Back in 2003, Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard released an album full of dreamy, 8-bit synths, quick-tempo drum loops, and a 1980’s-like style of electro-indie rock that would create a trend in the music world for the next ten years (and counting). After grabbing Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley, three hit singles were produced from that album, and a dedicated following to boot. Then they just sort of stopped. After repeatedly shooting down rumors of a second album, the band finally announced it would be going on a 10-year anniversary tour for their debut (and only) album, Give Up. Luckily, one of Chicago’s biggest annual events swallowed up the opportunity, and booked The Postal Service for their last two shows. Ever. Pretty cool huh?
I will openly admit that this headlining performance was the reason that I dished out $200+ to hang out with 300,000 reckless crowd members in the sweltering heat for three days. Most of the time, when you build something like this up in your mind for as many months as I did, you will be disappointed. I can tell you point blank that this was not the case. As soon as the band’s headlining performance began, around the same time as festival behemoth Mumford and Sons took the stage across Grant Park, it marked the beginning of a pinnacle moment in my music-loving career. The 90-minute show allowed for an entire career-spanning setlist, going all the way from their hit “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” to the song that, as Gibbard said, “Started it all”, Dntel’s “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan”. The group even got to the new releases from this year’s re-release, along with a cover of Beat Happening’s “Our Secret”. The set seemed flawless from front to back, and the crowd seemed to be made up of exclusively die-hard fans of the band, singing along to every word.
The reason this show seemed to be so impactful was the way the final moments of the concert passed. Earlier in the show, frontman Ben Gibbard had pointed out the fact that the Lollapalooza performance was their second to last, with only a show at the local Metro Chicago the following night. It was surreal as an audience member, watching a band performing on stage as something they agreed to shut the door on for good in less than two days. What solidified all of it was seeing that the four people on stage, for a moment, also took it as surreal. As the final song ended and the band set up to take a bow, they stretched out the set closer “Brand New Colony” for what seemed like an extra song-length, repeating the final line over and over again: “Everything will change”. Then, almost hesitantly, they walked off stage for one of the last times. Less than 36 hours later, in the same city, it was all over.
The Postal Service is a band that I have the utmost respect for; one that was able to bridge a gap between musical styles and create something that has been admired and emulated for years. The fact that they did it all on one album that was made with the two core members barely stepping in the same room as each other makes it worth so much more. This is a show that I will remember for a very long time, if not forever. Here’s to wishing for a new album, and being thankful that we at least got a few new songs this year.
Here’s the setlist for The Postal Service’s Lollapalooza show, 8/3/13:
- The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
- We Will Become Silhouettes
- Sleeping In
- Turn Around
- Nothing Better
- Recycled Air
- Be Still My Heart
- Clark Gable
- Our Secret (Beat Happening Cover)
- This Place Is a Prison
- There’s Never Enough Time
- A Tattered Line of String
- Such Great Heights
- Natural Anthem
- (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Dntel Cover)
- Brand New Colony
Way back in the day we did a report on a Vampire Weekend show at an outdoor music festival in Chicago. And here we are again, just over a year later, doing exactly the same thing. But there’s a reason why Vampire Weekend is our first ever repeat band in our concert reviews; it’s because they did this magical thing where they made the show different than the last. Why was it different? Well besides the 13 months of time, 20 degrees, one new album (including a smash hit song), and half of a colossal supporting tour, the atmosphere at a huge festival like Lollapalooza is much different than that of Pitchfork. What was astounding to me, however, is the group’s apparent awareness to that fact, and how well they were able to cater to it.
