translated by Anita Branin)
It was the mid 1970’s
... 1977 to be exact ... when what was then simply Warner Cable
initiated an interactive cable system in Columbus, Ohio. It was
called ... for some unknown reason ... Qube. Being the first cable
network in this city ... and this was back when cable monopolies
were legal ... if you had cable you had Qube.
Maybe it was called Qube after the box that sat on your living
room’s coffee table. I’m not referring to the cable
box underneath the television. This was a very large remote control.
Back then ... in the dark ages ... you actually had to GET UP
and turn the DIAL to change channels. No kidding kids. So this
was the very first remote control most of us ever had. Just set
your television’s dial to 03 and you never had to get up
to change channels again. Qube had buttons all over it, was about
8 inches by 12 inches and maybe 2 inches thick. You couldn’t
misplace this “remote” if you wanted to. Besides being
huge it had what looked like the Trans-Atlantic Cable running
from it, across your living room floor, and into the box under
your T.V. Most Qube subscribers tripped over this garden hose
sized cable on a daily basis ... including me.
But ... AAAAHHH ... the simple joys of those heady days of virgin
cable television! For the first time in a man’s life he
had porn right there in his house ... without having to go somewhere
and purchase it!! I mean ... sure ... it was mostly a lot of “head
bobbing” shots. But there were bare, bouncing breasts galore!!!
And ... there were devious schemes to get this head bobbin’
bare breasted fare for free. Men ... skulking in dark corners
could be overheard whispering, “Did you hear that if you
put a stack of magnets over number 20 you can get porn for free?”
Or, “It’s true!! All you have to do is jam a large
safety pin in the Qube box right by the ‘send’ button
and you won’t get billed for porn!!”
Sometimes I really miss the 70’s ... even though I did get
busted for the safety pin idea. I was watching something akin
to “Head Bobbin’ Beach Babes Bare Their Bouncing Breasts
in Bozeman” when the picture scrambled. Every frikkin’
channel was scrambled. I panicked and began pushing the big safety
pin into the Qube like a possessed Voodoo Doctor!! When the repair
guy confronted me about it I stammered, “Uh ... I think
somebody messed with it at a party I had.” He shook his
head in disgust and muttered, “Sure ... sure.” He’d
heard about the giant safety pin theory ... no doubt.
What made Qube different from other city’s cable systems
was that it was interactive. That is, you could send responses
back to the television studio by casting “votes” on
the Qube remote box. A range of numbers from 1 to 4 ... I think
... and there were “yes” and “no” buttons
... at the bottom of the thing let you communicate with the broadcaster.
There were shows where you could “vote” for you favorite
video ... how the chef on the cooking show should make “your”
eggs ... weird concepts like that. The one show that caught my
eye was their daily talent show. This was when I was just starting
to play in Columbus as a musician.
I can’t remember the name of the talent show. It was on
Monday through Friday in the late afternoon. The first four days
would showcase 3 or 4 acts that would perform and at the end viewers
at home would vote for the winner. The four daily winners would
then return Friday for the weekly championship. And, of course
there were monthly winners and finally a grand prizewinner for
the year. Prizes were donated by local businesses and could be
anything from a haircut to a massage to a dinner for two at a
local eatery. I decided to give it a shot.
I took my guitar and harmonica down to Warner Qube studios and
auditioned. I played a mean version of Bob Dylan’s “All
Along the Watchtower” with a wicked harmonica solo. I passed
the audition. Of course no one ever failed an audition. I guess
it was just a formality to give the director the choice of a variety
of acts on specific shows. I was told to come back next Tuesday
for the competition.
Chicago, Illinois: July 15th-17th, 2005
By Leonid Maymind
kids packed in an old Buick Roadmaster station wagon. Ipods, snacks,
sleeping bags, and an unsteady chess set. A journey across the Midwest
to the first ever Intonation Music Festival, curated by Pitchfork
Media, held in Union Park, Chicago, Illinois.
