suede

Primavera Sound Review: Suede, Daughter, LCD Soundsystem, June 2, Parc Del Forum

Posted on by Ricky in Primavera | Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.57.19 PM

Primavera Sound is pretty much the gold standard for music festivals. Why? Let’s see

  • Located in a gorgeous city, easily accessible by public transit
  • On concrete, so no messy mud pits
  • Too many food options to count
  • Always amazing lineup
  • You can see the sea from the grounds, its actually right beside the water
  • Never have to lineup for bathrooms, because they are quite organized
  • Starts at night, so you can do touristy stuff during the day

And it goes on and on. You really need to go. Unfortunately, I was only able to get tickets for one day and was too cheap to get tickets for other nights. So here is a brief recap of one of the nights. Knowing how I write, lets use the world “brief” loosely.

Suede – Night Thoughts
My favourite band performed their new album in it’s entirety as one of the first must see sets of the night. While not my favorite Suede album, Night Thoughts is still an extremely solid album and watching it live in a theatre while a music film plays in the foreground was very unique. The lead actor in the movie reminded me of Alex Ovechin which made me laugh because man, they always get eliminated by my Penguins. “Outsiders and “I Don’t Know How to Reach You are very good tracks, but I don’t know how I feel about them playing behind a screen while a film plays in the foreground. Still, I appreciated the experience. It’s like, I really like Caesar salad, and this one time in Morocco, I had a deconstructed Caesar salad. It was still Caesar Salad, but not exactly the same, I still enjoyed it but part of me just wanted a god damn Caesar Salad.

Daughter
It’s hard to believe it’s only been three or four years since I saw Daughter in a tiny venue at SXSW, and now they are playing a massive stage at Primavera. Their new album is excellent. Halfway through one of the new songs, the crowd started singing along and Elena Tonra broke into the biggest smile mid track and my heart just melted. It’s always nice to see good artists make it big without compromising their work.

Food break – I had a pork sandwich from a food truck. It was only okay, the meat to bun ratio was not to my standard, but I had to remind myself – Ricky, you are in Europe, bread is the star here. Bread is the star.

Air – It’s been six years since I last saw Air, and actually, six years before that so I guess I see Air once every six years. That’s information you don’t need to know, but now you do. They played a low key set that was peppered with hits and the end of the set featured the 1-2 punch of “Sexy Boy and “Kelly Watch The Stars, which served a notice as to how ahead of the time Air really was back in the day. They closed it off with “La Femme D’argent.” I can’t think of a better band to play to the setting sun. Sleek, polished and timeless, Air is always a must attend show.

Food Break 2 – Because I am a pig, I had another meal here. Ramen. I saw a ramen food truck and thought, why, I must try this!. Never try ramen from a food truck, it was subpar and just a grade better then cup noodles. They claimed to have cha siu but when I got to the meat, it was just meat cubes. That is not cha siu. Sad.

Dead Buttons – Stumbled on this Korean bluesy rock act at one of the tinier stages. It’s odd to see a Korean act where it wasn’t five hot girls in mini skirts prancing about but these guys were actually quite good. Clearly inspired the Black Keys, they are worth a look.

Floating Point – Not entirely sure who they are, but they were a tight instrumental band that played a pretty hypnotizing electronic set. One of the keys for this band was that they were playing Rayban stage, which had a bunch of places for people to sit down, which was an offer I simply could not refuse.

Tame Impala – Drawing one of the biggest crowds, it’s hard to believe I saw Tame Impala at the Horseshoe just a few years ago. Their brand of psych rock has really taken over, although I still feel like they lack that anthem that would make them truly worthy headliners.

John Carpenter – Yes, THE John Carpenter, of horror movie fame. He played his famous soundtracks with a live band and man, does this dude have swagger. Wearing sunglasses, chewing gum and dropping some classics on synth – I want to be this cool when I’m in my sixties. I heard the Halloween theme live, so that’s pretty fucking awesome.

LCD Soundsystem – WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS TONNNNIIIGHT. Man, LCD Soundsystem is a band that is 1000x better live then on album. When it’s live, those eight minute tracks that always seemed a bit too long on cd JUMP to life and you really do understand what they are trying to achieve. Their percussion section is so strong you have no choice but to move. They haven’t missed a beat since I last saw them and their set was filled with anthems and hits. I don’t even know if half the songs they had were actual hits, but live, with that band and James Murphy growling into the mic, they were hits to me. It was just one gigantic dance party cumulating with their epic song All Yr Friends. Part of LCD Soundsystem’s charm is that their lyrics hit you in places you don’t expect when you least expect it. There’s a certain element of now to it that I can’t really explain, but at the end of the set, when James asks you where are your friends tonight? I was very glad to have at least two of them there with me, even if they were lost in the crowd. Now if only I could have found that crying kid at the end of their documentary.

