danbird’s Top 40 Albums of 2013

•December 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

40.
null

39.
null

38. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
null

37. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
null

36.
null

35.
null

34. Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God
null

33. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
null

32.
null

31.
null

30.
null

29.
null

28.
null

27.
null

26.
null

25.
null

24.
null

23.
null

22.
null

21.
null

20.
null

19. Besnard Lakes – Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO
null

18.
null

17.
null

16.
null

15.
null

14.
null

13.
null

12. Volcano Choir – Repave
null

11.
null

 

Top 10

10. null

9. null

8. null

7. null

6. null

5. null

4. null

3. null

2. null

1. null

Danbird’s Bonnaroo Review: 2013 Version

•June 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It’s been 2 weeks since Bonnaroo started, and I’ve only just now put together a review of the shows I was able to see and enjoy. Part of the reason why is because I’ve been working on the interview my press partner and I had with the fantastic band Futurebirds while we were there. If you have not checked that out, you really should….

Futurebirds Interview @ Bonnaroo 2013 from Dan Worcester on Vimeo.

Also my friend and press partner, Joel Frye’s photos can be found at http://flickr.com/gp/7849248@N07/d5SW5M/

And onto the review….

I was never planning on going to Bonnaroo this year. I found the lineup to be spectacular and the collaboration possibilities exciting as usual, but I never thought I’d make it. After being laid-off earlier in the year, it seemed like an impossibility. Then the phantom opportunity sprung it’s wonderful beautiful head and I wound up being able to join in the festivities. This would be my 6th year, with 2004 being my first excursion into the frantic musical unknown. I try to explain Bonnaroo to people that have never been. I feel like words fail to fully encompass the visceral musical survival experience that Bonnaroo really is. Even most pictures and videos fail to capture what Bonnaroo truly is. I did my best to take some quality videos & pictures of the key moments I experienced. I still fall woefully short. Here are the highlights of my weekend…

I camped on Wednesday night for the first year this year. We were parked out in BFE near pod 9. Being camped out that far guarantees that my trips to Centeroo will be well planned, and that, just being realistic, probably some plans will wind up falling by the wayside. Priorities will need to be assigned to the most important acts and activities, as making the 1.25 mile walk could only be done once a day, lest I possibly die. Onto CENTEROO!!!!

THURSDAY

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thursday night I walked around a lot. All the shows were really packed, which is becoming more of the case every year, it seems. I caught some Django Django, who sounded really tight. Pretty much the show that you’d expect if you’re at all familiar with their albums. Went to Father John Misty shortly thereafter. FJM always puts on an eccentric and energetic show, but this one was just too many people for me to deal with the constant crush of people moving by me one way or the other. I left to wander.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Maps & Atlases

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My main concern this Thursday night was to catch Maps & Atlases at the Budweiser tent. Why they weren’t in an actual tent, I’ll never understand. It was probably the most packed show I’ve ever seen over there. My first time seeing them, and they were spectacular. Bonnaroo is all about bands that can kill it live. Taking their solid albums and opening up the music. Making it come alive and enveloping the audience in a unique euphoric experience. These guys can do that. This was the first real “WOW” musical moment of the weekend. There would be many more to come.

FRIDAY

Friday was a beautiful day. At least it started out that way. After leaving camp and visiting the infamous INFROO BRUNCH for a bit, I headed into Centeroo yet again. The lines were long this year. The backpack searches were way too thorough or nothing at all. There was very little in between. My main concern for Friday was our interview then off to catch Foals and Jim James who would wind up being one of the shining stars of this years Bonnaroo as he usually is when he’s there with My Morning Jacket. This year he was on his own, touring behind his first true solo album. He would also be orchestrating a Soul Superjam on Saturday night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first thing I did in Centeroo on Friday was go to the press orientation and 1st press conference of the weekend. The artists from left to right are Matt & Kim, Nicki Bluhm, John Oates, Ed Helms, and Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also got a video of Ed Helms talking about his first Bonnaroo experience…

Next up was Foals and Jim James. Wish I had some pictures from Foals cause the lead singer was going absolutely insane. The part where he crowd surfed back almost to the soundboard all the while shredding his guitar was probably the highlight for me and many others. They played everything with fervent furiousness and it was just a really fun show overall.

After Foals I moved closer for Jim James.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Really enjoyed Jim’s set, even if it was predictable. Jim + Bonnaroo = awesomeness no matter what. When Jim yells BONNAROOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! you can really feel the love exchange. It’s tangible.

After Jim, I posted up for a spot for Paul McCartney. Again, no good photos of this epic Bonnaroo show. I do not have nearly the emotional connection to these classic songs that so many others have. Paul put on a pretty amazing show for someone his age, and I don’t think there was anyone there that was not appreciative of the chance to see him in that ever unique Bonnaroo setting.

