Franz Ferdinand, Zane Lowe 6/4/17

(i) lineup

1a. Zane Lowe
2b. Franz Ferdinand

(1a) (Zane Lowe) setlist

    1. To quote Zane, “I’m doing 80 songs in 40 minutes, so let’s get it, New York!!!”
    2. does it matter what the songs were?

(1b) highlights

  • Zane Lowe indirectly helped shape my entire music taste and he certainly has no idea

(1c) lowlights

  • Zane Lowe indirectly helped shape my entire music taste and he certainly has no idea

(1d) overall thoughts

  • This image below includes the only important takeaways from the performance


Bottom line: Zane Lowe was a Radio 1 DJ and legendary host of MTV’s Gonzo hour interviewing people I loved, and now resides at Apple Music interviewing dumb people I hate. He made me dance at Gov Ball, even when I thought he looked dumb. Good guy. Dumb banter, but good guy.


(2a) (Franz Ferdinand’s) setlist

    1. Jacqueline
    2. No You Girls
    3. The Dark of the Matinee
    4. Paper Cages
    5. Do You Want To
    6. The Fallen
    7. Walk Away
    8. Love Illumination
    9. Michael
    10. Always Ascending
    11. Take Me Out
    12. Ulysses
    13. This Fire

(2b) highlights

  • FRANZ!!!!!!
  • but but FRANZ!!!!
  • that setlist. like. what. Jacqueline. Dark of the Matinee. Michael. Ulysses. All of it.
  • Hit after hit after hit after hit, this band NEVER QUIT.
  • if you’ve never seen or heard a festival crowd sing along to probably one of the greatest guitar riffs of the last 30 years in a huge festival crowd, then you’ve never seen “Take Me Out” and you’ve never LIVED

(2c) lowlights

  • the first three rows of people were all there for some tool ass DJ named Logic and every bro in his crowd made me wanna commit suicide; none of them deserved to even be in Franz’s presence

(2d) overall thoughts


Franz Ferdinand were one of the first bands I ever listened to and truly loved. I remember having their debut Franz Ferdinand and 2005 hit You Could Have It So Much Better rotating in my CD player, along with Hot Fuss and the Hot Hot Heat album that came out that year. Their first two albums were so incredibly formative for me that it’s entirely possible my life would’ve gone a different direction had I not discovered them. That’s powerful.

Despite being a huge fan since Day 1, this show was only my second time seeing Franz. For some reason, they tend not to make it out to NYC – or American in general – all that often. The first time I saw them was only in 2013 and I still think that performance is one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen. At Governor’s Ball, my friends and I were close to the stage, but trapped in a sea of non-Franz fans. I later learned that nearly everyone behind us, going back nearly 40 rows – which is notable considering they weren’t on a main stage – were there to see them, but at the time…it really felt like an intimate concert just for us. And I swear I’ll never forget it.

The interesting thing about desperately loving music that was popular over a decade ago is recognizing when that music, and the people that create them, start to feel their age. Franz Ferdinand absolutely captured a musical moment in time when they hit the scene in the early 2000s. Some people might even say that they created the scene, and I wouldn’t disagree with that. A bunch of art school kids, Franz transformed the post-punk revival into something that was dirty and gritty and from New York (a la Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Strokes) and made it something cool, slick, arty, dance-y, and fun. 90% of indie alternative bands out today would not exist if it weren’t for Franz Ferdinand and I will fight anyone who says different.

Opening with “Jacqueline,” “No You Girls,” and “Dark of the Matinee” perfectly reveals how resonating this band’s influence has been not only on music, but for fans. Even without having heard “Jacqueline” in years, aside from occasionally coming up on shuffle, I didn’t hesitate in the slightest when it was time to scream-sing, “It’s always better on holiday, so much better on holiday, that’s why we only work when we need the money.” I was back in my parents car with my CD player and headphones wrapped over my ears with those orange and brown, cracked CD cases.

Bottom line: Franz Ferdinand is iconic, not simply in what they did for music and the genre, but for their undeniable ability to bring joy and showmanship to performance. When other bands have found it easy to play their back catalog straightforwardly, Franz elevates their songs to classic status by throwing themselves completely into the sound. I pray this band never goes away, but if they do, their music will live on and there’s nothing more comforting than that.

