Unrescuable Schizo feature: Check out our FAVORITE 30 SONGS OF THE 2000S.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

FBI Discontinues Surveillance of Rockwell

I ran across this the other day, I think it's an old article from the Onion, and I'm going to reprint it without permission:

FBI Discontinues Surveillance Of Rockwell
October 14, 1998 | Issue 34•11

WASHINGTON, DC–After 15 years of undercover work, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Monday that it is discontinuing its surveillance of mid-'80s pop star Rockwell.

FBI director Louis Freeh announces the end of the agency's longtime Rockwell-surveillance program.

"We have finally determined to our satisfaction that Rockwell poses no significant threat to national security," FBI director Louis Freeh told reporters at a press conference Monday. "As a result, we are confident that he no longer needs watching."

Rockwell, who since 1983 has endured hidden-camera observations, phone-tappings and stakeouts at the hands of FBI agents, said he is "not mollified" by the announcement.

"All I ever wanted was to be left alone, in my average home," the former Motown recording artist told reporters. "But for a decade and a half, the FBI made me feel like I was in the twilight zone. Nothing can ever give me back those years."

Rockwell, long derided for what was widely seen as paranoid delusion on his part, said he is owed an apology from "a great many individuals."

"People laughed at me when I told them I was being watched. They laughed when I told them I was afraid to wash my hair because I might open my eyes and find someone standing there," said Rockwell, speaking in his trademark dandified, British-accented, quasi-rap style. "But now, the world finally knows that my fears were justified all along."

The FBI's Rockwell-surveillance program reached its peak in 1986, when $22 million in federal funds was allocated for the observation of the singer. In total, more than $150 million has been spent on Rockwell-observation since 1983.

Despite his lingering resentment and anger over the years spent under observation, Rockwell said he is excited about the future and looking forward to finally enjoying a normal existence.

"I'm just an average man with an average life," said Rockwell, backed by a pulsating synthesizer track. "But for years, I felt like I had no privacy. I felt like people were playing tricks on me. Thankfully, though, I am finally vindicated. My suspicions were correct all along."

YouTube: Rockwell "Somebody's Watching Me"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bryan Abrams is a waste of humanity, and it's entertaining

I heard about the new VH1 reality show Man Band a while back, and thought it was vaguely interesting - former members of boy bands come together in an attempt to recapture their glory as a new act. I saw from the previews that Chris of *N Sync and one of the 98 Degrees guys were in it, and that's about all I knew.

Then one day I stumbled upon it, and saw that Bryan Abrams of early '90s band Color Me Badd was also one of the participants. That instantly got me hooked! I loved Color Me Badd - they were one of my favorite groups when I was in middle/high school. I could never understand how Bryan got to play the role of the "soulful" one. Then again, none of those guys really had a whole lot of talent. Still, I loved their pop music ditties. "All 4 Love" is still a classic.

Bryan used to be the pretty boy of the group, but unfortunately, he is now an absolute train wreck. He's ballooned to inhumane proportions and is simply a disgusting creature. On the episode I saw, he tries in vain to find his old singing voice, and gets wasted after making a big deal about how he had gotten sober. I may continue watching this show, if only for its Jerry Springer-esque quality of showing people who are absolute messes.

Let's relive the glory days with Color Me Badd from the 1992 American Music Awards. Ok, remind me why I liked them again?

On a similar note, they tried to send Amy Winehouse to rehab, and she said yes, yes, yes... And then left 2 days later.


Friday, August 17, 2007

My mom thinks she's in love with you

I don't think that's the real lyric at the end of "Do You Like it Or Not," but that's what I hear...

I was so excited to finally hear the new Architecture in Helsinki CD, Places Like This, only to be let down when it didn't contain anything as sweet as the ear candy of "It'5", from their last album. But I had to listen to it over and over to write a review, and as I did, it grew on me.

Yeah, it's cliche to say of an album that 'you have to listen to it several times', but it's true of this one. I'm now at the point where it may be my favorite album of 2007.

