Youphoric 2007 Roundup

Fri Feb 01 2008

Continue reading to check out some of youphoric’s best (and worst) musical moments of 2007…

4.6 Times to Steal the Year; or, Camping in my Consciousness

The irony is that the song is called "Dance."

And really, I was trying to. I just couldn't.

The Tabernacle was overflowing with 9ers, or whatever we're calling ourselves. The upper balcony was boiling, but the floor looked just as hot. A tower of lights behind the band flooded my eyes, and STS9 just kept playing faster.

Seriously, they wouldn't slow down. Whats going on here? I cant keep up!!

It was an appropriate ending for an amazing, but incredibly intense year of live music for youphoric and fieldsofme. The second night of STS9 at the Tabernacle (12/29) would be the first and last of the band's New Year's shows for us snowstorms and exhaustion prevented anything more. But 2007 wouldn't have it any other way.

It was our 4.6th time seeing the band in 2007 alone. Yes, that's four-point-sixth, not forty sixth. I won't bother you with the details, but STS9 stole 2007. It's been quite some time since a band has built a home in the layer of my consciousness reserved for the likes of Pearl Jam. Many will pitch a tent for some time, only to depart when my attention wanes, and return at a later date. But STS9 has somehow settled down--next to Ed Vedder and co., of all people.

That's why the 10/5 Barrymore show was my highlight of the year. When you are that passionate about a band, you want to share the experience with the people you love. And there was no shortage of people I love in Madison that night.

I Need a New Face, Because You Rocked Mine Off!

The resurrection of the stationary music festival in the past years has been the boon and the bane of the live music lover. On one hand, there's so much music. On the other hand, there's so much music and not enough time/money/energy for it all. The following was overheard on a bus in Jamaica, 12/13/2007:
Dread Kid Wearing Abercrombie (DKWA): Dude, did you see them last month at the festival in New York?
Retired Hippy On Acid (RHOA): Man, was that the show where they played "Close to the Edge" into "The Great Gig in the Sky" with Phil Lesh?
DKWA: No man that was the week before in Chicago! That was tight!
DKWA: I can't wait for Shakedown Festival in Cali this spring dude, it'll be off the hook.
RHOA: Holy shit, we're driving on the wrong side of the road!

Youphoric does not pity these fools-I feel spoiled enough. But there's always something you missed.

We dove into Bonnaroo 2007 with little preparation. Work had driven me away to New Jersey for a few months, so fieldsofme and I found ourselves packing and flying separately to Nashville. There had been much anticipation building for this event, and as usual Bonnaroo did not disappoint. That's not to say some artists didn't let us down. Having put a good deal of time into The Police in the first half of the year, Sting's seeming lack of heart, effort, and knowledge of the festival put me off.
It's great to see 80,000 Tennesseans out there!
Thank you Nashville!

Copeland on the other hand was amazing. PLEASE Stewart, help Trey get his ass in line and resume the odyssey of Oysterhead.

Tool blew my mind; I never assembled a top ten for 2006, but belatedly 10,000 Days takes the top spot.
Youphoric: Maynard, why didn't I listen to your latest album enough in 2006 to know how fucking amazing it is?
Maynard: You must have been SO high... (I smell patchouli)

Mute Math was fantastic on an unusually crowded Thursday night at Centeroo, but usurped by two factors:
  • Drinking heavily at 'roo is difficult-its too far to the porta-pottys
  • The Black Angels

It's unfortunate that their amazing album Passover was actually released in 2006 it would have been an easy choice for my album of the year in '07. We would see them again at the Rave later in the year, as documented here on you-phoria. I'm hoping for great things from this band going forward, both live and recorded.

I only wish I could say the same for Tom Morello's acoustic alter-ego, The Nightwatchman. I emphasize ego because that's the only conceivable way he could have released an album as undeniably bad as One Man Revolution. Tell me you can listen to "Flesh Shapes the Day" without cringing from pure embarrassment. Performing live at Bonnaroo, The Nightwatchman's energy and sometimes frightening command of the crowd saved some of the songs. Even playing "Alone Without You" twice (to capture footage for the video that was apparently never used) the crowd raged on. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) However the highlight of his show was his cover of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," in which he emphasized two lesser-known verses:

As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tresspassin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin'!
Now that side was made for you and me!
In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

The Nightwatchman giveth, but he taketh more away : (

The final note on Bonnaroo is the most youphoric audio/visual concert experience of the year, and possibly all time: The Flaming Lips. The laser beams bounced off the balloons, careened into the dancing animals, and blew up the electric bugle as the band flew away in a UFO. But that's not to say they lacked sincerity; Wayne Coyne's inspirational spoken words that night would compete with a drunken Ed Vedder at Alpine Valley. At War With Mystics is another 2006 album that required some help from a 2007 live experience. I mean, "The W.A.N.D.?" Are you fucking kidding me? I'm late again--song of the year for 2006.

