LouFest: The Favorites

LouFest 2015 will include many old favorite acts as well as bands that I’ve either wanted to see live but have not, or, are bands that have come into my life due to LouFest. In the first of my LouFest series, these are the groups that I’ve seen before, but am SUPER excited to see again.

3) Young The Giant – I’ve been fortunate to see YTG twice as they headlined a show with St. Lucia and opened for Imagine Dragons. From those two performances, I’ve learned that they are a band with incredibly high energy, and Sameer, the lead singer, has one of the best live voices I think I’ve ever heard. I know they are going to have a very great set.

Here is “Crystallized”

2) The Avett Brothers –  I was so excited to read that they would be headliner at LouFest. Despite the negative comments about the festival lineup (which I thought where completely uncalled for – see: The Case for LouFest) I couldn’t have been happier. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys for 2 of the 3 shows they did last August here in Las Vegas. They may be the best live band I’ve ever seen. The two shows I saw where very different from each other and only had a few songs that were performed at both of those shows.

Here is “Open Ended Life”

1) This should be no surprise to the readers of Sandy Beats, but act that I’ve seen before that I am most looking forward to is Brandon Flowers. His album, The Desired Effect was my first favorite record of 2015, and may take the top spot at the end of this year. I was fortunate enough to see him with 250 of my fellow fans at the epic show at the now gone Bunkhouse. He is a hell of a performer, and I know I’ll be in for a treat again. And I know that he will sing my second favorite song of all time, “Read My Mind” (Killers “cover”).

Here is “Magdalena” my favorite cut from his first solo effort.

(I just get goosebumps when I watch his performances… he loves what he does so much).

Stay tuned for the next LouFest preview.

The Case for LouFest

These days it seems like there is a music festival in every city during the summer. Each week it seems like there is a new one popping up. To the non-music professional, this seems like a tough environment to be in if you are either a small music festival, or a festival in a smaller non-coastal market. Now I don’t know what goes into a planning a festival. I don’t know about booking acts, and I don’t know the process for picking the best acts for any given festival. I do love music. All kinds of music. And I also love LouFest. LouFest was my first major music festival. For that reason it will have a special place in my heart. But I also love LouFest for the friendly environment it creates, and I love it because St. Louis is such a great place to visit. Since my first LouFest, Begt and I make it a point to go back every year. We don’t live near each other, and sometimes don’t get to see each other very often. But we have Sandy Beats and LouFest.

This year, I was very excited for LouFest. I bought the super early bird ticket, and anxiously awaited the lineup. Begt and I made predictions, and assumptions. When the lineup hit, I was thrilled. But I felt like I was alone. Reading St. Louis newspaper articles, the comments on LouFest’s instagram and comments in the LouFest subreddit illustrated to me that people were not happy.  The comments varied from the disgruntled, to the downright angry. I didn’t (and don’t) understand the anger. I mean, I wish that LouFest featured the reunion of Oasis (unlikely that reunion will happen) or included a performance from Tupac’s hologram…but I realized that LouFest isn’t going to cater to just my taste. They are going to cater to a wide variety of tastes that will result in ticket sales and happy guests. I am fortunate that I live in a city that gets more than our fair share of shows. I am fortunate that I get to see more shows that most people can dream about, but I understand that there is a lot of competition out there for music festivals and different markets. St. Louis cannot complete in terms of sales to places like LA, Chicago, DC or Seattle. But, they can still host a heck of a festival that beats some of those other cities when it comes to the friendliness of attendees, the cleanliness of the park, or the green-ness of festival facilities. I choose to go to LouFest for the things I cannot get in Las Vegas or other nearby cities. The quality of the festival is the draw. I am spoiled because there is also incredible music.

This year’s lineup rivals the two previous years I attended. There are some great well-known acts, some under the radar wonders and up & comers. I personally am beyond excited to see The Avett Brothers again. I caught them in two back to back shows last year and they proved to be one of the best live bands I’ve seen. Readers of this blog know how much I love Brandon Flowers. Heck, I am paying less to see The Avett Brothers, Brandon Flowers and two full days of music than I did just to see The Avett Brothers once. I am super excited to see a band I’ve been following for a while that doesn’t seem to make it out west very often, Delta Rae. And I am looking forward to experiencing bands I didn’t even know about before the LouFest lineup like Pokey LaFarge, Knox Hamilton and The Suffers. LouFest is the place where I discovered some of my favorite bands like The Mowgli’s, Wild Cub and Vintage Trouble.

I know that this year will be different…as every year has been and will be. But I can tell you I am ready to hop on that plane and head to St. Louis for LouFest 2015. I will enjoy every minute, and in the end I won’t be upset that Liam and Noel didn’t get back together in front of my eyes under the lush trees of Forest Park.

Here is the first of many previews of LouFest 2015.

Here is “Live and Die” from The Avett Brothers.

Here is “Can’t Deny My Love” from Brandon Flowers

Delta Rae with “Morning Comes”

Here is Pokey LaFarge with “Something in the Water”

Knox Hamilton (featuring the Clinton Presidential Library and Mr. Ray Zerback) with “Work It Out”

And finally, The Suffers with “Gwan”

LouFest is going to kick some major ass.

New Music and Repeat One

I am going to try to be brief and include a lot of music in a (hopefully) tiny post.

New Music

The last two weeks have seen some really solid releases. Overall I’ve been listening to a lot of different music, but for the new music I will go back to some old favorites.

Readers (or co-author) of this blog may understand the depth of love I get from the music of The Killers. Well, frontman Brandon Flowers has recorded a new record out mid May. His second solo record The Desired Effect is thought to have a more 80’s influence than Flamingo. The first single off the record is the very 80’s inspired Can’t Deny My Love”. I had the extreme pleasure to see him perform a tiny (250 capacity) venue here in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. One of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Brandon Flowers is quite the performer.

Here is “Can’t Deny My Love”

Up next is a favorite of Sandy Beats, Twenty One Pilots. Their newest single “Fairly Local” is a bit more “hip-hoppy” sounding than their previous work, but the dark introspective lyrics are still there.

“Fairly Local” from the forthcoming Blurryface

My last new music pick is from Of Monsters and Men. I enjoyed their first record, and am quite excited for this new release, particularly after hearing the first single “Crystals”.

Here is “Crystals” from the release Beneath the Skin

Repeat One(s)

I’ve been listening to a ton of music as I recently paid for Spotify. It has opened up my ears to a lot of different bands. Which is great.

There are a variety of reasons that this happens, but sometimes, just sometimes, I go through a phase where I listen to music that is just a bit more “country” than normal. During one of those binges I found Sturgill Simpson. A mix of outlaw country from the 70’s with topics that are very much today. Here is “Turtles All The Way” from Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Hopefully I will get to see him later this month as he plays the Brooklyn Bowl with special guests The Lone Bellow(!!!).

When I heard that Belle & Sebastian were coming out with a new record, I was quite excited. They were one of my favorites back in college when I had a radio show. I had not really followed them much after college, but now some 13 years later they are back in heavy rotation in my world. I love the entirety of Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, but “Nobody’s Empire” has become one of my favorite songs. The lyrics are pure poetry…

In my more somber moods, I’ve been turning to music like Tourist’s “Wait”. It reminds me of much of the electronic music I listened to years ago, but is of course as modern as it gets.

In other news, 2015 has started out on a similar path as 2014 in regards to live shows. I finished out the first quarter of the year with Trampled By Turtles, and start off April with 3 shows: Milky Chance, St. Lucia (!!!) and Alt-J.

And in the next few weeks LouFest will start to come alive with tickets, and some teasers for line-up. Who do you think will be there this year?

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”.