Among a powerful set mixing brand new tracks (a total of six coming off their most recent LP, Modern Vampires of the City) and some old classics, including “Mansard Roof” B-Side “Boston (Ladies of Cambridge)”, the band hit their stride and never looked back. As usual, they held a high regard for keeping the crowd involved, including frontman Ezra Koenig and drummer Chris Tomson participating in a fire fight with the audience with ammo consisting of mainly toilet paper rolls and beach balls. It speaks volumes to a crowd when a band looks like they are truly enjoying themselves on stage, and all members took that to heart while taking time in between songs to giggle and joke, most notably when trying to remember how to play 2010’s Contra hit “Horchata”. They even seemed to have fun with poking the bear that was the uncharacteristically restless crowd by doing things like begging them to dance to “A-Punk”, and then acting casual about the craziness of the audience. Even when a fan managed to run on stage during “Giving Up the Gun” before being quickly restrained by festival security, the band kept their cool and continued to play as if there was nothing out of the ordinary going on.
Like I said before; Vampire Weekend mixed it up and was truly great enough to prove the worth in continuing to buy tickets to see bands perform over and over again. This show was fantastic on all accounts, and I’m sure the many thousands of fans that surrounded me last Sunday can vouch for that. Vampire Weekend’s Lollapalooza set was one worth seeing, and here’s to hoping that they’ll be back again soon. Until then, they’re most recent LP Modern Vampires of the City is out now.
Here’s the setlist for Vampire Weekend’s Lollapalooza show, 8/4/13:
- White Sky
- Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
- Diane Young
- Everlasting Arms
- Boston (Ladies of Cambridge)
- Ya Hey
- Oxford Comma
- Giving Up the Gun
- Hannah Hunt
- One (Blake’s Got a New Face)
For those of you who missed this past weekend’s annual music festival in Grant Park, first off shame on you. But it’s fully understandable that there are many reasons to not be hitting up the notoriously crowded, hot, and usually storm-ridden Lollapalooza, and it is also understandable that if you did happen to miss it, you are curious about what you missed. Even for those that did land on the woodchip-covered park sometime this weekend, it sure is fun to reminisce. So here it is; the Nutshell Music Group Lollapalooza 3-Day Recap.
Friday: The air was buzzing with yet another big-billed festival weekend upon us. There was a short drizzle early, and the day’s high temperature of 81 was the highest on schedule for the whole weekend. Things really were looking up with a solid set of headliners performing later in the evening, and a solid undercard to boot.
Friday’s Notable Moments:
- San Cisco starting off the day with a dance party except, you know, one that indie kids would go to.
- Father John Misty french kissing a stuffed unicorn.
- Bernard Sumner joining The Killers on stage to perform Joy Division’s “Shadowplay”.
- Thievery Corporation defining the word “groove”.
Saturday: For many reasons, the second day of this year’s festival was very possibly the most exciting. One band was preparing for a comeback show (actually their second show back) after their bassist suffered a brain clot, and another took the stage for one of their final performances ever. On top of that, some of the biggest names in indie rock, hip-hop, and EDM all powered through electrifying sets to cap off day 2 of Lollapalooza.
Saturday’s Notable Moments:
- Pujol enjoying some candy thrown on stage by an audience member during their soundcheck.
- Matt & Kim repeatedly sampling, among many other rap classics, Ace Hood’s “Bugatti”. The band later suffered so many technical difficulties that “Daylight” had to be cut in mid-song, and they instead ended their set with “Cinders”, which they had admittedly not played in years.
- Ellie Goulding ending her hit “Lights” with a snippet of the Bassnectar remix.
- Two fans in wheel chairs crowd surfing during Kendrick Lamar’s set being helped over the front guardrail, and being allowed to watch the remainder of the show from the front of the stage.
- The Postal Service playing absolutely every song in their repertoire, and the crowd singing the last line of “Brand New Colony” over and over again as the band left the stage.
- Death Grips and Azealia Banks both separately cancelling Saturday night performances, resulting in Shaun White’s band Bad Things headlining on The Grove stage.
Sunday: The same as always, the weekend seemed to be coming to a close much too quickly and the initial hype was slowly turning into sunburn, hangovers, and fatigue. The weather was a blessing with it actually becoming a bit cold by the end of the night, and that shot enough energy into the crowd to see some of the most successful musicians, both new and old, in their respective genres. The night ended on such a high (and tired) note that the only thing I could muster up for my personal Twitter account was “So. F*****g. Good.”
