Friday Video: Kaiser Chiefs, “On the Run”

Click here to listen to Kaiser Chiefs’ Start the Revolution Without Me on Spotify

The editorial ‘we’ that dominates this column is getting turned off today. It’s my son’s birthday. He’s 5. His two favorite bands are Muse and the Kaiser Chiefs. Like father, like son.

And, as luck would have it, the Kaiser Chiefs have a new single “On the Run,” in conjunction with both Start the Revolution Without Me, the Americanized one-album version of the UK 2011 double-album The Future Is Medieval, and Souvenir, the band’s upcoming singles compilation. If you’ve never seen these guys live, go. Now. I’m lucky enough to have seen them twice, at the 2005 and 2009 Lollapaloozas. They killed it both times.

I asked my son what other song he’d like me to include in this piece. “Knights of Cydonia!” he said. As you wish. Happy birthday, kiddo. How wonderful life is now you’re in the world.


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Friday Video – Lollapalooza rock block: White Lies, Foster the People, Muse

Usually at this time on the first Friday in August, we’re in Chicago’s Grant Park, soaking up the sun (or, in 2009, a lot of rain) and tunes galore at Lollapalooza. This year, well, we’re not there. Don’t ask, as it’s still a sore subject, but we will tell you that it has something to do with a cat, bungee cables, string cheese, and a bread maker. The gag order prohibits us from saying another word.

Strangely, the lineup is looking better and better now that we’re not going, though once again they scheduled several of our must-see bands against each other (Coldplay, Muse and Girl Talk at the same time? Really?). One band we’d like to get a second look at is White Lies, a pasty London trio who released an iffy EP a couple years ago, but opened their new album Ritual with one killer alt-dance rock groove called “Is Love.” Give it a moment to breathe, and when the second chorus hits, get out your air guitars.

Next up: Foster the People, another unfortunately named band (all of the good ones, apparently, are taken) who absorbed every note of MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular as if it were the sun. To their credit, the best moments on their debut album out-do MGMT’s last album without breaking a sweat. “Pumped Up Kicks” is getting the airplay, but it’s second single “Houdini” that had us at the opening kick drum.

Which brings us to one of Friday’s headliners – come to think of it, all three of these bands are playing on Friday, which shows that Lolla once again front-loaded the festival, making it impossible to see everyone, or even half of everyone, you paid $220 to see – and one absolute must-see in concert: Muse. Lolla regulars know this already, since they headlined three years ago, but lest anyone be thinking of catching Coldplay, also a dynamic live band, the decision between the two is an easy one. Of course, the fact that anyone would have to choose between the two – one of these bands should be playing opposite Eminem. End of story – is just silly, but such is life. (Note: we wanted to go with the live version of “Stockholm Syndrome” here, but the damn thing isn’t embeddable, ugh.)

Happy Lolla, everyone. Don’t get too fried. Also, don’t get sunburned.


Lollapalooza 2011 wish list update: we drew an 0-fer

In late February, we had some fun daydreaming about what hot bands — translation: the bands that had new albums out or coming out in the next couple months — might be included in this year’s Lollapalooza lineup…and we went hitless. So much for our dream to see Lemmy and Motorhead wipe the floor with the kids a third their age. Likewise, so much for seeing 2011 comback band of the year Duran Duran show the kids how to put on a show. Pity.

We get the sense that the festival organizers received a lot of criticism about last year’s lineup, because this year’s batch of bands skews decidedly younger and, dare we say, hipper than years past. Sure, it has the token appearance by this or that modern rock trailblazer — namely, the Cars and Big Audio Dynamite — but look at the names just underneath the headliners, which we’ll get to in a minute. Deadmaus (sorry, we’re not printing the ‘s’ as a 5)? Are they really that high up on the food chain, as high as My Morning Jacket and Cee Lo Green? Likewise, is OK go really that low on the food chain, that Ratatat, Atmosphere and Beirut would be listed ahead of them?

All in all, this is a strange group of bands, a blend of popsters (Cee Lo, Lykke Li, Ellie Goulding), screamers (Deftones, Manchester Orchestra, A Perfect Circle), and even some alt-country guys (My Morning Jacket, Bright Eyes, Ryan Bingham). But it looks as though that is the point: this year’s Lolla will not be like the others, and the headliners alone make that abundantly clear.

There are four of them this year.

As expected, the early leak announcing that Eminem, Muse and the Foo Fighters would headline this year’s festival turned out to be true, but Coldplay is playing as well. This suggests that some serious stage shuffling is in the cards, because the way the stages have been laid out the past few years, it just isn’t possible to have more than two top-tier bands playing at once. All of the other stages are simply too small to support them, or the visibility is too limited to handle the crowds. It will be very interesting to see how they schedule eight bands over three nights.

As for the overall lineup, well, we’re nonplussed. There are usually multiple bands at each level that we’re excited about seeing. This year, not so much. This is not the first time this has happened, nor do we suspect it will be the last, but it’s still disappointing when it does. On the plus side, our Estonian crush Kerli is performing, and for that, we are happy.

Ain’t she purty?


Friday Video – Biffy Clyro, “That Golden Rule”

How this band escaped my notice for as long as they did is a bit surprising. They’re Scottish, and I’m an Anglophile. They’re even from Kilmarnock, hometown of my beloved Trashcan Sinatras. They’re a ferocious power trio that has elements of Muse and System of a Down in their sound. I love Muse, and well, that “Chop Suey” song. Where have these guys been hiding? Not sure, but when I interview their drummer later this afternoon, I plan on asking him that very question.

Muse fans are going to dig this, one of the most epic four-minute songs you’re likely to hear. There’s even a bit before the big prog-off at the back half where the drummer’s doing a military thing while the bassist (who’s the drummer’s twin brother) strikes a single note that will bring “Butterflies and Hurricanes” quickly to mind. The band is doing their first headlining tour of the States, and they’re playing small clubs. See ’em now, so you can say you knew them when.