Phoenix, Local Natives 6/3/17

(i) lineup

1a. Local Natives
2b. Phoenix

(1a) (Local Natives) setlist

    1. Jellyfish
    2. Wide Eyes
    3. You and I
    4. Airplanes
    5. Colombia
    6. I Saw You Close Your Eyes
    7. Ultralight Beam (Kanye West cover)
    8. Past Lives
    9. Fountain of Youth
    10. Dark Days
    11. Who Knows, Who Cares
    12. Sun Hands

(1b) highlights

  • first time seeing Local Natives who I’ve casually enjoyed since around 2010 when they first hit the scene and man, they were great
  • unexpectedly surprised by not only their stage presence but ability to keep such intimate tracks feel lively and awake in a festival format
  • normally I get annoyed when lead singers decide to crowd surf solely for the sake of making a set suddenly more interesting, but when Taylor Rice came into the crowd twice during the set, it felt so deliberate and genuinely fun
  • their lighting and simply yet pretty stage production was beautiful; it perfectly set the scene for these fellow Angelenos
  • the sun setting around the time their set was ending, and the dust was picking up at their stage – it reminded me of my home in LA in the best way

(1c) lowlights

  • nothing comes to mind – they came out and did exactly what they needed to

(1d) overall thoughts

Local Natives popped up in my life when I was having a difficult time a little less than a decade ago. I always liked them even though they were a bunch of hipsters from Silver Lake. They had goofy mustaches and their music videos looked like Urban Outfitters, sure. But unlike the usual pack of hacks out there, Local Natives also had the tunes.

And after this performance, I realized that they have the presence and performing chops too. Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer take turns on lead vocals, guitar, and keyboards, harmonizing in that sweet spot of Beach Boys-inspired and pre-folk explosion that happened because of half-ass bands like Lumineers and Mumford and Sons. Local Natives’ songs are sweet and floaty and fit right in around the Coachella Valley, sure, but they have a lasting effect because they come from some place real. “You and I” practically floats across the stage and dances in the light, and is there a sweeter sunset-y singalong than “Who Knows, Who Cares”? You don’t want to miss these guys live.


Bottom line: To the uncultured eye, Local Natives might get lost in the sea of same-y folksy LA-transplants, but they’re so much more than that. Their stage presence, resonating harmonies, and purposeful guitar work really makes them memorable and standout.


(2a) (Phoenix’s) setlist

    1. Ti Amo
    2. Lasso
    3. Entertainment
    4. Lisztomania
    5. J-Boy
    6. Long Distance Call
    7. Fences
    8. Try To Be Cool / Drakkar Noir
    9. Lovelife
    10. S.O.S. In Bel Air
    11. Role Model
    12. Girlfriend
    13. Love Like A Sunset Part 1 / Bankrupt! / Love Like A Sunset Part 2
    14. If I Ever Feel Better / Funky Squaredance
    15. Armistice
    16. Rome
    17. Fior di Latte
    18. Meant
    19. 1901
    20. Ti Amo Di Piu

(2b) highlights

  • Phoenix!!!! Those dudes have such class, style, and grace – so damn French
  • yo, I don’t know if Warren Fu is the man responsible, but Phoenix have the dopest stage set-up I’ve seen in recently memory. A giant panel of mirrors is all you need for endless joy and entertainment
  • everyone in Phoenix feels so refined and older than their contemporaries, and I’m so into it
  • have you ever heard a band write so many catchy earworms that don’t make you wanna die? me either.
  • Love. Like. A. Sunset. enough said.

(2c) lowlights

  • they could’ve played for another hour and I would’ve been into it
  • the crowd could’ve and should’ve been bigger – I blame the fact that Childish Gambino was playing the opposite stage at the same time

(2d) overall thoughts

I first encountered Phoenix sometime in late 2005, early 2006. I undoubtedly saw their name in fine print somewhere in NME or Uncut or Mojo or Spin, and wrote their name down as a band to not forget. To me, they were always that “fun, French band,” and then somehow, just when I forgot about them, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix dropped into the world and every car commercial ever was never the same.

When Phoenix got huge, I had no idea how to respond. What happens when a bunch of older dudes finally hit it off with their fifth album? Luckily, Phoenix didn’t completely lose their minds and instead decided to put out pure joy with Ti Amo, and brought all that passion to the stage. Words can’t do their production justice; few bands can so easily meld sound, aesthetics, and production into such a complete package. You watch Phoenix perform one live song on their stage and you suddenly feel like you understand them as a band. New Order is another band that comes to mind that really nails this combination of performance and art, but no one’s doing it like Phoenix today.

