Yeah, I'm already a day late with this whole Intonation recap thing, but something must be said, no? I'll have pictures up at a later time when I get them developed. Even though they're probably gonna be crap pictures since they were taken on a disposable, they will still be shared with all you lovely people, nonetheless. I still don't think that I've fully recovered from the fest, y'know, after standing on my feet for about a total of 18 hours over the course of two days. Luckily, the fest was amazing enough to numb any pain that I would soon feel.
Saturday, June 24
I get to the park a little before 1PM with plenty of time to spare to see the first act, Favourite Sons. Only thing is, my name isn't on the guest list, so I was told that I might be on the VIP list, which includes all access and a sandwich. That's right, a sandwich y'all. I'm living the good life now for sure is what I was thinking. Of course I wasn't on the VIP list, which sucked because not only do I not receive a sandwich, but I had to walk all the way around Union Park just to get there, and I have to walk another lengthy distance to get back to the front gate. I frantically call my contact at Vice who was mad busy at the time trying to figure out what was going on. All I got was the voicemail, which was expected, since c'mon now people, they're working for the people who are curating and helping to run the fest. Anyways, as it turns out, the will call booth didn't have the Vice guest list, so I was able to get in once I name dropped my contact. If it hadn't been for the runaround, I would have been able to see Favourite Sons. I walked into one of my DJs who was there and he told me they suck. I trust his taste, so take it however you want to. I let up my black umbrella for shade and proceeded to enjoy the day.
I walked in on the middle of their set and I was impressed from what I heard. Good enough to start the day off and get your foot tapping.
90 Day Men
Nice melodic background music. I would be very interested to hear what they sound like in the studio, but I really kept tuning out through all their Sigur Ros lite instrumentals.
Devin The Dude
Finally, the first act on today's bill that I'm looking forward to seeing. Devin brought multiple lols as expected, but his music isn't really suited for such an expansive venue. His demeanor and his tracks are so laid back that I can't imagine how the translation would be to someone who was halfway across the field (I was right in front of the stage). He did his verse from "Fuck You" which got everybody rockin', and I left a few songs after that to get a good view for Jose Gonzalez.
Oh man, what a lovely set. Guy+acoustic guitar usually = zzzzz because it's so hard to sustain interest with no accompaniment, but judging from Veneer, I knew he could pull it off. The crowd surprisingly cheered when he started playing "Heartbeats." I had no idea there were so many Knife fans in Chicago. Or maybe they just really like Jose's take on it since he makes it sound really really pretty.
Third act of the day that I was really looking forward to. Their goofy throwback nature made me realize that Junior Senior need to get these guys to open for them and hit America from coast to coast, providing peace and happiness to an entire nation in the process. Chromeo provided the best opportunity to dance and they did not let us down, even though most of the crowd wasn't moving. "Come on, this is Chicago. You guys know how to dance. All that steppin' and shit. You guys should be movin'," said Dave 1.
"Show us!" I shouted back at the stage (yep, that was me). I was less than impressed by his own dancing skills, but he's forgiven since they put on one of the best sets of the entire fest.
High On Fire
"Hello fuckers." That was the greeting that the audience received from the vocalist/guitarist of High On Fire before they started their set. He should have said "Hello fuckees" because High On Fire fucked us. Hard. And furiously. They ripped our collective assholes out from several different angles and had us begging for more. The first major discovery and surprise of Intonation.
I got something to eat towards the end of High On Fire's set and during most of The Stills' set. Probably the toughest slot of the entire fest. They were squeezed in right between the brimstone adrenaline of High On Fire and one of the most anticipated acts of Intonation, Roky Erickson. They had a tough time getting the crowd into it, even during their money song, "Still In Love Song." The first time during the festival that I felt like I wasn't missing anything.
I had only heard one 13 Floors song before seeing Roky's set, and I thought that song sucked. I can't even remember what song it was, but it was something that everyone was raving about, and I was all like, "This shit is considered classic?" Now I think it's time for me to go through my mp3 library and find whatever song that was because Roky and his band kicked ass for the entire set. Totally in the pocket and that guitarist left smoke trails whenever he moved.
I've been hearing about The Boredoms for a long time. I know a lot of people are crazy about them and that they were basically jizzing themselves at the fact that they would be at Intonation. I know that they do a lot of crazy experimental stuff and they had three drummers, but I had never really heard any of their stuff. Somebody tell me what albums to get because The Boredoms have just stolen my heart, and I don't think they're gonna ever give it back.
Another amazing set. I was at the front of the stage and the bass from the speakers nearly melted my face off. I couldn't tell if it was due to the mixing or if RZA's old beats were just that grimey. I kinda wished that he would have performed a few songs in their entirety, but the overall medley-like flow of the set made sure that things were kept rocking nonstop. There were too many great moments to name, so I'm just gonna do it in list form:
Ghost wailing/rapping his heart out on his knees and then his back during "Child's Play."
Ghost running around the stage during "Run" and looking as if the feds were really gonna arrest his ass that moment.
Ghost bringing about a hundred girls onstage to dance to some oldies, reminding the audience what summer's all about.
Ghost rapping along to old Wu-Tang songs, even when it wasn't his verse.
