Jess and I went to a Bob Moses concert at the Pier 17 venue in New York City. This was a fantastic concert. Bob Moses was on point, they put on a really great show. The venue was also great; it was basically on the rooftop of a pier in downtown New York right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Plus, the weather couldn’t have been better. We also quite enjoyed the opening act, Broods.
Aside from the concert, we had a nice weekend in NYC. We stayed in SoHo and spent a lot of time walking through the Village. It was surprising how lively the parks were; I particularly liked Washington Square Park. If you ever find yourself in that area, I recommend Morgensterns Ice Cream and Third Rail Coffee.
We just got back from an excellent weekend at the Electric Forest music festival. Our friend convinced us to go to this festival for the first time in 2018, and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. This year was terrific too! Please enjoy my photo album from Electric Forest 2019.
[Cover photo was taken from this Reddit post]
The Boston Calling music festival is always a great time, and this year was no exception. The festival was during Memorial Day weekend - so I’ve had some time to reflect on the experiences - and here are my takeaways:
On New Years Eve we went to a Twiddle concert at the House of Blues in Boston with our friends Abby and Amanda. Twiddle is a jam band from Vermont. As far as jam bands go, Twiddle’s music is often very upbeat and happy. Their lead singer is a very talented performer; his voice sorta reminds me of John Popper of Blues Traveler.
At midnight, they dropped a ton of balloons and confetti. It was a neat place to be!
This show helped me appreciate the audiences at the recent Zhu and Rufus concerts (also at the House of Blues), which were generally a little more laid-back and respectful. I think an abundance of alcohol consumption had this Twiddle crowd a little rowdy - but hey, that’s how it goes on New Year’s Eve.
Last night, Jess and I saw Rufus Du Sol at the House of Blues in Boston. Rufus Du Sol (commonly just called Rufus) is a dance/electronic band from Australia.
We saw Rufus earlier this year at Electric Forest and had a great time. Last night their show didn’t quite have the same level of energy, but it was very fun. I was happy to see that the vast majority of the vocals and instrumentals were performed live at this concert - which is not often the case in electronic shows. That being said, the music wasn’t as “tight” as it should have been.
As usual, the crowd was friendly and great. Jess and I have been liking House of Blues lately, particularly because they take the security screenings very seriously. We’re looking forward to going back for another show soon.
A special ‘thanks’ to Judy, Jess’s mom, for watching Violet during our night at this show.
Jess and I got engaged! To be more specific, we got engaged while at the Hulaween music festival in northern Florida. We had a great time.
Jess and I are going to Hulaween, a music festival in northern FL. In fact, we are on the plane as I write this!
This is a Halloween-themed music festival, and Jess and I rarely shy away from wearing a costume when given the opportunity. We wanted a good costume, but we didn’t want to be uncomfortable while dressed up; plus, we wanted a durable costume that wouldn’t break while traveling. So, we decided to buy black jeans and black shirts, and paint ourselves skeleton costumes.
This was a great little project. We were able to do the painting at night over a few days. Our strategy was to mark the locations of bones on the clothes (with masking tape) while we were wearing them, and then we took some artistic approximations while painting. We’re going to supplement our painted clothes with skeleton masks and gloves we bought online.
I’m optimistic about our costumes. But, it’s hard to get a sense for how they’ll look until we really put them into action!
Last night we saw ZHU perform at the House of Blues in Boston. This was a really fun show. ZHU is an artist that’s a little difficult to pin down genre-wise; dance, R&B, electronic, house, and hip-hop would all be suitable classifiers. I was expecting his concert to be more on the R&B side of that spectrum, but it ended up being more on the dance/electronic side. Nonetheless, the show was captivating.
While the type of music was amorphous, the concert had a consistent theme of a journey through the desert, which I think was really well executed. The theme was introduced by a few very short statements projected onto the wall, and aside from that it was very subtle. The music itself carried the theme from there. The desert aesthetic came through in the instruments and sounds more than the lyrics themselves, which was particularly impressive.