There’s few things I respect more than when big bands headline at festivals and skip over the obvious tracks to play deep cuts and objectively “unsuitable” tracks. “Love Like A Sunset” doesn’t belong at any festival but a song never felt so appropriate for a summer night on Randall’s Island than that one. The reds, oranges, and yellows washed over the crowd in real-time and in the reflection of the giant mirror that framed the performers. Yeah, everyone danced when “Lisztomonia” started, but everyone felt when “Love Like A Sunset” hit like a sonic boom.


Bottom line: Phoenix are not only clearly impeccable songwriters, but they’ve manage to create the perfect marriage of sound, aesthetic, and art that elevates every performance to another place. Their contemporaries better recognize what Phoenix brings to the world, because – from where I’m sitting – it’s nothing but light.

Lorde 6/2/17

(a) setlist

    1. Tennis Court
    2. Magnets (Disclosure cover)
    3. 400 Lux
    4. Buzzcut Season
    5. Ribs
    6. Sober
    7. Sober II (Melodrama)
    8. Hang With Me (Robyn Cover) (Feat. Jack Antonoff)
    9. Liability (Feat. Jack Antonoff)
    10. Royals
    11. Perfect Places (Feat. Jack Antonoff)
    12. Team
    13. Green Light

(b) highlights

  • LORDE!!!!! This. girl. is. FAB.U.LOUS.
  • Seriously, can I be friends with Lorde. I know she has several posses and what not, but like…I can contribute.
  • First time seeing with witchy girl and I am SO on board with everything
  • The clear, glass shipping container that was the focus of her stage production was so oddly unique and clever. The dancers, the lights, how she interacted with the stage – whoever’s job it is to conceive of that stuff needs a raise
  • looking back on the setlist right now, I can’t believe she only played 13 tracks – I felt like we spent the whole weekend together; everything was perfectly paced and I totally loved how many new tracks she threw in. I’m not here for singles-only sets and neither is Lorde
  • there was a group of young 20-somethings/late teens standing near me and my friends and they were low-key crying throughout the set and even though I felt a lot older than them that night, I just wanna say “same”
  • this completely accidental and beautiful moment during the final bridge of “Team” when all the lights were flashing, the sun was finally setting over the horizon, Lorde is singing “we’re on each other’s team,” and then I look up into the sky and this perfect pack of ducks are flying in a V formation right over the stage. it was so bizarre and beautiful and oddly perfect.

(c) lowlights

  • I’m not exactly a fan of Jack Antonoff so I thought his presence was a bit much, but honestly, Lorde loves him and he didn’t really talk, so he was the perfect accessory to her fantastic performance

(d) overall thoughts

Like most people, I discovered Lorde after “Royals” dropped out of practically the sky above. But it wasn’t until I heard a few years ago that David Bowie was a fan before he died, so I knew it was time to start paying attention. I never watch the Grammy’s or generally acknowledge its presence, but for some reason, I really remember the year that Lorde won and how she so awkwardly accepted her award, all dressed in black, her hair long and curly, and sort of ran off-stage. Her inherent authenticity – a word I dislike and rarely use – totally killed me.

A bit after, I got into Pure Heroine and realized that this chick was special and couldn’t miss her at Gov Ball. She walked out wearing a lace veil over her face slowly singing the refrain to “Green Light” and pretty much the rest is history. Dressed in black and lace and heels I would’ve died in, she danced across the stage like she owned it and everyone was at her whim. She opened with my favorite song “Tennis Court,” which I still feel like is such a bizarre song for a pop singer to have as a single off their first album. The melody is so unusual, the imagery is almost mismatched with Lorde’s aesthetic, yet everything about it works so well. It’s the interesting contradictions that make Lorde so special. What even is this girl? She’s herself.

Her banter in-between songs was so genuine and authentic, I swore that we were old friends. The stage and festival grounds became a very, very large bed where we all chatted at the largest and most intimate pajama party ever. And I mean that in the least condescending way possible. Lorde is ethereal, young, fresh, weird, and everything you wish you were at her age. The tracks she played from her new album feel powerful, meaningful, and I won’t be one bit surprised when Melodrama completely blows up the world.

