Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


2 Comments

Bunbury 2014: Friday Review

It’s a nice feeling when things go according to plan. It’s a wonderful feeling when things go even better than planned. At work, I was assigned a project that was running off the rails the day before the weekend of the 4th of July. Practically, I had 5 business days to get the project back under control and re-plan it.

I had planned to take yesterday off, so I could have a leisurely morning getting ready for Bunbury. Once I got this flaming project tossed in my lap, taking the day off was out of the question. After roughly 40 meetings and what felt like a zillion emails, and hundreds of problems solved this week, I was able to get a half-day off.

By some miracle, I was able to close out all of my pending work, and keep my four meetings of the morning on schedule. By noon, I was headed to Sawyer Point to get my press credentials. This task went quickly, and I had enough time to change out of work clothes and head back to the fest.

I bought my VIP passes at the fest last year. I had a good enough time that I felt confident about the purchase without knowing the line-up. I had since lost that email receipt. At will call they looked me up, and printed my tickets in less than 5 minutes. Then I headed to the media tent to get my camera sticker. This also took about five minutes. Getting into the fest on time: Success!

I headed to the River Stage to see Royal Teeth. They were just as adorable as I was expecting. They were shiny pop goodness with a dash of hipster. They sounded great, seemed happy to be there, and were really chatty with the crowd.

After a brief stop in the VIP tent for a 2 dollar beer, I headed to The Main Stage to see X Ambassadors. They’re music isn’t exactly my bag. But, my spidey sense told me that they would put up a solid performance. Plus, they have been regularly selling out their shows on this tour, so that’s got to count for something. They didn’t disappoint.

I wasn’t feeling particularly drawn to any of the bands in the time slot following X Ambassadors. I checked in on a couple of songs by Let It Be and Panama Wedding. Let It Be made me think of every pop punk show that I saw in the late 90’s. I think that could be interpreted as an insult, but that’s not what I intend. I like pop punk. I really like it when it’s tight, as they were. I was drawn off because I had to get back to The Main Stage, but I would happily go see them again.

Wild Cub was just as excellent as I expected. They were great the other two times I saw them, so there were no surprises there. The singer said that Ohio was special to them because a dj in Columbus was the first to play their song on the radio. This spawned a conversation later about how Ohio radio stations are less tightly controlled and thus makes Ohio a bit of a trend setter. I have never heard this before. When I have 5 minutes to blow this will be googled.

I stopped by at J Roddy Walston and the Business and Family and Friends. J Roddy was rocking. I will be seeing them again. Like X Ambassadors, their music isn’t my bag, but I always love a stellar performance.

I heard great things about Cage the Elephant. That great lip service is justified. At this point I thought, ah this will be the best performamce of the day. That turned out completely wrong.

I missed Bad Suns, but my friends that made it said they were great. Next up was Fitz and the Tantrums. I saw them this past fall. They have been touring for more than 7 months. They are great performers, but I have to say their vocals were a little worse for the wear. Fitz was clearly struggling. Their only option would have been to cancel, and I commend them for powering through it. Regardless of sounding a little rough, they were just as engaged with the crowd as they were early in the tour. The band sounded excellent. Net, not the best I’ve seen from them, but they get big ups for not disappointing their fans with a cancellation.

I am sure it’s nostalgia that makes so happy to see Heartless Bastards play in Cincinnati. I think of the many times I saw a then slightly different lineup playing the claustrophobic basement of the CAC, the original Southgate House, and Northside Tavern. It was around their inception and early shows that I started engaging in the local music scene. Zero regrets there. Erika Wennerstrom said it was good to be home, and it made me feel sappy and thankful for how good Cincinnati has been to me.

Last up for the evening was Empire of the Sun. When they were booked, I had thoughts. Thoughts like, what idiot booked this? I kept these thoughts to myself, because I wasn’t familiar with the band. I did some listening. I liked their sound. For the most part, feedback on social media was similar to my first thought. But there were sporadic dissenters suggesting that this booking was a huge win. “They never tour in the states”, they said. “They have an amazing live show”, they said. I skipped checking out any YouTube videos because, I do most of my listening via Spotify and can’t stream video at work.

The photography pit was packed. Empire of the Sun hit the stage. My mouth was agape. It took minutes for me to recover my wits from the awe I was experiencing. My words just aren’t good enough to describe what happened there. The pictures aren’t really either. But they’re all I have. I will say this, their show blew my expectations out of the water. If you can see them, MY GOD YOU MUST DO IT. I DON”T CARE IF YOU DON”T LIKE THEIR MUSIC.

