Despite the fact that I wouldn’t normally listen to hard rock music at home or in my car, I enjoyed this “face-melting” band’s performance on Sunday. These four musicians are clearly excellent at what they do individually, and together, along with semi-permanent 5th member, Johnny Trama, they create some killer jams. Friends of the band describe them as a mix of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. While that may sound like an incredibly tall order, it’s a pretty good comparison. Nate Wilson Group is definitely a must-see live act. You can catch a show in and around Boston… here’s an example of what you’ll hear:
Nate Wilson Group
After a long day of 85 degree heat and humidity, the crowd for The Flaming Lips on Saturday night was a bit unresponsive. BUT, the performance was incredible! I myself was exhausted and sort of just staring in awe. But I loved the tunes I knew as well as the ones I didn’t, and front man Wayne Coyne had some positive messages to share between songs.
To start the set, Coyne came onto the stage inside a gigantic clear bubble and rolled around on the hands of the excited crowd in front. Once the bubble popped, he started into the set with “Fear” followed by “Worm Mountain”. The screen on the back of the stage mostly flashed lots of colors and patterns and occasionally a happy naked woman dancing or running. The crowd managed to sing along to “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”, but it was clear we couldn’t muster the energy Coyne was used to at his shows. He kept trying to pump up the crowd and get us involved, but between the heat, the lack of sleep, and the drugs, nobody seemed up to the challenge.
Dozens of giant colorful balloons filled with confetti were sent out into the audience and volleyed around until they popped and towards the end of the set, the stage seemed to explode into a cloud of confetti! “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1” was a crowd pleaser and a gorgeous “Do You Realize” finale left everyone with a smile on their sleepy faces.
These guys are definitely an act I’d love to see again when I have more energy!
The Flaming Lips
I was convinced to check out this trio of teenagers on Saturday afternoon and boy, what a spectacle! They played on the “Port City Music Hall” stage which was inside a large barn-like building. The place was packed and these kids were totally riling everybody up with their insane abilities. The roar of the crowd was deafening after each tune. This is not my favorite type of music, but I can appreciate how talented this young band is. Check it out:
This Brooklyn-based band has gotten a lot of attention since their sophomore release, Yellow House came out in 2006. After that, they toured with the likes of Radiohead and Feist. Last year, the release of their third album, Veckatimest, brought Grizzly Bear even more mainstream success. The wildly popular single “Two Weeks” was featured on TV shows and commercials and the band performed on David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien.
I knew and enjoyed only a little bit of Grizzly Bear’s music before I saw their performance at the Nateva festival. I was really excited to get a more complete picture of these rising stars.
In a word, I’d describe them as unique. It’s tough to compare them to anyone… during the show I was hearing a little Dr. Dog at times (with their Beatlesque harmonies), but Grizzly Bear is darker. They take their songs to many different places musically, but all with control and fluidity somehow. As their set went on, I was more and more impressed with the consistent chaos they created.
Check out the tune “Two Weeks”. This video is VERY strange. Hopefully it doesn’t creep you out too much and turn you off of the band!
M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel got together to make some music in 2008 and the result was an ambiguous moniker and an album called Volume One. While a lot of collaborative projects don’t last, She & Him was incredibly well received… so Volume Two came out earlier this year. As a huge fan of breezy, happy, feel-good music, I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve heard of She & Him. And I was stoked to see them perform live at the Nateva Festival this past weekend.
What a day to enjoy music outdoors! Saturday was 80 degrees and sunny…the perfect weather for sunshiny tunes. When I first head Dechanel’s voice, I was struck by how pure and clean it sounded live. Her backup singers added the perfect amount of oohs and ahhhhs while M. Ward brilliantly led the rest of the band on guitar. This music is like a blast from the past… it definitely sounds like it’s from another era.
Many are surprised to learn that (actor turned singer) Deschanel writes almost all of She & Him’s songs. In fact, she wrote her first song at age 8! Today, at 30 years old, her lyrics still have a light, childlike quality about them. “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way… certain people write songs to make other people feel good.” -M. Ward
Take a listen, and hopefully She & Him will brighten your day:
She & Him