Primavera Sound Review: Suede, June 1, Parc Del Forum

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, Primavera | Leave a comment

suede

I can’t think of a better way to watch my favourite band than in a gorgeous outdoor setting in Barcelona on a warm summer night. Suede was to play not one, but two shows at Primavera Sound and the fans were extremely lucky that the first, free show was the greatest hits version of their show. This was the main reason behind my trip to Primavera and yes, it was totally awesome. What can you say? I feel blessed I’ve been able to see my favourite band three times now in my lifetime. Ask me this in 2005 and I would have laughed a very sad laughter.

It’s hard to believe over twenty years after they first arrived on the scene, the band is still at the top of their game. My guess is that they are less chemically dependent now and thus, a lot sharper then they used to be. Brett is still the Brett Anderson, swiveling his hips, dancing up a storm and driving the crowd wild while still sounding quite good on the mic. No one will ever forget Bernard, but Fat Richard is and has been Suede’s guitarist now for twenty years so he’s got the chops and fury down on the ax.

Here is a quick song by song breakdown of their show

Introducing the Band
A good track to start off your set, especially since this was a free show and I doubt many people really knew them.

Outsiders
A strong song from their new album, but knowing that they were playing Night Thoughts in it’s entirety the next day, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed this took the place of another song that I’ve never heard before live, like “Europe is Our Playground or “Dark Star or something

Killing of a Flashboy
Everyone’s favourite b-side, the distinctive drums that starts this song got people dancing and that dancing pretty much never stopped after that. This is such a sleazy, awesome rock song. How was this not a single, I’ll never know. A classic song with a lot of “Oh oh oh oh oh” moments you can sing along too and boy, did we sing.

Trash
Trash is awesome. It’s a dance party, everyone in the crowd is losing it cause we’re traaaaaaaash you and me.

Filmstar
Another singalong. I’m not the biggest fan of this track but it’s hard not to sing along to it.

Animal Nitrate
The first entry from their debut album, if Trash was a 9/10 on the fan going crazy scale, this was probably a 11. Note: As you can tell by the picture, I was close, for all I know they could have been twiddling their thumbs from the back of the park, but I don’t care those people don’t count. There’s nothing like shouting “In your broken home / he broke all your bones / now you’re taking it time after time” at the top of your lungs. Poor Justine, Justine Frischmann, of Elastica.

You know, if Suede was super popular today and they released their self titled album now, the fans would go crazy studying those lyrics. Was it about Blur? Was it about Elastica? Those lyrics make “Becky with the good hair” sound like child’s play.

We Are the Pigs
One of my top ten songs. This song was probably a 13/10 for me on the excitement scale. I really wish they had a child choir come out and do the ending part, but we can all dream.

Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away
The lone track from Bloodsports, which was a good album but not one I would put on a ninety minute set. Brett did sound quite good here.

Everything Will Flow
Everytime a Head Music track gets played live, I am pleasantly surprised. This album was pretty good, but came out at a bad time. I do wish they’d play “He’s Gone once in a while, that’s a fantastic song.

The Drowners
Damn right, the opening drums, the guitars. Slow down, slow down..you’re taking me ovvvvvvah. A 12.33 (repeating 3) out of 10 my excitement scale

Still Life
I cried a little bit inside when I realized this was going to get played. A gorgeous song that I missed hearing in England when I went there to see them in 2010. This was a lighter in the air moment, but I didn’t have a lighter. There was no orchestra sadly, but if that had happened I would have just boarded a plane and flown home because nothing else would have topped that on this vacation. This was probably a 14.5 out of 10 on my excitement scale.

For the Strangers
I wonder if there’s a bunch of 20 something year old fans who just discovered Suede at Bloodsports. This might have been their favourite Suede song. Kids these days.

So Young, Metal Mickey
These are classics.

Beautiful Ones
Suede’s anthem. The singalong is so easy and hard at the same time, we all did the lalalala part and it was fantastic. A perfect 10/10 on my excitement scale.

Encore:
She’s in Fashion
An acoustic version of “She’s in Fashion,” one of their most summery songs. At this point I realized I might not hear “The Wild Ones or “Europe is Our Playground.” Will I ever hear “Europe is Our Playground live? Cue existential crisis.

New Generation
A fitting end to the show. “New Generation is an absolutely amazing song. It has four choruses. Most bands struggle to find one hook in a song, this track if you pay attention has FOUR massive hooks.

That was that, a totally unbiased review. This was my favorite part of Primavera. Come to North America please, I can’t afford all these European trips.

Glastonbury Review: Suede, June 27, Peel Stage/My Couch

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Suede

Glastonbury is undoubtedly the mothership of music festivals. Every year the headliners are discussed time and time again, and being presented the pyramid stage on Glasto weekend is as big an indicator that you have arrived as any. On a warm, humid Saturday night, the Pyramid stage was graced by the larger then life Kanye West, but I don’t give two shits about him. What got me excited about Glastonbury was who was on the John Peel stage counteracting Kanye West.

