Monday, July 03, 2006

mostly the Desdemona Festival

Upon my return to the blog world I found the template to the old Everything Is blog to be extremely annoying and it was totally stressing me out. So I had to get rid of it. I don't really care for any of the Blogger templates so here we have: White. I'm totally into white these days anyway; it's so mod. How can you go wrong really? It's white! Anyways, I'll probably personalize the look of the new template but for now, this is pretty okay with me. Anything beats the cheesy one I had before.

So, I attended portions of all three days of the Desdemona Festival in Cincinnati weekend before last. I started writing my review of the festival for Harmonium but couldn't force myself to finish it. I couldn't make myself bullshit anymore. The festival itself was lovely, Sawyer Point is a beautiful park and perfect for an event of that nature, the people in attendance were all totally happy to be there, nice and great crowds, the people putting it on were all so gracious and all of that. But the only thing that was almost entirely unimpressive was the music. And frankly, that shocked the shit out of me. I mean, it wasn't like there were a bunch of local bands playing all day and then a big headliner each night, not at all. At least 3/4 of the bands that played the DesFest were big name indie acts and/or blogger favorites. For me the weekend began with the Apples In Stereo Friday evening and then ended with The Walkmen closing the festival on Sunday night and, overall, those were the two bands that performed the best all weekend. Most of the others (specifically The Stills, Radio 4, We Are Scientists, Enon, Annie) just lacked content and personality. Even the Walkmen were somewhat awkward in the outside pavilion. Though I have to point out that We Are Scientists are great performers; they had the personality and charisma to charm the crowd of indie rockers that Sunday cracking jokes and acting like heathens. After their first song there were a bunch of people walking up from another stage whose set ran long and the bass player told them, "Don't even fucking bother," which was totally funny. Unfortunately, their music sucks ass. The lyrics to their single "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" are the worst I've heard since I stopped listening to popular r&b in middle school. "My body is your body / I won't tell anybody / If you wanna use my body / Go for it, yeah." What the hell is that? And that's the gd chorus so you have to hear it like 50 times and let me tell you, it embarrassed me each time. I would bury my vocals under the instrumentation of my lyrics were that shitty.
Let me clarify though, that I don't think this was the fault of the organizers of the DesFest; these bands are popular. I blame uneducated music fans for liking this crap.
But that's a-whole-nother tangent I don't feel like getting into at the moment. Sigh.
Here is my unfinished review and some amateur pictures I took:

Desdemona Festival
Sawyer Point in Cincinnati, OH
6.23-5, 2006

Despite what preconceived notions people may have, Cincinnati is a perfect place to host a music festival like Desdemona. It's a good central location for bands to travel to, it'’s beautiful (as long as you'’re in the right spot), and very user-friendly. I attended all three days of Desdemona and not once did I have trouble parking nor did I ever have to walk further than a block to get to Sawyer Point Park, where the concert was being held.
Sawyer Point is right on the Ohio River and is a mile long. ItÂ's strikingly beautiful how there are vast, green fields sandwiched between bridges signifying your entry to Kentucky: "“Where education pays!Â"
There were 3 stages with shows staggered between them, starting every hour on the hour, from 4-10pm each night. 29 bands total, and only one band, locals The Sundresses, cancelled. From what I have heard there were next to no problems with the crowds (no fights, etc) and only one case of the dreaded technical difficulties during Rogue Wave's set on Sunday.
I arrived in Cincinnati on Friday night in time to catch The Apples Is Stereo, the VHS or Beta dj set, and Ghostface. The Apples In Stereo played, perhaps, the most enjoyable set of the entire weekend for me. They sounded immaculate; there was something about the sunlight and the air that day that complimented the Apples sugary sweet pop songs perfectly. I may never want to see them play a show indoors ever again. Another thing that made the Apples sound so good was the fact that they didn'’t try to get too loud. Sometimes you don'’t need to turn it up to 11 and luckily The Apples get that. Their set was a mixture of older favorites ("The Rainbow"”, "“Go"”, "“Strawberryfire"”, "“Ruby"”, etc) as well as new songs from their upcoming album, New Magnetic Wonder, such as "Skyway"”, "“You Gotta Play Tough, My Love"” and "“Open Eyes"”.
After the Apples In Stereo were finished there was a dj set by Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy of VHS or Beta. These guys have been djing for years now, mostly in their hometown of Louisville, KY, and they seriously know their stuff. There is a secret to getting a bunch of indie rock kids to dance and these guys are certainly in on it.
The Friday night headliner was definitely the most unusual act of the Festival, former Wu-Tang member, Ghostface. I'm the first to admit, I'm not a hip-hop or rap fan. The only reason I knew that Ghostface was even in the Wu-Tang Clan was because he and his two hype guys were trying to get the crowd to chant about them. "“We say '‘WU!'’ You say 'TANG!'’ "WU!"” "“Err...Tang?"” However, my favorite hype generator was the question, "Where all my weed smokers at?" It may have taken a couple songs but the crowd definitely got into Ghostface and were all holding up their lighters and cell phones in response. It was certainly a fun and interesting way to end the first evening of the festival.
Saturday was blessed with weather as beautiful as the day before and I arrived at the park as the New York band Cousin was performing on Stage 3. I don'’t think I had ever seen the trio in the daylight before and it brought a much different feel to their set. It certainly wasn'’t as at home in the sunlit park as The Apples In Stereo's set the day before, but that's probably an extremely unfair comparison. Lead singer, Raze Regal, always performs in a suit and I imagined that he must have been sweating his ass off as he screamed into the mic during the band's single, "The Girl I Knew". Cousin is always energetic and always fun. They didn't let the heat stifle their set and bassist Peter Klein was extra festive in all white and wearing a crown of dandelions.


Apples In Stereo





We Are Scientists

Chris Cain of We Are Scientists - "Don't even fucking bother..."

Fiery Furnaces

Radio 4

The Walkmen

Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen

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