Tuesday, May 5, 2015

SunFest 2015

"We don't get down here much, so let's make the most of it," saith Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy during SunFest 2015's opening night (Wednesday) show.  A blistering, mostly raucous good time that oddly ignored the album Summerteeth but was otherwise a stellar set of old and new, favoring louder cuts which allowed guitarist extraordinaire Nels Cline plenty of opportunities to shred, including a rockin' version of "Camera".  There was also an old Uncle Tupelo tune and a slightly slower tempo version of "Walken".  Before he began "Hate it Here", Tweedly wrly noted, "Don't worry, this song's not about you." Wilco gleefully played longer than scheduled and blew through the usual walk-off-the-stage before the encore interlude.  This was a Top 10 show for me, quite amazing.

On Sunday I caught a 2:15 Pixies concert.  It was surprising that a band that easily could've been a headliner was relegated to such an odd time.  Plus, they had to stick to a 75 minute set as there was someone else in the wings waiting their turn.  Nonetheless, Black Francis and company delivered a breathless cacophony of sublime noise without taking a breath between tunes - or saying a single word to the audience, but that's nothing new, apparently.  The quartet, which included replacement bassist Paz Lenchantin (who held her own in Kim Deal's absence), did do a collective bow at the finish, after their beloved "Hey".  "Monkey Gone to Heaven", "Here Comes Your Man", "Velouria", and "Gigantic" were surprisingly absent, but thankfully "Where Is My Mind" and "U-Mass" were not.

I would've loved to have heard their grinding, absolutely perfect cover of the song from ERASERHEAD, "In Heaven, Everything is Fine".  There were some tracks from the recent Indie Cindy album, unfamiliar to me but sounded much like the old stuff.  Guitarist Joey Santiago at one point threw his axe down and played it via the feedback pedals.  Moments like this separate the devoted from the casual fans.

During both shows the waft of bud was strong.  During the Pixies gig, a group of 20-somethings next to me unashamedly passed a joint.  Where were the cops? Probably too many bodies to haul off, and no one was hurting anybody.  The Pixies audience - a surprisingly young crowd, were very well behaved.  Not a single mosher. Ain't like the old days.

This year's Fest had a good lineup.  I would've attended Lenny Kravitz's show but it was at the same time as Wilco's.  Tweedy even commented on that, wondering if their music would swirl together in "some kind of mash-up." 311, Stone Temple Pilots (no Scott Weiland), Sammy Hagar, Boston, Eddie Money, and a some others were on tap for the older fans.  Fall Out Boy et. al were there for the current target demographic.  On Sunday my wife, her mom, and some cousins and I spent a lovely afternoon enjoying some spectacular breezes and hearing bits of Some Kinda Wonderful (their name belies how I felt about 'em) and Matisyahu (to whom I've always been strangely indifferent. I've tried, but I just can't appreciate his music).

Did you go?

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