Shows I Missed: March 2017

it’s been awhile since I was so sad to miss a show that I felt the need to blog about it. In fact, the last time was August 2016, when I missed Jason Derulo, Santigold, and Pretty Lights in Telluride and at the Red Rocks. That is arguably one of the biggest months for missed shows ever (I say without consulting my other Missed Shows posts, but I’m moderately confident in it).

Anyway, this month I missed seeing Gramatik in Vail, Colorado. This is a bummer because Gramatik is obviously one of my favorites and I think being up in the mountains would have been so magical. Mostly, though, I’m bitter because I actually WAS supposed to go to this show, but my whole trip to Colorado (which actually was not for the purpose of seeing Gramatik but would have been a major, major bonus) was called off when my flight out got cancelled. IT SUCKED. A lot. Jet Blue, you’re on notice.

This strengthens my resolve to go to Colorado in September for Big Gigantic‘s annual Rowdytown event, a Red Rocks weekend I have been lusting after for I think 4 years now. Maybe 2017 is the year.

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Meadows: The Music

Meadows Music Mania! (I’m cool.) Here’s a look at all the (spoiler alert: awesome) music I got to listen to at Meadows in Queens this past weekend. And clickity click on over here if you missed all the juicy logistical details that I like to geek out about (again, I’m cool).

Chromeo
The first time I ever heard of “FUNKLORDZ” Chromeo was in December 2013 when they opened for a free Pretty Lights show with a DJ set. Since that time, I’ve seen Chromeo do probably around 5 DJ sets, but never a straight up Chromeo set. UNTIL NOW. Man, they were just the best. They have this funky, upbeat 80s kind of vibe and finally getting to hear them actually sing and play instruments was just so fun. Such a high energy way to kick off the day.

Sylvan Esso
I had seen this indie pop duo once before at a free Prospect Park show, but my friend and I were more focused on our picnic than the actual music. As someone who has gone so far towards the realm of electro-soul and funk music in my listening habits, it was nice to remember that I actually enjoy other types of music, on occasion. This was a great, mellow daytime set.

Damian Marley/Thomas Jack

The son of Bob Marley and a tropical house producer don’t really deserve to be lumped together, except they were on at the same time and my friend and I split our time between these 2 sets (about 25%/75%). It was like 2 ends of the tropical spectrum, going from reggae vibes into fist-pumpy beachiness. Thomas Jack ended his run with Lipps Inc’s 80s hit “Funky Town,” and jumping around with one of my best friends screaming our heads off to this song was some of the most fun 4 minutes I’ve ever had at a festival.

Empire of the Sun
Instead of telling you about Empire of the Sun, I’m just going to leave this video here. They are…something else. I mean this in the best way possible.

Pretty Lights
Pretty Lights is never not good, let’s be real. I don’t think it’s possible for me to listen to him for 75 minutes, shrug my shoulders and go “meh.” But this was easily a top 3 Pretty Lights set for me, possibly best ever (I think I’ve seen PL around 12 times now). The new-ish band he’s touring with is fantastic, Lazershark (his lighting director) is basically a genius, he puts a funky spin on already amazing songs and the whole thing just felt like a big dance party with family (which it is, if you love Pretty Lights. Fans = family and you’ll run into people you know and love at any PL set). “I Can See It In Your Face” is probably my favorite song to hear live because the trumpet part just fills me with SO MUCH JOY. (Watch the video below, the awesome trumpets come in at 2:14). If you want to hear the studio version with slightly better audio (which you should, because this song is f’ing great, use the bottom link and wait for the trumpets at 2:38).

I still feel like I’m living in the wake of that amazing PL set. Derek, you killed it, as always. So much love.

Elements: The Music

I can’t believe I didn’t write about Elements last year! No recaps! Shame on me.

Now in its second year, BangOn!NYC’s Elements Music and Arts Festival is legitimately one of my favorite NYC events of the summer. It’s a one-day festival (maybe that’s why I chose not to write about it) that takes place next to an abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn. It’s dirty in the coolest possible way and I had so much fun last year and so much fun this year and man, is it really a year until I get to go again? Sigh.

With 5 stages there’s a ton of music to choose from, but if you saw this lineup at all you know that I mostly went for my main man Gramatik. But all the other music was wonderful too! Let’s discuss.

Bleep Bloop
Let’s just revel in the name Bleep Bloop for a second. What a perfect name for almost any electronic music producer, amirite? I keep accidentally typing it as “Bleep Blop” which is also great. Man, what a world we live in. Here’s some Bleep Bloop trap stuff. This is the kind of thing I wouldn’t really listen to at home but is so fun to get down to outdoors. 

 

Sweater Beats
This guy is 17 years old! You know what I was doing at 17 years old? Getting excited if my high school volleyball coach started me in one of our games, most of which we lost because my volleyball team wasn’t that good. This, plus the whole Olympics thing going on right now, makes me feel inadequate as a person. But anyway, he was great and I wonder if they let him drink the boozy seltzers that were in the artists lounge since he’s not even close to being of legal drinking age. I know every EDM fan loves a good bass drop and I suppose I’m no different because he had some great ones. 

 

Opiuo
I love Opiuo! Who doesn’t? He played my favorite track off his new album and it made me the happiest girl in all the land. I know most of the people reading this probably don’t listen to the tracks I post but if you’re going to listen to one song in this list, listen to this one.

 

Ghastly
I remember turning to my friend and asking who was playing at the time, but I didn’t remember what the sound was like until just now when I checked out his Soundcloud. Ghastly is some screechy dubstep. This would definitely also fall under “music I wouldn’t listen to at home but is fun at festivals.”

