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Rupert Hudson – SceneSC http://www.SceneSC.com Covering the South Carolina Music Scene Fri, 21 Oct 2016 01:28:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 http://www.SceneSC.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/SiteIcon-5498fa57v1_site_icon-32x32.png Rupert Hudson – SceneSC http://www.SceneSC.com 32 32 37093496 Brett Dennen Plays Sold-Out Show in Nashville http://www.SceneSC.com/2014/02/26/brett-dennen-plays-sold-out-show-in-nashville/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2014/02/26/brett-dennen-plays-sold-out-show-in-nashville/#respond Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:05:27 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=17596 Thanks to Thi Lam for writing this recap. This is his first time writing for SceneSC! Brett Dennen packs out 3rd & Lindsley on Saturday, Feb. 21 in Nashville, TN, touring on the release of his new full-length album Smoke [...]

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Thanks to Thi Lam for writing this recap. This is his first time writing for SceneSC!

Brett Dennen packs out 3rd & Lindsley on Saturday, Feb. 21 in Nashville, TN, touring on the release of his new full-length album Smoke and Mirrors.   I would like to talk more about his new album before I get into the details of the show.

DSC_1086Smoke and Mirrors is a perfect blend of his previous albums. It encapsulates the up-beat vibes from Lover Boy while keeping the lyrical weight of So Much More and Hope for the Hopeless. Smoke & Mirrors explores the beauty of love with songs like  Only Want You, conquering self-doubt with Wild Child, and even questions conventional religious beliefs with Don’t Mess with Karma.  This album is Brett Dennen taking a step back and finding his roots.

Back to the show,

He opened up his set with the first song from the new record Sweet Persuasion, which is a catchy up-beat tune about love, which set the mood just right. It got everyone in crowd moving on their feet, filling the room with joy.  I could overhear some of the audience making comments on his voice. They were so unsure about it, because it was something they have never heard before. How can that delicate soft voice come from such a large red headed man? (Brett Dennen stands strong at 6 feet 5 inches) While Brett Dennen isn’t known as a vocalist by any means and some might even be thrown off by his voice the first time they hear it, but there is something magical in his nasally Northern California accent that gives each of his songs a sense of sincerity and rawness that will make you feel the intentions of his songs. I’ll admit it, I didn’t like his voice at first, but it grew on me.

DSC_1083It felt like a church service the way Brett performed, speaking so much truth and reminding his audience to appreciate life with each song.  There were moments in the set where he would swing his guitar to his hip just to use both of his hands to deliver the importance of his lyrics to the audience. We were in Brett’s classroom, and he was teaching us the meaning of life. While singing his heart out, he un-embarrassedly incorporated some cheesy dance moves to give the crowd their money’s worth.  The way he danced and moved across stage was something that only he could pull off. He was just that kind of person that could make anything “cool”.

He’s the awkwardly tall and talented geek you knew in high school, the loveable one who danced the entire time at prom. He’s the Comeback Kid that is keeping the singer-songwriter genre alive and well, and winning the hearts of many with his genuine lyricism and catchy tunes. Check out Brett Dennen’s new album Smoke and Mirrors.

He is also amazing at doodling: http://instagram.com/brettdennen

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Boreal Sons: An Interview http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/11/11/boreal-sons-an-interview/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/11/11/boreal-sons-an-interview/#respond Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:04:34 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=16836 Recently, I interviewed Evan Acheson, the lead singer and piano player of Calgary, Canada-based band Boreal Sons. He was a lovely man and we chatted about haters, their new album, and maple syrup (not sure if we actually talked about [...]

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Recently, I interviewed Evan Acheson, the lead singer and piano player of Calgary, Canada-based band Boreal Sons. He was a lovely man and we chatted about haters, their new album, and maple syrup (not sure if we actually talked about that but it was implied).

I’m very excited to be interviewing you today. Especially because of the beautiful connection we have through your guitarist Logan (I went to high school with him). How did you meet him?

Yeah, we call him the ruggedly handsome one. I met him a while ago through some friends. We went to the same live music events in Calgary. I think I’d met him very briefly and I was driving in rush hour traffic one day. I looked over and he was the car right where I wanted to be in traffic. We kind of had this silent moment and with motioning charades I said “would I be able to sneak in front of you there?” Of course, he waved me in. That’s why I let him in the band. I owed it to him.

Who else do you have in your band and how did you meet them?

Well, I play the piano and sing, and Logan has the guitars covered. Zack is on percussion and I have known him my whole life. Our parents were friends. And finally, Reagan is the bass player and I met him through an organization called Young Life.

Tell me a bit about your childhood.

Well, I was homeschooled, which was interesting. Actually, I thought that I had a very normal childhood. My mom was a teacher and she taught my three little brothers and me. The four of us were very good buddies growing up and I had lots of friends in the neighbourhood with whom I would go build tree forts in the woods and ride our bikes.

Are you on tour right now?

We are in the middle of a long tour right now but we have a few days off in Calgary. We toured the west coast of Canada and we got to play a bunch of really fun shows out in the Vancouver/Victoria area and also in the mountains. We’re getting ready to head east now. We haven’t really played anywhere on the eastern side of the continent so we are going to be doing a lot of driving in the next few days. We are so excited for new adventures and new sights. Our mechanic just put new tires on our van and he assures us everything will be a-ok for our massive trek.

Have you had trouble with your van before?

Well, we had an old tour van that was a lot of maintenance and trouble. In the end, it burst into flames on the highway. I called our mechanic and described to him what our engine looked like and he said “I think that’s probably all she’s got in her.” Zack, Reagan and I had been at a wedding and Logan was visiting friends in another part of Vancouver and we called him. Like a knight in shining armor, he borrowed a large van in Vancouver and drove 3 or 4 hours to come pick us up.

Your new album Threadbare was just released, how does that feel? 

It’s great. It’s our first full-length album. We’ve had a couple of EPs previously but this is our first album where we sat down and strategically planned it out. We worked with an awesome producer and made our greatest effort and best product to date.

What has the reaction in Canada been like? Have certain cities asked you to come play there because of this album or did you plan it out?

Well, it was mostly us, but we have been getting a lot of media coverage. We’ve been working with some people to help us with publicity and they have been a huge help. We have got a few blog articles and album reviews about Threadbare. Everyone has been extremely supportive.

Well, we have loved your album on WUSC. I think you were #5 on our charts this week.

Holy smokes! I’ve never even been to South Carolina.

You’ve got to come here! Anyways, do you have any good stories that come from your most recent tour?

There was this cool bar we played at in Victoria, BC called The Copper Owl. It was a bizarre experience. The venue used to be a gay bar but now hipsters have claimed it. It’s like, a guy sits down with a PBR, another guy sits down with a fancy cocktail and they can hit it off. They can be best buds. It was quite small but made for a really intimate show. There was torrential downpour that night and crazy amounts of wind. I think it was a special moment as people sought shelter from the storm and huddled around.

Are you going anywhere in the next month and a half that you haven’t been?

I think I’m most excited to go to the east coast of Canada because I’ve never been there at all. Not even on a family vacation. I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful landscape. I’ve heard there are lots of rocky cliffs near the sea and that the people are really lovely. We’re travelling through Quebec as well, and I’ve never been there either.

I see you’re playing at a place called Burritoville in Montreal. 

I’ve heard from sources that is a beautiful old building, which should be fun. I’ve also heard that they have great Mexican food.

