Sunday, July 20, 2008

Checked out the Download Festival yesterday at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Yes, that Shoreline Amphitheatre, home of the $11 peepee beer, expensive parking, bad sound, and nasty food. The one that I repeatedly say I will never attend a show at again -- every time I go to a show there. But free tickets, so c'mon!

Anyway, we showed up late, trading M83 for some fro-yo loving at Fraiche in Palo Alto. Organic, with only three ingredients, and oh my, was it good! We then hit the Whole Foods there to use the facilities, and got a taste of what it's like to live in tony Palo Alto. So fancy! Full trays of berries, mozzarella and tomato salad, cut fruit, and sausages were set out for shoppers to graze as they shopped. Nothing like the apparently ghetto Whole Foods in Oakland and Berkeley, except for the high prices!

Since we really wanted to see Gang of Four and Jesus and Mary Chain, we really could have spent more time chilling in yuppie heaven, because otherwise the festival was just alright -- though Trevor did win a 250 GB hard drive in a promotion there. Super sweet!

We spent most of the time before the aforementioned shows hanging out by the side stage, eating our own packed lunch and bemoaning the state of all the youngsters -- just as it should be.

Though it was quite cool to see the families who came to the show. Mom and Dad for Gang of Four, kids for whatever they were there to see.

This was my first time seeing Gang of Four, and they were over the top fantastic. Incredible energy from the entire band. 53 year-old Jon King both prowled and sprung around the stage, and his movements were so smooth that Trevor remarked that he thinks he must do martial arts. Andy Gill's perfect guitar work (while also working a natty suit) was awesome to see live. And they completely owned their old material, blowing away the teens that stuck around to see them. Damaged Goods had everyone up and dancing.

But you know me: I kept thinking sadly of another influential reunited band, the once-mighty Bauhaus, and in direct contrast to Gang of Four what I see as Bauhaus' purposeful inability to own their greatest work anymore, as evidenced by commentary by band members and the dismal Summer 2006 shows in Europe. This contributed to my feeling that they thought they needed to make new work to feel relevant -- which is fine if you're owning that too and not just recycling rejects from various side projects to make an abomination like Go Away White.

Anyway, that kind of negativity really affects the audience, and there was none of that at Gang of Four. Pure, masterful fun. I was very impressed.

So, after Gang of Four vaporized off the stage...

 was time for Jesus and Mary Chain.

I hadn't seen Jesus and Mary Chain since 1992, so it was nice to check out the reunited band and hear some old favorites. Famous in the past for being temperamental, drugged out, and indifferent to their audience, the brothers Reid kept the indifference but rolled out a very placid show. Comatose, almost. In fact, it seems the only way they could find to stoke the audience's ire was by downtuning William Reid's guitar to the point of nonexistence, so that the signature brassy guitar bits evident in songs like Head On and Happy When It Rains were rendered null. We left before the set was over.

I can't blame them though. I wouldn't want to follow Gang of Four.

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Blogger stardust savant said...

You neglected to mention the gorgeous Amazon playing bass with Gang of Four. She was none other than Gail Ann Dorsey, Bowie's main girl on bass. ;-)

July 21, 2008 at 5:52:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

Thank you! I've been trying to find out who she was. I can't believe no one with actual musical credentials talked about her in their reviews (as of yesterday evening, when I was looking around for who she was). She was amazing! And her background vocals were excellent as well.

I was definitely remiss to not give her at least a mention.

And the Eiffel Tower dress she's wearing? WANT.

July 21, 2008 at 8:14:00 PM PDT  
Blogger stardust savant said...

Oh girl, I want her whole wardrobe. She always has the best skirts and dresses. If you watch some vids from Bowie's Earthling and Outside era, you will be in love with both her and her clothing.

July 22, 2008 at 3:54:00 AM PDT  

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