Well, part of the DSMVibe crew has another summer music festival under our belts. Casey (or photographer extraordinaire) and I traveled down to Kansas with a large group from the 515 for the inaugural Kanrocksas Music Festival. In sticking with the festie vibe we decided to camp rather than get a hotel. It has been a couple of years since my last Bonnaroo trip, but I figured I could totally do two nights of this. The temperatures were almost unmanageable, although I’m sure comparable to Roo. However, that didn’t stop anyone from having a magical time. (Except for the part where I forgot to put sunblock on. Wow.) Although the lineup was lacking my usual jam band loves, I was excited to see some of the bands and I did come away a new fan of a few.
The festival started out for me with Fitz and the Tantrums. The only background I had on this band was their song “Money Grabber” which I have always thought was pretty good. I chose not to go see them when they came through Des Moines since that was the only song I knew, but I am glad I gave them a chance at Kanrocksas. They have such a fun, albeit pop sound. I found that I couldn’t keep my feet still even if I tried. Between the contrast of the unexpected heart throb and the sexy, soulful singers, I think it is safe to say that I am kind of a fan of this band. I enjoyed each song more than the last, including the grab bag covers of “Steady As She Goes” and “Sweet Dreams.”
The next show that I caught was Arctic Monkeys mostly because Casey wanted to shoot some pics of them, and I didn’t have any other band I was jonesin’ to see. Although this band is not really my thing, they were pretty good. I enjoyed hearing the lead singer speak with his British accent, but I probably wouldn’t go see these guys again. From what I hear from the people that like them, it was a great set. I am kind of proud of myself that I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit.
The surprise of the weekend for me was Kid Cudi. I have kind of secretly boycotted him because he was so mainstream and popular and I like to pretend that I am a music snob and above mainstream. The sad fact is I had never actually heard him before. Shame on me because he was fantastic. It was like a mix of alternative rock and hip hop. I refuse to ever listen to 107.5 to catch any Kid Cudi, but I may just download some tracks from iTunes.
I made Casey step a bit out of her comfort zone for Bassnectar, but I think she may have kind of liked it. I saw her moving around a bit. One of these days I will get her to let loose and have a full on dance party. Don’t forget my friends, Bassnectar is playing at Val Air on 9.28.11
One of the bands that I was so stoked to see was The Flaming Lips. I missed them when they came to 80/35 the first year because my grandpa passed away and have not had a chance to see them another time. They were definitely all they are cracked up to be. I was surprised that I knew more of their songs than I thought I did. But the real show didn’t really have to do with their music so much as it did how the performance and music happened together. No other band will be able to do what The Flaming Lips do. They are very unique and totally worth checking out. This is a band that I would pay money to see on their own. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
Night one was rounded out with Eminem. I was totally out of energy so I didn’t push my way up front, but I had a fantastic time chillin’ in the back. I was pretty shocked how much I ended up loving his performance. Instantly I was transported back to my college days with the throwback rhymes he laid down. And I’m pretty sure that I have a crush on him in which I cannot control. Slightly embarrassing. Hands down, Eminem is just a damn good rapper. And I’m kind of glad that out of all of the songs that he did, “Lose Yourself” was not one of them. Unless he did that one and I just missed it somehow. In that case, I blame the heat for making me drink so much beer.
Day two didn’t start until about 4:30pm, so we went to Target to take a hippie shower in the bathroom and then spent a few hours in the air conditioning at a restaurant drinking $1.50 beers. And I’m not the least bit ashamed. By the time we finally made it in for Ok Go, I was pretty tipsy so I can’t say whether they were good or bad. Oops! I do remember heading over for my girl Grace Potter. I’m obsessed. Enough said.
The beer, heat and my massive sunburn finally got to me and I had to take a break. In other words, I passed out on a cot with a cold towel on my burnt back for a good while. Hey, don’t judge me. I’m not getting any younger. I did make it to about 30 minutes of Girl Talk but this consisted of laying in the grass in the very back drinking two bottles of water.
I rounded out night two with the Black Keys and STS9. Yes, I skipped Muse. <GASP> I can’t help it. I just can’t jump on that bandwagon. Although I heard they were good. The Black Keys were where it was at. They played so well, and I just love their creamy yet gritty sound. I know, that doesn’t make sense, but I feel like that is what they sound like. Don’t ask questions. They were a bit odd with their transitions only because they didn’t really talk to the crowd, but I don’t know if that was necessarily a bad thing. I think I was just thrown off because it was different. But it worked for them. I think I may love the Black Keys now too. STS9 was fun, but I was so tired that I couldn’t fully enjoy them. I wish that I could have been in the middle of the glow stick wars, but I just ran out of gas. I had to leave early even.
All in all, I would give Kanrocksas a 7 out of 10 for music festivals. They have a few kinks to work out, but I think this has good potential. I’m assuming they are looking to get away from the typical jam band festival scene, which they did. There was definitely no Shakedown Street at this one, and I’m pretty sure if I would have asked around people would have had no idea what I was talking about. So for those of you that want to go to a festival but skip out on the hippie scene, this one could be for you. Just be warned, hippies don’t steal things like hipsters do. Yes, I am a bit bitter because I got my Iowa State chair stolen.
Fitz and the Tantrums
The Flaming Lips
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
The Black Keys
*Check out all of Casey’s fabulous pics on facebook.