Bottom line: Lorde is one of the most authentic performers in recent memory; her unique vulnerability and fresh perspective almost makes me wish I could relive my high school years if only so she could be there to guide me.

The Killers, HAIM 6/4/16

(i) lineup

1a. HAIM
2b. The Killers

(1a) (HAIM’s) setlist

    1. If I Could Change Your Time
    2. Don’t Save Me
    3. I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover)
    4. Forever
    5. Honey & I
    6. Give Me Just a Little of Your Love
    7. My Song 5
    8. Nothing’s Wrong
    9. The Wire
    10. Falling

(1b) highlights

  • pretty cool seeing HAIM for the first time
  • I’d only heard a couple of HAIM songs before this and didn’t know what to expect – they were definitely more high energy and enjoyable than I thought!
  • it’s stupid that I even have to say this, but it’s really awesome to see a modern rock band entirely composed of women who actually know how to play their instruments
  • there’s nothing I love more than watching a musician get lost in their own music and Este Haim’s bass face epitomizes that so hard

(1c) lowlights

  • it started raining maybe 4 or 5 songs in – just a little rain at first and then the sky.opened.up; the rain was so bad that I had to open my umbrella and duck down so the hardcore HAIM fan behind me could see…which means I watched the rest of the show from underneath the umbrella and staring at the barricade – it sounded good, I guess
  • no, seriously, that rain was freaking awful, you don’t understand

(1d) overall thoughts

As I mentioned, I had very little knowledge of HAIM’s discography before this show, but I had heard good things about their live show. I always thought their band story was pretty cool – three sisters who grew up in my hometown and ended up getting huge with cool tunes. Into it. I had heard about their live show and schtick through osmosis, so I was intrigued to actually see them.

Their Fleetwood-Mac-with-an-edge vibe was cool, made sense, and definitely enjoyable. HAIM’s live performance definitely elevated their otherwise merely adequate songs. The girls’ energy, audience interaction, and occasionally coordinated dance moves made for a good show, but couldn’t hold up in the rain for me. A large part of me wishes it had never rained so I could give my full attention to them, but….yeah, that rain was bad and I was there for The Killers, guys.


Bottom line: It’s no surprise that HAIM is as big as they are; it’s awesome that they’re cool chicks doing their hippie-chic thing, if only it hadn’t started rain so intensely, they might’ve won me over completely.

(2a) (The Killers’) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Shot at the Night
    7. Human
    8. Somebody Told Me
    9. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    10. Obstacle 1 (Interpol cover)
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. A Dustland Fairytale
    13. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done


  1. This Is Your Life
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(2b) highlights

  • it rained for two god awful hours and then stopped exactly 5 minutes before the band went onstage; g o d  b l e s s
  • Obstacle 1!!!! Interpol!!! Killing it!!!
  • Damn, “Shot at the Night” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll,” sounded so good; sometimes songs you’ve heard a million times hit you just right
  • Ronnie Vannucci’s face, Dave Keuning singing “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” into Brandon’s mic, and pink blazers are best; Ted Sablay’s guitar work on “Obstacle 1” was top-notch, as well
  • that Elvis cover is so beautiful, it’s almost obnoxious; like when something is so sweet and wonderful that it destroys you
  • fun fact: the “This Is Your Life” hand wave can cure almost any illness
  • the crowd didn’t suck, no one crowd-surfed, and 25,000 people stayed through the rain – I was shocked and so, so proud of the crowd for sticking around

(2c) lowlights

  • two. hours. of. constant. rain.
  • everyone was soaked, multiple friends lost their phones to rain damage, and people were seriously crying out there in the rain – a lot of my stuff was ruined and everyone was so miserable before the set started, but we stayed; it would’ve been nice of the band to say something along the lines of “thanks for staying” or “sorry you’re all wet,” but it’s okay
  • I miss Mark Stoermer, I need Mark Stoermer, I want Mark Stoermer, please someone anyone bring back Mark Stoermer, you are the light of my life and your absence is the size of Nevada in my heart </3 I respect his wishes to take a break, but I miss him so, so much </3

(2d) overall thoughts

Picture it: it’s around 7 pm, the sun has disappeared behind gray clouds, and the sky opens up like a monsoon. It wasn’t even supposed to rain that day. In less than 10 minutes, everything you own is soaking wet and there’s nowhere to go, nothing to put on, nowhere to hide. And there’s still over two hours until The Killers come on-stage. More. than. two. hours. Then, around 9:10, the rain stops. And at 9:15, The Killers come out with Mr. Brightside – it felt like a goddamn baptism, I swear to God.

