I’d call the Monolith Festival this weekend a rousing success in terms of quality, diversity, and incorporation of local musicians and artists. Here’s some highlights from my Friday.
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah played in the daylight to a 1/3-full main stage audience. We all know that the lead singer Alec Ounsworth has an unusual warble, to say the least, and after seeing them I was kinda lamenting the way that the “Saaaatan, Saaaatan…” line stuck with an iron will in my brain all afternoon. But all the reasons that made them the blog sensation superstars are still in full effect – their exuberant and melodic sound, the catchy, solid, danceable tunes. The Talking Head comparisons are unavoidable in my mind, and I really enjoyed their show. Next time, smaller venue for me.
KINGS OF LEON
Oh Kings of Leon. I’ve been waiting for you guys. After seeing them at the Ogden Theatre a few months ago and being completely converted, this was one of my most anticipated sets and they didn’t fail me, bringing an hour of excoriating rock (okay, 56 minutes) which was more than I expected for a festival act at 7pm.
They played a fantastic set, including the claptastic Spiral Staircase, Four Kicks (which always makes me feel all pugilistic), and a slightly-sped-up version of Fans which sounded great to these ears — it’s one of my current favorite tunes. I took a video of Charmer that regrettably starts with some too-loud audio and an out of focus bit, but then it shapes up and ain’t too bad — it gives you a sense of the swagger in their show and how they project a huge enough sound to challenge those red rocks.
I think they were one of the best-suited bands to the huge venue; as I wrote in the little blurb for the festival program, “Their live show pulls songs from all three of their full-length studio releases, a catalog of material that grows and shimmers in a live setting. The songs seem to pull air from the ether around them in a supernova of raw and unbridled Southern garage rock.”
Fans – Kings of Leon
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club electrified the second stage in a set that I’ll talk more about when I post that interview soon. The Decemberists also played the main stage and it sounded superb from up above, but I regrettably didn’t make it back down those billion stairs until Cake, who I thought played a great show as usual. There was some skepticism from folks who haven’t followed their consistently fun, intelligent, clever output since the “Going The Distance” hit, but I think they converted a few. I only got one picture – John McCrea rockin the white-rimmed sunglasses, fedora, and track jacket like a child molestor on vacation (sorry but come on).
You Part The Waters – Cake
Saturday dawned clear and lovely. More pics coming.