Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monolith Day Two: fun fun with a little sun

Sunday at Red Rocks started with friendly Scotsmen We Were Promised Jetpacks. Despite technical difficulties, the Jetpacks charmed the overflow crowd at the woxy.com stage with witty banter and blew us away with a fantastic set. Probably my favorite of the three talented FatCat bands at the festival.
We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Monolith

Next up, the much hyped Neon Indian for their first live performance ever. I'm channeling Simon Cowell here (ugh) but keeping one's eyes open during at least part of the performance would aid in forging a connection with the audience. I'm just sayin'.
Neon Indian @ Monolith

I jammed up the stairs to catch part of the Monotonix set during Neon Indian. The always energetic Israelis did not disappoint, playing wildly within the crowd, stealing hats and drinks and sharing glimpses of parts best left covered.
Monotonix @ Monolith

We caught part of the Dandy Warhols on the main stage and while I harbor fond memories of some of their tunes, the attitude of that band brings me down. Seeing them in person did not change my feelings.

Later in the day, back downstairs for the Twilight Sad, another Glasgow band. This involved skipping Health (I'm too old for that action) and Passion Pit (not willing to risk the disappointment after Sasquatch).
Twilight Sad @ Monolith

Last minute illness from MSTRKRFT put Phoenix on the main stage bill, snuggled nicely between the quite entertaining Redman and Methodman and headliners Mars Volta. The French pop masters took the bump up to the main stage with panache, fully owning Red Rocks and filling the place as full as I saw it all weekend. They sounded fantastic!
Phoenix @ Monolith

After all that fun, we left the photographer to the Mars Volta and headed for the beer and cheese sticks hiding in the parking lot cooler. Au revoir until next year, Monolith!

Mars Volta @ Monolith

More Day Two photos follow:
Monolith crowd during Phoenix

Monolith mohawk kid

Dandy Warhols set list Monolith

Monotonix @ Monolith

Neon Indian @ Monolith

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monolith Festial 2009: Girl Talk & Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Despite constant drizzle and wet socks, Saturday night offered some of the best energy of the entire festival.

The main stage filled with rain-soaked dancers for Girl Talk's set. I may never understand how Gregg Gillis can make me dance to Fergie but I think I love him for it. Also! Is the official Girl Talk Tivo set to record the Disney Channel? How else would he be thinking about Pilot's 70s classic "Magic"? This man blends the musical superego and the id over and over again until you forget you don't really "appreciate" Journey and find yourself singing along at full volume.

Girl Talk @ Monolith

After we all caught our breath and swept away the confetti, Karen O and company took the stage, starting their set with one of my favorites from the most recent LP, "Runaway". Mid-way through their 16 songs of awesomeness, the YYYs played "Date with the Night" and I need to be perfectly clear that not 24 hours prior I had demanded of the universe that I hear the lyrics "we're sweatin' in the winter" live. Thank you, universe.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Monolith

Encore "Y Control" cemented their place in my heart as one of the best live bands working today. The visuals of Karen O in couture striking kabuki poses across the stage while Nick Zinner and his hair represent the stoic side of punk are a spectacle worthy of your ticket dollars.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Monolith

And while we're talking about the silent Mr. Zinner allow me to postulate a long-simmering theory... a lot of people, a lot of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' most fervent fans especially, and I include myself here, embrace Karen O's lyrics, loudness, broad smile and sexual lyrics. Her guttural groans and moans remind me of Prince, a decidedly womanly barbaric yawp. And yet. Consider this: without Zinner's guitar there is no Yeah Yeah Yeahs. His shrieking strings cut past the vocals, the grunts, the synth to get down to the true bump and grind that makes rock and roll great. Almost a call and response of the loins, her lyrics, his guitar. That is all.

Please enjoy more photos below...
Girl Talk @ Monolith

Girl Talk @ Monolith

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Monolith

Karen O

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monolith Day One: the small warm stages and the cold rainy ones

Saturday started off chilly, with me hurrying to don leggings before the sweet strains of Stars of Track and Field. (p.s. is it just me or do these guys sound like they should be on the soundtrack for a CW show?)
Stars of Track and Field

Also playing in the cozy warm basement of Red Rocks: Antlers. They sounded ah-mazing. Too bad it was too packed to see them, but I've vowed to spend more time with their album after hearing the live show.

Then we were off to see Frightened Rabbit on the main stage. These Scots delivered the songs we wanted to hear, plaintively and somewhat plainly. I love this band, but they're a bit tentative for a venue like Red Rocks. More shows, more songs, and they'll be ready to bring the crowd to their feet.
Frightened Rabbit @ Monolith

Next up, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. Again, I love this band and I love Thao's energy and her giant guitar and her cowboy boots, but the drizzle and the chill and the giant stage brought her down a bit. This set did not exude the same joie d'vivre as the one I saw from her at Sasquatch in 2008. The folks exuding during these main stage sets were the delightful troupe of Grand Teton National Park workers - shout out to that Wyoming drive!

At this point, my rain-soaked body required food, shelter, and a glass of wine, causing me to miss Pains of Being Pure at Heart, one of my most anticipated acts of the day. Sheesh, how can a librarian/ music fan not love a song like Young Adult Friction? Next time, PoBPaH, next time.
The Walkmen @ Monolith

Replenished with string cheese and hooch, we made our way back out into the rain to see The Walkmen. Dang these guys always sound good. The Rat remains a modern classic. Their set, their black and gray outfits, the mist over Red Rocks, all delivered the indie rock goods. They left the Wyoming fans craving digital watches and sexy gloom.

As for the big guns on Saturday night, Girl Talk and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, more to come... and more photos from Day One below.

DJ Satan's 80s Lovechild

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Frightened Rabbit @ Monolith

mist over Red Rocks

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chromeo DJ set @ Monolith pre-party

We caught a portion of the long DJ set from Chromeo at the pre-party. Fun fun, dance dance, but what was up? Texting? Tweeting? A lot of handheld device usage onstage.

Chromeo DJ set

The Grates @ Monolith pre-party

The Grates brought loads of Australian energy to the Gothic Friday night. Frontwoman Patience is a human tornado who charmed the entire crowd, comparing fans to adorable puppies and taking a ride on shoulders. Absolutely fun and a must-see Sunday at Monolith if you missed them at the pre-party.

The Grates

Patience from the Grates on shoulders

Sugar and Gold @ Monolith pre-party

You know I'm a sucker for all things Prince, and Sugar and Gold make a fine tribute to the purple one. Singing original material with a definite debt to Prince, they shimmied up the stage of the Gothic.
Sugar and Gold
Sugar and Gold
Sugar and Gold

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Monolith schedule

You can make your own schedule for the Monolith Festival at Gigbot. What am I missing on this list? Will I see you at any of these bands?