Have you had to deal with haters at all with your band?

No, not really. Oh wait, today we got a 2/5 star review. But you know, you’re going to get that so whatever. It is interesting though. I think having people give their honest opinions and poor reviews is not a bad thing altogether. It at least gives us a gauge for how many people are actually hearing it now. I mean, we’re not out there to win everybody over. It was such an awesome experience just to make this album and express ourselves genuinely and honestly. We can only improve from here so we are open to hearing honest criticism.

What is your personal favorite song to play live from the album?

Oh, good question. I think it would be Sparks, which is track 2 on the album. It’s a bit more groovy than some of our previous stuff. We’ve been playing a real Fender Rhodes keyboard on tour and the sound of it mixed with the drums, the whole band playing together and the movement of the chord changes is a lot of fun. Also, the song Coward has a bit of gnarly, staticky guitar solo on the recording but live we have been having a lot of fun trying to make it loud and crazy. Some of our fans who have been listening to our softer, quieter stuff will hopefully be surprised in a pleasant way by how these songs sound.

Thank you so much Evan for doing this interview.

Thank you! I hope to see you in Canada sometime soon.

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[Show Preview] WUSC Presents: Stepdad w/ One Two Skidoo, Heyrocco, Nathan K. http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/10/22/show-preview-wusc-presents-stepdad-w-one-two-skidoo-heyrocco-nathan-k/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/10/22/show-preview-wusc-presents-stepdad-w-one-two-skidoo-heyrocco-nathan-k/#respond Tue, 22 Oct 2013 16:36:05 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=16339 Stepdad w/ One Two Skidoo, Heyrocco, and Nathan K.    Conundrum Music Hall, Columbia, SC Friday, November 1st       Doors 7/Show 8        $8      Tickets Excuse me, Columbia. Since when did you start getting [...]

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1404715_10152013556256204_1307210809_oStepdad w/ One Two Skidoo, Heyrocco, and Nathan K.    Conundrum Music Hall, Columbia, SC

Friday, November 1st       Doors 7/Show 8        $8      Tickets

Excuse me, Columbia. Since when did you start getting really awesome shows so close to one another? After a wild Crystal Fighters show, a beautiful Dodos show, and an extremely successful Toro y moi show, another extravaganza is making its way to our lovely city. The show, which will be at Conundrum on November 1st, is somewhat of a halloween show, and all the bands have promised that they are going to be making out with at least one member of the audience (as long as they are dressed up in a costume that is more than a 6).

If you’re not familiar with these bands, let me give you a rundown. The headliners, Stepdad (http://stepdad.us) are an electro-pop group from Michigan who last played in Columbia about two years ago. After the show, they raved about the crowd in Columbia, and even suggested that it was the best show they had ever played. The singer ripped his shirt off for the first time ever in a concert and this time we’re hoping for more (socks). One Two Skidoo (http://www.frankiemunizracing.com/) are a heart-breaking golf team that play backwoods sunshine music that sounds as if a songbird got stuck in Aaron Carter’s basketball. They haven’t played a real-life show in two years and plan to continue that tradition. Heyrocco are a gorgeous 3-piece from Charleston who will be heading to Columbia hot off an incredible recording session up in Nashville, TN. Expect a bunch of fine-tuned new songs about mums, dads, and Nascar. Finally, opening the show is the angelic Nathan K. who will be serenading the crowd with his soft-spoken lyrics and loops-upon-loops. Make sure you get the early to witness this beautiful make.

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/488959

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[Event Preview] Cola-Con 2013 http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/10/01/event-preview-cola-con-2013/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/10/01/event-preview-cola-con-2013/#respond Tue, 01 Oct 2013 16:12:02 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=16171 Cola-Con, the nation’s only hip-hop and comics convention, is returning to Columbia after a successful 2012 featured Ghostface Killah and Phife from A Tribe Called Quest. This year, they are bringing Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange and hip-hop legends Dead [...]

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Cola-Con, the nation’s only hip-hop and comics convention, is returning to Columbia after a successful 2012 featured Ghostface Killah and Phife from A Tribe Called Quest. This year, they are bringing Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange and hip-hop legends Dead Prez to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on October 25 and 26. I saw The Foreign Exchange a couple years ago at Hopscotch Festival and they were rather impressive, mixing hip-hop, jazz, and a number of other genres. Along with these artists, there will be a number of other performers along with a large number of featured comic artists and graphic novelists. These include Marvel Comics’ Steve Epting, otherwise known as the artist who killed Captain America, Carl Jones, a producer from the TV show The Boondocks, and many more.

Homegrown in Columbia, SC, Cola-Con’s goal is to keep it going with the DIY energy that created hip-hop culture. As mentioned, the cross-cultural festival will feature a number of performers and will highlight dozens of vendors from as far as New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis, displaying everything from hip-hop to sneaker culture, graffiti to comics, and much more. Vendor applications are being accepted through October 5th.

Tickets for Cola-Con 2013 are $20 for one day and $30 for a two-day pass. Buy tickets online at http://www.cola-con.com. Tickets will also be for sale at the door. Cola-Con hours are noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center is located at 1101 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC 29201. Follow @ColaConSC on Twitter with the #ColaCon hashtag or visit http://www.Facebook.com/ColaCon.

Enter to Win

Winners will be contacted via email Friday 10/25 at Noon


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[Show Review] City & Colour and Lucy Rose http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/10/01/show-review-city-colour-and-lucy-rose/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/10/01/show-review-city-colour-and-lucy-rose/#respond Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:38:50 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=16107 I pretty much went to this concert (at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC) to see Lucy Rose as I’m still a little bitter towards Dallas Green a.k.a City & Colour for breaking up one of my favorite bands a few [...]

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Lucy Rose at the Orange PeelI pretty much went to this concert (at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC) to see Lucy Rose as I’m still a little bitter towards Dallas Green a.k.a City & Colour for breaking up one of my favorite bands a few years ago. I never was super into screamy music but there was something about Alexisonfire (Dallas Green’s previous band) that just got me. I can still listen to their discography and love every second of it. Although City & Colour has released some really good music, it’s never going to be anything like Alexisonfire was for me. One time, a few days after Alexisonfire announced their breakup (due to Green’s desire to focus on City & Colour), I saw Dallas Green at an airport in Chicago after Lollapalooza and I did not even go over to talk to him as I knew I would probably say something mean. Anyways, I have sort of gotten over my anger but I am still a little upset. Also, I liked City & Colour better when it was just Dallas Green and his guitar. That stuff was gorgeous.

Lucy Rose at the Orange PeelCity & Colour’s opener, Lucy Rose, whom I interviewed earlier last week, is an adorable London-based singer-songwriter who managed to captivate all of the people in the Orange Peel with her  set that brisk night. Her debut album, Like I Used To, is rather mellow, mostly showcasing Lucy Rose’s voice and guitar. It’s pretty, but not as massive as her performance was last Thursday. She had a 4-piece band with her who transformed her quiet, forest songs into festival-worthy anthems. Her voice was constantly brilliant, as expected, but what most impressed me was the ability to use her backing band to give her songs weird changes of tempo and grand sounds. Each band member was interesting in some way, especially the bassist, who Rose suggested was going to have his face featured on their next t-shirt design. It was a solid 45-minute set and convinced most of the crowd to get her music afterwards.

