In the most recent issue of Spin, the usually insightful Chuck Klosterman declared how our generation will forever be defined by the music of the Killers. I sincerely hope Klosterman is incorrect on that stance;
sure, Mr. Brightside managed to entertain Americas youth for a good chunk of last year, but was Hot Fuss really that good? There is no conceivable way that the Killers could possibly be paired off with our generation the way that the Beatles help define the late Sixties and Nirvana inspires the image of the flannel colored early Nineties. In fact, there doesnt seem to be any noteworthy artist that appears destined to rise above the other artists in todays music scene, ready to take the crown as the definitive band of whatever our generation is called. On that note, summer provides the perfect breeding grounds for particularly brilliant acts to rise above the rest with the massive number of summer concerts and festivals. Heres a highlight of what the summer of 2006 has to offer.
Bonnaroo: The fifth annual arts festival in the middle-of-nowhere, Tennessee (Manchester actually) kicks off on June 16th. The three-day festival is usually synonymous with showcasing an unusually large number of jam acts, but this year Bonnaroo has paid special attention to a number of indie acts. Alternative rock behemoths Radiohead help headline the festival alongside Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Beck, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, and Death Cab. Look out for an impressive number of other acts ranging in sound from rap, jazz, blues, and world to make a scene, with Buddy Guy, Ben Folds, Common, Sonic Youth, My Morning Jacket, Matisyahu, Cat Power, Gomez, the Dresden Dolls, Atmosphere, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the Streets, Devotchka, Andrew Bird, and Balkan Beat Box look to provide hours of music bliss.
Lollapalooza: Once the staple of the Nineties alternative rock scene and the archetype for massive, statewide tours, Lollapalooza has transformed into a three-day, one-town festival. Taking place in Chicago (again), and beginning on August 4th, Lollapalooza boasts its presence of 130 bands, yet for a three-day festival, there are a surprising low number of notable acts. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently the big-name act, along side Kanye West, Queens of the Stone Age, and the ever-popular Death Cab. Yet, the smaller acts seem to pull the weight of the lack of big-named bands with Danger Mouse and Cee-Los collaboration Gnarls Barkley making an appearance alongside Broken Social Scene, Iron & Wine, Secret Machines, Cursive, Lyrics Born, the Go! Team, the Rapture, Midlake, and Hot Chip. Still, knowing the wonderful lineup that played last years Lollapalooza (Weezer, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., etc), its hard to see how the expanded festival of 2006 can measure up to last years lineup.
Warped Tour: Now in its 12th year, the Vans Warped Tour boasts the countrys most successful cross-country concert festival. The punk and alternative rock festival, which kicks off on June 15th in Maryland, seems to be in rebuilding mode after the spectacular ten year anniversary tour in 2004. Still, this years line up proves to be more entertaining than last years lackluster lineup, with punk rock royalty such as the Buzzcocks and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts on board. Also on board this year are the NOFX, Thursday, Saves the Day, Reggie & the Full Effect, Less Than Jake, Motion City Soundtrack, and, oddly enough, State Radio. Although the tour lacks many of the more popular acts and wild card acts (Deftones, Alien Ant Farm) that have played in previous years, Warped Tour still looks to be the most interesting nation-wide touring festival.
Siren Music Festival: Although the lineup remains a mystery, the Village Voices 6th annual free indie rock festival looks to be one of the more anticipated concerts of the summer. On July 15th, Coney Island looks to host 14 of the biggest and brightest acts in independent music;
previous year festivals have featured Spoon, VHS or Beta, Q and Not U, Saul Williams, the Dears, Ambulance Ltd, Electric Six, TV on the Radio, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and of course, Death Cab for Cutie. This years lineup should be no exception in excellence;
even so, its a free, daylong concert in the middle of an iconic amusement park in New York. How can you go wrong?
Pitchfork Music Festival: Why does Chicago seem to attract so many festivals? On July 29th, Chicagos Grant Park will host the two-day indie music festival, a week before Lollapalooza. The web-based music publication has become a staple for making and breaking music acts in recent years, aiding the rising success of acts such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah;
the groups participating in this years festival dont necessarily need the support of Pitchfork, but a good album review couldnt hurt. This years festival boasts a number of noteworthy acts, such as Silver Jews, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Mountain Goats, Destroyer, Band of Horses, Spoon, Mission of Burma, Aesop Rock, and Tapes n Tapes. One thing that is certain;
with Pitchforks festival, Lollapalooza, and the Intonation Music Festival, Chicago certainly is getting spoiled and the citys clean up crews will certainly be earning their pay.
In the few months that make up summer, the gates of music heaven open out and spill out across the country to provide endless days of musical delight. While the most noteworthy festivals churn away, other tours and festivals, ranging from the HFStival in D.C., the Sasquatch Music Festival in Seattle, and other countrywide tours such as Ozzfest will continue to delight music fans of all genres and ages throughout the hot and humid months. Will any of these acts rise to become the noteworthy artist of our generation? Who knows;
I just hope Klosterman is wrong with his notion that the Killers are our generations band. If thats true, then maybe our generation truly is doomed.