My full review is at slant magazine here: http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/music_review.asp?ID=1173

MP3: Architecture in Helsinki - Heart it Races

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Am I right side up or upside down?

Post-Gazette Pavilion, Pittsburgh: August 10, 2007

After 15 years, the Dave Matthews Band is still sounding as good as ever. This was my 15th DMB show, and it ranks as the 3rd or 4th best. The band was very tight, Boyd Tinsley got several incredible violin solos, including one at the end of "Louisiana Bayou" that seemed like it would never end. That song was a particular highlight - it may be the band's most underrated track. Another major high point was "Sweet Up and Down," a song I love from the unreleased Lillywhite Sessions that is rarely performed live. Dave played four new songs, and "Cornbread" really stood out as a playful up-tempo track with a country vibe.

Dave's voice sounded as good as I've ever heard it. He was letting loose on some lines that he previously could only sing in falsetto.

The best moment of this concert for me came during "Crush," a song I'm still loving more and more every time I hear it. During the final chorus, when the lyrics change to "We'll be facing/My love!/By love!/We'll beat back the pain we've found," a large percentage of the crowd sang along loudly. I was really surprised to hear that, as it's an older song and (I thought) a fairly obscure lyric. Over the years, it seems the DMB fanbase has included more and more bandwagon jumpers, so I never expected so many people to know that line, let along sing along with it. It put a huge smile on my face and it was one of those moments that reminded me why I still go to see this band.

Blast from the past: The "Crush" music video. This is a cool video - the martini bar setting fits the mood of the song perfectly.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lollapalooza Day 3: Invisible drummers, power outages, and meeting the bearded guy

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The final installment of my journal from Lollapalooza, with still more photos and videos taken with my crappy camera…

11:40 White Rabbits
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Upon walking in I was stunned that there were huge mud puddles all over the place from last night’s modest rain. It seemed that Lolla was completely unprepared for even the slightest bit of precipitation. As the day went on, things got better - puddles were filled in with sand and covered up with cardboard sheets. The fields were still a bit muddy but not too bad.

The first band I took in was White Rabbits, and I enjoyed them a great deal – catchy rock songs, and 2 drummers, which is an oddity I always enjoy. “The Plot,” in particular, is a song worth tracking down.

12:10 1900’s
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I saw almost 50 bands this weekend, and this is the one I remember the least. My notes tell me they had at least 3 girls in the band, including keyboard and violin players. That’s all I can say about them…

12:30 The Cribs
Generic indie rock that didn’t grab my attention. Man, this day started off slow.

1:15 Rodrigo y Gabriela
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A Mexican instrumental acoustic guitar duo. Yeah, sounds sucky, but it was incredible. This girl’s fingers are impossibly fast. For the first few songs, I was craning my neck to search around for a drummer, because I kept hearing drums but I couldn’t see anyone playing them. I eventually realized it was Gabriela, slapping her guitar in between playing the notes. I wish there were some better video clips of this performance on YouTube, because the world needs to see how phenomenal this duo is.

1:50 Smoosh
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My favorite preteen girl group! And I was excited to hear that their younger sister, age 8, has now been added to the group as a bass player! Unfortunately I couldn’t stay long, and the songs they played in my presence weren’t all that impressive. Oh well.

2:15 Amy Winehouse
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There was no energy or enthusiasm coming from the stage during her performance. One reviewer said she seemed “disinterested,” which was true, but that’s her style. She is just very distant on stage, her singing very clinical. No crowd interaction whatsoever, except to shyly say “Thank you” after a couple (not all) of the songs. It got better towards the end as she played the hits, including, of course, “Rehab,” and the show closer, my favorite, “Valerie.”

Video clip: “Valerie”

3:15 Paolo Nutini
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I like this guy’s record, and I wanted to like his performance. I guess it was ok, but he needs to learn to speak better English. He sounds better on the record than he does live (thank you, studio wizardry.) On stage, he still sings with a heavy accent that is so bad it detracts from his singing. I did enjoy “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” a lot.