C&C_005Driving up to Asheville, I cannot say that I was dying to see City & Colour but once I spent some time with the packed crowd and my excited parents, I was looking forward to the show a little. City & Colour played a surprisingly long, 2 hour set, that was actually really enjoyable except a little too much at times. I have not listened to his newest album, The Hurry and the Harm, so I am not too familiar with many of the songs that he played, and I cannot say that the crowd were either. It was a really strange crowd that night. They were very excited about Dallas Green and screamed whenever it was quiet, but when he tried to get them to sing along, they just wouldn’t. However, he dealt with it well, and did not get upset, like Kings of Leon did at Reading Festival a few years back when they didn’t get the crowd response that they wanted. They threw their guitars into the crowd but Dallas Green just made some jokes about it and went on his way. However, I felt rather bad for him for most of the set as, like I mentioned, the crowd were  strange. Many of them left halfway/three-quarters of the way through his set, and people seemed most excited when he played songs without his band. I understand this, as his voice + an acoustic guitar equals ultimate sexiness, but as his last two albums have featured him and a band, I’d think that people would be at least a little excited about his new songs, but it did not seem like anyone really knew them.

C&C_004Personally, I believe that he is much better with just a voice and a guitar. I saw him play quite a while ago with just him and his cousin on acoustic guitar and it was gorgeous. Although his voice still shined when he played the full-band songs (he even turned Waiting… from his debut album into a very loud version), they just sometimes seemed a bit too big for the singer-songwriter. I could definitely see moments of Alexisonfire-like music and I totally understand why he is doing the full-band thing again. Although playing with just an acoustic guitar may be pleasing and nice for a crowd, he would be missing out on a number of enjoyable musical moments, including harmonies, guitar solos, pounding drums, and much more. By playing the songs that he wants, the way he wants, he is satisfying his own music hunger, as well as most (if not all) of his fans. This was also obvious when a fan screamed “ALEXISONFIRE” and his response was, “do you ever go to a movie theatre, and yell a different movie at the screen and it starts playing instead?” I thought it was a rather clever response, if not a little pretentious.

Although the crowd was weird, the full-band thing was a little too much, and he was a tiny bit pretentious (I would probably be too, if I was him) the set was solid. I’m not a huge fan of when headliners only play for less than an hour, when they have enough material to play for 3, so seeing him playing a full-on two-hour set was extremely impressive. Highlights included What Makes A Man?, The Girl, and new song Paradise, before which he said “this song is for people who just don’t know how to be alive” and then laughed a very sad laugh. This sincerity showed throughout his whole set. I could tell that he was a little perturbed by the strange crowd but still managed to keep a good head on and sing his heart out. It was a nice set, that definitely shined when the focus was on him and his guitar, and I hope that with his next album, he can satisfy the fans that are aching for this acoustic music, while also making his own musical desires happy.

Thanks to Riley Carithers for taking photos and to Derris & Company for giving me the chance to interview Lucy Rose and cover this show.

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A Review of Music Midtown 2013 http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/09/23/a-review-of-music-midtown-2013/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/09/23/a-review-of-music-midtown-2013/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2013 15:03:29 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=16001 Let me tell you a bit about my history with Arctic Monkeys. As a teenager, I was completely obsessed with the pop-punk genre of music; frequenting Warped Tour and sporting neon at all times. At the time, it was rather [...]

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Let me tell you a bit about my history with Arctic Monkeys.

IMG_0715As a teenager, I was completely obsessed with the pop-punk genre of music; frequenting Warped Tour and sporting neon at all times. At the time, it was rather tragic. However, one summer while visiting my family in the UK, a young and exciting band was taking over the UK and telling everyone how good they would look on the dance floor. I was obsessed immediately. From the don’t-give-a-fuck attitude to the almost unintelligible accent, Alex Turner was my hero, and the Arctic Monkeys quickly became my favorite band. They were different from anything I had ever listened to and I felt as if I had discovered my own personal secret band, as I was living in Canada at the time and they had barely touched North America at the time. I had their debut on repeat until Favourite Worst Nightmare came out and I was swept away by the matured, but always ridiculously fun sound that this band were sending my way.

However, things started to go wrong. They released their 3rd album Humbug and while it was decent, it lacked the excitement and youth that the first 2 albums had. Alex Turner no longer seemed to want to make people dance and scream their lungs out and instead focused on a sort of stoner-rock genre that was almost boring. I was determined to give it a chance and listened to it so much that I ended up really liking it, albeit the major differences between the previous material. I moved to South Carolina a few months later and found out that Arctic Monkeys would be playing in Raleigh and quickly bought my ticket. I had never seen them live and knew I was going to be blown away. I was looking forward to seeing all of their songs played out in a live setting, even the less-exciting Humbug songs. While lining up for the show I was a giddy little girl and made sure that I had a front row spot.

IMG_0490Let’s just say that after that show Arctic Monkeys were no longer my favorite band. They just didn’t CARE. Alex Turner was bored the whole time. Maybe it was because they were much smaller in the US than the UK, or maybe he was slightly bored with Humbug like I was. Regardless, it was so underwhelming, disappointing, and everything like that. I moved on, got some new favorite bands, and barely even listened to their 4th album Suck It And See. But then something amazing happened. R U Mine? was released as a random single sometime last year and it was the best song that Arctic Monkeys had written in YEARS. Still, I didn’t listen to it that much because I was still a little sad about the Raleigh show. I shrugged it off as a fluke, and didn’t see a good direction that they could go in. How dumb of me.

My interest re-peaked when they headlined Glastonbury Festival this year. I read a review of it and they said they were one of the best headliners that Glastonbury had ever had. I did not understand. They mentioned Alex Turner’s commanding presence and suave disposition. “But,” I said. “Alex Turner had none of this when I saw them. What are you talking about?” Then, they released the one-two punch of singles Do I Wanna Know? and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? and I cried with excitement. Then, their 5th album, AM, came out, and I have literally been listening to it every day since it came out. It’s sexy. It’s debonair. It’s intelligent. It’s Arctic Monkeys. I was slowly being re-convinced that they had the features of a favorite band.

IMG_1002Then Music Midtown happened.

Two days of music bliss in a gorgeous park in Atlanta, Music Midtown is an absolute treat of the South. Unfortunately I was unable to attend Friday and missed out on Phoenix, 2 Chainz, Journey, and a few others. However, I was grateful to be there on Saturday, although the rain was pouring and the mud was forming. We arrived in time to catch the end of The Neighbourhood’s set. They sounded pretty solid but made too many airhorn sounds. We grabbed some food and headed to get a spot for Weezer’s set. Before their set, I did not realize how many of their songs I knew, but seriously, they have an insane amount of hits. I sung along to almost every song and got into the crowd when they decided to have a crazy, crowd-surf, bouncing party. Weezer were killer, even provoking a girl to show them her boobs and then just keep them out. The band were giggling like little girls. They played everything you would want from a festival Weezer set along with an encore, even though they weren’t the headliners. Classic.