Saturday

I missed Friday late-night. Par for the course for me. There is usually one late-night that I wind up missing and it’s usually Saturday. Not this year. I couldn’t miss Saturday or I’d have to live in shame forever. I can live with missing Animal Collective. I could not live with myself if I missed the Soul Superjam on Saturday night.

Saturday started out with catching Futurebirds Sonic Stage Set. Pictures courtesy of Joel Frye…

9140804987_69308101ee_o

9140805927_9efd5a60d9_o

9140802887_165729091e_o

Futurebirds are an awesome band, and if you aren’t listening to them, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you. After Futurebirds we wound up waiting in line for David Cross for the better part of the afternoon. I missed Lord Huron and Tallest Man on Earth while waiting, but I figured it was worth it. I’ve always loved David Cross’s humor and with him only having 2 sets this weekend, I figured it was now or never.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That last picture is from a joke he told about a couples colonic. Overall the crowd did not receive Mr. Cross with a whole lot of enthusiasm. He berated the crowd at points. Talked about how apathetic and self-absorbed “your generation” is. It was a little weird, but I loved it. The Sandy Hook bit didn’t go over very well either. But I stood and applauded his moxie. It was everything I would have wanted from a David Cross show and then some. He’s always been on my bucket list. Bjork was next up. She’s always been on my bucket list as well. I wandered around and then headed over to see her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Without sunglasses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
With sunglasses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was the best picture I could get of Bjork. It sucks I know. Apparently no one was supposed to be taking pictures at her show. Here’s a good one I found regardless…

Bjork was everything I thought she would be. Adorable and extremely fun and weird. The aesthetic of her light show was pretty primal and elemental and amazing. The pyrotechnics at the end were a nice touch.

After Bjork it was over to wander some more and settle in for the Preservation Hall and the Soul Superjam. Both would feature Mr. Jim James.

jim light

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These were both from Jim coming out with the Pres Hall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The people are ready. Bring on the Superjam!!!! Let me just say that I’ve see a lot of late-night shows at Bonnaroo. I’ve seen a lot of Superjams at Bonnaroo. I’ve seen a couple late-night Superjams at Bonnaroo, but this was easily one of the best things I’ve ever been witness to. It was such a special event that Bonnaroo is making a documentary about it’s creation and execution. Here’s a bit of it from Billboard…

R. Kelly. Billy Idol. Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, along with others as special guests to an already stellar musical lineup made for one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Period.

Sunday

On Sunday my campmates broke down camp early which forced me to try and finish my beers before they took the coolers away. I did not have the luxury of driving a car down which made me rely on other people. There are benefits and drawbacks to taking this approach. This year, it was kind of a drawback. When I finally made it down to Centeroo, I was ready to just chill in some laid back crowds and not push too hard. Bonnaroo is a marathon, not a sprint. And by Sunday I’m exhausted and just looking to soak in the final hours of the festival in the least stressful way possible. So I headed to the bluegrass tent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Noam Pikelny from The Punch Brothers was the first set I caught. Just a laid back easy good time. After them, in the same tent, you could find only super legends in the genre of bluegrass. None other than Sam Bush and Del McCoury. Del is just an amazing performer and the way he interacts with the crowd seems somewhat out of place but it perfectly fits in at the same time. His old-timey demeanor is something that should not be missed. A true musical treasure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next up was the navigating the giant conflict hell that is always Sunday afternoon. So many bands I’d like to see spread out over the whole weekend, but they’re usually all sandwiched into a 2-3 hour slice of Sunday. It sucks. It always does and I have no idea why they do this to me every single year. I went with The National on The What Stage. Their new album is spectacular. They always are. It was their first time on the main stage and I wanted to see the new material. I got one video from the show…

Tom Petty was after The National. It started raining and I took cover. I kept falling asleep at the picnic tables in the back and I decided to call it a weekend and make the 1.25 mile hike back to camp one final time. Tom Petty decided to play The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” at that exact moment and all was right in my Bonnaroo world.

Bonnaroo is a horrible, wonderful, exciting, exhausting, magical, friendly, frustrating, peaceful, extreme, and overall a terrific learning experience. From one year to the next a person learns about his or her limits and expectations. Those limits can try to be pushed or accepted. It’s all up to the individual to make Bonnaroo what they want to make it. You get back what you put into it. It’s cliche, but it’s true. I’ll hopefully be back someday soon. But not too soon.

Jim says hello.
Jim eyes
BONNAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Inforoo Interview with Futurebirds @ Bonnaroo 2013

•June 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

My press companion, Joel Frye and myself, were able to sit down with Carter and Dennis from Futurebirds and discuss Bonnaroo and their new album, among other things.