The show was great – it always is. The crowd was overwhelming in a good way, the band had their usual raw, festival-level energy, and the sound was great. Brandon came into a few lines late and Ronnie missed a few beats, but almost no one noticed. Dave looked happy to be there and it felt like such a treat to hear “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” live at a festival for the first time in like 8 years. I’ve been an Interpol fan for as long as I’ve loved The Killers, so it was awesome to hear “Obstacle 1” in that setting – the cover itself felt so developed and clearly not thrown together at the last minute (a couple of TK covers have felt this way…). The lights were cool and I appreciated that TK paid tribute to Interpol and the NYC music scene while still definitely making the song their own.

I won’t lie and pretend like it wasn’t completely devastating to see The Killers perform without bassist Mark Stoermer. I was in the front and closer to Mark’s usual side of the stage, so his absence was even more obvious to me. I absolutely still had an incredible time and will always love this band so much, but I never forgot that Mark wasn’t there. I hope he comes back soon and knows how much people care about him. I hope he’s happy.


Bottom line: Rain can crush souls, but The Killers are particularly good at reviving them. We miss you, Mark Stoermer.


The Strokes, Bloc Party, Father John Misty 6/3/16

(i) lineup

1a. Father John Misty
2b. Bloc Party
3c. The Strokes

(1a) (Father John Misty’s) setlist

    1. Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings
    2. When You’re Smiling and Astride Me
    3. Only Son of the Ladiesman
    4. Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
    5. Bored in the USA
    6. Holy Shit
    7. True Affection
    8. I Love You, Honeybear
    9. The Ideal Husband

(1b) highlights

  • ommgggggggg, Father John Mistyyyyyyyyyy
  • I had been looking forward to this show for months and was so not disappointed; I finally listened to I Love You, Honeybear towards the end of last year and WOW, what a phenomenal album
  • I seriously lost my shit when “Chateau Lobby #4” started; that song is flawless from beginning to end, done
  • not only was this setlist such a surprise and presented in such a fresh order, but Josh Tillman’s self-awareness and meta-modern approach to each song’s presentation in itself was so stupidly entertaining
  • to quote my friend who knows very little about FJM: “I didn’t know a man could move his hips that way” – what a show
  • “I Love You, Honeybear” and “The Ideal Husband” coupled together were like the two most energetic and beautiful pairings of live performance, god, I can’t underscore how good this was
  • (side note: Danny Masterson from That 70’s Show was on the side of the stage? what a bizarre world we live in)

(1c) lowlights

  • basically nothing whatsoever, except maybe the one douchebag in the crowd would was unnecessarily mean to everyone around him

(1d) overall thoughts

I was always a fan of Fleet Foxes and was hesitant in approaching Father John Misty at first. I tend to be turned-off by general folk music and even more turned off when people seriously cite Bob Dylan as an influence, but Father John Misty is so much more than that. It’s complex but FJM aka Josh Tillman is so highly aware of what it means to be a musician, and specifically a folk musician who’s white and male and has a long beard, and subverts all of that with his performance and mocking lyrics. I freaking love it so much.

Tillman plays up his strengths and his incredibly underrated backing band knows exactly when to drive it home and when to let Tillman shine. His super fresh setlist and uninhibited performance let the audience “in” on the self-aware joke that the band is apparently telling. That’s really the important thing that separates FJM from other groups that try to be as self-aware (Joywave comes to mind) – as a member of the audience, you never feel like FJM is mocking you; he’s mocking the whole subgenre, the whole performance, and the whole idea of it, but you’re in on the joke yourself. It’s great. And oh, the songs themselves are incredible – you can’t ever forget that.

Bottom line: Father John Misty was so freaking incredible, that I wish I could follow that dude around for the rest of his tour. Amazing songs that shouldn’t work in a festival setting become so elevated through a self-aware performance that it’s no wonder how massive the crowd was that day at Governor’s Ball.