Sunday’s Notable Moments:
- Mario Cuomo of The Orwells taking off his pants at the tail end of the band’s set.
- Alex Trimble of Two Door Cinema Club keeping it classy, performing in a suit and drinking wine.
- Vampire Weekend not being able to get through their set without laughing at the crowd throwing toilet paper on stage or watching as a fan ran on stage (showing his bare butt) and was quickly restrained backstage.
- Phoenix putting on an absolute spectacle of a performance, including Thomas Mars making two trips over the guardrail and laying down for the group’s extra-long rendition of “Love Like a Sunset”.
Keep your eyes peeled for some concert reviews of a few of the Lollapalooza sets, along with another upcoming festival review next week!
As is the case almost every year, Twitter accounts have erupted claiming to be music festival insiders who are aware of what the lineup for that respective festival will be that Summer, months before there’s any itching of a clue of the actual lineups. This has happened again for Lollapalooza, with a star-studded top half of the lineup leaked on Twitter, along with none other than @TheLollaLeaker himself being called out on it. After someone being kind enough to un-blur the cryptic photos that were posted, this is what the lineup is (allegedly) set to be.
Lollapalooza festival goers may be seeing the following acts this Summer:
The Flaming Lips, The Cure, Jay-Z, Blur, Mumford & Sons, Skrillex, Vampire Weekend, How to Destroy Angels, MGMT, and many others.
Can we all just agree it’s fair to skip the whole intro thing and just get to some more predictions? Alright, sounds like a plan. It’s only a few, but it’s still some new names to throw into the mix.
- Alice in Chains – It hasn’t been uncommon for the festival to throw in a 90’s revival band here and there, and the spot for grunge bands seems to be having a comeback. With Alice in Chains expected to unveil a new album later this year and a lack of a Chicago tour date on their Spring tour, it’s always a possibility.
- Yo La Tengo – Let’s face it, Fade is an awesome album. These guys have been doing it for a long time and it’s obvious that adding them to the bill will introduce a crowd of indie adults to the group of age-deprived festival goers.
- The Flaming Lips – Wayne Coyne has had a goof-ball, go off the deep end sort of year, and with a collaboration album and another “normal” Flaming Lips album due out in April, the festival kings are sure to explode back into Chicago with open arms waiting for them (and whatever giant inflatable objects they’ll bring for this tour).
With a handful of solid new music coming out over the last few months, it’s only fitting that a few more artists get added to the discussion for Lollapalooza 2013’s lineup. Remember, as always, this is an open discussion so suggestions are welcome and encouraged. You can also check out Nutshell Music Group’s entire Lollapalooza speculation page here.
- Band of Horses – There isn’t much to be said here besides the fact that, other than the release of Mirage Rock most likely being enough, the group hit the Chilean and Brazilian legs of Lollapalooza 2012 and also played a House of Blues set with the Lolla name on it, and haven’t seen the Grant Park side of things since 2009. At this point, Band of Horses is anything short of a shoe-in for this year’s festival.
- Ra Ra Riot – Even though the album isn’t even released yet, the band has a large opportunity to hit festivals this summer in support of Beta Love. The quintet hasn’t been involved in anything Lollapalooza-wise since 2009, so the group seems to be due for a triumphant, mid-afternoon or evening return.
- The Killers – This one I have just forgotten to put on here. Even with the mixed reviews received by Battle Born, The Killers have been side-stepping the Chicago leg of this festival for the past few years. Yet another group that hasn’t stepped into Grant Park since ’09, expect to see them as a headliner this year.
- The Lumineers – When booking a summer festival, you can never go wrong with an indie-folk group to round out the afternoon. These guys have enough momentum from “Hey Ho” alone to guarantee them a spot at this year’s festival.
- Queens of the Stone Age – With a new album in the works featuring Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl on the drums, QOTSA is going to be going on a colossal tour without a doubt. The band is hitting Brazil and Chile for Lollapalooza 2013, and there is no question that they would be welcomed with opened arms (and probably beers) in Grant Park this August.