Sooooooo Hot, Want to Touch the Handcream

What's black, red, yellow and plays what the crowd wants to hear?

Ed on Dennis Rodman's back, Lollapalooza 2007

That's a bit harsh, but Pearl Jam's set at Lollapalooza 2007 was just that. One of my biggest regrets of 2007 is perhaps not attending more of the festival. By the time we arrived, we were able to see a Peter, Bjorn and John set cut off by power outage, a nice My Morning Jacket set, and then a solid but uninspiring Pearl Jam set. I'm sure many in attendance enjoyed it but for my only PJ show of 2007, in hindsight it was nowhere near PJ vs Petty in 2006, Thunder Bay 2005, or Grand Rapids/Vote for Change 2004. However, Ed's solo Into the Wild soundtrack work is deserving of all the praise it's received, and their Imagine in Cornice Live in Italy DVD is their best video release since Single Video Theory. It would probably even top SVT if not for SVT's documentation of the resurrection of the band's unity.

Another half-assed fieldsofphoria festival appearance was this year's Pitchfork. The start-to-finish set of Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth was one of the most anticipated shows of the summer for youphoric. In his Pitchfork review, Cal documented well the semi-disappointment of the show. But damn, you can't argue with Kim Gordon!

Get This Lump out of My Mashed Potatoes

A video speaks a million words

Did you notice the rainbow? The beach? Keller Williams? Some skinny dude tapping his foot and nodding his head?

Cloud 9 Adventures may have found the perfect location for a music festival at Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Not being huge Disco Biscuits or Umphrey's fans, fieldsofme and I took a bit of a leap with Caribbean Holidaze. But it's hard to go wrong with five days of music in hedonistic paradise. Loaded on rum punch at an all-inclusive resort, it was easy to overlook the occasional over-noodling of Bisco or an off rhythm from Umphrey's. Both bands created an awesome atmosphere, and ended things in the right psychedelic light with a set of Brain Damaged Eggmen. Our state of mind upon departing stood in stark contrast to a Bonnaroo departure: RELAXED.

Are you kidding me?

Hey man, you got a handsaw?

Some other highlights of the year....

Snakes and Arrows didn't blow me away, but their live performance at the Marcus was enough to make me break Cal's nose during "YYZ." Sweet. And you cant beat Neil's performance in the Aqua Teen movie.

Rage Against the Machine
We knew we couldn't miss The Battle of Alpine Valley, possibly our last chance to see the band live. And after that Nightwatchman performance at 'roo, how could we pass it up? The band was AMAZING, but the show was too short-only left us wanting more. In a moment of pure drunken ego after the show, I thought you might actually care about my opinion, so I did a video review. But it's really bad, so you don't get to see it.

Willy Porter
Willy put on a great show at Shank Hall in October, but more importantly he played at the wedding of two of my best buds. Go Willy!

My first exposure to this local Wisconsin band out of Janesville certainly kicked ass. And who's that bouncing around?

The Championship
Another Wisconsin band, coming out of Door County. Very talented, loved their show at The Cactus Club.

Seriously, I think that's what the gods smoked

After Tom Morello finished declaring the independence of the People's Republic of Bonnaroo, we walked back out into the busy music-tropolis of Centeroo. Suddenly from across a field I heard the voice of a British girl booming through a PA,
BONNAROO, are you ask drunk as I am?!

We approached the tent featuring Lily Allen's late afternoon set. Young girls shook their tie-dye covered booties, prompting a shirtless jock next to me to proclaim,

If I had witnessed this interchange at the Bonnaroo four years previous, it would have seemed out of place. The festival has obviously changed; the lineup alone confirms this. A great number of the dope-smoking hippies and trustafarians have been replaced by beer-drinking rock and rollers. Shit, I guess I've changed too. But it's irie mon, the spirit remains. Everyone's having a good time with relatively low risk of death or bodily harm. Our experiences in 2007 certainly embodied that spirit, and you can be damn sure we at you-phoria will carry it into 2008. With gusto.

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