In summary, Bunbury day one, you win. I freely admit, I wasn’t feeling your line-up this year. But, damn, if Saturday and Sunday are even half as good as yesterday, I am calling this fest a massive success.

 

Royal Teeth! Aren't they cute?

Royal Teeth! Aren’t they cute?

See? Even cuter in this picture.

See? Even cuter in this picture.

X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors

Not the instrument I thought he would play.

Not the instrument I thought he would play.

Let It Be rocking out.

Let It Be rocking out.

Panama Wedding

Panama Wedding

Wild Cub!

Wild Cub!

J Roddy Walston and the Business

J Roddy Walston and the Business

J Roddy Walston and the Business, and for some reason they remind me of Soul Asylum. Visually. They sound nothing like Soul Asylum.

J Roddy Walston and the Business, and for some reason they remind me of Soul Asylum. Visually. They sound nothing like Soul Asylum.

Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

These guys put up an amazing performance.

These guys put up an amazing performance.

Fits and the Tantrums.

Fits and the Tantrums.

Heartless Bastards!

Heartless Bastards!

The Warsteiner Stage

The Warsteiner Stage

Empire of the Sun. I have so many more pictures of this show, but you will need to wait a few more days until I can process all of them.

Empire of the Sun. I have so many more pictures of this show, but you will need to wait a few more days until I can process all of them.


Leave a comment

Bunbury 2014: IT’S ALMOST HERE!!

This has been one hell of a week at work, which makes me extra excited about all the live music that I’m seeing this weekend. I’ve been blogging about my not-to-miss bands for the past few months. Check out those blogs if you like.

Fitz and the Trantrums and Young the Giant
Kishi Bashi and Wild Cub
Bronze Radio Return and Bad Suns
Cults and Holy Ghost!

Plus, I’m super excited that I got a press pass this year. I have a pretty spiffy camera, and I was hoping I could get clearance to bring it in. Success!! I’m thrilled about all the amazing pictures that I’m going to share in the coming days.

Here’s my agenda for the weekend. Agenda. It’s so corporate. Regardless, here it is.

Friday:

2-245 Divided between Royal Teeth and Snowmine – Both these bands sound great, so it looks like I start the fest by sprinting across Sawyer Point.
245-330 X Ambassadors – These guys are regularly selling out their venues on this tour. Their horizon is looking pretty bright.
330-415 Let It Happen
415-5 Wild Cub Seen them twice, love them. 500 Miles to Memphis gets an honorable mention. This Cincinnati-based band puts on a great show, but I’ve seen them quite a few times. Oh, the burden of being a local at this fest.
5-545 Divided between J Roddy Walston and the Business and Family and Friends – I enjoy the sound of both of these bands. More sprinting.
545-645 Cage the Elephant
645-730 Bad Suns – If I have it in me, I might try and catch a song or two by Meg Myers and Lydia Loveless between Cage and Bad Suns.
745-9 Fitz and the Tantrums
915-1015 Heartless Bastards – Erika Wennerstrom’s voice is just spectacular.
1015-1115 Empire of the Sun

Saturday:

2-245 Miner
245-330 Big Fresh
330-415 Bronze Radio Return
415-5 Bonesetters
5-545 Kishi Bashi – I would have gotten tix to this fest just for this show.
545-645 Cults – Their songs sound straight out of the sixties and have lyrics about, well, cults. What’s not to like?
630-730 Little Daylight – This band drew me away from my original agenda at Governor’s Ball with their sweet, sweet sounds.
730-815 Molly Sullivan – Formerly the lead singer of the Know Know Nots, she’s got stellar vocals. I’m excited to see what she’s working on now.
815-915 Divided between  The Pass and Andrew W. K. – Oh god, why are so many good things happening in this time slot.
9-10 Foxy Shazam – Their music isn’t really in my wheelhouse, but they are super performers.
10-1115 Fall Out Boy – They aren’t really my thing, but they have no competition. So, thks fr th mrms in advance.

Sunday:

2-245 Brick + Mortar
245-330 The Lighthouse and the Whaler – So much pop goodness. It’s marshmallow fluff for your ears.
330-415 The Easthills
415-5 Kopecky Family Band – Are they sure they aren’t a subset of Cults?
5-6 ZZ Ward
6-7 Robert Delong – This is dance-your-pants-off hour.
630-730 Bear Hands
7-8 Young the Giant
8-9 Holy Ghost! – They are so 80’s, and I love it so much.
9-1015 Flaming Lips – Thank Jeebus this thing ends at 1015. I will be beat-down by that point in the weekend.

Bring it Bunbury! I’m ready!