Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


1 Comment

Bunbury 2014: The Day I Learn Why Music Fests Are Three Days

Sunday at Bunbury started sideways. The skies opened up in the middle of Brick + Mortar’s set, which was also the first act of the day. They said that they would pick-up after the rain let up. After some time spent in the VIP tent throwing back a couple of beers, music resumed. The delay was probably about and hour and fifteen minutes. I was expecting them to just start where they were in the original schedule, but instead they issued a new schedule ensuring that all the bands that were booked that day would in fact play.

The main victim of this new schedule was Young the Giant. I had originally planned on seeing them, but after the reschedule, I couldn’t get across the park to hear more than one and a half songs from them. I feel happy that one of the songs happened to be “My Body”.

The first band up after the reschedule was The Lighthouse and the Whaler. They sounded good, but I was distracted by the threatening sky and my need to keep my very expensive camera gear from getting soaked. I wanted to stay for more than three songs, but the rain chased me away.

I trotted back to the VIP tent to see a short performance by The Kopecky Family Band. It was covered, so that was the only location to retreat to. They sounded great. They were really engaged with the people in the audience. They wanted to do an acoustic song in the center of the tent with everyone crowded around them, but they got shot down by the sound guys. I’m a little bummed that didn’t happen, but I think they were concerned that the music was starting on the main stage.

I checked out ZZ Ward at The Main Stage. Her backing band is pretty spectacular. Her vocals were great. But her music felt wrong for a festival. I want to see her in a dark club. If she comes back to The Madison Theater, or The Southgate House revival, I would gladly see her again.

I checked out The Kopecky Family Band at The River Stage. Man, they are just really great. There was a trombone war. There was some dancing. If they come around Cincinnati again, I will be going to see them. This was my favorite performance of the day.

I saw a bit of Robert DeLong. I like his music. I’m not so fond of watching one or two dudes with a bunch of technology. Robert DeLong does a great job of trying to make that entertaining, but it’s just not my thing. I saw Baths at Midpoint Music Festival last fall, and had a similar experience. It was two dudes with technology. I loved the record, but I didn’t enjoy the concert experience.

I headed off to The Warsteiner Stage for Bear Hands. Their stage presence wasn’t anything special. But they sounded fantastic. I had an excellent conversation with Alex, someone who works on Midpoint Music Festival. I’ve talked about that fest, here, here, and here. It’s the best music festival in the city. It’s an adventure in exploring downtown, and an adventure in seeing new music. I love the way downtown hums with bicycles and music fanatics. We talked about the fest for a bit, and it was super cool to hear about how it’s managed.

After hearing just a bit of Young the Giant, I headed to Holy Ghost! at The River Stage. I was pretty excited about an 80’s throwback dance party. Can that’s what happened. There was a conga line. Then the audience made of their own line dance, and coordinated everyone up front to dance together. The band sounded just like the recording. Their stage presence was ok, but the audience participation made it a really fun show.

Last up was The Flaming Lips on The Main Stage. Spectacle is a good word for their show. It was very visually stimulating. They sounded good, and provided plenty of entertainment. The thing that really struck me about them was how much fun Wayne Coyne seemed to be having. Playing on that stage seemed to be the only thing he wanted to be doing at that moment in this world. It made for such a great concert experience. Oh, and yeah, he got in his hamster ball and rolled/walked around the crowd.

Sometime in the next week, I will post another blog where I talk about my VIP experience and me experience with a media pass. I will also reflect on the experience as a whole. What I can say now is that in spite of my exhaustion, I was so bummed it was over.

The Flaming Lips on stage.

The Flaming Lips on stage.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler

The Lighthouse and the Whaler

The Lighthouse and the Whaler

The Lighthouse and the Whaler

The Kopecky Family Band

The Kopecky Family Band

The VIP stage. This is where all the VIP performances took place.

The VIP stage. This is where all the VIP performances took place.

ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward

Robert DeLong

Robert DeLong

Airborne Robert Delong

Airborne Robert Delong

Bear Hands

Bear Hands

Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost!

That's a woman dressed as a mountain. There were a couple of mushrooms and a rainbow on the stage too.

That’s a woman dressed as a mountain. There were a couple of mushrooms and a rainbow on the stage too.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. You may ask yourself if he's wearing a body suit. Why yes, he is.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. You may ask yourself if he’s wearing a body suit. Why yes, he is.


5 Comments

Bunbury 2014: Must See Bands Cults and Holy Ghost!

I’ll admit it. I considered trying to sell my VIP Bunbury passes once the headliners were announced. With Forecastle snagging Beck, Outkast, The Replacements, and Jack White as headliners, that line-up is more appealing as far as headliners go. When I dig a little deeper in the Forecastle line-up there’s other gems like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Band of Horses. Regarding Bunbury’s headliners, I’m not terribly excited about Empire of the Sun or The Flaming Lips, and I dislike Fall Out Boy and Paramore. Bunbury’s second tier acts are typically my thing, and there are some bright spots there for sure. Kishi Bashi, Wild Cub, Fitz and the Tantrums are all solid. While Young the Giant and Foxy Shazaam aren’t in my wheelhouse my past experiences at their shows prove that their performances will be excellent.

Line-ups aside, there’s the pricing difference. Forecastle VIP passes are about 500 bucks each. Because I bought my Bunbury VIP passes so early, I paid 295 for each of them. The question that I have to ask myself is thus, Do I want to see Beck, The Replacements, Outkast, and Jack White enough to sell my tickets to Bunbury and fork over an additional 400 bucks for a couple of Forecastle VIP passes? I will need to factor in money to stay in Louisville, so that will probably drive the additional cost up to 700 bucks.

This is the context in which I started listening to the second and third tier bands in the Bunbury line-up. I spent a couple of weeks listening to this handy Spotify playlist. And all I can say is wow. The second and third tier stuff is great. In the interests of keeping this post to a manageable length I’m only going to talk about a couple of my finds. But, I’ve found enough good stuff that my Bunbury agenda is already packed. Needless to say, there is no way I am selling my passes. Here’s a couple of my favorites.

What happens when you combine 60’s pop sensibility with Best Coast and a sense of ominous darkness? You get Cults. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised that their video boasts footage of Jim Jones. But I was. It’s such a sunny sounding song against such a dark event. Given that I have a sweet tooth for cathartic art and music, of course I love it. I’ve listened to both of their releases, and I am excited to see them at Bunbury.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my love of 80’s pop in the blog before. Let it be known that when “Africa” by Toto comes on my car stereo I am that lunatic enthusiastically singing along with the harmonies; 80’s pop is my cat nip. This admission will actually explain a number of my Bunbury favs. Given that I lived through the 90’s when indie rock was all guitar and little melody, and NEVER keyboards, I can tell you how happy I am that melody and the love of synth is back in new music. This brings me to Holy Ghost!. Seriously, I will take roughly 10 seconds of this video before my love of this band will be explained. Oh 80’s influence, I welcome you back. And clearly so does Holy Ghost!.