Okay, this would have been my third time seeing Lady Sovereign over the course of a year, so I used this time to go to the Tower Records booth and get a poster autographed for my friend (don't tell her, it's a surprise). I did miss "Tango" and "Ch-Ching" while I was in line, which are always fun, but after I finished meeting Ghost, I made it in time to hear Sov perform what's going to be her first U.S. single, "Love Me Or Hate Me." The beat sounded like a more synth heavy version of "1,2 Step" and the hook was easy to catch on to. Overall, the song was cool, but there is no way that urban radio's gonna connect with it. Sov is always fun in concert and her music held up surprisingly well for such a big audience. She really works better in a small setting, where you can see her facial expressions and enjoy more of her stage banter.
Okay, I like The Streets. A lot. Mike Skinner has a lot of songs that I like, but him, closing out the night? Is he really that good live? All I could keep thinking throughout his set was how much of an idiot I was to have not gone and seen him during his past two trips to Chicago. His band was cool, but not the most precise by far. But the hell with the band, Skinner was the real show. He's as funny on record as he is live. I couldn't help but laugh everytime he got this guy in a green shirt to jump with him ("Can anyone in the back see this guy?"). I also loved the fact that he handed him some brandy to inspire more madness. Also love the fact that he had to get brandy from offstage because the tap that was attached to the drum kit had run out. I also loved it when he told the crowd to all get down low, leaving the entire field visible, creating one of the greatest sights I had ever seen in my life. Oh fuck it, I just loved the entire set, period.
Sunday, June 25
I got to Union Park around 1:10, so I missed most of their set, but they seemed loud, fast and fun, which is usually a pretty undeniable combination.
Another pleasant surprise from the fest. Never heard of the guy before the fest, but his bluesy instrumental brand of rock 'n roll kept moving for his entire set.
Okay, whatever that second song was, it rocked. Kicked all kinds of ass. Now if they had more songs like that that conjured up an emotion from me, I might be inspired to write more. But I'm not.
I remember listening to a few Constantines' albums and finding them enjoyable. I had the same feeling while listening to them live. I thought they were enjoyable, but it all sounded a bit too familiar for me.
One of the best sets at Intonation. I've never seen a freestyle that energetic and engaging. I'm not kidding. 'Fest jumped down from the stage and started walking along the barricades, rapping about what people were wearing in the crowd. Just fucking ill. His set was the beginning of one of the best stretches at the fest.
The last time I saw Annie, she looked bored and stiff. I reckon I saw more than several smiles on her face this time. Annie's music always inspires me to dance, but I can't remember dancing that first time that I saw her at the Metro. She still had the same live arrangements at Intonation that she did back then, but somehow, I couldn't stop myself from dancing on Sunday. She was bouncing around gleefully, as if she was actually paying attention this time around to the hot jams that she was providing. Annie also performed her latest singe, "Crush," which I liked a lot better live (ftr, I like "Crush").
Qualo performed a song before Lupe got onstage. I keep hearing all these great things about Qualo, but I don't think I've been impressed with anything I've heard so far. Lupe was sick, as expected and I can't wait to hear all those Food & Liquor songs at a mix where I can actually hear all the words.
I don't think anyone expected metal to be one of the highlights of Intonation, but The Sword and High On Fire represented damn well. I'm positive there were a lot of sore behinds Sunday night from all the ass-kicking that The Sword provided.
I went to go get something eat towards the end of The Sword's set and the beginning of Blue Cheer's. This was the first act of the weekened that I didn't bother to get that close to the stage for all weekend, mainly because I had never heard of them. They sounded good, but I was too busy talking to Erick (who writes for Stylus) and David of somanyshrimp.com in the middle of a baseball field.
I was still talking to David and Erick on the diamond, but I was still fully in tune with Jon Brion, another act I had been looking forward to seeing. The songs sounded all kinds of lovely, and I especially love the extended jam with "I Believe She's Lying." The sun really needed to be out at this time.
I thought Pollard's latest album sucked, so I didn't even bother paying attention to his set, and with good reason since the songs sounded boring as hell. My mp3 player provided me, David and Erick with such hot jams like: Destra's "Bonnie and Clyde," Twista's "Emotions" and the DJ Gant-Man Juke Remix of Beyonce's "Check On It." Who needs a Snickers bar?
Another great hip hop set that left me exhausted and smiling. Things didn't even slow down when Fred Hampton Jr. was brought onstage to talk about a rally for an honorary Fred Hampton street sign. It still fell along the lines of the education that Dead Prez were dropping in their rhymes, which was already a seamless mix of great music and enlightement. Most surreal moment: M-1 getting the crowd to sing along to Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall," which was an unique, but appropriate detour ("Hey! Teacher!/Leave those kids alone!") from the hardcore stylings on display during the rest of the set.
I had to leave early since I had a 6-8 page paper due the next day. I really really wanted to hear "Helicopter" before I left, and I got my wish. They sounded great life and I wish I had stuck around to listen to the rest of the set, but as I was sitting at the Ashland stop, still able to hear Bloc Party really well, I realized what I had realized about Silent Alarm; all their songs start to sound the same after a while.