The lights at this show were at a different level than other concerts I’ve seen. It seemed like they were using projectors, but I don’t know how they got the projected images to be so sharp and realistic.
The crowd at this show was very enthusiastic. It was fun to be surrounded by so much energy. I wish every show had this many people focused on the music.
Overall, this was a great time. I’m excited to see and hear what ZHU does next.
On Friday, Death Cab Cutie released their ninth studio album. I wasn’t much of a Death Cab fan when they first hit it big (about 18 years ago), but their mellow sound has somehow made its way into my ears over the past couple years - and it’s clear that I’ve been missing out. I’m happy to have the opportunity to listen to new music from this band.
The consistency of aesthetic and quality from Death Cab is amazing. They have a signature sound, yet they’re still able to keep it fresh. This album is no exception.
I think I’ve already said enough to sufficiently describe this album to any Death Cab fans - but, I’ll end this post with an extra nod to my favorite tracks: I Dreamt We Spoke Again and Autumn Love - both of which have so much of that signature sound that they could have rung them out and made two full albums out of it.
We had another great time at the Newport Folk Festival this year. The weather was warm, and the venue, Fort Adams, was as picturesque as ever.
It’s become a tradition for Jess and me to go to folk fest with my parents. We love having them with us. This year was especially fun because it was my parents’ third year at the festival, which makes them veterans. They were able to weigh in on decisions, and they even had their own gameplan mapped out.
Shortly after entering the venue, we saw a highly entertaining set by Fantastic Negrito on the main stage. This guy is a great performer and he expertly blurred songs together using bizarre stories and banter. His set sometimes had a mystical feel to it, as if he was telling us ghost stories. I’d like to see him do a Halloween set in cramped, dark, smokey concert hall someday.
In the afternoon heat, we saw a new band, Glorietta, play at The Quad stage. The Quad is a relatively intimate stage as far as festivals go, and it has the power to make some artists shine. But it also seems to get the best of many bands, making them seem like amateurs struggling to keep things afloat. Noah Gunderson, one of the several singer-songwriters in Glorietta, did a great job at this stage and expertly mixed his firey, passionate vocals with reserved down-beat instrumentals in the song Golden Lonesome. After that song, Matthew Logan Vasquez picked the crowd back up with some rocking singalongs.
A highlight of the midday was Lucius, a band built around two harmonizing frontwomen. They had such a unique and unusual stage presence, it was fun to watch. They had a trio of dancers who added to the strangeness. Brandi Carlile joined them for a song, but I don’t think she added enough to the performance to make up for disrupting the perfect harmonization the band would have had without her.
The late afternoon set by Sturgill Simpson surprised me. I was expecting a lot of slow southern crooning but instead saw a rock-and-roll jam fest. It was great. Whenever he sang, Sturgill’s voice would boom through the crowd with strength and with such a low frequency you could feel your internal organs vibrate around. In a good way.
Near the end of the day, St. Vincent played on The Quad stage. We only saw three songs before leaving a little disappointed. She was doing stripped-down versions of her songs with only a piano accompanying her vocals - but it didn’t really work. It seemed like the things that make St. Vincent songs good were lost in that stripping-down process. What was left was overwhelmingly avant-garde and slightly boring. She might have recovered in the second half of the set, or she might have fallen victim to the overwhelming intimacy of the Quad stage.
Last, we saw headliner Jason Isbell finish the night on the main stage. He put on a good show, albeit a little depressing at times. We were going to sneak out a few minutes early to beat the notoriously bad traffic, but we were convinced to stay by a nearby stranger hinting at a surprise guest. We were fortunate because soon thereafter, David Crosby joined the stage for two iconic songs.
Overall it was a really great time. It's a shame that the Newpork Folk Festival stops its music as early as it does (7:30 PM)! I would love to hang out at Fort Adams and listen to music after sundown.
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