Everyone here at Nutshell has been taking some time off in response to the holiday season being upon us, just as we hope you did the same. But before the streamers and fireworks get released and the beginning of a new work calendar is upon us, it’s only fitting that we put together a best of list for those of you that are new to the site (or are already nostalgic). So here are some fun facts about our last seven months as an official publication. But before we get the ball rolling, here’s to wishing you a wonderful 2013.
Nutshell Music Group is born!
With the June 14th review of Walk The Moon’s self-titled LP, Nutshell Music Group officially became a publication.
Album Rating: 89/100
Album Highlights: “Anna Sun”, “Shiver Shiver”, “I Can Lift A Car”
Nutshell: The Logo and The Twitter
On June 18th, we unveiled our new logo, created by John Spiller. Then three days later we officially hit social media, with our Twitter that you can follow @NSMusicGroup.
Nutshell’s First Concert
The site became so much more than an album review site on July 16th, with our first concert review being published on Vampire Weekend’s Pitchfork Performance.
Concert Rating: A
Concert Highlights: Opening with the one two punch of “Cousins” and “White Sky”, an untitled new song now known as “Unbelievers”.
On October 15th Nutshell Music Group officially announced the addition of our newest writer, Bianca Smith. Her first review was posted less than two weeks later.
Opening the Discussion
On December 1st, we started our first full-on discussion topic as we posted our first round of Lollapalooza 2013 lineup predictions. Since then, a large amount of responses have come in and we opened up our Lollapalooza 2013 page.
Bests, Worsts, and Other Notable Things
Highest Rated Album: Matt & Kim – Lightning
Album Rating: 98/100
Album Highlights: “Let’s Go”, “Now”, “I Said”
Highest Rated EP: Go Tell The Eskimo – Smoke Signals EP
Album Rating: 95/100
Album Highlights: “When The Lights Go Out”
Lowest Rated Album: Animal Kingdom – The Looking Away
Album Rating: 73/100
Album Highlights: “Get Away With It”, “Skipping Disc”
Top Viewed Post: Lollapalooza 2013 Lineup Predictions
Nutshell Music Group’s total geek-out favorite band of the year: Stepdad
This one deserves some explaining. This goes to the band that Nutshell Music Group feels is the band that was most enjoyable to deal with. After reviewing Wildlife Pop back in June and then their Beat Kitchen Concert in October, the group has always been fun to watch, listen to, and even talk to in small doses. So a big thank you goes out to the guys in Stepdad for giving us a memorable band to talk about time and time again.
There you have it folks! Have a great time ringing in the new year, and we will be back on schedule with normal reviews after 2013 begins.
After ten days of buzzing and a good string of contact following our last Lollapalooza prediction post, the second handful of bands has been compiled (some of which are based on your suggestions). As was the deal with the last post, comment, tweet @NSMusicGroup, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have changes to be made or things to say. This is a debate, that is welcome and preferred. You can also check out the new Lollapalooza 2013 page for all of our lineup speculation and live updates. Most additions will be normally posted, but bands taken off the list will not. Happy guessing folks!
Here’s the next batch of bands I expect to see August 2-4 in Grant Park:
- Youngblood Hawke – With the release of one of this year’s big indie anthems, YBH has become quite a force. With the power of iTunes hit “We Come Running” behind them and an almost guaranteed festival-filled Summer 2013, the five-piece may be hitting the stage with an early time slot.
- Two Door Cinema Club – The band was already playing an evening slot in 2010 on one of the festival’s biggest stages, and the recent release of Beacon means they will not be strangers to festival goers this year. With tour dates in Chicago falling early this year, it would not be surprising to see the Irish indie pop group back again in August.
- Mumford and Sons – Mumford and co. is going to be the festival hog this year. Everybody in the entire world wanted to book them after they released one hot album; with that total doubled and a handful of new singles like “Babel” and “I Will Wait” that are being shoved down the throats of alternative radio listeners, the group will be hitting almost every major festival this year. If not Lollapalooza, be expecting the modern folk lords rounding out the Pitchfork Music Festival on Sunday night.