It all began in Columbus, Ohio, where I, and four friends began
our trek to attend what would turn out to be a weekend of dust,
heat, sun, ice cream, toy squirt guns, and music. Lots of music.
The destination was the Intonation Music Festival, the first festival
put on by the indie giant www.pitchforkmedia.com.
For those unfamiliar with Pitchfork, the site includes album reviews,
interviews, track reviews, and anything else relating to the independent
music scene and subculture that so many ‘hipsters’ today
in the United States are attracted to. Pitchfork has become infamous
for harsh reviews, esoteric writing, and enough sway to make or
break a band. Their rise has been steady in the past few years,
as their site now attracts thousands of visitors daily. The approval
of a writer on the Pitchfork staff can raise the popularity of a
band so drastically that many criticize the website for it’s
can be seen in the now well-known Canadian band The Arcade Fire,
as well as such indie newcomers as M.I.A. and Bloc Party. When the
Arcade Fire came to Little Brothers in Columbus, OH back in the
fall of 2004, there were no more than 100 people in the small venue.
A little over a year later, in October of 2005, the rock group will
open for U2, one of the biggest bands in the world. They have also
played every summer festival imaginable (Intonation withstanding)
and instantly risen to the top of respectable Merge Records’
bestselling list. Such quick fame was highly unlikely without a
9.7/10 rating from Pitchfork, as well as being rated the number
1 album of 2004 by the website.
So when it was announced in early spring that Pitchfork would be
selecting bands to play at a two-day music festival held in the
center of the country, it was the next logical step for the media
giant in its reign of music-reporting supremacy. Not only would
the site choose the bands, it would report on the festival with
its entire staff of writers, normally spread throughout the country.
Other festivals held in the US in the summer have been known to
draw huge crowds, offering attendees a wide variety of music and
outdoor fun. The draw of Intonation came with the price: 22 dollars
for two days of music and 21 bands. Along with the array of bands,
there was a DJ tent and a record sale to keep festivalgoers busy.
Hipsters never said they didn’t like value, as long as it’s
With all of this in mind, we drove west to Chicago with fervor in
our hearts. The only thing keeping us in reality was the ever-rising
gas prices as we sped toward the Windy City. After a few hours spent
driving, we arrived at my friend Jamie’s apartment in Champaigne,
Illinois, where we were greeted with more college students who we
would be going with to the festival tomorrow. The night was spent
eating pizza, watching a few Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes,
followed by a rush to buy swimsuits and alcohol and enjoy the swimming
pool and hot tub in the apartment complex. It was a worthy night
to precede the fervent activity that made up the next two days.
The 10 of us awoke early in the morning to take two cars the hour
and half north to Chicago. We arrived at Union Park a few hours
before the gates opened at 1 PM, and the locale of the festival
was a little disappointing upon our first grand entrance. The park
was little more than two dusty baseball fields with two stages set
up in the infields. There were also food and drink vendors lining
the park’s only cement walkway, which led to the massive tent
where the record sale and DJ tent were setup. The only thing that
lent itself of Pitchfork’s savvy internet design scheme were
large banners hanging on either sides of the stages that announced
the lineup of bands for both days.
right in front of the stages was persistent, but not the only problem
that nature bestowed upon the weekend. The dry, thick heat hit us
hard at about 1:30 PM on Saturday, and only got worse throughout
the weekend. Thankfully, bottled water was only a buck a pop, but
there was only one water fountain from which to drink and refill
extra containers. Lines for hydration soon wrapped halfway around
the park. Shade was also at a premium at Union Park, at least anywhere
close to the stages. Shade breaks usually meant resigning yourself
from seeing anything happening on stage
AC Newman with Andrew Bird
The way the schedule
worked was a band on the ‘Decimal’ stage would play
their set, and then five or ten minutes later, the ‘Holiday’
stage would start up. (Note: My good buddy Andrew Gallagher and
I inquired politely to several festival volunteers as to why the
stages were named ‘Decimal’ and ‘Holiday,’
but we were mostly left with blank stares and shrugs. One lovely
young lady did however supplement her own befuddlement with free
donuts for us. We never did find out why the stages were named this
way. The donuts, however, were delicious). This meant you could
either mosey along over to the next stage with the crowds and get
a view from somewhere in the middle, or you could park yourself
in front of one stage for as long as you wanted and maintain your
position and sacrifice seeing the band playing on the opposite stage.
