Monday, July 9, 2012

Photos/Review: CBGB Festival Day Three (Cloud Nothings, The War on Drugs, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Guided By Voices)

Guided By Voices
CBGB Festival (Day Three) - July 7, 2012
Photos: Nadia Chaudhury / Review: Chris

Day three of CBGB Festival had two pretty huge options, both seemingly aimed at the same audience. How does one choose between Superchunk in Times Square and Guided By Voices at SummerStage? Theoretically, one could have attended both, as Superchunk took the Times Square stage at 1:20pm, but I didn't want to take any chances getting shut out of Guided By Voices, who weren't on until 6pm. I'm not entirely sure if I made the right decision, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Cloud Nothings at CBGB Festival at Summerstage, July 7, 2012
Cloud Nothings
The weather in Central Park was pretty unbearable on Saturday, with temperatures reaching the high '90s (possibly over 100) and at least one person fainting from the heat. But the show plowed on with only a few minor hiccups. First up was Cloud Nothings, who I caught back in March at Mercury Lounge shortly after they released their latest album Attack On Memory. Similar to that performance, the band put on an energetic, albeit brief show which set the bar pretty high for the rest of the day. If you haven't jumped on the Cloud Nothings train yet, it might be a good time to do so. Frontman Dylan Baldi has managed to merge so many various forms of indie music into a singular sound, without coming off as derivative or incoherent, making his band one of the most exciting things to pay attention to today.

The War on Drugs at CBGB Festival at Summerstage, July 7, 2012
The War On Drugs
Next up was Philadelphia quartet The War On Drugs, who were the only band on the lineup I hadn't seen live yet. Considering their 2011 album Slave Ambient was one of my favorite records of the year, I was pretty excited to finally see them live. Unfortunately, their performance was marred by a poor sound mix and some faulty equipment. The drums were practically inaudible, and as great as Adam Granduciel's voice is, his vocals were so loud over everything else, it didn't come off too well. And at some point towards the end of their set, his guitar amp apparently exploded from the extreme heat. 100 degree weather isn't a good environment for anyone to perform in, so in no way am I taking this particular set as an example of what TWOD (twod?) can achieve live. I am definitely looking forward to the next show.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at CBGB Festival at Summerstage, July 7, 2012
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The last time I caught The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, it was at Coney Island for Siren Fest in 2010, another 100 degree day. I've never been the hugest fan of the band, but it's hard to deny that they do put on a great live show. I did however start to feel slightly dizzy during their set, and gulping bottles of water didn't seem to help much. It became one of those shows where you're really excited to stick around for the headliner, but you also want it to just end already. Don't let that fool you into thinking POBPAH (pobpah?) weren't any good. And I have no idea where Kip Berman got the energy to jump around as much as he did.

Guided by Voices at CBGB Festival at Summerstage, July 7, 2012
Guided By Voices
After a lengthy changeover, and an increasingly saturated crowd, the legendary Guided By Voices took the stage to overwhelming applause. I've seen the reunited lineup twice already, and both times contained over two hours of non-stop hits. But since the band has released two albums in 2012 alone (with a third on the way) it was inevitable that at least some of Saturday's set would contain new songs. Turns out Pollard thought it would be a good opportunity to play all new songs for the entire set, save for six or so familiar songs. I respect the decision, but quite honestly, the new stuff doesn't hold up to the four GBV albums this current lineup is known for. And when you're in sweltering heat for four hours, you generally want to be compensated with some familiar material.

Guided by Voices at CBGB Festival at Summerstage, July 7, 2012
Mitch Mitchell's cigarette roadie

You can't take away how good the band sounded though. And some of the new songs are actually quite good. When a fight broke out between a bouncer and a group of pogo-ing fans, it brought out the best Pollard stage banter I've heard yet. "Don't eat the brown acid!” Pollard said in response to the scuffle. "How come you can't eat the brown acid? I never understood that. It sounds pretty good to me." Also have to give props to lead guitarist Mitch Mitchell's cigarette roadie, whose sole purpose was to stand there, light one cigarette after another, and pass them to Mitch at the end of each song. Fucking brilliant.

But what it comes down to is that a free GBV during the day with a 7pm curfew just isn't a true GBV show. The band is known for performing ridiculously long sets, with Pollard becoming increasingly drunk as the night wears on--and his band playing hit after hit after hit. It's hard to complain about anything free, but I'm anxiously awaiting the next paid Guided By Voices performance, which hopefully won't take place at Terminal 5.

Check out a full set of photos of the show that Nadia shot for us, and give a listen to Guided By Voices' Class Clown Spots A UFO below...


Guided By Voices setlist (via):
"Laundry and Lasers"
"The Head"
"Roll of the Dice, Kick in the Head"
"Billy Wire"
"Doughnut for a Snowman"
"He Rises! Our Union Bellboy"
"Blue Babbleships Bay"
"Shocker in Gloomtown"
"Spiderfighter"
"The Unsinkable Fats Domino"
"Hangover Child"
"God Loves Us"
"Class Clown Spots a UFO"
"Hang Up and Try Again"
"Chocolate Boy"
"The Opposite Continues"
"Keep It in Motion"
"Game of Pricks"
"Waves"
"I Am A Scientist"
"Imperial Racehorsing"
"Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory"
"We Won't Apologize for the Human Race"
"No Transmission"
"14 Cheerleader Coldfront"
"Quality of Armor"

Encore:
"Matter Eater Lad"
"Echoes Myron"

10 comments:

  1. Great review! I was at the show and lucky me, I was part of the scuffle in the crowd during GBV! Heat was painful that day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. the pains of being a really terrible band

    ReplyDelete
  3. Day three of CBGB Festival had two pretty huge options, both seemingly aimed at the same audience. How does one choose between Superchunk in Times Square and Guided By Voices at SummerStage? Theoretically, one could have attended both, as Superchunk took the Times Square stage at 1:20pm, but I didn't want to take any chances getting shut out of Guided By Voices, who weren't on until 6pm. I'm not entirely sure if I made the right decision, but we'll get to that in a bit.

    ReplyDelete
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