IMG_0692After Weezer we got up nice and close for the next band… Arctic Monkeys. I had no idea what to expect. I did not want to be disappointed but I could not imagine how a band could completely reimagine their live show in just a couple years. But let me tell you, they have. As soon as the band touched the stage it was obvious that it was going to be special. Alex Turner was immaculate. His new haircut is perfect, his pomade was glistening, and his James Bond suit was flawless. The rest of the band were dressed up, sans drummer Matt Helders who wore tracksuit pants and a t-shirt. Incredible. Helders’ rabid drumming was solid and exciting throughout the set, along with the other members, but it was Turner that made it the spectacle that it was. It was the best set I saw at the festival and probably one of the best I have seen all year. I am fairly certain that Turner got some coaching for his stage presence in the past few years, maybe from his pal Josh Homme, since he literally made love to the crowd. He was a mixture of David Bowie, Elvis, and Alex Turner. He even had a comb that he pulled out to fix his hair every so often. It was SO HOT.

Every song sounded right. During the set I realized how relevant and important each Arctic Monkeys album has been, no matter how different or drastic than the one before it. They all made sense. My disappointed thoughts with Humbug turned into brilliant thoughts as I realized that Arctic Monkeys needed this turning point, in order to get to where they are right now. With Humbug they needed to mature themselves, even though it may have been a bit too much. With Suck It And See, they were turning those Humbug songs into something faster-paced and trying to strike a delicate balance between old and new. AM is where they completely hit their stride and figured out how to do it. The whole set I was aching (in both my heart and my loins) for the band to play cuts from their newest album and whenever they did, they completely took over the crowd. From Dancing Shoes to One For The Road, every song was perfect for this atmosphere and kept me captivated throughout. I found myself thinking, “well, it’s probably time for a new favorite band anyway.” It was massive and incredible and all I want to do now is see their show again. A lot better than the reaction I had to their last show. I plan to spend a few weeks listening to their back catalogue again and making my final decision on whether they should take the top spot in my heart. They probably should.

IMG_0754I squelched through the mud to Tegan & Sara, who were loud, fantastic, and adorable. I would have rather seen them do their own show as when they do not have time restrictions they spent half of them bantering with the crowd and it’s some pretty incredible banter. Everyone was singing along and they were grateful to be playing for us. The rest of our night was spent going from Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Queens of the Stone Age. Once again, I would have loved to see both of these bands do their own indoor headlining shows. There were just way too many people everywhere and I wasn’t wearing my wellies so it was a bit gross. Both the bands were wonderful and we left the festival with smiles on our faces and mud in our teeth. Well, not really, but pretty much.

As you can probably tell, Arctic Monkeys were the highlight of the day and pretty much all I can think about. Music Midtown was fantastic to go to this year and as long as I stay around the south, I will continue going.

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Interview with Lucy Rose http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/09/19/interview-with-lucy-rose/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/09/19/interview-with-lucy-rose/#respond Thu, 19 Sep 2013 21:18:48 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=15909 UK singer-songwriter Lucy Rose is taking her band to many US cities this month, with a supporting slot for City & Colour. They’ll be playing shows at The Ritz in Raleigh, NC on Sept. 24, Amos’ Southend in Charlotte, NC on Sept. [...]

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UK singer-songwriter Lucy Rose is taking her band to many US cities this month, with a supporting slot for City & Colour. They’ll be playing shows at The Ritz in Raleigh, NC on Sept. 24, Amos’ Southend in Charlotte, NC on Sept. 25 and The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC on Sept. 26. Be sure to check out this brilliant lineup at one of these dates. I interviewed her about her tour, new album, and festival experiences.

Lucy Rose – London, UK

You’re on tour with City & Colour right now, correct?

Yep, we had our 3rd show with them last night in Philadelphia and we are on our way to the 4th show in Washington, DC.

Has the tour been going well so far? 

Yeah, it’s been awesome. I think the crowds have completely blown our expectations and actually listened to our music so it’s been really nice. This is the first time we have really experienced something like this in the US. It’s difficult with support show sometimes because you know everyone is there to watch someone else. They are not the easiest of shows, but these last days with City & Colour have been good because we’ve got really good reactions, touch wood.

How different are your fans in the US compared to yours in the UK?

I don’t know because I don’t know if I’ve actually got any fans in the US, that’s what I’m working on right now. Everyone in the UK is awesome but the US seems to vocalize their love a bit more, sometimes.

What has your previous touring experience in the US been like?

Well, we’ve had some headlining shows in New York and Los Angeles and those were pretty similar to what we get in the UK but these support shows have been really different because they are big venues and these people who have never heard of us before actually seem to be paying attention and enjoying the music. We might be winning over some people.

What were you doing before this US tour? 

We’ve  been doing festivals all summer and it was a really good experience. Other than Reading and Leeds being a bit rainy, the festivals were blistering hot which is pretty rare for the UK. This was my first time actually playing Glastonbury this year. I sung with Bombay Bicycle Club a couple of years back when they played which was amazing. But to be able to go back and play by myself, I was pretty surprised. It was one of those things that I definitely wanted to play. I would have been really gutted if we hadn’t. We were very lucky to be on the lineup.

Did you have a big crowd there?

We had a full tent, which was nice, as we were all very nervous and knew who we were up against. The thing about Glastonbury is that there are normally enough people to fill every tent. We had a great following there. Glastonbury has a certain energy, everyone just cannot believe they are there.

Do you have any interesting Glastonbury stories?

It was the first festival my mum had ever come to. I gave her the list of all my dates and asked if she fancied any of them and she obviously chose Glastonbury. She came and we went and watched a bit of Arctic Monkeys and a boy came up to her randomly and asked her for a Rennie. He said “I’ve got terrible heartburn, have you got a Rennie? Like, I’m dying.” And because my mum is a mum she grabbed out a Rennie and gave it to her and he said, “literally, I love you” and disappeared into the crowd.

Do you have any crazy stories from tour to share?

Well, I’m probably the least rock and roll person you could talk to so my stories just consist of Rennie and heartburn. Nothing too mad. None of us drink or anything while we’re on tour. We’re very tame. We’re pretending we all just came out of rehab to make ourselves feel better.

Did your guest spot on Lights Out, Words Gone by Bombay Bicycle Club help spark your career? 

It definitely helped. It exposed my music to a lot of people who hadn’t heard of me before. It was a really good thing. I met them in a pub after one of their gigs and got chatting to Jack afterwards and things went from there.

Your new album Like I Used To has just come out in the US but has been out for a year in the UK. Is it strange promoting the album after a year of doing it, or are you still just as excited about it?

I’m still excited. We’re playing lots of new stuff as well; it’s a combination of both. I think I am really excited that the album made it out here because it was impossible to get it released in the US. The fact that it is out and is available is an achievement in itself so it’s exciting to be promoting it again in a new territory.

Are you working on a new album at the moment?

Yeah I spent some time in the studio before we came to America, just recording some new stuff and doing lots of writing. Hopefully when I get back I can work on getting the second one finished. There is definitely a development between the first album and this album. It’s a lot bigger sounding and a little bit rockier.

Are you listening to any bands at the moment that you think people should be listening to? 

Well, I think I’m listening to pretty much whatever everyone else is listening to right now. I’m mostly listening to the new Arctic Monkeys album at the moment, which I’m sure everyone else is.

All tour dates and music can be found on http://www.lucyrosemusic.com

Tickets for Raleigh can be found here, Charlotte can be found here, and Asheville can be found here

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Music Midtown 2013 http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/09/12/music-midtown-2013/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/09/12/music-midtown-2013/#respond Thu, 12 Sep 2013 16:20:00 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=15780 Oh man, it’s back. Music Midtown is a beautiful festival in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA that has been going strong since its resurgence 2 years ago. We covered the festival when it came back 2 years ago and it was [...]

