September 1, 2009

Street Scene 2009 | Saturday | Of Montreal, The Dead Weather, M.I.A. [San Diego; 08/29/09]

Looking at past lineups, it seems that Street Scene has served a number
scenes over its 25 year run. First, it was a blues and Cajun zydeco event for downtown locals, then a cultural Taste of San Diego-like melting pot, then a 3-day stadium-filler for every genre under the mainstream-ing sun, and finally, back on the streets as a 2-day, multi-staged, middle-tier festival, this time catering more to the tastes of your average Coachella-goer. Returning to its downtown roots was a good move (no matter what sales say). As was this year's lineup, if you ask me (your average Coachella-goer).


Those who endured Saturday's early heat hopefully got rewarded by this raw little set at the Casbah side stage. Sounding like a dream-punked and distorted Velvet Underground, Crocodiles went kind of nuts for a small, but still hometown, crowd. Just two guys with a drum machine, and they were rad.

Ra Ra Riot

I will forever be on the fence with this band. Everything is likable and tight, it just plays out like one long whimsical song. Not entirely a bad thing. And sorry but, Alexandra is a total babe.

Public Enemy did their thing. We watched on the big screen.

Of Montreal

I took the first two songs in complete horror. Here was, more or less, my favorite live act (Radiohead excluded), who I had just spent the past hour raving about to numerous first-timers in attendance, experiencing an utter sound implosion. Kevin Barnes' mic was somewhere off in Never Neverland, a bass player was reading off a music sheet (?), the drummer was not happy, and the second drummer was missing altogether. Being close enough, we got the monitor, but not much else. Things eventually got louder, at least. They handled it like professionals, Barnes never losing his stride (or prance). This shit happens and I've seen lesser bands phone-in the rest of a set and/or bounce, but these legends of weirdo electro-pop not only played through it, they put on the theatrical stage show expected of them (or unexpected, for some shocked individuals).

The Faint
We danced like it was 2003.

The Dead Weather

Rockstars. Jack White is a busy guy and, to be honest, I don't keep up with it all. Not sure why this didn't register earlier: The man is a god, I like the The Kills, that video where they shoot each other is pretty awesome. I should have seen this coming.

Their general presence was almost over the top (a laughable notion after Of Montreal). Allison Mosshart, the quintessential female lead, laid into every note with force and unlimited appeal, at times up-staging the White Stripe himself. Jack though, who's not too shabby on the drums, did give us some glorious guitar time. The day's best.

We danced like it was 2013.

What's left to say about M.I.A.? She's definitely not what drew me to Street Scene, but I couldn't just look the other way either (not that there was really anything else to look at during the headliner slot). It was nice of her to put more time into singing and less into talking this time. Transitions actually, almost transitioned. The visuals (and the white guy dancers) were slightly more compelling. And she did pay tribute to the Beastie Boys (who couldn't make it due to MCA's cancer) with a remixing of "Intergalactic" and "Sabotage". And premiered an odd new one called "Born Free", which I am convinced samples the 1977 song "Ghost Rider" by Suicide. Could this be the next Clash?

Then we packed 7 people into a Mustang rental (one of us in a speedo).

A shoutout to our special East Coast visitors, Sara and Jaclyn (thanks). And to the whole random crew on the night, friends old and new (Chuck, Carissa, Kato, Dana, Joe, Maggie, good times).


Anonymous said...

Alexandra may have been a babe but I think if alison mosshart was a US president, she'd be Babe-raham Lincoln. -Joe

jonasfly said...

nice coverage sutton. makes me somewhat optimistic for the future of our kid-sister festival, Outside Lands...

i regret to report that of montreal pulled THE EXACT SAME B.S. at the Fox in Oakland a month or so ago. absolutely inexcusable garbage. the lady bass player MUST GO AWAY. total disappointment. they need to devote about 50% less effort to pretentious theatrics and focus on playing the songs properly. add a few instruments. something. the dynamics were abysmal.

maybe i need to give the crocs another look because my first impression of them at Bottom of the Hill opening for Holy Fuck was hateriffic.

Sutton said...

now thats a comment, Joe.

Thanks, jonasfly. Sorry to hear OM let you down in Oakland. I don't know what's going on with them. They were at the top of their game less than a year ago in LA at the Palladium - a perfect size venue for all their stage shit. They had second drummer, this black drummer guy dressed as an indian (who I think goes by Sinkane, and is now touring with Yeasayer, who is btw, playing exceptionally as of late, hmm), and sans awful bass chick. Perhaps a tour this ambitious (stage-show wise) was bound to crack.

Ya I dug Crocs and like their *Summer of Hate* album (P4k didn't, which might explain their lack of coverage, Stereogum Band-to-watched them back in Feb, and then P4k shot em down).

Wouldn't you know, I think they could use a drummer. Wonder if Sinkane available?

I bet Holy Fuck was the opposite of "hateriffic." Those guys kill it.

ShellBell said...

After hearing reviews of other friends at the show- it sounds like your review of MIA was very generous. The last two times I've seen her we so disappointing- so I wasnt surprised when I heard bad reports from this show as well. Sounds like you see something more in her live shows then some of my East Coast crowd. Thanks for the review- next best thing to being there :-)

jonasfly said...

yeah, i saw OM at the Regency last November and they were 100% on point, and kind of blew my mind, so I went into the Fox show with high expectations... glad to hear a great group like yeasayer is getting the benefit of this recent slide.

i squeezed in about 20 minutes of the dead weather set at Outside Lands b4 heading over to check out modest mouse (who absolutely killed it), and though i didn't catch any jack on guitar, they totally rocked. really great group dynamic and just solid rock songs.

in re: M.I.A., after what she did at coachella 08, i'm loathe to give her another opportunity to waste my time.


Vic said...

nice shots Dave!

Sutton said...

thanks ShellBell! Maybe I wasn't clear. You heard right, her live show is always nothing great. Of the 3 times I've seen her (and it's always incidentally at festivals), this was just the least awful, because she didn't stall or go off on any rants and the Beastie covers were legitimate crowd pleasers. I do like her music, which helps. I'll never go out of my way to see her perform though.

Jaclyn said...

I'd have to agree with Vic...nice shots! haha Only, you made one mistake in the blog...I'm from CT not NY. I'll let it slide this time though, but only this time.

Sutton said...

right right. oops. changed it for ya.