(2a) (Bloc Party’s) setlist

    1. Hunting For Witches
    2. Positive Tension
    3. Virtue
    4. Exes
    5. Song For Clay (Disappear Here)
    6. Banquet
    7. The Love Within
    8. Mercury
    9. Flux (w/ Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” intro)
    10. This Modern Love
    11. Like Eating Glass
    12. Octopus
    13. Helicopter
    14. Ratchet

(2b) highlights

  • t h a t  s e t l i s t  wtfffffff
  • “Like Eating Glass”!!! I lost it!!!! “This Modern Love”!!! what!! “Mercury”!!! dead!
  • for real, though – what an incredible array of songs, I was so shocked at the inclusion of so much of Silent Alarm
  • the band had so much energy – Kele mentioned it was the last stop of their American tour – and it seriously made all the difference in the world
  • the Prince cover was kinda great – last time I saw Bloc Party they covered Bowie, which was better, but “I Would Die 4 U” was super cool too
  • not one but TWO different girls threw their bras toward the stage, I have never laughed so hard in my entire life, did they not know that Kele is gay, I literally could not breathe, god that was freaking amazing

(2c) lowlights

  • this set was seriously so good; there was nothing bad about it

(2d) overall thoughts

I saw Bloc Party for the first time only a few months ago after loving them for over 10 years, and that show didn’t quite live up to my expectations. But I knew this performance was on the horizon and I wanted to give Bloc Party a second chance. And this Governor’s Ball performance was so much better in every way. Kele Okereke was in good spirits, the whole band had great energy, and the setlist was much less uneven.

The crowd was overwhelmingly into every song – not only the hits – and every song felt so special. I’ve heard “Like Eating Glass” come up on my shuffle a dozen times over the last few months and I never thought Bloc Party would ever play it, especially at a festival, so it was that much more of a shock when that drum beat started. Is it still a bit sad that drummer Matt Tong and bassist Gordon Moakes are gone? Yeah, but those songs are elevated above that band drama. Bloc Party are incredible and this performance is definitely one I’ll never forget.

Bottom line: This Gov Ball show totally killed and the band definitely vindicated themselves for me personally; the crowd was awesome and, come on, two girls actually threw their bras onstage – what a time to be alive!

(3a) (The Strokes’) setlist

    1. The Modern Age
    2. Soma
    3. The Threat of Joy
    4. What Ever Happened?
    5. Under Cover of Darkness
    6. Alone, Together
    7. Electricityscape
    8. Ask Me Anything
    9. Take It Or Leave It
    10. Drag Queen
    11. Someday
    12. Red Light
    13. Clampdown (The Clash cover)
    14. Heart in a Cage
    15. Last Nite
    16. Trying Your Luck
    17. Reptilia
    18. Hard to Explain
    19. Juicebox


  1. You Only Live Once

(3b) highlights

  • the last third of the setlist when The Strokes remembered that they’re the goddamn Strokes and no one but Strokes apologists care about Angles or Comedown Machine
  • actually taking it easy during this show and laying in the grass at Randall’s Island with my best friends, eyes closed, hearing the literal songs of my youth echo across miles of a New York City island
  • having our own dance party during the last 5 or so songs – air drumming and playing on-point air guitar and singing along with 4 other friends – putting on our own version of The Strokes (I alternated between being Albert and Fab <3) – so, so much fun hearing those classic songs again
  • everyone loves fireworks

(3c) lowlights

  • Julian Casablancas: “so, uh, we never play encores – we didn’t for our first three albums…and we didn’t the other night. and all these assholes booed us. so whatever, here’s our encore. are there even other bands playing here? whatever, I guess have fun. goodnight.” (I’m paraphrasing but BARELY. “Are there even other bands playing here?” I love you, Julian, but damn you’re a douche. Albert was literally performing his solo material the next day. And it was Friday. Did you really think this was a one-day festival with you as the star?? Calling your own fans assholes for not playing an encore? Literally bye.)
  • when bands sell t-shirts with a specific song on it at a festival, but then don’t play that song (*cough* “New York City Cops” *cough*)

(3d) overall thoughts

Like any respectable alternative rock ‘n’ roll fan alive in the 2000’s, I love The Strokes. I actually saw them for the first time at the 2014 Governor’s Ball where they played a midday set, which now feels strangely odd to think about. I had a good time then, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by them. They had great songs and the crowd was super into it, but the band’s we-don’t-give-a-shit attitude was so put-on and I was over it. That affectation was very much present at this Gov Ball performance, but I expected it this time, so it didn’t rub me the wrong way.