4:15 Iggy Pop and the Stooges
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This is one everyone is still talking about, but I left before it got good. I witnessed the one Stooges song I knew, “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” but I missed the part later where Iggy invited people to rush the stage, to the horror of security personnel. This may very well have been one of the weekend's better shows, but I didn't see enough to deem it so.

5:00 Peter Bjorn and John
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Everyone’s favorite Swedish pop trio had problems just 10 minutes in when the sound blew out, before they even had a chance to play “Young Folks.” I was pissed but took advantage of the break to see another band. I returned 30 minutes later when power was restored, and got to see “Young Folks.” This band seemed to offer little substance beyond that one song.

5:20 !!!
I arrived at the MySpace stage to see !!! singer Nic Offer gyrating around like an escaped mental patient. His dancing was worse than mine, but it was so uncool that it was cool. This band had the crowd going ballistic. The vocals sounded just as bad as they do on CD, especially on “Me & Giuliani (Down By the Schoolyard),” but no one cared. This was total energy. If it hadn’t been for Daft Punk, this might’ve been the best show of the festival.

Video clip: Unknown song (this is one of my best videos ever, showing the singer, video screen, crowd, and skyline… it's too bad YouTube quality sucks…)

6:15 My Morning Jacket
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When the schedule was originally released, I had planned to see Modest Mouse in this time slot. Then, I thought, since MMJ is such a popular live band, maybe I’ll at least see a small piece of their show, and then finish with Modest Mouse. Then, I heard that MMJ was performing with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and realizing that history might be made, I decided to spend most of this time slot here. Finally, when it actually got to be 6:15 on Sunday night, I was too tired to walk to the other end of the park, so I skipped Modest Mouse entirely and stay here. Turns out, this performance was nothing special. But at least I got a good spot for TV on the Radio.

7:15 TV On the Radio
I was looking forward to this all weekend. They did a nice job of turning their textured, experimental sounds into a blistering live show. “I Was a Lover” in particular caught me off guard, because without the freaky keyboard intro, I didn’t realize they were playing it at first. “Wolf Like Me” rocked hard as always. When their criminally short set concluded, fans chanted for one more song, which never works in a festival setting where all the time slots are pre-determined down to the minute, but I thought it might work here, because the band went on 5 minutes late due to MMJ overplaying, so they were due some time, and because Pearl Jam, the next band, was the final band of the night, so it wouldn’t hurt anyone to allow TVOtR to do a quick encore, right? But it didn’t happen. And once fans realized it wasn’t going to happen, the chant hilariously went from “One more song!” to “Fuck Pearl Jam!”

Video clip: “Wolf Like Me”

Pearl Jam came on 10 minutes late (leaving plenty of time for that nonexistent TVOtR encore), but I wasn’t paying much attention for the first hour, because I was hanging around the MySpace stage hoping TV On the Radio might come out and meet fans. Two members eventually did (the bearded guitarist and the singer), and I got autographs. It was cool hearing them chat with fans (“How come you’re not over at Pearl Jam? You guys are young – is Pearl Jam classic rock to you?”) I haven’t met any singers in a while, so this was a great capper to my weekend.

9:00 Pearl Jam
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An hour late, I turned my attention to Pearl Jam. I figured it was no big deal because they’d probably play for 3 hours anyway – this was the first performance in Lolla history that did not have a specified end time, and fans speculated PJ might offer a legendary show that went past 11:00. Imagine my shock when, after a raucous “Alive,” the band went offstage at precisely 9:23 p.m. Seriously. They came back out for another 40 minutes, but the fact they ended at 10 stunned pretty much everyone.

