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Monday, July 14, 2008

SP20 by Charlie the Blacklight Kid

posted by on July 14 at 12:38 PM

Charlie the Blacklight Kid will be going into ninth grade next year. He went to the Sub Pop 20 Fest yesterday and reported back. Foals were his highlight. No Age was a thumbs down. Previous Charlie reviews (Beefheart, Zappa, Floyd) – here. Pictures by Evan Levy. Take it away, young Char:


Sure, Blitzen Trapper and Kinski are high energy, they are raw, but they can’t beat the Foals. The band from Oxford is straight up destruction and mayhem, musically and physically. Foal’s front man Yannis Philippakis is pure destruction. Before the first song was over he had already broken a microphone. He swung the mic down by the chord onto a floor tom and broke it. But it wasn’t until the second song that he really got into it. In the middle of the song he violently swung the neck of his guitar (which was made out of metal) into his amp and tore a big gash in it. As the roadies rushed to fix the amp Yannis told the audience, “Everytime we come to Seattle shit breaks…that’s why we like it.” He was right because as they continued to play, more shit broke. In the next song during a brutal drum fill the snare drum broke. Even with all of the broken equipment the songs still remained tight. The percussive jolts created by the Foals thudded into your body and remained there.



(The Foals)

After the Foals, No Age came on. And No Age lacked many things, one being talent. When a band has you asking questions like, “Are they supposed to sound this bad?” There is something wrong. Instead of waiting around in the filth of their sound for the answer I left and waited for a good band to come on. Was I missing something?


Comets on Fire was next and after listening to their endless jam I staked out my spot close to the stage and listened to the distant melodies of Beachwood Sparks on the small stage and awaited the arrival of mosh-pit inducing Green River. I was very excited to see them.


(Comets on Fire)

Green River fans were packed tight to the stage and ready. Green River delivered. After the first few earsplitting notes from lead singer, Mark Arm, the crowd exploded with excitement. Heads began to bang and hair began to fly. After most of their set the drummer decided to join in with the crowd and leaped into their awaiting arms. He drifted my way and I threw up a hand to guide him along. Once he was returned to the stage they finished their set and walked off to deafening applause. It was a Green River revival.



I arrived at Marymoor Park ready to celebrate the Sub Pop 20th anniversary with a full day of music. In the shade that the stage provided I caught the end of the Ruby Suns set and awaited the arrival of the next band. Grand Archives was next and their mellow melodies challenged the heat and some new songs that they played excited the crowd. Their songs eased you into the festival atmosphere.


(Grand Archives)

Once we were warmed up as a crowd we were ready for the energy of Blitzen Trapper. They filled the stage with three guitars, one bass, one drummer, and one guy on the keys. Throughout the set, drummer, Brian Adrian Koch would start into convulsive beats and the song would enter a whole new realm. Guitarist, Erik Menteer, took care of the riffs and lead man, Eric Earley, filled it in with guitar and excellent vocals and lyrics. During one song the third guitarist Marty Marquis picked up a melodica and played it, Marty also played a mini Casio keyboard with his head, and on a cowbell frenzy he broke a drumstick.


(Blitzen Trapper)

When Blitzen Trapper was finished tearing it up it was time to catch the experimental rock of Kinski. In the middle of one of their songs drummer, Barrett Wilke detached his crash cymbal from its stand and moved to the front of the stage where he played it like a gong. Another of Kinski’s songs featured Matthew Reid-Schwartz on an electrified flute.

After Green River, the last band of the night was Wolf Parade. They finished off the whole day of music with their broken indie sounds and sent everyone away in a hypnotic state. Happy 20th Sub Pop.


(Wolf Parade)

RSS icon Comments


wow, I was wondering where all the old fat white dudes were this weekend...

Posted by Frank | July 14, 2008 12:44 PM

the p-i should hire charlie to take over their godawful "earcandy" blog.

Posted by petty, sincere | July 14, 2008 12:53 PM

ah charlie, you hit the nail on the head with No Age. leave it to the young 'uns to point out that the emperor wears no clothes.

Posted by brian cook | July 14, 2008 1:03 PM

I will say that id rather see No Age in a basement somewhere. However, No Age was definitely in the top 5 this weekend..
Combine the music and attitude and No Age is no doubt one of the few great things in music today!!!

Posted by Mike | July 14, 2008 2:18 PM

Actually No Age was in the top 1 of the worst bands at the Festival. The singer was off-key for the entire set and the guitarist could only play 2-3 chords. Bo-ring. Sub Pop sure is building a mystery about why they signed these dudes.

Posted by Michelle | July 14, 2008 3:21 PM

SUBPOP: 3 years of mediocre music and 17 years of milking the nostalgia machine

Posted by boring | July 14, 2008 3:41 PM

You can't write "mellow melodies" no matter how old you are. Sorry, it's just a rule.

Posted by Charlie_LOVER | July 14, 2008 4:40 PM

Actually, No Age were not worse than The Fluid.

Posted by Mattydread | July 14, 2008 4:49 PM

What I appreciated about No Age was the polarity. They were the closest thing SP20 had to their Half Japanese -- although I think Half Japanese themselves would have been far more amazing (respect to No Age, but yeah I'm a Jad Fair fan.)

Posted by mackro mackro | July 14, 2008 5:01 PM

@ 7,

What about "percussive jolts thudding into your body", "convulsive beats", "cowbell frenzy", "filth of sound", and "hypnotic broken indie" ?

Can you write those?

Posted by Charlie Lover II | July 14, 2008 5:24 PM

but what about the sun? did the sun have a jam of its own?

Posted by tante | July 14, 2008 6:54 PM

Actually @2, the Stranger should hire Charlie to take over their godawful "Lineout" blog. The sooner the better.

Posted by Dr. Zaius | July 14, 2008 8:37 PM

Obama / Charlie

Posted by Charlie Lover III | July 15, 2008 12:28 AM

wow. charlie managed to sum up everything i feel about no age. thank you young one.

Posted by scratkriby | July 15, 2008 7:30 AM

Jesus! This looks like every show I have ever been to in Seattle. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Posted by mike | July 19, 2008 1:03 PM

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