That band, was Suede. They are either 1a or 1b on my list of favorite bands so the opportunity to see them live was a big deal for me. Suede’s Peel Stage headlining slot was a welcome return to Glasto for the band, who reunited a few years ago. It’s the main reason why I attended Glastonbury and I was excited as the clock ticked to 5:30 in anticipation of their set.

Now you might be wondering, 5:30? Well, as luck would have it, I wasn’t actually at Glastonbury, but rather, I was at home, in Toronto. Now before you question the authenticity of my review, I have assured you I have taken the appropriate measures to simulate Glastonbury as best as I can at home, including:

- Rain, it was pouring rain outside. I opened the windows so the sound of water coming down on the earth would resonate in the background as I watched the show. A sound many Glastonbury fans would be familiar with.

- I watched it on my 40 inch TV in high def, which frankly, makes me feel a lot closer to the stage then 95% of the people at the Peel stage

- I have really high quality speakers, thereby surpassing the quality of your typical festival audio experience.

Suede took the stage at 5:35 to the track Pantomime Horse, which I believe was about Justine Frischmann of Elastica. You could probably argue every song off Suede’s debut album was about Justine Frischmann, I wonder how she feels about that. Having access to cameras on stage, I could tell Bret and co were ecstatic about being at Glastonbury even Richard Oakes tried to muster a smile, maybe he saw a hot dog in the crowd or something. As I’m watching the sweat glean off Brett Anderson’s face, I realize the advantage I have reviewing this show at home over reviewing this in person – I have a much closer view and I could actually see first hand what was going on stage. Had I been there in person, I would probably be drunk and too far away to truly understand band interaction.

I mean look how far away this person was.

Suede Glastonbury

Sticking with hard hitting rock songs, the band kept the pace up with a blistering version of Moving and Trash, which elicited the first singalong of the night. I couldn’t quite tell how loud the crowd was singing, because I wasn’t surrounded by them. Singalongs are a blessing and a curse, on one hand, nothing really beats an amazing crowd sing along. On the other hand, nothing ruins a song quicker then singalongs with shitty singers. Since I was here exclusively for Suede, it was nice to hear just his voice.

Animal Nitrate, We are the Pigs and Killing of a Flashboy followed. It was a relentless wave of hits that surely would have exhausted me if I was dancing in the crowd. Fortunately I was at home, so I was able to relax on my couch and drink a cup of tea during the performance. It was still invigorating to think how fun it would have been there though.

The next bit of the set started with It Starts and Ends With You , a track from their surprisingly good album Bloodsports from a few years ago. We also saw the introduction of two new songs – Pale Snow and I Don’t Know How to Reach You. I knew what these songs were called because BBC put up an overlay of the song, and I quickly realized it was new. This would have been very confusing had I actually been there because then I would be like “I don’t know this song! Why wouldn’t I know this?” and then spiral into a abyss of self doubt over how much I actually knew Suede. With this prompter I was quickly able to google it and therefore save myself from an existential crisis.

The rest of the set read like a greatest hit’s list, including everyone’s favorite b-side about a heroin addict, The Living Dead. The crowd absolutely lost it when the group ended with Beautiful Ones, which had the crowd LALALALALAing so hard I could hear it through my speakers.

It was at this point I wished I was there and not my living room. Sometimes you just can’t replicate a live experience, no matter how you set it up. An encore set of She’s in Fashion and New Generation sent the crowd back to their mud filled, dirty tents happy. I would have cried if they brought an orchestra or something for Still Life, luckily that was not the case.

Overall, a fun filled experience from the comforts of my own home. It’s not often you get to watch your favorite band live, but being able to watch them live from your home might just be the next best thing.

I can’t believe some fucker put up the set list already

Pantomime Horse
Moving
Trash
Animal Nitrate
We Are the Pigs
Killing of a Flashboy
It Starts and Ends With You
He’s Dead
Pale Snow (new song debut)
I Don’t Know How to Reach You
The Living Dead
The Drowners
So Young
Metal Mickey
Beautiful Ones

Encore:
She’s in Fashion (acoustic)
New Generation

Should I Stay or Should I go: Coachella Edition

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Music | 1 Comment

The Coachella lineup was released Tuesday night, and as you would expect, the knee jerk reactions from hardcore music fans (including myself) ranged from “OMG I have to go!”* to “what a lineup!”* to “I would DIE if I can’t make it!”* Given the usual rush of emotions that comes when a music festival lineup is announced, I’ve decided to write a little article about whether or not you should go to Coachella. For the record, Panic Manual members have been to Coachella in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Let’s start with the obvious – Can You Afford Coachella?