It was good while it lasted – “Even Flow” was particularly impressive, with long guitar solos and fireworks. “Worldwide Suicide” and “Daughter” were additional highlights in a hits-heavy set. Ben Harper came out for an anti-war acoustic ballad “No More War,” and then Harper played with the band on “Rockin’ in the Free World,” which ended up being a stunning closer, as Eddie Vedder invited the fans on stage – those in the VIP seats, anyway (that explains why Vedder ended up on Dennis Rodman’s shoulders). The energy and significance of the moment helped make that song one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed. As a whole, I thought the set was good but not great. I was happy to have some diehard PJ fans confirm this later – they said it was average by Pearl Jam standards, which is still very good.

Bands seen today: 13

Best of today:
1. !!!
2. Rodrigo y Gabriela
3. TV On the Radio
4. Pearl Jam

Bands seen this weekend: 47 (including 40 I had never seen before)

Best performances of the festival:
1. Daft Punk
2. !!!
3. Ghostland Observatory
4. Rodrigo y Gabriela
5. The Hold Steady
6. TV On the Radio
7. Pearl Jam
8. Polyphonic Spree
9. Patti Smith
10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
11. High Class Elite
12. White Rabbits
13. Mickey Avalon
14. Tokyo Police Club
15. Paolo Nutini

Bands I most regret missing:
1. Spoon
2. Modest Mouse
3. Regina Spektor

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lollapalooza Day 2: Rain, pot, and a knife through my heart

A journal of my second day at the festival, with more photos and videos from my crappy cam...

11:30 Dear and the Headlights
Armed with some earplugs I picked up from the PlayStation tent (not to be confused with the MySpace tent, which is located on the opposite side of the park as the Bud Light stage), I was ready for day 2. This first band didn’t do much for me, but I didn’t expect them to. I just showed up cause they were the only band playing this early.

12:00 High Class Elite
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I was unsure whether to see High Class Elite or Arckid (the band with the former singer of Spacehog). Both were bands I’d never heard of, so I was just judging them based on their bios. Did I ever make the right choice! This was a glam-rock band from NYC, with fashionable clothes, makeup, and sequin dress-wearing backup singers. Their music was loud and poppy, as glam should be, and though the singer initially looked stunned at how few people were in attendance (I could see, when he first came out, a look on his face like, “I can’t believe I got myself all dolled up and no one’s here!”), the crowd grew steadily, as did the band’s confidence and rambunctiousness. I want to hear more of this band. Now.

12:45 Tokyo Police Club
This was the first band that I can truly say I became a fan of solely because of the blogosphere. Everyone raved about their music, and I can see why – peppy garage rock, served up in 2-minute songs. The slow songs dragged a little bit but I’m sure they’ll get that worked out before their first record comes out.

Video clip: “Nature of the Experiment”

1:40 Tapes ‘n Tapes
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Another favorite of bloggers, these guys didn’t blow me away during my brief stay, but they got good reviews, so perhaps I left too early to see the best part.

2:00 Pete Yorn
I’ve seen Pete a few times and I’m fond of his simple, straightforward songs. Though he didn’t play much from his awesome 2002 debut album Musicforthemorningafter, he still kept me entertained. He also dared to cover the song of the summer, “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John, and he did it surprisingly well.

Video clip: “Young Folks”

2:50 Silverchair
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I was excited to see this band because I like a lot of their ‘90s hits, but they stuck mainly to new songs which weren’t as good. Daniel Johns strutted around in impossibly low-hanging pants and played the guitar with his teeth. If only they sounded as good as they looked. I did like one new song, “Straight Lines,” and they closed with one of my favorite '90s hits, “Freak.”

3:30 Motion City Soundtrack
I saw them last year at Warped Tour. I was surprised at the decent-sized crowd they attracted here; for some reason I thought Lollapalooza attendees were anti-emo.

I tried to stop by the Cold War Kids, but there was absolutely nowhere to stand. They had them playing on a small side stage and I didn’t feel like battling the throngs of people, so I took a lunch break and headed on.

