Thursday, September 20th, 2007
Having wimped out of doing the second day of the festival, I was pretty well-rested heading into the second night of Hot Freaks. This time, both headliners – St Vincent and The Rosebuds – were official Hot Freaks! alumni having played the inaugural event back in March.
The ping-pong set times were once again in effect and first up was Austin’s Yellow Fever, a trio whose ultra-minimalist, lo-fi pop stylings had me looking for the K Records shield emblazoned somewhere on their instruments. Dutifully swapping instruments every few songs, their set was sweet and simple if a bit sparsely-attended – I guess people weren’t leaving the fest early what with Arcade Fire closing things out.
Things then went from a former member of Voxtrot (Yellow Fever singer Jennifer Moore used to be in the band) to a current one – keyboardist Jared Van Fleet who plies a solo trade as Sparrow House. Accompanying himself only on electric guitar, Van Fleet’s folkish songs gave up some of the bedroom-fidelity lushness of the recorded versions but not their inherent intimacy and coziness.
With both openers establishing a low-key vibe, it was up to The Rosebuds to crank up the tempo a bit. Playing as a three-piece (they had a bassist back in March), the ‘Buds got things going with songs equally danceable and hummable from their latest Night Of The Furies. Just like last time, their set was simply loads of fun and culminated in a mini-stage invasion/dance party. They’re two for two now and I’d be perfectly happy to have them play every Hot Freaks event from now till whenever – you could do a helluva lot worse for a house band.
Annie Clark, on the other hand, was in quite a different place than she was when she played solo at 11:30 AM inside the Mohawk during SxSW. Since then, she’d released a rather stunning debut album in Marry Me on Beggars Banquet that had garnered all kinds of critical acclaim, picked up a band and generally had her profile grow exponentially. I hadn’t seen her with the band before – only solo opening for Midlake – so it was interesting to compare her live show then and now. On her own, she was more unpredictable, sometimes almost violently so, and completely riveting. This time, and maybe it was because I’d already seen her and heard the record and was familiar with the wide breadth of her styles and talents, but her show seemed smoother and less visceral but no less impressive. From her songwriting to her guitar chops to her amazing voice, this girl has got it all and though the last act to be added to the Hot Freaks! lineup, was certainly a stellar choice to close things out.
A big thanks to everyone who made this event such a success yet again – Dell and Dell Lounge.com (where videos of all the shows will eventually turn up), John, Moody, An Aquarium Drunkard, La Blogothèque, Brooklynvegan, Gorilla vs Bear, My Old Kentucky Blog, You Ain’t No Picasso, Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good, Daytrotter, everyone I met and whom I’ve forgotten and of course, the bands for helping make this weekend so enjoyable.
Photos: St Vincent, Sparrow House @ The Mohawk – September 15, 2007
Photos: The Rosebuds, Yellow Fever @ Club DeVille – September 15, 2007
MP3: St Vincent – “Now Now”
MP3: The Rosebuds – “Get Up Get Out”
MP3: Sparrow House – “When I Am Gone”
MP3: Yellow Fever – “Culver City”
Video: The Rosebuds – “Silence By The Lake” (YouTube)
MySpace: St Vincent
MySpace: The Rosebuds
MySpace: Sparrow House
Stars’ single date at the Phoenix in November has mutated into a three night stand – they’re now playing there on November 26, 27 and 28.
And of course, two of those dates coincide with Neil Young’s two nights at Massey Hall on November 26 and 27. Tickets for that go on sale today at 10AM and will run a steep $85.25 to $185.25 – not that that’ll stop me from at least trying for a ticket. Update: Monday night, left side gallery, row A, seats 11 and 12. Who wants to be my friend? Check out an MP3 from Chrome Dreams II and set some time aside – it’s one of those epic-length ones they’ve been talking about.
And looking to this weekend, The Phoenix, eye and Soundscapes have interviews with Will Sheff of Okkervil River, playing a sold-out Lee’s Palace tomorrow night. And it’s worth noting that NPR will be webcasting their show at DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel on September 30.
And NOW‘s cover girl this week is Basia Bulat, who plays twice on Saturday night at the Music Gallery. She’ll also be playing in her hometown of London, Ontario this weekend at LOLAFest, which runs tonight through Sunday and features an insanely good lineup that would really make that drive down the 401 worthwhile.