Let’s say you have 3 other friends interested in going. You are on the East coast in a major city with an international airport, then here are some costs. I am assuming you are going to take Thursday off, and Monday off. Here are some rough estimates:

YYZ – LAX: 400$ if you book early
Car Rental: 30$ a person if you are over 25, and someone has a credit card with collision insurance
Gas: 20$ a person
Accomodation: 125$ a person for four nights stay at a reasonable hotel
Coachella ticket: 280$ (absurd)
Food, Merch, Drinks: 150$ (assuming you don’t go nuts)

This ranges out to about $1000 a person for a five day trip. Not insane prices, but definitely will make you want to assess your plans. Some people might suggest you go camping. I don’t know about you, I don’t really want to camp in a desert. Maybe I’m old, but the weather at Palm Springs varies wildly (as would any place in a desert climate) from day to night. The other thing you have to realize is that music festivals are draining exercises, and the last thing you want to do after a night of music festival going is to wander into your campground, finding your tent, realizing your sleeping bag is in a weird angle and then having to fend off any potential drunk/high neighbors. If you are going to Coachella or anywhere far, might as well drop a few more dimes and get yourself a cozy hotel room with a hot tub, so you can get fully recharge for the next days adventure.

Still, music festivals are a great adventure, and as someone who does go to these things, it comes down to the music. So here is my general assessment:

Reasons to Go#1: OMG bands

Anytime I assess a music festival lineup, you pretty much have to find a few bands there that are in the “oh my god, this is something I won’t ever be able to see” zone. These are either bands that are reuniting after a long period (not DFA 1979, who broke up not even 3 Harry Potter movies ago) or bands who rarely tour. Looking at the list, these are the only bands that come to mind:

Duran Duran
Suede (reunited in 2010)
Chemical Brothers
Lauryn Hill (released from mental institution)
Big Audio Dynamite (reuniting)
Leftfield (reunited in 2010)
Empire of the Sun (apparently put on mind blowing shows, but excessive drug use means they sometimes schedule two concerts on the same date in different cities)

Now if you are a hardcore fan of any of these bands, then by all means you should go, assuming they also don’t schedule a North America tour at the same time, or recently just flew to England to see them.

Reason to Go #2 – Haven’t seen many of these bands

Sometimes I forget that I go to a ridiculous amount of shows, and so basically, I’ve probably seen a majority of the bands playing at any festival so if you have never seen bands like Interpol, Animal Collective, Mumford & Sons, The National, PJ Harvey before and you want to somehow wrap up all those experiences in one weekend, then by all means, go. However, you must realize that festival time slots means that each act other then the major headliners will only play about 40 minutes. Do you really want your first time seeing the National to be a 45 minute affair? What if it conflicts with another band you want to see? (That will happen). Still it’s a great way to see a lot of your favorite new bands for a reasonable price. I am guessing you will see about 10 bands a day, 30 bands in total if you go there day and night.

Reason to go #3 – Never been to Music Festival

If you haven’t been to a music festival, Coachella is a pretty sweet first time festival, it’s warm, there are a lot of pretty people everywhere, they all speak English, you get to go to LA, you might run into drunk celebrities and it’s also a pretty good lineup.

Reason to Not Go #1 – You live in Toronto or New York

Let’s face it, most of these bands are going to roll through here at one point or another. You have your own music festivals in which all the bands in size 12 point font will play two or more shows and really, you’ve probably seen these bands before. The Arcade Fire played Toronto 3 times last year and aside from the OMG bands, every band on the list will be here at one point or another if they are touring/and are smart. There are better ways to spend $1000

Reason to Not Go #2 – Most bands only play ~30-40 minutes/ Crowds / Overlap

The two massive drawbacks of overpopulated music festivals is that most bands play a short set and also some major act will be stuffed in a tiny tent that will be too crowded and you’ll get pissed that you didn’t see them (ie Beck in 2004). There will also be at least one instance where you wish you could be at two places at once, although none will be as bad as having Lady Gaga play opposite the Strokes at Lollapalooza. Either way, these are probably the major setbacks of any festival, if you are one to get frustrated easily, then music festivals might not be for you at all.

Reason to Not Go #3 – Propensity for Heatstroke

It gets hot in Palm Springs. There are also thousands of thousands of people. This will raise the heat further. If you are the type who can’t handle heat or a crowd, then this is probably not a great festival for you, unless you are only interested in seeing the bands in size 10 font.

Conclusion

Going somewhere is always fun. Coachella is always fun. It also has the benefit of being the first North American festival, keep in mind there’s also Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Sasquatch, some thing in San Fran and pretty much every major city that happens every summer, so while you are frantically messaging your friends trying to convince yourself you need to be in Indio, remember that there are other options and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t go. Which you should..probably. I don’t know, I’m not your father.

* I just made those up, didn’t bother looking for references, assumed it to be true. Real Journalism, yo.