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Oh man, it’s back. Music Midtown is a beautiful festival in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA that has been going strong since its resurgence 2 years ago. We covered the festival when it came back 2 years ago and it was a magical experience with artists such as The Black Keys, Coldplay, Young The Giant, and many more. Last year featured SceneSC favorites The Avett Brothers, Foo Fighters, and Ludacris. I was not too excited about last year’s lineup but when this year’s was released, I almost cried. They’ve got everyone, INCLUDING 2 Chainz. Fingers crossed that he’s going to be there to promote his new cookbook #MEALTIME. I would literally pay all the money in the world to watch 2 Chainz cook in front of a huge crowd while freestyling about what he sees in front of him.

“If wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook.”

That is a direct quote.

Anyways, I’m not here to solely talk about 2 Chainz, we’re also going to be treating ourselves to a set by Arctic Monkeys, who just released their fantastic new album AM. After a couple albums that were good-ish, they’ve sorted themselves out, headlined Glastonbury, and made a real Arctic Monkeys album. Along with them, you’re going to feast your eyes on Queens of the (fucking) Stone Age, Phoenix, Tegan & Sara, and a whole lot more.

You can check out the lineup and info about tickets on http://www.musicmidtown.com

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Festival Recap: Bonnaroo 2013 http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/06/26/festival-recap-bonnaroo-2013/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/06/26/festival-recap-bonnaroo-2013/#respond Wed, 26 Jun 2013 16:53:06 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=14925 Thanks to Big Hassle and Bonnaroo for gracing us with this opportunity once again. We look forward to working with them next year. Also, thanks to Jake Causey for writing this wonderful article about the behemoth that is Bonnaroo. This [...]

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Thanks to Big Hassle and Bonnaroo for gracing us with this opportunity once again. We look forward to working with them next year. Also, thanks to Jake Causey for writing this wonderful article about the behemoth that is Bonnaroo.

This is the second year in a row that I’ve been fortunate enough to make it to Manchester, Tennessee, and this year was equally, if not more magical than the previous. After driving for a little over six and a half hours and picking up my credentials, I headed in through the front gate of Bonnaroo, or as it is affectionately called, The Farm, and headed towards the campsite area. Driving into Bonnaroo you are hit face-on with the mantra for the festival, which is, “Radiate positivity.” One thing you learn very fast about Bonnaroo, is actually something that happens. In both years that I’ve been to The Farm, I’ve found that unless someone is having a bad trip, it’s pretty hard to find anyone that is unhappy at this festival. Anyways, I made my way in for the night and set up camp, which so happened to mean put out two chairs and the beer cooler this year since I slept in my car. I made friends with my neighbors and shared a few cold drinks and our lineups for the week to come.

AKM6018-900x598Photo by: Adam Macchia

The next morning, we woke up to the hot Tennessee sun around nine am, which I will admit is typical Bonnaroo fashion, got ready, and lined up to get into Centeroo itself. We passed through the Bonnaroo arch, which makes you realize that you are actually there, and went exploring until the first band we wanted to see went on. The first band of the festival for me was a band called The Stepkids. They had a very retro, groovy feel to them even covering Cream’s “I Feel Free.” After catching their set I headed over to That Tent to catch the end of Milo Greene’s set. I had never really heard of them before but after catching a few of their songs I was instantly hooked. Everyone in that band had a lot of talent and had flawless harmonies. Their cover of Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago” was easily the highlight of that day for me. After Milo Greene came JD McPherson, a rocking band out of Chicago who’s sound was a throwback to Elvis and the early days of rock and roll. Not only were they a killer band, their upright bass player was the best I have ever seen. Not just musically, but his stage presence was fantastic. They were followed by a band called Haim (High-um) which is headed by three sisters who are as pretty and flirtatious as they are talented, which is really saying something. Django Django, a crazy, psychedelic, electronic band from the UK followed them, who played a very energetic and fun set, surprising most of the crowd, and when I talked to other people in the crowd afterwards, made a lot of new fans. The last full set I caught that night was Father John Misty, which is the project of Josh Tillman, the former drummer of Fleet Foxes, who gave a fantastic performance. Not only was the music good, Josh’s on stage demeanor is funny, entertaining, and just plain fun to watch as he writhes around the stage and pseudo (or maybe not?) tries to choke himself with his own microphone cable. After Father John Misty, I headed over the This Tent to catch the last bit of Alt-J which sounded very good, but the crowd was so large I could hardly see anything.

MGH-Bonnaroo-2013-Father-John-Misty-6-900x600Photo by: Morgan G. Harris

I started off Friday morning at the first press conference, where the Bonnaroo staff officially announced that one of the festivals main headliners, Mumford and Sons, had cancelled and that Jack Johnson was going to replace them on the main stage the next night. They then proceeded to welcome Jack Johnson and Zach Gill to the press tent where they played a few songs off of Jack’s new album which is due out in September. According to Johnson, he was on his way to Europe when he decided to stop in Tennessee to attend the festival. Knowing that Johnson was at the festival, when Mumford and Sons cancelled, the Bonnaroo staff contacted him and asked him to take their spot at the Saturday night headliner. Even though he hadn’t played with his band in almost a year and a half, he accepted. After the press conference, I made my way over to catch the last half of a soulful, Norwegian looping artist Bernhoft’s set which was incredible. Near the end of his set, he brought a four year old boy he called Squish, and the boy’s mother, on stage and proceeded to help Squish shave his mother’s head for Locks of Love which makes wigs for people who are going through chemotherapy. It was so strange yet, so Bonnaroo for something so weird and positive to happen during the middle of an artist’s set. After the “Bonnaroo Barbershop” had closed and Bernhoft had finished off the end of his set, I headed over This Stage to see Calexico. They’ve done a few songs with Iron and Wine, and have a great rock with Latin flavor feel. They had the entire crowd clapping, dancing, and singing in Spanish through-out their entire set. After Calexico was Glen Hansard, who is and Irish singer songwriter you may remember from a movie a few years back called “Once”, or as the lead for a band called The Frames. This is one of the shows that I was most excited to see when I saw the Bonnaroo lineup back in March, and Glen and his band did not disappoint. He sang his heart out and gave such a good performance that it literally had the girl in front of me shaking and crying. He ended off the set with a traditional Irish song called “The Auld Triangle” which had an ever growing crowd singing like, as he put it,” it was the last day on Earth, and that day happened to be St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.” Foals were next on the lineup for This Stage after Hansard and gave an absolutely electrifying show. Not only was the band all over the place and energetic the crowd became one pulsating mass of happy, extremely pumped people. It was without a doubt one of the best crowd experiences at any show I’ve been too. Finally after waiting all day, Jim James, lead singer of My Morning Jacket took the stage, and gave a performance that can only be described as “breath-taking” or maybe “pure magic” would be a better way to put it. His vocal, guitar, and saxophone skills are nothing short of brilliant. He’s also quite the snappy dresser in a black suit and tie while floating around the stage and carrying around a gold bear statue. After the phenomenon that is Jim James finished his set, I rushed over to What Stage, the main stage of Bonnaroo and the largest free standing stage in the Western Hemisphere, to try and get a good spot for the one and only legend Paul McCartney. When I got there I found that people had been camping out at the stage and the gates surrounding the stage since five or six am that morning. Needless to say I had to find high ground just to see the giant LED screens on the stage, but was it worth it. Paul proved he still has whatever “it” is, playing an almost three hour set, including 3 encores and a full pyrotechnics show during the climax of “Band on the Run.” After seeing a Beatle, I booked it over to This Stage again to see the one and only ZZ Top whose set was nearly as stunning as their beards, and the ridiculous and beautiful set played by Animal Collective afterwards that was accompanied by giant inflatable colored spires and projections overtop of their stage setup.