- Matt and Kim – The duo last hit the festival in 2009 in support of Sidewalks, and have recently been hitting the Midwest pretty hard with tour stops. With signs of that dying down after February, the band seems to have enough experience under their belt (plus an awesome new album in Lightning) to grab an evening slot at Lollapalooza this Summer.
- Andrew Bird & Wilco – The pairing of these two is intentional because both have released new material somewhat recently (Bird with Break It Yourself and Hands of Glory EP, Wilco with The Whole Love) and they both hail from the Chicago area. However, with enough new music to share a headlining concert just outside of the city last Summer, neither band ended up hitting any popular Chicago-area festivals. At least one of these two could likely show up at Lollapalooza this year as one of those “I don’t know why they’re here this year, but that’s awesome that they are” kind of acts.
Even though we haven’t even broken into winter, there is already a typhoon of speculation about who will be making their rounds at music festivals in Summer 2013. Bonnaroo presale tickets came and went in three minutes, and we’ve already seen message boards and websites be riddled with alleged lineups. With Nutshell being based out of and somewhat centered around the Chicago area, I thought it would be a perfect outlet for my 3rd annual Lollapalooza lineup predictions. This will, for the first time, be live updating. Bands will be crossed out and added as time goes on, up until the midnight lineup release some time in April. That is, if the Chicago Tribune would stop leaking it at 10:30. Think of this as an open discussion. Your thoughts are all appreciated, but they will only be read, reviewed, and utilized for this list if they are posted in the comments section below. That being said, we want your input. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why.
Here’s my current lineup predictions for Lollapalooza 2013, set for August 2-4:
- Animal Collective – The dukes of modern indie rock haven’t graced the Lollapalooza stages since 2009, and they already found themselves in a premiere Saturday night slot. With Centipede Hz now under their belts and no extensive touring schedule, you can expect them to be hitting one of Chicago’s many festivals. After 2009’s powerhouse performance, it would be foolish for both the band and the festival if they did not end up in a headliner’s position this Summer.
- Wu-Tang Clan – Now before you argue, look at the facts. According to an interview with AV Club, Clan producer RZA said that he had been contacted by Bonnaroo and Coachella, and that there’s a chance Lollapalooza has also been in contact with him about a Wu-Tang festival run. With one album having its 20th anniversary and another new one in the works, why not play a few festivals?
- Alabama Shakes & The Temper Trap – Among many of the acts that had to be cancelled or shuffled around during last year’s mud pit, these two groups got the short end of the stick. They both had solid late afternoon slots and the potential to draw large crowds, so it would not come as a major surprise to see their names back on the bill.
- The Avett Brothers – Backed by this year’s release of The Carpenter, the American folk group has never played on Lollapalooza’s stage. They hit their Chicago dates early on the supporting tour for the album, and a group like this would surely thrive in an outdoor festival.
- MGMT – The group hasn’t hit the festival since 2010, and with an R.E.M.-inspired new album in the works it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them return for a third time. With three albums and their debut EP all in the catalog, the psychedelic collective would be a comfortable fit in a 5 or 6 headliner spot.
- Phoenix – The French indie pop group hasn’t had much to say since the conclusion of their last tour, and with only one Lollapalooza appearance (2010) to date, the mysterious new album that is apparently being hammered out, a last second American Summer tour announcement with a few festivals wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises.
- Vampire Weekend – Even though the band made a stop at last year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, they have been on a somewhat hiatus when finishing out their new album. They already have an impressive new single that’s presumably from the record, and it isn’t uncommon to see the two Chicago festivals swap bands for consecutive festival seasons. Since 2009, bands that have hit stages at both festivals include Animal Collective, Neon Indian, Washed Out, and tUnE-yArDs, so Vampire Weekend could very well be returning to Grant Park come August.
Again, your comments are welcome below. Tell us what you’re thinking; who do you think will be playing at Grant Park in August?
Check out this Lollapalooza best of video from the team over at Alderman Media. For more info, rush over to aldermanmedia.com