I personally haven’t really liked much of The Strokes’ material since 2005’s First Impressions of Earth, which is sort of crazy because I remember a lot of people disliking that album when it came out. I don’t inherently think their earlier work is better because it’s their earlier work, I just wasn’t drawn to anything on Angles or Comedown Machine in a real way. Their newest EP Future Present Past does have hints of greatness, but I’ve overwhelmingly been partial to Albert Hammond Jr.’s work over the last decade.

Either way – regardless of Casablanca’s comments and the band generally looking like they don’t like performing or care about the audience – I had a good time. Those songs mean something to people and it was a pretty cool environment to watch all that happen. I enjoyed this performance more than the first time I saw them and I really think that proves that having friends around means something.

Bottom line: The Strokes are always gonna be The Strokes and that means something to different people. I hope the band keeps putting out new music and stops acting too cool for school, but we can all dream, right?

Conor Oberst 6/6/15

(a) setlist

    1. Time Forgot
    2. Hundreds of Ways
    3. Zigzagging Towards the Light
    4. Classic Cars (Bright Eyes cover)
    5. We Are Nowhere and It’s Now (Bright Eyes cover)
    6. Enola Gay
    7. Double Life
    8. Danny Callahan
    9. No One Would Riot For Less (Bright Eyes cover)
    10. Governor’s Ball
    11. If The Brakeman Turns My Way (Bright Eyes cover)
    12. Shell Games (Bright Eyes cover)
    13. Another Travelin’ Song (Bright Eyes cover)
    14. Laura Laurent (Bright Eyes cover)
    15. Ladder Song (Bright Eyes cover)


  1. Lover I Don’t Have to Love (Bright Eyes cover)
  2. Lua (Bright Eyes cover)
  3. I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital)

(b) highlights

  • seeing Conor for the first time after being a Bright Eyes fan since high school!
  • “Classic Cars”!! Omg!!
  • “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” = the O.G. angst ballad, so good
  • the entire performance being much more positive, less sad, and more energetic than I always imagined a Bright Eyes/Conor show being
  • realizing that Conor is kinda dorky and down-to-earth and not the tortured soul everyone thinks he is – that makes me happy

(c) lowlights

  • the crowd was legit the W.O.R.S.T. – so rude, so obnoxious, so Brooklyn
  • I try to avoid the Music Hall of Williamsburg when I can – always a bad crowd and, ironically, the venue feels so unsuited for live music; there’s so much dead space and acoustic holes

(d) overall thoughts

I first discovered Bright Eyes in high school, which is like saying “I learned to walk when I was a toddler.” I had a bit of a Bright Eyes phase and I stand by it – my favorite album of theirs to this day is probably 2007’s Cassadaga, which honestly has such lively and beautiful songs on it that feel both unlike the moody Bright Eyes everyone knows but still very reminiscent of all Conor Oberst’s work. I was beyond thrilled when he played not only so many Bright Eyes songs, but tracks specifically from that album. “Classic Cars” is my favorite from Cassadaga and I remember screaming when he started playing it – god, what an incredible feeling it is to hear that one song you’ve always loved but never thought you’d hear.

This show was a Governor’s Ball After Hours special, so the set was definitely geared to a New York crowd and people didn’t get a chance to make the festival. Unfortunately, because it was so late, more than half the crowd was super drunk, so obnoxious, and Conor was not having it. After a douchebag legitimately in 2015 yelled out “Freebird!” when Conor was talking, I thought he might walk off stage. Instead, he chewed the guy out, spit in the crowd, and kept going. More power to Conor, I say.

I think people have this preconception that Conor Oberst is the cry-baby, indie-emo singer to Bright Eyes just in the same way that Ben Gibbard is the cry-baby, indie-emo singer to Death Cab For Cutie. I kinda think that whole idea is bullshit, but whatever – to each his own. I can pretty definitively say, however, that Conor was gregarious, smiling, and a showman; there wasn’t a dark, dingy stool in sight. I was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming feeling of joy in the songs and undeniable lightness to all that heart in them as well.

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend people give Conor a chance; if you’ve ever even thought that one Bright Eyes or Conor Oberst song was good, you’ll dig his live show.