Tag Archives: music

Extravaganza is not an excuse to suffocate people. But maybe Snoop Dogg is.

Yesterday was the school’s annual free concert: Extravaganza. Nala and I got there early and managed to work our way to the very front, before any of the big bands got on stage. Once there, we were determined not to lose our spots. We had no idea what standing our ground would entail. Surfer Blood was the first band to play after the local band, The Fire Department, opened. They quickly entered the stage and played a short set full of their biggest hits. They were lively, moving around the stage, dancing, and even jumping off at one point, only to require help from the security guards to get back up.

After they finished playing, Iration came on stage and began to play their hits, the crowd and security guards bobbing their heads to the relaxed, happy tunes that emanated from the speakers. The bass was beyond gut-busting. It moved through the throats and into the chest of those lucky enough to be in the front. My ears were pounding, but the music was great. After a few songs about their old college town, they exited the stage.

The crew began to set up the area for Wolfgang Gartner, a DJ. As he came on, everyone began to push their way to the front in anticipation of the act that would follow him, Snoop Dogg. The crowd began to get a little violent and unruly, much different from the vibes floating through during the previous bands. Nala started to get shoved and squished as she and the rest of the people directly behind me tried to hold their spot. They pushed back, but it only made people angrier. Soon, I couldn’t even see Nala anymore. Then the pushing hit the front. The people behind me got closer and closer, with more and more force, not caring that they were slamming me up against the hard, metal gate. I braced myself with my knees against the gate, trying to maintain as much space as possible. A few others who were getting short of breath from being pressed against it signaled to the security guards, hoping they would be able to get people to move back. They tried, but the crowd wouldn’t listen. They gave me the thumbs up as I pushed back as hard as I could, yelling at the people behind me, especially the girl who had a giant raccoon tail in my face every five seconds. I plugged my ears for most of Wolfgang Gartner’s set, the bass was nearly unbearable. That, combined with the security guards yanking unruly people out of the crowd over my head, made for a very unpleasant half an hour. It felt like the DJ had been up there for hours when he finally finished.

And then Snoop Dogg came on. And all of the pushing stopped as people stood in awe as he made his grand entrance. He had a great set, full of some of his best songs. He encouraged the crowd to sing along and interact as much as possible. It was clear that it wasn’t just the audience that was having a good time. 

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Some Quality Time with Bon Bon.

Sunday night was a night I had been counting down to for months. It was the Bon Iver concert at the bowl. Ethan and I had gotten tickets ten minutes after the box office opened back in February. We headed into town about two hours before the concert, too excited to wait any longer. When we arrived in the parking lot, Ethan pulled out the two joints he had rolled, wrapped them in a napkin, and elegantly stuck his hand down his pants and taped them to his underwear. We got out of the car and walked at a brisk pace towards the venue before we broke into a half skip, half run. When we finally arrived, we realized we were far too early. We picked up our tickets at will call and realized that we weren’t actually standing in the pit, they had set up seats instead. We found our seat and checked out the stage before we wandered onto the plaza to browse the food selection. I found some kettle corn to snack on and we headed back to our seats.

The opening band, All Tiny Creatures began to play right on schedule. They played a short set and entertained as people filtered into the arena. When they finished playing, they broke down their gear faster than I’ve ever seen it done. The gear for Bon Iver began to get brought out — including a multitude of standing blue lights. They uncovered the two drum sets and began tuning the seemingly countless guitars. After a few lighting changes, the starting of the fog machine, and much anticipation, Bon Iver walked onto stage.

The crowd went wild as a yellow-beanied Justin Vernon took his place center stage. The rest of the band found their way to their respective instruments and they began to play. They opened with “Perth”, the first song off of Bon Iver’s newest and self-titled album. The wall of sound emanating from the stage penetrated our ears with such depth and momentum that I thought the breath may have been knocked out of me. I could barely believe that what I was hearing was live. The lights strobed with the beat of the powerful tandem drummers. They continued down their set list with the next song off of the album, “Minnesota, WI”. Vernon showed off his range as he hit the lowest of notes and then sang in his famous high falsetto. They continued down the album with “Holocene” and “Towers”, both sounding even better than the album. They were filled with dimension and dynamic detailed sound that was incredible to see put together piece by piece on stage.  Then he changed it up and played “Beach Baby” off of Blood Bank. I couldn’t help but smile as Justin sang “once upon a time put a tongue in your ear on the beach”, fondly reminding me of my own beach make out sessions. After a couple more songs off of the new album (“Hinnom, TX” and “Wash.”), I was excited to hear the next few songs from For Emma, Forever Ago. “Creature Fear” was incredible as the chorus hauntingly and powerfully echoed throughout the bowl. “Blood Bank” astounded with a much fuller sound than the album and a stage that was lit with red for the entire length of the song. After that, everyone but Justin left the stage as he sat down for “re: Stacks”. He strummed profoundly as he sang the song about “life being weird”. After the classic “Flume”, he began to play “Skinny Love” and the crowd went wild. Everyone sang along as he played perhaps his most famous song. The rest of the band sang the “My, my, my’s” with conviction in the background, adding to the already amazing song. He played another three songs off of Bon Iver, including “Calgary”, “Lisbon, OH”, and a “Beth/Rest” that was sung stunningly and with more autotune than the album. This ended the set, and the band walked off the stage. The crowd went wild, cheering for an encore, and a couple of minutes later Bon Iver came back out. They then covered the Bjork song, “Who Is It” which was fun and filled with a strong horn section. He concluded with a compelling “For Emma” and left the stage for the last time.

It was such an incredible and moving concert. Both Ethan and I were completely enthralled the entire time. I didn’t want it to ever end. The whole experience pretty much made my life — inspiring as well as depressing and uplifting at the same time.

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Star Trance and Breaking the Matrix?

Two members of the band Givers and Takers

After Battle of the Bands on Thursday night, we were all feeling pretty excited about our local musicians. Especially about Ellison Hall, which Keana’s boyfriend plays in. So, Friday night, a few of the musicians from a few of the bands were invited over to our house for an intimate, acoustic jam session. We heard some great music from some extremely talented people, including our own, Ethan. After everyone had played a few songs, a D.J. arrived…which is when things started to get weird. I’m not sure if it was the shrooms that were passed around, the sage and weed combination, or the music, but the night turned into a scene out of the 60s.

As the Hindu music raged on into the night, long past the midnight noise curfew, I heard the D.J. describing his music, using phrases such as, “star trance hypnosis” and “breaking the matrix”. Everyone was spinning, waving their arms, and dancing with their hands. It was quite an interesting sight.

In a Trance...

Last night, I was unfortunately in bed with the flu, so I was unable to partake in the usual madness. We had another D.J. in honor of someone’s birthday (one of Travis’ friends I think?), this time a more traditional one, who perched himself on the balcony above my garage door. Yes, it was loud, but the noise curfew was thankfully, strictly followed. The few times I ventured upstairs for water, it seemed a normal enough party for our house…you know, drunken make-outs on the couch, handles of liquor on the floor, red cups strewn about, dresses that are too revealing, people vomiting in the bathroom, and broken glass…the usual.

Despite having the flu, it wasn’t a big deal that I didn’t get to sleep until 2am…that’s entirely normal. I do have two questions though….

Who shut off the main power breaker without me?

And who was hooking up in the laundry room outside my door at 1:00am? Did you not realize that I can hear everything???

 

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