Saturday, March 10, 2007

On the Road Again...

As the weather starts heating up, so too does the concert season. Unfortunately, living in Kansas City is not a good place to be for the good concerts. I know it sounds weird, but you would be surprised how many bands decide to go straight through the heartland from Chicago to Denver without playing a date here. And when the bands do need to fill in a midwest date, the KC/Lawrence area now has to compete with a resurgent Omaha scene, a growing Oklahoma and Iowa scene, and of course the usual St. Louis/Columbia, usually for one date (though it is worth mentioning that on occasion Springfield will sneak in and steal a good band too). Sometimes bands will throw us a bone and play a few of the said cities/states (thanks Animal Collective, you're the best!), but typically if the don't you're forced to wait until the next leg of the tour, or worse, the next album. Or, you could just fill up the car with gas, pack a lunch and maybe a sleeping bag, and hit the road to see your favorite bands.

Here's a few shows and festivals that might be worth hitting the road for.

South By Southwest (SXSW)

March 14th - 18th
Austin, TX

Helping keep Austin weird since 1987, SXSW is now more or less just a media circus disguised as a music conference. Not that I would know, I've never been (and no, I'm not bitter at all...)

Actually, some good can come out of paying to play an afternoon spot if you are a dedicated enough band to want to try and take it to the level that comes after self releasing your material, but as a fan I hear its not worth the money spent, which probably explains why no actual fans pay to go. I guess being an intern at CMJ really does pay off after all. (Again, I'm not bitter...) Seriously though, I do hear that it does kinda suck down there. Most of the venues are small, which can be awesome in theory, but its not so cool when 10,000 people are all trying to cram into the same bar as you, if you were even lucky enough to get inside the club in the first place. Another complaint is that since there are so many bands playing, you will inevitably have to make a choice to pick one band you like over another, which can be painful if it means missing the National because you're afraid you might never get to see Architecture in Helsinki.

I won't even try to give a list of bands. You can go to the SXSW website and see for yourself. Just click on the SXSW bands link, then pick a day. I trust you'll be impressed.

Blonde Redhead
April 14th
Chicago, IL

April 15t
Minneapolis, MN

If you had asked me a few months ago if Blonde Redhead was worth an 8 hour drive to see live, I probably would have said no.

Then again, that was before I heard 23. Trust me, this album begs to be heard live.

Bright Eyes
April 22nd
Milwaukee, WI

Bright Eyes has a new album coming out and soon and is embarking on a major US tour to support it. From what I've come to understand, the new album is supposed to be similar in sound to I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, which makes me very happy. Maybe if I catch him on this tour I'll actually hear a song from that album (Bright Eyes' last KC stop was in support of Digital Ash, unfortunately, as they played not one note from Morning, and barely touched anything older).

There are several stops on this tour that are closer to the KC/Lawrence/Columbia/StL/ are than Milwaukee: Omaha (duh), Tulsa, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, and Minneapolis. However, the Milwaukee show is the first of the US tour, which is usually pretty exciting for both the band and audience alike. Its also at a venue called the Pabst Theater. Only in Milwaukee...

Dismemberment Plan
April 27th and 28th
Washington, DC

Yes, this is a reunion show, the first (2) that I know of also, so this is kind of a big deal if you're a fan of one of the best bands to come out of the DC area. Even when the Plan broke up almost 4 years ago, they said they would likely get together once in a while to play together for benefits and such. Well, their word proved to be gold when it was announced they were headlining not one but two shows to benefit Callum Robbins. Last I heard, these shows were uber sold out, and since this is a benefit show, I would not recommend buying from a scalper, unless you have enough money to buy from a scalper AND make a donation to help poor little Callum, which you can do by clicking on the link and following directions.

The Plan are playing shows again. Nice...

Arcade Fire
May 18th - 20th
Chicago, IL

If you're like me, you're probably dying to know how the new songs will translate live. Even if you're not like me, chances are you are at least curious. Better start saving for this one - all three shows are sold out.

June 14th - 17th
Manchester, TN

This year's edition of Bonnaroo, which is now owned or put together by MTV, is definitely less jammy than years past (though that that does not mean that it won't be jammy at all). The main acts this year are The Police, Tool, Widespread Panic, The White Stripes, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Wilco, and The Flaming Lips. Other notable acts are: Franz Ferdinand, Ween, The Decemberists, The Roots, Kings of Leon, Regina Spektor, The Black Keys, DJ Shadow, Spoon, The Hold Steady, Lily Allen, Feist, Hot Chip, Aesop Rock, Tortoise, Clutch, Cold War Kids, Dr. Dog, Girl Talk, Annuals, Mute Math, Apollo Sunshine, ,The National, and Black Angels.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 13th - 15th
Chicago, IL

As of this writing, the lineup for the second installment of the Pitchfork Music Festival has not been completely revealed, yet it already looks to be very promising with Cat Power, Of Montreal, Iron and Wine, Grizzly Bear, Jamie Lidell, and Girl Talk on the bill, with more to be announced.

One other intriguing aspect of is the teaming of Pitchfork and All Tomorrow's Parties to bring the first American installment of Don't Look Back, where an artist, often seminal, plays an album, often their best, in its entirety. So far, Sonic Youth and Slint are slated to play their opuses Daydream Nation and Spiderland at European festivals. Is it possible the mighty Pitchfork can book one or both bands to play them at the festival? Stay tuned...

Daft Punk w/ the Rapture
July 31st
Denver, CO

As if seeing Daft Punk live isn't cool enough, our favorite pair of robots Daft Punk schedule a brief North American tour, including a stop at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. And they're bringing the Rapture.

No comments: