Tag Archives: Metallica

Metallica at Bonnaroo 2008

I’m not a die-hard Metallica fan, but I was looking forward to hearing some of the old classics live at Bonnaroo on the main stage. In high school, I think the only cds we had in the weight room were Boston and Metallica, and it rocked. I mean, in that context, you can’t help but act like Jim Breuer’s caricature/imitation of Metallica fans in his stand-up routine.

Of course, the band has pulled the YouTube clips of its Bonnaroo ’08 performance. Figures. They’re proprietary to the extreme: c.f. Napster and the blog review kerfuffle. You can of course pay them to download the mp3s of that show (and others) here.

It was predicted that Metallica would be anathema for Bonnaroo. And, yeah, having them there was a little incongruous. But us neo-hippies and indie rock geeks have other sorts of bands stashed in our musical foundation, bolstering our knowledge and impacting our tastes. I mean, no one was bitching that BB King and Willie Nelson were there. And I saw nothing but tens of thousands of people enjoying themselves.

We enjoyed ourselves because Metallica rocked our favorite old-school radio songs all night, and they were way into it. There were pyrotechnics (better than the unrealized Kanye West light show). And the sound was perfect (as opposed to the sound during The Raconteurs’ set on the same stage, which was wretched).

My only criticisms are that James Hetfield and crew looked so juiced-up (note that I said “looked” not “were”–I’ll have no libel suit over my head) that they appeared to be Lord of the Rings characters, like exaggerated action figures … oh, wait, Metallica action figures already exist. And James kept demanding that the audience adulate him, so much so that my friend started calling the band “ME-tallica.”

One more bit of trivia, to be filed under guilty pleasures: Metallica will be the feature in another band-specific Guitar Hero edition. Insert metal sign here!


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The Swell Season at Bonnaroo 2008

The Swell Season captured the spirit of Bonnaroo best, of all the great bands I saw (pictures). You can download the show, transformed magically into mp3s, here, or any of 15 other live shows of theirs here.

I expected great things from Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, but I also know it’s hard to put a sweet sound out into the great outdoors and manage to maintain intimacy and vibrancy all at once. Their songs did just that, and their humility and joy refreshed us despite the mid-day heat. The two musicians really did fall in love while filming the movie Once and making the music that became not just a soundtrack but also this group The Swell Season. They interacted on stage just how I’d hoped: adoring looks, encouraging cues, an ever-so-slight touch on the shoulder while they worked out what to play next.

If you haven’t bought any of their stuff yet, I would recommend the collector’s edition of the Once soundtrack that also includes a couple of live cuts and a making-of DVD. Perhaps it talks about how they fell in love while filming and touring. And the actual movie DVD is out now, too, if you missed it in theaters. If you saw the movie, you won’t be surprised to know The Swell Season covered two Van Morrison songs, Astral Weeks and Into the Mystic.

Glen was much more of a showman than I expected. He orchestrated the audience without commanding us (see future post on Metallica at Bonnaroo), encouraging us to cut loose with no inhibitions in the spirit of a festival. We were hungry for this sort of communal happiness, and the packed audience ate it up and gave it back to the performers on stage tenfold.

Glen and Markéta were accompanied by Glen’s usual band (since 1990) The Frames. I’ve not been able to get into their records, but this show made me want to keep trying until it takes. The drummer was an incredible mix of charismatic and seriously absorbed, the guitarist and bass player were great role players, and the violinist played so emotively I actually looked for another woman singer when he laid harmonies over and under Markéta’s soaring vocals.

The song I loved best was originally a Frames song, called God Bless Mom. It’s not anywhere online live to show you. I’ll keep a lookout. The video for the original version of the song does nothing to capture the dynamic range with which The Swell Season infused it.

I love The Pixies. I was amped for a Pixies cover by a downloadable concert of The Swell Season at the 9:30 Club offered by NPR here. So when the band left the stage and Glen and Markéta had a confab and then broke into a cover of Levitate Me, I went ballistic. You can’t see me going apeshit about five rows back in  the crowd, which is only due to the camera angle, but it’s still fun to watch them.

The band worked a jam for a while, which was unremarkable in and of itself. But Glen asked poets to come up on the stage, and two people took the invitation. The man who went first looked at the crowd in awe, genuinely taken aback by the sea of people focused on him. Glen nodded in shared astonishment, and with that bolstering moment the dude plowed into a really good poem. I tapped him on the shoulder later and thanked him for letting us all be part of something special, and he seemed to take the compliment as seriously as I meant it.

Final note: They did an encore, Hey Day (written by Mic Christopher), which was racous. What more could ya want?

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Record Store Day

Record Store Day is Saturday!!!


Find your local brick-and-mortar purveyor of shiny silver (and sometimes hefty black) discs-o-music in this list to determine if there is any performing, DJing, or autographing going on near you.

Examples include a Metallica meet-and-greet at Berkeley’s Rasputin Music, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees performing with many other acts at Milwaulkee’s Atomic Records, The Donnas DJing at Hollywood’s famed Amoeba Records, The New Pornographers performing among others at St. Louis’ Vintage Vinyl, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club performing among others at CD Central in Lexington, KY.

EVERYONE within range of an independent record store can enjoy goodie bags and give-aways.

And besides the discs you’ve been procrastinating buying, you can purchase a Record-Store-Day exclusive 7″ (two songs) from Vampire Weekend and a 10″ (three songs) from Stephen Malkmus. Oh, and in case you’re not excited yet, 7″es from Built to Spill, R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, and The Black Keys. Good grief! Find track listings here and here, respectively.

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