Aaaand it’s time for Day 2 of Field Dayapalooza. (Still can’t believe they rejected my name suggestion. Assholes.)
I don’t think I’ve seen a band who look more like they were put together by a committee to revive classic rock since maybe The Black Crowes. Hey everybody it’s the next Kula Shaker!
The number of levels on which it was fabulous to hear the Ha dance blaring across the field would break your calculator. That makes it hard to describe why Nguzunguzu’s set was a bit disappointing. Sure, there was enough bass to put a hole up in yo neck, and you’d have to have a broken leg to keep yourself from getting down to beats like his. But my suspicions about some of these Night Slugs style drum workouts was confirmed by his (and his unnamed co-dj’s) set: it’s too dry. Tracky tracks are fine if you’re fucking with them and bringing different sounds into the mix, but if you basically just play them straight, the crowd don’t quite know what to do. It’s like some sort of interminable intro to them. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for them, but that place is probably not a dance tent on a very rock-oriented day of a festival. (Top t-shirts: 1. Pixies. 2. The Smiths. 3. The Brian Jonestown Massacre. WTF, I know.) Anyways, after a valiant head-nodding effort, I made my excuses and left.
So, I was wrong. The Horrors’ new album is a stadium rock masterpiece. I just had to hear it in a stadium sized space to understand. There’s something about that epic sweep that feels particularly earned when it matches the space, and Faris Badwan is one of the most magisterial front men of the modern era. Honestly I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how epic their set was. Look at the pictures, amuse yourself at the tightness of Faris’ pants, but otherwise I got nothing for ya. You had to be there.
I had no idea that Future Islands were a) American and b) basically a synth pop act fronted by Glenn Danzig. The singer cut a very Rollins-like figure, flexing in his black t-shirt like a hardcore singer who wandered into the wrong rehearsal studio by mistake. And yet, it kind of worked; cuts like “Caesar” couldn’t have been pulled off by the likes of Morrissey, at least not without the influence of steroids injected straight into his jugular as a pre-show ritual. Maybe not the most conventional approach to the genre, but not unwelcome, either.
I’m biased because I saw them with Kim Deal earlier in their reunion cycle, but it felt very much like the kind of headliner choice where the promoter knew they needed a name to close the show, and they didn’t especially care which one. The vibe was of a band taking the money and running, possibly aided by the preponderance of hits (“Wave of Mutilation,” “Velouria,” “Debaser,” “Bone Machine” etc) and the new stuff felt half-hearted at best. It was a bit like watching Simpsons reruns: pleasant, nostalgic but not worth staying up late for.
Until next time, sports fans.