For the most part, our group decided to try to snag choice spots
for our favorite bands and be content with hearing the others from
the cool of the shade.
band was introduced by the local Chicago poet Thax Baxter, who seemed
to be a legend among the locals in attendance. His poems used the
themes of the band’s name and music to create a short, detailed
visual image before he shuffled off stage with a wave of his hand.
I managed to get a word in with him later in the festival and I
can attest first-hand that he truly is an interesting character.
the music itself, the overall quality of sound and performance was
far above average. There was a wide variety of musical styles that
relieved the festival of the potential monotony that seeing five
or six indie rock bands in a row could have. The southern rock of
Magnolia Electric Company contrasted well with the post-rock of
Saturday’s headliner Tortoise; the quirky folk-rock of Sunday’s
headliner the Decemberists was a nice change of pace from the blistering
rock of the Wrens and Les Savy Fav that had come before. The crowd
drank up the catchy dance-punk that the Thunderbirds are Now! spewed
out just as much as the highly original style of arresting post-punk
of Xiu Xiu. Seeing Canada’s Broken Social Scene play an incredibly
strong set was only outdone by Andrew Bird, the virtuoso violinist/guitarist/singer/songwriter/whistler
who stretched his own compositions on stage with his jazz-informed
drummer Kevin O’Donnell scooting right along. Other favorites
included pop wonder AC Newman, off to a shaky start with an out
of tune guitar, but then recovering magnificently. His set included
a duet with Andrew Bird somewhere, which I somehow missed. Was I
talking to you, random 18-year-old hipster chick, at the time? You
said something about your gay friend and then dragged on a cigarette
while reading the Economist in one of the best conversations
I’ve had about heat/high school in my life. I may never know.
that the performers were so numerous sort of made the whole two
days blur together. At one point, I forgot if I was watching the
Wrens or Magnolia Electric Company. Another instance on Sunday afternoon,
after a few intense hours in the heat, I heard the first few bars
of an Out Hud song and was convinced the Faint had somehow made
a surprise appearance at the festival. I must admit some bands completely
slipped through the cracks. I do not remembering hearing a single
note of the ‘instru-metal’ rock outfit Pelican, nor
did I pay much attention to the beats showcased by laptop whiz Four
Tet. I don’t see how watching anyone fiddle around on a computer
is cool. By Sunday night, I was packed in the front row of the crowd
watching Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav strip down to tiny red shorts,
pour beer over his head, belly, and down his pants, and recline
on an air lounger on-stage, while his band calmly broke down into
tightest set of rock the festival had yet seen. Their set was only
enhanced when Harrington went out into the audience with mic in
hand and made everyone settle down before the security gate was
pushed over and the cops would be forced to pull the plug.
a diverse, talented lineup, the Intonation Music Festival did not
disappoint. The weekend went over with no major technical difficulties
and no security snags. The 90-degree weather perhaps put some of
the 15,000 audience away from the stages, but there were enough
brave souls ready to weather the sun in order to get a look at Dungen,
who had come all the way from Sweden, or to try to catch some of
the Go! Team’s energy, hailing from the UK. As Andy and I
sat in the backseat of the Roadmaster recounting the weekend Monday
morning headed back east, he noted to me that as tired as we were,
the memories of that weekend of the summer would still be the ones
we were telling all our friends about once the first week of classes
Broken Social Scene
Saturday: Head of Femur, Pelican, the M’s, AC Newman, Magnolia
Electric Company, Four Tet, Broken Social Scene, the Go! Team, Prefuse
73, Death from Above 1979, Tortoise.
Thunderbirds are Now!, Dungen, Xiu Xiu, Out Hud, The Hold Steady,
Andrew Bird, Deerhoof, The Wrens, Les Savy Fav, the Decemberists.