I've been playing with the new Voice Memo app on the iPhone, as seen to the left. It's not going to replace the M-Audio digital recorder I used for the podcasts any time soon, but I got a little kick out of the VU meter at the bottom that actually moves depending on the audio volume. It's not all that accurate or anything, but the old-fashioned meter was enjoyable to see. It's a nice break from the red/yellow/green light meters or blinking LEDs used prominently now.
There's been no zombie apocalypse up to this point, although I have seen some drunken stumbling and lurching (which is, admittedly, somewhat common) approximating said invasion. There have been some new visitors to the Square, but their threat potential has yet to be determined. Sadie, our elderly pug, showed some life in chasing monsters, demons, and other dogs alike. She took more pity on the trick-or-treaters, though, which they seemed to enjoy. I saw a fair amount of princess, demon and (weirdly enough) chicken costumes, but my dream of opening the door to a fully festooned Bootsy Collins remains unfulfilled. I realize it's not the easiest costume to put together, especially when it comes to channeling the necessary amount of interplanetary funksmanship. Yet, it remains a necessary and crucial part of Halloween. Kids, make a note of it. I'm giving a FULL FREAKIN' BAG OF CANDY to the first Bootsy at my door next year. I'm going to retire now to take in "Black Sheep," which comes highly recommended on all sides. I can offer middling praise for "Severance," which has a hilarious premise ("The Office" meets "The Most Dangerous Game") that might have benefitted from more slapstick. Otherwise, good show. Happy Halloween, everybody. And yes, FULL BAG OF CANDY. Here's your model. Make it happen. Some form of Space Bass is mandatory, although replicas are acceptable. Funky attitude is a MUST. And if it guides another young person down the road towards mastering the low end, then it's all worth it. It may start out as a costume, but it can open the gates to funkentelechy of the highest order.
After getting lost in downtown Denver for a bit in a search for coffee and breakfast, we made our way back to Red Rocks for the second day of the festival. It was a little warmer (near-prefect weather), and although the stairs hadn't made themselves and easier on me, the overall conditions were set for a great day. To the music:
- Bob Log III came out and won a lot of fans (catching the great majority of them by surprise; he must be used to that by now). The requests for "Boob Scotch" were honored, but nobody actually demonstrated said activity.
- Locals Stranger Lazy have gotten a lot louder and more aggressive than their Built-To-Spill-roots.
- We spent most of the rest of the evening at the main stage - the lineup was just undeniable.
- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's battled through some inconsistent sound issues (too much high-end and EXPLOSIVE impacts on the auxillary drums) for a good set; the road has served them well.
- I had 50/50 odds on the Brian Jonestown Massacre showing up, my wife gave them better than that average. She was right. When they played, the music was a swirling mass of well-crafted melodies and a massive guitar sound. When they weren't playing, there were rants about tuning and stage volume, costume changes (shirts were worn and removed, pants were changed, jackets were tossed, etc.), praise for the Flaming Lips and the indepenence of Nicaragua, a plea to read "The 12 Caesers," and a plea to download his music for free - "It was made to listen to, not for fat, old men to argue about."
- It only makes sense that Art Brut will be the opening act for The Hold Steady - they come from very similar places. Whereas The Hold Steady draw from literature, alcohol and the E Street Band, though, Art Brut take their speak-sung lyrics from a strong and biting need for social commentary and the place of pop songs in same, and their music draws from New Wave acts and styles. The lead singer combines a smooth stage style from Bryan Ferry and an acerbic wit in his delivery, and he's ably backed by the band. The live act was wonderful, and it easily won me over. My only quibble was the order for everyone to go and form new bands - while this may mean many good bands (and more work for bassists), it may also mean a load of crappy-ass bands. Be careful what you wish for.
- A burrito run made me brave the stairs once again (seriously, those things are killer), but it did allow me to take in Earl Greyhound. Excellent rock stomp with a powerful singer/bassist and the largest bass drum I've ever seen on a kit.
- Spoon was tight, concise, polished, and driving. The keyboards acted almost in the same role as Mark De Gil Antoni's in Soul Coughing - triggering samples and soundscapes as much as traditional lines. Everything started smearing together after a bit, but they had the crowd in the palm of their hand.
- It's amazing how much of their normal show the Flaming Lips managed to cram into a festival appearence. Wayne Coyne apologized for not having the new UFO lights - the Russian-made (and supposedly Chernobyl-irradiated) equipment was evidently being detained by Homeland Security for not being "entirely legal." There was, however, a huge stage show with Santa Clauses, martians, confettii, the audience-walking ball, a huge LCD screen with "mic cam," many pleas to defeat the current administration, and wonderful songs.
We got about three hours of sleep before boarding our plan home, and I'm wiped out. I managed enough energy for laundry and football this Sunday (Steelers win 26-3, 2-0 and first in the division), and that's about it. Back in the Square now, and I'm loving the oxygen.
High altitude and lotsa stairs kick my ass. Repeatedly. Feh. Sound and scenery were excellent, though, and it was nice seeing some great Denver natives. Now, to the music:
- Ghostland Observatory shows strong influences from both wizard rock and MC 900 Ft. Genius. And their keyboard bass sound seemed to shake the very mountain.
- Rev. Peyton managed to battle the bas sound for a solid set.
- Cat-A-Tac sounded really good, yet really loud in a really small and enclosed area.
- People liked to dance to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah when they're close to the stage. Away from the stage, they try to take their publicity photos with the band in the background. And I don't understand why.
- It's impossible to have a country song include a Moog sound, "Switched-On Nashville" notwithstanding.
- Das Efx's performance proved that the time is right for a resurgance of "iggiddy" rap. Start the comeback tour in the western states.
- Editors were loud and powerful enough to overwhelm the voice note I took to remind me of how loud and powerful they are. I think. And they like Joy Division a lot.
- The Decemberists sound quieter on the mainstage that some bands did on the sidestages. Also, it's hard to mic accordians, it seems. Good set, though.
- It's an excellent idea to use the song "You Are My Sunshine" as a cover to tune a guitar.
- The Mobius Band drove us from the room with their volume.
- Cake was at their sardonic best, but the cold drove us to get coffee. We wandered in on 3OH3! from Boulder, and they were good. I'm used to hippies coming from Boulder, though. These folks are not hippies.
- Flosstradamous proved how funky they are by including Steve Winwood's "Valerie" in their set and making it work.