4:30 The Roots
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I really wanted to stay longer and see more of these guys. I’m sure their grooveful (is that a word?) R&B would’ve been right up my alley, but I had to get moving to get a good spot for CSS. On my journey I walked past Patti Smith’s band, including renowned guitarist Lenny Kaye, who I briefly considered asking for a picture but decided instead to keep walking.

This is supposed to be where I tell you all about how incredible CSS was, and how their electropunk show was the best performance of the festival. But I can’t, because they DIDN’T SHOW UP. They got stuck in New York due to flight problems, which was a knife through my heart because I was so looking forward to seeing them. I got to this stage early to get a spot right in the front middle so that I could have concert experience with them I’d always remember, but someone finally came out and said they couldn’t make it. This was a massive double whammy, because not only did I miss seeing them, but their absence completely fucked up my whole afternoon schedule. This was the busiest time slot of the entire weekend, and I was already making a great sacrifice to see them – I left the Roots after only 15 minutes, and I missed Regina Spektor and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah entirely so I could be here. Big time disappointment.

5:20 Roky Erickson & the Explosives
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Seriously bummed about the lack of CSS, I dropped by Roky Erickson. He was a guy I’d never heard of until recently, but I kept reading about how he was a great psychedelic artist from the ‘60s, who suffered through countless personal problems in his life and just recently returned to the road. I wish the guy well, but his music wasn’t doing it for me. Then again, after missing CSS, there wasn’t much that could’ve cheered me up at that point.

5:50 The Hold Steady
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I wasn’t expecting much from these regular joes, but holy crap did they deliver. Singer Craig Finn and his bandmates would not stop smiling the entire show, and their enthusiasm was infectious. The crowd was surprisingly young for a middle-aged band, and they enjoyed it just as much as the band did. Finn was totally geeky, acting out the lyrics, for instance, miming a football toss when he sang a line about a cheerleader. But his geekiness was endearing, and the songs were earnest. I rarely get impressed by a song the first time I hear it, but that was the case with “You Can Make Him Like You.” Finn’s sing-speak is actually clear enough that you can make out every word, unlike 90% of other bands (aside - how on earth did the sign language interpreters understand most of the bands this weekend??). With all the posing in music today it was great to see a band that was just having a blast and wasn’t afraid to show it. I’m not exaggerating when I say this show totally saved my day. It was one of the most positive, enjoyable concerts I have seen in some time.

6:30 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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I’ve always thought this was one of the most overrated bands around. I know I’m biased – I resent the fact that the YYYs became huge, while their more-talented NYC contemporaries the Liars drifted off into oblivion. But this time, Karen O and her bandmates won me over with their quirky rock tunes. I wished I could’ve stayed longer.

7:10 Snow Patrol
In retrospect I should’ve stayed at the YYYs, but I wanted to at least check out Snow Patrol. I arrived towards the end of “Set the Fire to the Third Bar,” my favorite SP song. On the CD it’s a duet with Martha Wainwright, here the girl from Silversun Pickups filled in. Nothing else in the rest of their set got me excited. I got there too late to hear “Chasing Cars.”

7:30 Patti Smith
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Brief back story – in the early 90s when I first started subscribing to Rolling Stone, I used to resent the fact there were certain artists who were in that magazine all the time, for no apparent reason – Iggy Pop and Patti Smith being two of them. I remember actually saying, Why is she in every fucking magazine? It wasn’t until 2001’s Gung Ho that I became a Patti Smith fan, and having seen her play live 3 times now, I absolutely adore her. I had intended to catch the first half of her set, then run across the park to see Spoon, but I knew deep down that once I got settled in for Patti, I wasn’t going to leave. The beginning was subpar, with slow songs and a so-so cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?”, but things picked up when she played the classics “Because the Night” and “Gloria”. She followed that with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which turned into a passionate ballad with a powerful outro about the evils of war.