Interview with Futurebirds at Bonnaroo 2013 from Dan Worcester on Vimeo.

Kurt Vile and the Violators @ Union Transfer – 5/18/13

•May 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Got the chance to see Philly’s own Kurt Vile play through a few new songs off of his Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze album as well as some favorites off of previous albums.  There was a lot of droning guitars…and hair. Here’s a few pics and a video from the show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Futurebirds – Baba Yaga (Fat Possum Records)

•May 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

futurebirds-baba-yaga

If there is one trait that defines the band Futurebirds, without question it’s their work ethic.  After releasing their superb debut Hampton’s Lullaby in 2010, the band got right back out on the road and didn’t waste any time getting to work on their next album.  Writing songs while touring heavily in the Southern US over the following years, this Athens, GA band made a name for themselves for their rambunctious live shows.  For fans like myself that reside in the Northeastern US, they’ve been a group that’s been extremely hard to catch on tour.  Recently they’ve opened for Heartless Bastards and they are currently on the road with Band of Horses.  The latter of which is a perfect fit for a band whose sound has always reminded me of previous iterations of My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses.  There’s something about that reinvented twangy southern rock sound that I just can’t get enough of.

The new album is named after a monstrous female beast from Slavic folklore that would feast on children.  Not really certain why the band chose this as the title, but if I had to take a quick guess it would probably have something to do with, what a giant beast of a record Baba Yaga turned out to be.  Clocking in at over an hour long, it’s obvious that this was no easy feat to get these songs narrowed down to the 13 tracks that did make the album.  After all, there are five different songwriters in this band.  The only band member to not contribute to the writing process is the man playing the pedal-steel guitar, Dennis Love.  The pedal-steel is an unmistakable sound and it has become a keystone in the construction of Futurebirds two full-length albums.  Baba Yaga builds off of the spacy southern garage-rock anthems of Hampton’s Lullaby and adds a bit more polish to the vocals and overall sound.  Where Hampton’s was raw, Baba Yaga is refined.  That’s an incredible feat considering the album’s length.

The anathematic choruses that I loved so much on Hampton’s are also found aplenty here as well.  No song more so than the album opener, and first single “Virginia Slims.”  All the attributes that set this band apart, and make them an exciting live up and coming band can all be heard on this first track.  Pedal-steel winds its way through the melody and rhythm.  It takes you by the hand and leads you to that anathematic chorus over and over again.  “Serial Bowls” is a hearty southern romp through a matter-of-factly stated bludgeoning of the soul.  There are a few more songs on this album with a slower more introspective feel to them than there was on Hampton’s.  There are plenty of sing-along moments throughout the choruses of these slower songs.  The album feels like a release of pent up frustrations with plenty of personal highs and lows nestled gently in between feedback and guitar solos.  “The Light” is a more folky catchy little number that breaks up the spacy peddle-steel driven tracks that surround it.  “Womeo” and “Strangers” are similar in sound with a little fiddle and banjo thrown in for good measure.   The album ends with “St. Summercamp,” a nearly nine minute extravaganza of not wanting the album to end.

The band probably could have trimmed off a couple songs or made one less guitar solo on a few tracks to keep the album from feeling a bit bloated, which it does.  There’s plenty to enjoy here, especially if you were already a fan of the band.  Everything that Futurebirds does well, they do it even better on this album.  It’s expansive yet personal, ambitious yet straight forward.  These guys know their strengths and they do their best to hit those strengths time and time again.  Don’t let this band and this album pass you by.

Here’s the video for “Virginia Slims

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires – WXPN Free @ Noon – 4/12/13

•April 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Another Friday. Another Free at Noon show at World Cafe. For those that aren’t familiar with Charles Bradley, think of an extremely humble and grateful James Brown. The man oozes charm and you can tell that he loves performing and gives back to the crowd twice the love that they give him. At the end of his set he came down into the crowd and was passing out hugs to anyone that wanted one. If there was any one musician that I could say embodies the word “genuine” it would be Charles Bradley. His new album Victim of Love is out now and his tour is just getting started and will no doubt be bringing him and his band to a town near you this summer.

Frightened Rabbit – WXPN Free @ Noon – 4/5/13

•April 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Here’s a few pictures and video I took from the World Cafe for Frightened Rabbit’s Free @ Noon show. Yes, They Might Be Giants were there and played first. No, I did not take any pics or videos of their set, mainly cause I don’t care for them much. Frightened Rabbit, on the other hand, were quite good. I was surprised at the force and strength upon which they rocked.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 259 other followers