MGH-Bonnaroo-2013-Jim-James-5-900x600Photo by: Morgan G. Harris

Saturday morning I headed back to This Stage to catch a Canadian by the name of Patrick Watson who, with his band, put on a great show. His on stage demeanor was charming and funny, and his voice was pure silk. After Watson was LA based Lord Huron who put on a fantastic set, cowboy hats and all. There was a lot of buzz about this band going through the festival, they are one of my favorites at the moment, and they definitely did not disappoint. Following Lord Huron was Kristian Matsson aka. Tallest Man on Earth. This is my second time seeing him, and it never ceases to amaze me how one little Swede can put so much sound and emotion through one guitar and a microphone. What also grabs me about him is that he always seems so genuinely surprised and grateful and the amount of support and the number of people that show up to his performances. After his set was over I headed over the Bonnaroo Comedy Tent to catch Scott Auckerman and Reggie Watts, doing a bit of a live version of their show on IFC, Comedy Bang! Bang! which I am a huge fan of. It was equal parts strange and hilarious and I loved every minute of it. I caught the end of The Lumineers, who were great, and also packed out, and headed over to What Stage to see the first part of Jack Johnson’s set which was packed yet again, but still good none the less. After I had my fill of banana pancakes, I made my way over to Which Stage to get a good spot for “the World’s Greatest” aka R.Kelly, and it was totally worth the hour and a half wait and getting hit in the head with someone’s full backpack. Kelly started the set with “Ignition” while on a crane platform over top of the stage with a full choir below. He proceeded to give one of the best live performances I have ever seen, pulling out all his classics, and releasing hundreds of dove shaped balloons during his grand finale performance of “I Believe I Can Fly.” I hurried over to That Tent to catch Billie Idol performing his hits such as “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell” and was swept up by the crowd for the next band. The next band just so happened to be from Australia, and one that I had waited for almost three years to see live, but boy was it worth the wait. The band of course is Empire of the Sun, who you may recognize from the single “Walking on a Dream” off of their first album which came out almost 5 years ago. Now their back with a killer new album titled Ice on the Dune, and the best theatrical live show ever conceived. This band had everything; great music, costumes, dancers, a space theme, pyro technics, a giant rake crowned multicolored skull monster that shot off high pressure smoke guns, it was absolutely incredible and the best end to my favorite day of the festival.

170689938_JK_9089_2066B04BBA5F6BDA150DD3EB571909C0-486x700Photo by: C. Taylor Crothers

Sunday, there weren’t very many bands I was desperate to see so, I took the chance to explore and catch bits and pieces of different sets. The highlights of the day were; Macklemore doing his hit song “Thrift Shop” in a full on fur coat in the 90+ degree Tennessee heat, a killer band by the name of Delta Rae, and of course seeing not only Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but Tame Impala as well. By this time of the day, both my traveling companion and I were exhausted so we decided to pack up and head back east, but not before sneaking a peak at Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation and The National.

Though thoroughly exhausting, the week I spent on the Farm this summer will stay with me for a very, very long time, and is one of the best times I’ve ever had doing anything ever. Bonnaroo is in my opinion one of the best festivals in the United States and the even world. Not only is the lineup consistently fantastic, but the atmosphere is inviting and friendly, and you just feel at home with all the rest of the people you are wandering around with in these fields with. Though by the end of the week you’re tired and ready to leave, three days later, you find yourself looking through pictures and wishing you were right back on that farm in the middle of the mountains of Tennessee.

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Sasquatch Festival 2013 http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/06/10/sasquatch-festival-2013/ http://www.SceneSC.com/2013/06/10/sasquatch-festival-2013/#respond Mon, 10 Jun 2013 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.SceneSC.com/?p=14795 Thanks to Caitlyn Molstad from Calgary, Alberta, Canada for covering Sasquatch Festival for us this year. Also, thanks to Sasquatch Festival for their pictures letting us cover this amazing event. Sasquatch festival 2013 was completely breathtaking from the moment we [...]

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Thanks to Caitlyn Molstad from Calgary, Alberta, Canada for covering Sasquatch Festival for us this year. Also, thanks to Sasquatch Festival for their pictures letting us cover this amazing event.

Sasquatch festival 2013 was completely breathtaking from the moment we arrived at the world famous Gorge Amphitheatre right up until the sounds of the last act of the weekend rang out. After a long night of driving, we got to our campsite just as the sun was rising on Friday morning. The view from our tent as the hills of The Gorge lit up pink and purple with the sunrise was an absolutely beautiful way to kick off the weekend. We set up camp, and hit the hay after driving for 13 hours to rest up before shows started that afternoon. A few hours later, it was the sound of the trailer next to us blasting “My Number” by Foals from their RV stereo that woke me from my short but much-needed cat nap. It was an exciting way to rise and shine. Our neighbors befriended us immediately by letting us know that it was “Jack-o-clock” and handing us a larger-than-life bottle of Jack Daniels to drink from. This was the general atmosphere of the campgrounds. Though we were in the premiere site instead of the regular camping quarters, the energy was still high. By noon on Friday, the little village that we were to call home for the next 4 days had come alive.

8872733270_ef4e955d27_cWith some sleep under our belts and food in our stomachs, our spirits were lifted and we packed our backpacks for our first day of shows. Due to long line ups to get into the venue we missed most of the Seawolf set on the Honda Bigfoot stage, but managed to catch them play “You’re A Wolf” which is my favorite song by them and was a nice way to begin the day. We then took a stroll around the venue to get our footing and see where all of the stages were. We ended up back at the Bigfoot stage to see the Japandroids set, which I was quite excited for as they are from Vancouver and I have been a fan for a few years now since their Post-Nothing album. This was by far the most disappointing set of the weekend, not for lack of a great performance on behalf of the band but because the sound quality was so poor. We could barely make out Brian King’s vocals and the usually amazing drumming talent of David Prowse was lost in a sea of terrible sound quality. Crowd members were shouting “We can’t hear you!” throughout the entire set and it was a pretty big bummer. We began to worry about the sound quality of the rest of the shows that we had planned to see at that particular stage and hoped that the Sasquatch sound guys could get it together for the rest of the festival.