 

Gramatik
If ever there are artists that I just stop blogging about because I already talk about them too much, Gramatik will 100% be on that list. This set just made me so happy, and the icing on the cake was that earlier in the day I ran into Gibbz, who was there to play guitar and do vocals for Gramatik. I specifically requested that they play their version of “Kiss” by Prince, which they did, and it was wonderful. I assumed they were already supposed to play it, but Gibbz later told me that they played it BECAUSE I ASKED. If you think I’m telling this story because it makes me feel cool, you’re right. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to feel cool, so let me have this moment. 

In this sadly brief video you can also see how cool the Elements main stage was.

Those are the highlights! Stay tuned for the logistics post and also an “official” recap from my duties over a Mix 247 EDM!

Shows I Missed: June 2016

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile! Since January, actually. Is it because I haven’t missed out on any super great shows or because I just forgot to write about them? I honestly have no idea. Probably a little of column A, a little of column B.

Early this month I was supposed to go to the third day of Governors Ball, a music festival here in New York, to see Kanye West (among others). I bought my ticket the second single day passes went on sale and was looking forward to it for months. But alas, the weather did not cooperate and they ended up canceling the day entirely due to potential thunderstorms. I was bummed, to make an understatement. While I technically didn’t “miss” this show because it didn’t happen at all, IT WAS JUST SO SAD.

10 Electronic Songs for Non-EDM Fans

A lot of people think electronic music sucks. And they’re right, at least occasionally. A lot of it does suck. Most of the time, people who are making a blanket statement about EDM are referring to a very specific UNTZ UNTZ kind of song, which is a) not for everyone, and b) an acquired taste.

The truth is that there is no sound that is common across all electronic music, because the term really just applies to music that comes from a computer instead of from instruments (though it can also include instruments, obviously, and many of my favorites do). “Electronic” does not mean solely techno or house music. It can be jazz or rock or pop or anything in between.

After spending the last few years listening to more electronic music than anything else, I wondered if I was still remotely in touch with what the rest of the world found to be “good” music. So I asked for some volunteers of people who don’t like EDM and sent them some songs to get feedback on. I chose mostly songs that I thought could appeal to an audience that wasn’t used to listening to electronic music, though I did throw in a few oddballs to test the waters. Here’s what happened:

1.   GRiZ, “The Anthem”


I thought people would love this song. I got, “Anyone who doesn’t dance to this has no soul,” from my focus group, so obviously I agree.

2. Pretty Lights, “Up and Down I Go”


One of my favorite PL songs but I didn’t think it would be too well received. It’s a little weird and even I will admit it is WAY too long. Commenters largely agreed that it is about 4 minutes too long.

3. Big Gigantic ft. Cherub, “The Night Is Young”


I was surprised that people knew Cherub, but they did (one person even hung out with Cherub once, which is dope because they seem like fun guys). I didn’t even know Cherub before this song, so it’s nice to know that I’m still very much out of the loop, in some ways. I love this song and everyone loved this song and you love this song too and we all love this song together and even my mom liked this song when I played it for her a year ago before dashing off to see Big G at the Garden the moment Yom Kippur was over (hi Mom!).

4. Savoy, “Bizzy”


I suspected no one would like this but I got a range from, “This is trying way too hard,” to “I liked this one!” 2 people agreed it has no variation though, which is fair. Savoy is also best listened to live with their absolutely bonkers laser shows. I was actually present for this performance below and it was probably my favorite set of the entire festival (RIP Hudson Project).

5. Galantis, “You”


Galantis, who I sadly did not get to see at EZoo, is great. I got “pop-y and fun” and “this feels like it would be great live,” which were pretty high praise for this group. They found the cat masks polarizing, though. I personally love the cat masks, as evidenced here:

I do not like actual cats, however.

I do not like actual cats, however.

6. Gramatik, “Just Jammin”


This is a song you would be into if you like jazz and probably not if you don’t like jazz. That’s about as close to fact as possible. I really liked this comment from my group: “I like when I can tell what some of the instruments are, even if there’s some synth-y stuff also happening.” That’s not specific to this song, necessarily, but I think it’s pretty apt.

7. Break Science, “Brain Reaction”


I was probably most off base on this song, in that I thought people would like it but no one did. Comments included, “Felt like I was waiting for something exciting to happen, but it never did,” “Not my thing,” and “Overall I was not impressed with this despite my excitement about the rapping (Redman! I know him!).” I refuse to believe these comments because Break Science is SO GOOD.

8. Goldfish, “Get Busy Living”


I also thought this one was going to be a slam dunk, but it got mixed reviews. I have successfully converted a number of people to Goldfish fans this summer. Goldfish live is the BEST.

9. Bassnectar, “The Matrix”


Again, this was a test of how well I knew my audience because I was sure everyone would hate this. And while I did get, “I’d prefer your bass not be in my face. Thanks.” and “Oh dear, too dubstep-y” (accurate), I also got a “Loved this one!! Felt like I was at a rave? (Or what I think a rave is like),” (Also accurate!). So I suppose I just can’t predict anything.

10. Emancipator, “Maps”


Emancipator is mellow and smooth and beautiful and I thought it basically impossible to dislike something so…out of your face (technical term, opposite of “in your face,” obviously). Most everyone liked it but one person called it elevator music. I sort of agree with that actually, though I might call it “customer service hold music” instead.

Thank you to my many (3!) participants, this was fun!