LouFest Wrap-Up: Top 10 Favorite Moments from LouFest Part 1

Admittedly, I am still very much in the LouFest honeymoon stage. The festival ended 6 days ago, but it was my first, and I loved every single moment of it. We had heat, humidity, rain downpours and the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen outside of the desert and the mountains of Colorado. I could go on for days about the non-music reasons I enjoyed the festival, but that is not what you are here for. So, without further delay, here are my Top 10 Favorite Moments from LouFest (split up into Top 5 of each day).

Saturday:

On Friday night after a day of sightseeing, @begt and I determined which of the bands we didn’t spend much time researching, that we were going to see. There were a few times we changed our minds, and I don’t think either of us regretted the choices we made.

5) We started off the day and festival completely on the right foot. We had both listened to the two acts opening up the festival before, but only really briefly. One of the bands, Kentucky Knife Fight had appealed to me due to their bluegrass influences. They are a local St. Louis band. The other band with an opening set on Saturday was Jukebox the Ghost from Brooklyn, NY. After listening to a coupe of their songs on Friday night (after a few drinks) we decided to go with Jukebox the Ghost…and I was not disappointed. Their set was high energy from the first note. This 3 piece is a mix of Queen, Ben Folds Five and the Fray with a side of Brooklyn Hipster. From my personal favorite song (after purchasing their newest record Safe Travels) “Adulthood” to the catchy relationship woes filled “Oh, Emily” the band kept the energy through the roof. They even ripped out an amazing version of “Somebody to Love” from Queen. Not many artists can sing that song well, lead singer and keys player Ben, did an incredible job. They ended their set with their most popular song, “Somebody” from Safe Travels. 

4) I didn’t get to catch much of the set of this next band (as I went early to the set mentioned in #2), but we had to take a break from the heat and watched the band Modoc under the trees at the BMI stage. This Nashville based band has a very powerful sound and occasionally breakout a bit of a Southern rock sound. I hope that this band comes out west soon so that I can see a full set.

3) One of the bands that I was excited to see that was unknown to me before the LouFest lineup, is Utah based Desert Noises. These guys played about halfway through the day on the smallest stage of the event. The stage setup was very idyllic with an open back and a beautiful view of the trees of Forest Park. These four guys look to be about 20 years old each, but have a very mature sound. I feel that  their name is very representative of their music as I can think of few bands who would go as well as these guys when driving through the expansive deserts of Utah and Nevada.

About halfway through their set, Kyle, the lead singer looks out into the crowd and says to the audience “This is good…this is good right?”. I hope he realized just how good their set was.

I have a feeling that these guys are just beginning a long career. They just wrapped up a tour across the US, but I am sure they will head back out on the road soon. Check out the haunting “I Won’t See You”.

2) As mentioned in #4, I had to leave the Modoc set early. The reason I left that set early was to head to the main stage to prepare myself for Trampled By Turtles. When finding out about LouFest I was so excited that TBT was playing the festival. I’ve been listening to this band for a couple years, and really wanted to see them live. They don’t travel a lot to the western US, so I was very happy to catch them here. I went to this set alone, as @begt and Jennifer (aka the comedian) needed some more time to lay around…but I met a delightful couple from Peoria, IL who had seen TBT on a couple different occasions. Trampled by Turtles did not disappoint. This Duluth, MN based band keeps  their energy high and makes sure that each member gets to showcase their skill. I was very excited as I’ve not seen a live mandolin player since starting to play one myself. The TBT mandolin player is quite good, and at one point the fiddler brought out a mandolin and the two of them were getting down.

They played many of their hits including “Victory”, “Whisky”, “Wait So Long” and they finished their set with my personal favorite, “Alone”.

1) There is really no contest about the best show of the day on Saturday. I first heard this band when playing around on our Roku  while watching music videos on the one of the many music video channels. Their sound is unlike any other group I’ve heard. I was bummed slightly as they played Las Vegas the day we left for St. Louis, and it would have been great to see them twice in the same week, but I believe that I will have many opportunities to see them. What is the band you ask? None other than Los Angeles  own Fitz & the Tantrums. I was blown away by their performance. They have so much energy and they know exactly how to get the crowd into the show. Other than the National and Wilco, this was the biggest crowd I saw at any performance. FATT is one of those groups that sounds better live. Their recorded stuff is great, and definitely gives a feel for the band, but they should be enjoyed live and in person.

From LouFest (not taken by me) “Out of My League”

And “MoneyGrabber”

Stay tuned from my wrap up from Sunday. I am still processing the amazingness that was Sunday at LouFest.

Concrete Schoolyard Hiatus, Chance the Rapper & Tech N9ne

Sorry we’ve been preempted by so many school sports (volleyball and such) at the Concrete Schoolyard the last two weeks. We have no power over this, BUT I can still put you on some dope hip hop, at least what I’ve been jammin.