It had been overcast all day – perfect weather, in my view – but the sprinkles turned to a heavier rain during this song. She closed with “Rock N Roll N-----,” which I have mixed feelings about because I don’t even like to write that word, let alone hear it shouted repeatedly, but I understand the point of the song and it certainly was powerful. I love Patti. I met her once and it is my great regret that my camera’s batteries died so I couldn’t get a picture with her. Maybe someday…

8:30 Interpol
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Neither of tonight’s headliners, Interpol and Muse, excited me, so I decided to catch a chunk of both. During Interpol I smelled pot for the 200th time, which got me to thinking, How can I smell pot everywhere if I never see it? They played two of the songs that I really like, “Slow Hands” and “The Heinrich Maneuver”, and then I moved on. They weren’t bad, but their music is definitely better suited for a club than a massive crowd like this.

9:10 Muse
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Muse, on the other hand, is totally an arena rock band, with big, bombastic songs like “Our Time is Running Out.” I’d kept hearing these guys were great live, and they weren’t bad, but, my god, how much like Radiohead can a band sound? All the other Radiohead-soundalikes at least have singers with different voices or singing styles, but Muse’s singer sounds exactly like Thom Yorke. They’re trying to make a career out of imitating The Bends-era Radiohead, and I’m just not buying what they’re selling.

Bands seen today: 15

Best of today:
1. The Hold Steady
2. Patti Smith
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lollapalooza Day 1: Permanent hearing loss and dancing robots

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A journal of all the acts I witnessed during Lollapalooza... all photos & video clips were taken by me with my crappy cam...

I’m standing outside the gates and they still haven’t let anybody in. Is there a bomb threat or something? The first band starts at 11:15, ferchrissakes! I showed up early to make sure I got in with plenty of time to spare, and I end up having to wait anyway. Standing in the blazing sun for 45 minutes while I waited did not put me in a good mood to kick things off.

11:30 The Switches
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I made it inside and thankfully, this small stage is in the shade and there’s even a breeze! I enjoyed this U.K. band’s short set, it packed a lot of punch and included the one song of theirs I actually knew, “Snakes and Ladders.”

11:50 The Fratellis
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This band has gotten a lot of hype on the blogs this year, but I didn’t see anything special. Unlike the Switches, who knew they had a limited amount of time and tore through their set, the Fratellis were way too deliberate and weren’t all that interesting. It’s hard to judge sometimes when you only catch half of a set, but that was my impression.

12:15 Illinois
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I just caught the end of this band’s set and I wish I’d seen more – the four songs I witnessed were loud, full band jams, with a banjo prominently featured. Good musicians, I’ll have to check them out again.

12:30 Ghostland Observatory
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The first band of the festival that caught me totally by surprise. I had no expectations, but this duo blew me away with their White Stripes-meets-Daft Punk blend of hard rock and electronica, combined with a pigtailed singer who snake dances around like Gwen Stefani and a cape-wearing drummer/keyboardist. I had only expected to stay for 15 minutes, but changed my mind because I was enthralled with the singer’s singing and dancing – it was impossible to take my eyes off her. It was only after I got home and did some research on the band that I found out the singer IS A DUDE. I’m in shock – I’ve never seen a guy dance like that, and oddly, I feel letdown. For some reason, I think if the singer was a girl, they would be more unique. But their set was still undeniably outstanding.

1:15 Chin Up Chin Up
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After buying a $5 lemonade (the only purchase I regretted all weekend), I took in a couple of this band’s songs. Nothing to say, really – I don’t even remember them. Sorry guys.

1:40 Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
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Many in the hipster crowd like Ted Leo, so I enjoyed my first chance to see him, and he was pretty good. Very plain, straightforward rock n roll like Bruce Springsteen, but engaging songs. I took note of a song where the chorus was “only you’d know what he’s done,” so that I could look it up later and mention it in my blog, but a lyrics search for that line comes up empty, so I have no idea what song it was.

2:30 Jack’s Mannequin
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The blurb about this band in the program made it sound like they were kind of emo, so I wanted to catch a couple minutes of them before I headed to the opposite side of the park to see the Polyphonic Spree. Imagine The Fray, if the singer had a whiny emo voice, and you have this band. I left and went to grab a tasty vegan cookie dough waffle cone.

