So the summer is over, and though you enjoyed your time working at your friend’s uncle’s ex-wife’s organic commune, you’re having a hard time keeping up with conversations that revolve around what’s been happening in music news. Have no fear! We won’t allow for such a heartbreaking predicament. Read on for your fill of some sizzling summer happenings, and be sure to pick up the fall semester guide next week for important info on can’t miss events for your music calendar.
Memorable music moments
Ever hear of a local band called Arcade Fire? The multi-member group has gone on to become the world’s biggest indie rock band again, with the release of their third album The Suburbs, which debuted at number one in the United States (on the Billboard 200), with over 156,000 units sold in its first week. Even cooler, the band harnessed the awesome power of the Internet to launch their innovative HTML5 video entitled “The Wilderness Downtown,” which allows you to enter the address where you grew up, giving you a personalized view that is more or less a complicated way of using Google Maps to look at your old neighbourhood.
Never before has Toronto’s Younge & Dundas square seen as large a gathering as it did for Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ NXNE performance. In fact, it was the biggest free rock concert Toronto has seen in 40 years, with 25,000 people spread out across the square and further. They stood on bus stops and alleyway garbage cans, hoping for a glimpse at the iconic, flailing blond punk. Unable to make it to the front, many riled up rockers brought the party to them; starting mosh pits like spot fires throughout the sardine-packed crowd. A steady stream of crowd surfers was constantly flowing out of the side stage gates. Security took the situation very seriously but, unfortunately for them, Iggy did not. Frankly, I’m happy to be alive after he invited all the craziest Canucks to join him on stage.
The highly controversial Arizona Immigration Law, which even Obama strongly criticized, had many bands protesting through music and by boycotting the stage. Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine organized a protest called The Sound Strike, with the likes of Lady Gaga, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Massive Attack, Sonic Youth, and Yeasayer supporting his cause. Many Canadian bands have joined the boycott, despite their geographical distance from the cause. Unfortunately, this boycott has had its impact on local venue owners, promoters and critics, who suggest that funding and supporting organizations that fight SB 1070 is a better protest alternative. Calexico gathered support for an organization called Artists for Action, which favours affirmative action over boycotts. Stars and Fucked Up argued the proper response to the law in a public debate via Twitter, though both agree that something must be done.
All summer, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem has been touting their impeding retirement to crowds and media. However, it seems Murphy hasn’t quite lost his edge, nor his love of recording, as recent interviews have revealed. An Aug. 5 tweet hinting at another album after being inspired by Arcade Fire’s latest LP sent a teasing ripple of excitement through their many follwers.
Kings of Leon cancelled their St. Louis show after three songs due to what their manager called a “toxic health hazard”. The band members, and particularly self-proclaimed “germophobe” bassist Jared Followill, were repeatedly poop-bombed by pigeons, as were the two openers who managed to make it through their sets. I’d like to remind KOL that Alice Cooper destroyed a chicken once, accident or not. Whatever happened to rock “n’ roll?
Despite being clichÃ© and a little overdone, a good guitar smash gets me every time. Founding member and leader of Of Montreal, Kevin Barnes seemed a little lacklustre at MÃ©tropolis for Osheaga’s In The City until the encore where he unexpectedly swung his guitar neck into the mic, destroying both in a violent burst of energy. He tore the shattered guitar from his body and proceeded to smash it into pieces, chucking the remains into the crowd. I guess extreme measures must be taken to top what is always a theatrical performance, and this was not an isolated incident for the band.
To read more about the above mentioned summer festivals, including first-hand experiences of bands who played them, check out www.theconcordian.com/music/summer-2010
ALBUM RELEASES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Here are some of our favourite, if less hyped, albums released this summer.
Born Ruffians: Say It
The Futureheads: The Chaos
Sleepy Sun: Fever
Peter Wolf Crier: Inter-Be
Deer Tick: The Black Dirt Sessions
Drake: Thank Me Later
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Mojo
We Are Scientists: Barbara
Herbie Hancock: The Imagine Project
The Roots: How I Got Over
Stars: The Five Ghosts
Tokyo Police Club: Champ
Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse: Dark Night of the Soul
Wavves: King of the Beach
Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
Ray Lamontagne & the Pariah Dogs: God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise
Ra Ra Riot: The Orchard