8872740502_7852d4e5e7_cNext up was a highly anticipated show for me, Seattle-based Telekinesis. This show happened on the smaller but very under rated Yeti stage. The sound quality on this stage was 100 times better than that of the Bigfoot stage, so we were pretty easy to please at that point. Michael Benjamin Lerner and his band put on a really great show, playing an awesome mix of material from his new album Dormarion as well as older favorites from 12 Desperate Straight Lines and also their self-titled debut album from 2009. As a long-time fan of Lerner, I was a pretty happy camper after seeing this set. There is a certain kind of bewilderment you get from watching a front man drummer. We then head over to the main stage to sit down on the grass and watch the Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner is a true performer (and a total dream boat) and had the crowd amped and ready to dance. If you haven’t had a chance to see this band live, I would seriously recommend you do it. This England native four-piece put on a hell of a show and exude a mind-blowing energy throughout the entire set. Ttheir run at Sasquatch 2013 was no exception. The last show of the night for us was Vampire Weekend at the Bigfoot stage. We were very close to the stage, so if there were still sound issues with this stage, we could barely tell. The energy was high for this show, the entire crowd was dancing as hard as they could. Ezra Koenig (also a total dream boat) and the band delivered a seamless show. I personally loved the backdrop the band had on the stage, with huge Corinthian columns hanging down over the stage and a giant golden mirror in the back. The band opened the show with a crowd favorite, “Cousins” and kept that initial energy up throughout the show and ended with “Walcott”.  It was a great way to end our first day at The Gorge. Exhausted, we head back to our camp for some shut eye. After a long and exciting day, I was glad to be in the premiere camping site which was quieter and less of an all-nighter party than the other site to get some rest.

8872120523_d8f49b1280_cOn Saturday morning we had a late start because of sleeping in and wanting to shower. The showers, I should also mention, completely exceeded my expectations and I just want to give the people at Sasquatch a pat on the back for the facilities. I was half expecting to pick up some sort of disease from bathing at the festival but the showers were actually pretty great. Anyways, after our five star showering experiences, we head back to the venue just in time to catch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who, incidentally, appear exactly the way you would think a band named after the Marlon Brando film The Wild One would. Every member of the band was wearing all black, the lead singer with his hood up and the guitarist was smoking a cigarette while playing. Their set was pretty good, regardless of me being skeptical of how mucky drug-hazed garage rock would translate outdoors on the main stage of a festival mid-afternoon. I think the fact that this band has been at it for so long was probably why it didn’t suck. I stayed at the main stage for the rest of the evening, after staking out some territory on the grassy hill during Andrew Bird’s set. I saw him play in 2009 at Lollapalooza and his live show is usually pretty decent with his whimsical whistling and violin, but I can honestly admit that I was a little bit bored for most of the set. If I didn’t have a list of all the acts I’d seen at the festival and it wasn’t sitting next to me as I write this, I probably wouldn’t have even remembered seeing Bird’s set. C’est la vie.

8872730270_f860a0d55e_cNext up was Bloc Party, so we came down from our spot on the hill to the floor for some dancing in hopes to raise the energy level from Andrew Bird’s snoozefest. I ended up running into a few guys that I had gone to high school with in the middle of the crowd, which was kind of awesome seeing as we were in a sea of people. That’s one of the exciting things about large festivals like Sasquatch, is no matter how big the venue or how many people are around, you always end up miraculously running into friends. I am somewhat of a veteran of a Bloc Party show, and I have to say that this band has never disappointed me. Their show is always such high energy and they get almost everyone dancing, jumping, yelling out lyrics, and crowd surfing. At one point, Kele began singing Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, which was actually a pretty great sounding cover. They finished with “This Modern Love” and it was an overwhelmingly satisfying way to close out one of my favorite sets of the weekend, despite being kicked in the face a few times by some dudes wearing snap-back hats and OBEY t-shirts who were frighteningly strung-out. I must admit I always love and admire the spunk of a hipster bro.

8872131969_258be8083b_bWe decided to grab a grassy spot up on the hill for the rest of the evening’s shows as we were staying at the main stage. This was a difficult decision as I really did not want to have to miss seeing Divine Fits, but The XX and Sigur Ros won that conflict. The XX has to be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I am a huge fan and listen to their albums quite often but their live set blows any recording work they’ve done out of the water. There is something about their music that translates so much better in a live show than on to an album. The sound was huge, the light show was amazing, and the band’s appearance matched the aesthetic of both their music and the stage. The sunset behind the Sasquatch stage while the hauntingly electric sounds of The XX rang out was a seriously beautiful combination. Next up was Iceland’s Sigur Ros, a band who has been on my bucket list to see for years and I was super excited for. Jonsi’s voice is overwhelming gorgeous and the group of talented musicians that make up this band put on one of the most emotionally charged performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. As tiny lanterns magically lit up the stage and Jonsi moved a bow back and forth over his electric guitar, an intense energy built up and you could feel that every single person watching the show was in total awe. On our way out of the venue, we decided to catch a little bit of Empire of the Sun’s set. I have to admit, this show surprised me. I have listened to this group pretty casually for a while now, but I had no idea that their live show was such a spectacle. The band was dressed in full costume, each of them looking like some sort of Aztec-inspired alien king. There were backup dancers, lightshows, and neon galore- It was a very surreal way to end an awesome day of shows but I was way too tired and way too sober by that point to stay for the whole thing.

8865441895_09779817d3_cSunday was the day I was most anticipating and I woke up the next morning chanting “It’s Grimes day!” in the tent. We head to the festival grounds early to make sure we caught Capital Cities playing the main stage. The band was super energetic and regardless of being one of the first acts of the day, they had a huge crowd and everyone was dancing their hearts out to their catchy and upbeat pop songs. You can hear the strong influence the 80’s had on this duo, with sounds similar to that of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder oozing out of every song. Their set also featured a few covers, including the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” and Madonna’s “Holiday”. At the end of their set, the band stayed on stage to dance, crowd surf and interact with the audience while their hit single “Safe and Sound” played in the background (yet again). This honestly felt a little masturbatory on the part of the band but I suppose there is something to be said for shameless self-promotion… Maybe.

8872744802_212f4ef7dc_cWe then head over to the Bigfoot stage to see New York’s DIIV. This was an act that I was glowing with anticipation for because their album Oshin has been on repeat for me for a few months now and also because they are a bit of an indie rock supergroup, featuring Zachary Cole Smith from Beach Fossils and Colby Hewitt formerly from Smith Westerns. Their performance was nothing short of my high hopes. As a band, they look straight out of the 90’s with oversize t-shirts, denim vests, and Smith’s bottle-bleached blonde hair hanging over his eyes. I don’t think we saw the bassist’s face even once, which sort of added to their showmanship and aesthetic in some way. I was pretty bummed when their set came to an end as I was in a blissful, shoegaze-y trance for the whole forty-five minutes they were playing. After I was able to process and rave about DIIV’s show with my friends, we head back to the main stage for Kristian Matsson, or, The Tallest Man on Earth. He delivered an amazing performance and even when he forgot the lyrics to a song, it was somehow endearing. I was surprised at his ability to play with enough stage presence to occupy the entire main stage all on his own. I was sort of expecting to see him sit on a stool and lull us all to sleep with his sweet melodies but he was very capable of changing the energy for a bigger venue. He also delivered a cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”, which is easy to do but hard to do well, and he knocked it out of the park.

8872165067_ba3981f916_cWe took a much-needed break from the sun and went back to the campground for some lunch and to gear up for the evening. We returned to the venue just in time to catch most of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros on the main stage. If there was ever a venue made for this band, it’s the Gorge. The show was pretty solid all the way through, but something magical happened as they played their well-loved single “Home” and thousands of people all the way from the floor level by the stage to the hills of the amphitheatre sang every word of the song and danced with each other. While I wasn’t really keen to see this show, as bare-footed folk music played in an arena setting is seriously not my thing, it was one of those moments I’ll never forget. That being said, during the break of the song the band passed the microphone to some girls who were obviously in an MDMA-induced haze (who probably took some trip to South-East Asia recently to find themselves) and they began babbling on, telling some story which was almost enough to make me throw up the $17 quesadilla I’d just eaten.