3:00 Polyphonic Spree
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It’s cool when a band is as interesting visually as they are musically, and the Spree is incredible to witness – 24 people (including a midget) in matching outfits, playing instruments like the harp, violin, French horn, and anything else you can think of. I should’ve had the foresight to plan to see their entire set, instead of just the last 30 minutes, but what I saw was thrilling, including the first big moment of the festival – after a costume change that saw them go from military outfits to their trademark white robes, they played a cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium” that made the crowd go crazy.

Video clip: "Lithium"

3:40 Electric Six
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Didn’t get to stay long but during the 15 minutes I was there they performed their big hit “Gay Bar.” “Let’s start a war/Start a nuclear war/At the gay bar/Gay bar/Gay bar” – I love that lyric, and the way he delivers it.

4:00 Against Me!
I arrived just before they played their current hit “White People for Peace.” They were loud and rocking just as I expected.

Video clip: "White People for Peace"

4:30 M.I.A.
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I was psyched for this show and made my way right down front, only to be disappointed. Her show was boring… it was just her, another dancer, and a DJ. Her songs are great on record, but there’s not much she can do with them live.

5:20 The Rapture
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Another performance that I could only drop by briefly, on my way somewhere else. The few songs I saw were decent. I would've stayed longer but I saw them in January, so I decided to check out some other bands I hadn't seen before instead...

5:40 Silversun Pickups
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The male singer has a really whiny voice, one of those voices that you really have to hear several times before you get used to it, like Bob Dylan and Joanna Newsom. I liked the little bit I heard, and they played their excellent single “Lazy Eye” at the end.

6:10 Blonde Redhead
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They get the award for most mismatched group - a young Asian singer with two old, graying, Latin-looking musicians. I like the song “23” but aside from that I haven’t figured out how this band is creating a buzz.

6:40 Matt Roan
I hadn’t intended to see this, but I arrived early for Mickey Avalon and this guy was DJing. I guess he does kind of a Girl Talk thing, playing a verse or two of a song and then mixing it with another. It was cool but I was preoccupied with waiting for Mickey…

7:00 Mickey Avalon
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I'm sure this show gave me permanent hearing damage because I was about 4 feet in front of the giant speakers. My ears were still ringing the next morning. His live performance was good, not much different from the CD. His cohorts Andre Legacy and Dirt Nasty came along, leading to a show-capping performance of the comically offensive “My Dick.”

Video clip: "My Dick"

8:15 LCD Soundsystem
I used to like this band until I saw them not long ago on Letterman. I thought they were one of those mysterious European techno acts, but it turns out it’s just an ugly, portly fellow from Brooklyn. Should that make a difference? Probably not, but it does. The cool factor went straight to nothing when I saw that. I do like some of their songs, but the 15 minutes I saw didn’t do much for me. I thought they might close with “Daft Punk is Playing At My House” – that would’ve made for a seamless transition to the next mainstage band – but apparently they played it early in the set.

8:40 Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals
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I gave him a chance and stayed for about 20 minutes. It was ok but the songs were too preachy for me. Why must every song be about saving the world?

9:10 Daft Punk
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I arrived a half hour into Daft Punk’s show and was greeted with the robot-outfit-wearing DJs inside a massive pyramid, with a crazy light and video show. Not long after I got there, as I made my way to the front, they played “One More Time.” I was really amazed how the crowd was going crazy. Every single person was jumping up and down. People in Pittsburgh don’t dance like this. It’s really amazing to see how much fun a crowd can have when everyone lets loose. There was a quite a wow factor involved in seeing this band that almost never performs in the U.S. This was the best performance of the entire weekend in the eyes of many people including myself.

Video clip: "One More Time"

Bands seen today: 19

Best of today:
1 Daft Punk
2 Ghostland Observatory
3 Polyphonic Spree