First Up: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap (IT’S FREE)

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I’ve been jamming this HARD. It’s freaking free and it’s amazing. Chance is bros with Childish Gambino (Donald Glover to you television buffs) who apparently dropped a dope short film I am currently watching! These dudes are making classics right now and Acid Rap is no exception with hit singles “Juice,” “Smoke Again” and “Favorite Song” with the aforementioned Childish Gambino.  My favorite track, BY FAR, is “Cocoa Butter Kisses” ft Vic Mensa and Twista. This melodic track is peppered and stained (no pun intended) with somber lyrics of love lost, addiction and homesick paternal love. If you aren’t listening to it while you read this, you’re crazy. The album is filled with tracks speaking on personal issues and pushing through. “Everybody’s Something” is another awesome track with a message. He is putting on for Chicago, seriously. It’s one of the best mixtapes I’ve heard in 2013. I seem to be saying that a lot now. Why? Because 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best hip hop years I’ve had in a while. I thought 2012 went hard, man 2013 has more hits and mixtapes than I can fix my ears to listen to. Understand this Chance deserves respect, give him a…chance? Lol. Right, give Chance a chance.

Secondly: Tech N9ne – Something Else

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I have an album review of this coming soon so I won’t drop too much knowledge here. As a rap, rock, jazz, soul, alternative rock and slight screamo fan you’d have to check this album out. With features that range from The Doors, Dallas track wrecker and female emcee Snow tha Product, T-Pain, Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B., Trae tha Truth, as well as Strange Music heavy hitters Krizz Kaliko and Mayday! this album delivers in droves. I mean, it may be the most complete project that Tech has put out. In this album he discusses his journey through music with no love from the black community until recentl, his Christianity in spite of the belief that he is a devil worshipper his constant struggle with past addictions, and the empowerment he received from Strange Music, his record label. I could talk all day on this album, maaaaaaan, it’s so good front to back. Check the track listing here. *Album review coming soon*

With all the violence in the mainstream, negativity and negative publicity rap gets or brings upon itself, it is absolutely refreshing and invigorating to hear a relatively new rapper in Chance and an older legend in Tech N9ne speak on issues, pain and getting over these things.

LouFest Spotlight: The Mowgli’s

Meet The Mowgli’s. One of the bands I have discovered thanks to LouFest‘s awesomeness. Learning about the band is giving me flashbacks to @DocMurda’s description of a hipster band, although I wouldn’t call them that. The Mowgli’s are an eight-piece alternative rock band from southern California. Their sound is easy and the harmonies remind me a lot of Family of the Year.

They have only one album, Waiting For The Dawn, which is very much worth the listen. They play LouFest on Sunday at the same time that The Lonely Biscuits do. Oh, schedule conflicts, what would we do without them. Oh yeah, enjoy all the awesome music! I’m going to try to see these guys and gal.

The will be touring with WALK THE MOON this Fall.

Other songs to check out are “Emily,” “Love is Easy,” “Say It, Just Say It,” and the title track “Waiting For The Dawn.”

LouFest Spotlight: The Killers

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the Killers in our discussion of LouFest. I realize that the Killers are in fact, one of the most well known American bands in the world. From what I’ve been able to gather from other media outlets and European music mags, the Killers may be the biggest American band in the world. This does not stop them from being one of my most favorite bands, and the band I am most looking forward to performing at LouFest. The Killers are the Sunday headliner for LouFest (Saturday is Wilco).

There are very few bands that exist on my “must see live” list and my concert “bucket list”. The Killers are atop both of those lists. I do admit that seeing them live in Las Vegas probably differs from seeing them in other locations, but lead singer Brandon Flowers has a genuine charisma that I’ve not seen from any other lead singer (including the charismatic likes of Rob Thomas and Adam Levine).

I saw them late last year when they returned to their hometown of Las Vegas for a set of shows to close out 2012. In my life their are few times when I’ve been so ill that I could barely walk…their December 29th show was one such day. Unless I was in a hospital, I was not going to miss this show. I had been waiting for years to see them live…and when I did, it was magic.

LouFest will be the second time I see them live, and the third time will come next month when they headline Vegas’ own Life is Beautiful Festival.

The Killers were formed in Las Vegas in 2001. They’ve released four studio albums, with the most recent in 2012, Battle Born.

I am sure their festival set may differ from their set from the most recent “Battle Born” tour. However, I know every song they play will be amazing.

One of my favorite songs from Day and Age, “Spaceman”:

As @begt already has seen, The Killers have on occasion while in the UK performed my most favorite song of all time. Both Flowers and  band co-founder Dave Keuning are admittedly huge Oasis fans… “Don’t Look Back in Anger” performed by the Killers:

When I saw the Killers in December, they started the show with a song not often performed live since the tour of the same name. “Sam’s Town” will always mean Las Vegas to me no matter where I live. For the first three years I lived here, I could see Sam’s Town (a local casino) from my house. When this started playing this song, my sick self started shaking.

I cannot post this without sharing my favorite Killers song (one of my top 5 favorite songs, now you know two), which is also from Sam’s Town, “Read My Mind”.