Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Morning Benders on World Cafe.

Two of my favorite things joined forces today: the Morning Benders and NPR's World Cafe.
Chris Chu explains details about the band and its philosophies. A truly beautiful session.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jay Z's epic performance at Bonnaroo.

Last night my friends and I decided to pretend that we were at Bonnaroo this year from a living room in Columbia, Missouri. You may think this sounds lame, but it ended up being a pretty unforgettable sequence of events. Thank God YouTube chose to broadcast the festival live all weekend, otherwise we may not have experienced Jay Z's unbelievable magic. I think we watched for about an hour and a half. Although it was Jay's first time at the festival, it would be difficult to tell.

Beyond the truth of his raw talent and deserved praise, I didn't really realize how down-to-earth Jay actually is. At the end of his performance (after he played a medley of favorites like Big Pimpin, Dirt of Your Shoulders, Hard Knock Life, Bonnie and Clyde, Empire State of Mind and Encore) he pulled a girl on stage to wish her happy birthday. Before that, he had called out random people in the audience to connect with those lucky enough to witness the adrenaline rush on stage that night.

Here's a clip of my favorite song of the night: Forever Young.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

She & Him grace Milwaukee.

Last night Milwaukee put on the first annual Verge Music Festival, an alternative to Summerfest. Local bands like The Championship showed up and tonight Weezer, The Cold War Kids and Rogue Wave will play.

I need to talk about Zooey Deschanel and M. ward for now though. As soon as they came on stage, they both had the audience captivated. Or starstruck. Perhaps because of M.ward's success with Post-War, Hold Time or other impressive productions. Perhaps because Zooey has won the hearts of those who have seen Elf or Almost Famous. To me, though, it was much more than that. It was the collaboration of two extremely talented individuals preserving a unique type of music for our time. As cute Zooey serenaded the crowd in her vintage sundress, Matt commanded his bass with class as usual. Even the back-up singers were stunning!

I talked about She&Him's Volume Two giving me the summer itch earlier this spring, and it finally came when I saw these two play. They played some of my favorite tracks from Volume One like "Black Hole,"This is not a Test" and "Change is Hard," which were acoustically close to perfect. Then they got through most of the Volume Two with tracks like "Thieves," "In the Sun" and "Don't Look Back." Zooey Deschanel's vocals are a rarity that I can honestly say are timeless (even two albums in!) precisely because she respects sounds from the past.

I heard in an interview once that Zooey doesn't listen to anything from our generation because it isn't appealing. That could be the smartest thing she's ever said, and it appears in her songs. It's no secret that she focuses on musicians like Neil Young and Patsy Cline or takes cues from old musicals. As M. ward compliments her with his guitar stylings, it's hard to tell what era you're in...and that's a good thing. It's obvious that She & Him are only getting better as time goes on; as they send us back in time.

As the concert went on, Zooey would skip over to the piano and then grab a tambourine. I found myself constantly screaming to my friend next to me, "She's SO talented!" Although she can act, boy can she sing. Whenever M.ward had the chance to do a guitar solo, it was such a treat. When they played the song "Magic Trick" from Post-War, Zooey was a sweet addition.

To me, a band that can be sentimental and intimate, energetic and flirty, vintage and modern deserves a listen.