8872147615_0c4e9c505e_cI moved over to the Bigfoot stage once again, to see Earl Sweatshirt play and also to ensure I had a good spot to watch Grimes from. The crowd was really into Earl’s set, which was no surprise- though I must admit I was slightly disappointed that his friends from Odd Future, Tyler the Creator and Domo Genesis, didn’t come out to perform with him as they did for his set at Coachella (but I guess that is what every mid-twenties privileged-white-girl OF fan was thinking). As Earl’s show came to a close, people started to clear out and I made a break for the rail to be up close for Grimes. It was a challenge, but my friends and I managed to wade our way through some of the most obnoxious humans I’ve ever encountered and pushed our way through to the front row. I was buzzing with excitement, as this was the one show I was looking forward to the most out of the whole festival. After an hour of waiting, the lights went out and smoke machines filled the stage with ambience. Claire Boucher finally emerged onto the stage and the audience went wild. She had two backup dancers and her synthesizers set up in the middle of the stage. Her presence was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Even the way she moves is completely in tune with her artistic persona and her music’s aesthetic. I had heard that the sound was terrible for those watching the show from further away but I had no complaints being right up front and enjoyed this show just as much as I thought I would, maybe more. It was the best set I’d seen all weekend thus far.

8865444435_0bcaa42952_cI then began my obligatory journey back to the main stage to see Mumford and Sons, who I really couldn’t care less about in my day-to-day life, but they had the audience enchanted and I decided to join the masses and enjoy the show. I have to admit their live set was pretty romantic (though I’m not sure if I was being courted by the band, the vodka we’d snuck into the venue, or the view of the Gorge). They had some of the members from Edward Sharpe join them on stage for a cover of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac which at first I thought was going to be blasphemous but they ended up pulling it off quite nicely. This was the last show we saw on Sunday, mostly because I seriously couldn’t be bothered (or wasn’t high enough) to watch Primus put on a “3D” show at the shittiest sounding stage of the whole festival. It just didn’t seem like something I would be into whatsoever, but I did overhear some shirtless dude with dreads the next morning talking about how “mind-blowing” the Primus set was. In which case I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that for those who appreciate that sort of thing, it went well.

8872174867_f53e3294aa_cOn Monday, with a tiny pang of sadness in my heart, I head into the festival for the last day of shows. I managed to catch the last half of the CHVRCHES set, which was underwhelming but still a pretty pleasant show to watch and I began to develop a girl crush on lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry. It was raining pretty hard by this point, and there was something quite sweet about watching a band from Scotland play a set in the rain. It will be interesting to see how much further success this band has going forward, as their stage presence was sub-par and the sound was a little flat but it could have just been the Bigfoot stage shitting the bed once again. I wish them the best of luck on their upcoming American tour, they are pretty talented little darlings.

8872156859_99accb21bf_cMonday afternoon was mostly a series of disappointments, accompanied by standing in the rain for several hours. I missed Elliott Brood’s set at the Yeti stage due to having to run back to the campsite to get warmer clothing. I made it back to the venue and went to the main stage for the Imagine Dragons show but mostly just to get a good spot to see Azalea Banks. Imagine Dragons came on over an hour late and played a show that I seriously could have done without but it seemed like the audience was into it. I think I was mostly distracted by the fact that I had paid $13 to drink a Bud Light Lime in the freezing rain and was a little confused as to why that was happening. Also, by this point the far left hand side of the hill was turning into a mass slip n’ slide for drunk kids to roll around and injure each other on. It was actually a pretty great scene to watch and was far more interesting than listening to a band whose obvious influences are Blind Guardian and Coldplay (which is a combination that no one needs to hear). With still no word from the festival on exactly why the Imagine Dragons set was so late, I waited in vain for a solid half hour for Azalea Banks until finding out from a girl with green hair that Bank’s set had been cancelled. As a Canadian without access to internet at the festival, I was pretty pissed off that Sasquatch’s only notification of the cancellation was via twitter and I was definitely not sticking around to watch Cake. This delay caused me to miss Toro Y Moi’s set but I managed to get over to the Bigfoot stage to catch Twin Shadow play as their sound check ended up taking ten minutes longer than planned. Brooklyn-based George Lewis Jr. appeared on stage like the ghost of Prince in a white trench coat and his band of hipsters did not disappoint. They’ve really perfected the art of dreamy new wave synth-pop and I had such a great time during this set. The sun had finally come out during this show so I was able to enjoy the set that much more. They opened with their newest single “Five Seconds” which really got people grooving and didn’t drop the energy throughout. The highlight of the show for me was when they played “Slow”. This song sounds like a sweaty summer day when you feel the weight of a heat wave on your bones and you’re feeling a little melancholy- it hit my sweet spot and mended my heart which had been broken in Azaleas absence.

8865440179_53879caae5_cIt was back to the main stage for the last two acts of the festival. I was extremely torn about missing Alt-J’s performance but it was a sacrifice to be made in order to get a great spot for The Postal Service. The Lumineers were up first, and though the thought of seeing this band felt a little like a forced trip to your Great Aunts house, I didn’t hate it. I might actually go so far as to say that I actually really enjoyed it, and was surprised at the way the band really upped their game for a big show like this. I guess 2013 is the year for mostly-boring-but-sort-of-catchy folk outfits to surprise me with their ability to headline a major festival. Their show had a nice sing-along atmosphere, as even the people in the audience (like myself) who were obviously only there to hang onto the best real estate for The Postal Service were humming and head-bobbing along. Finally it was time for The Postal Service to come onto the stage. This was the big one for me- I still remember the first time I heard the love child of Ben Gibbard, Jenny Lewis, and Jimmy Tamborello. I was on the bus to school at age thirteen and the boy I thought I was irrevocably in love with at the time played me “Brand New Colony” on his twelve-song-capacity MP3 player. I thought it was a sign from the cosmos and the most magical thing I’d ever heard. A decade later, and still a huge fan, I got to see them play a live show. The band came out on stage and Ben Gibbard spoke five words into the microphone with a haunting conviction- “we’re back from the dead”. As soon as the first note of “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” rang out into the amphitheatre, my heart leapt out of my chest. The entire show was just incredible. The sound was perfect, the atmosphere was unparalleled to any other show we’d seen the whole weekend, and I knew that everyone standing around me felt the same. It’s an indescribable feeling and it’s the reason for my love affair with live music.  The set was a truly awe-inspiring way to close out an amazing weekend. There was no encore from The Postal Service, they played their full set seamlessly and walked off the stage for good. It was sweet, uncomplicated, and fulfilling- though as soon as the show was over, I felt an overwhelming emptiness as it meant that Sasquatch 2013 had come to a close.

8872156859_99accb21bf_cRegardless of a few obnoxious sunburned frat bros wearing animal costumes, half naked girls on mushrooms with painted faces (things to be expected at a festival that Steve Aoki is a part of), and a bit of rainfall, my Sasquatch 2013 experience was pretty amazing. For the whole four days, my heart was bursting with joy due to everything from the atmosphere of the campgrounds to the number of outstanding shows I saw. It was a truly an outstanding experience. I want to thank the amazing people at Scene SC for giving me this incredible opportunity.

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