Sunday, June 1, 2008

Catching Up At the End

Most of my friends are home from their freshman year of college, but since I'm on quarters at Northwestern I'll be in Evanston for another couple of weeks. That being said, spring quarter has been fucking incredible, and I figured since I hadn't written in a while I'd update you on a few things that went down.

Saturday was Dillo Day, short for Armadillo Day. Thirty odd years ago some students from Texas got together to celebrate the Armadillo for some reason, and since it coincided with a Mayfest celebration, we now combine the two in a big concert out by Lake Michigan called Dillo Day. It is essentially the one day where the entire campus heaves a collective sigh, puts everything down and just tries to have as much fun as they can, which is awesome. This year's acts were Mind at Large (a local band), DJs Will Butler (of Arcade Fire, an NU grad), Flosstradamus, and Clash Gordon (a senior in one of NU's fraternities), Chicago rappers Cool Kids, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Broken Social Scene, Third Eye Blind, and Common.

The weather was gorgeous. It was in the 70s all day, partly cloudy in a way that made the sky look great. However, the field where the concerts were all held had recently been re-sodded, and the patches of grass had not yet grown together. This mean that within the first 30 minutes of the show the entire field in front of the stage had been turned into a mud pit, which people didn't care about over the course of the day.

Third Eye Blind was up first, coming on an hour late. They gave a very good set though, playing 70 plus minutes of old favorites ("Jumper", "Semi-Charmed Life", "How's It Going To Be") with new material, and playing songs from the fourth album they will be recording soon. My only complaint was that frontman Stephan Jenkins took each and every calm moment to plug that forthcoming fourth album, when he only recently finished lyrics and they haven't started recording any music yet.

Will Butler spun pretty nicely as a DJ, and Ted Leo did his usual political rock thing. The College Democrats on campus helped in brining Leo to Dillo Day, so there was a little bit of an agenda behind it.

Flosstradamus turned out to be the secret weapon of the day, and they put on some of the best remix/mashup tracks I've ever heard. We had Girl Talk on campus earlier in the year, and I'd put up good money that Flosstradamus played better shit than Girl Talk did back in winter quarter.

Broken Social Scene played a great set, they're really expansive and fill up any space they get, but their frontman was a total dick to the crowd for pretty much no reason. When I first saw these guys, I was waiting for Bloc Party to get up and headline, so I actually really didn't like their set, but here with a little less craziness and fewer members onstage, I really got into it.

Cool Kids were all right, I wasn't really paying attention to them very much, but Common was a whole other beast. I had no expectation of his set going in, because I just plain don't like rap music. There is very very little of rap that I actually enjoy, so to see Common come out with really high energy and just bust out with layered songs geared towards Chicago, Evanston, and Northwestern immediately got the crowd into it and made things so much cooler. He even freestyled for a bit, a video of which you can see here:

He name-drops a bunch of places at NU, like FlatTop, the Rock, the dorm Bobb, the Lake, just a bunch of shit that made people really like his set and get into it more. He was definitely a surprise for me to like, so all in all it was a fantastic Dillo Day. Here's hoping it doesn't rain next year, that would suck.


Michael said...

Nice to see you catching back up. I was unaware that NU was on quarters or that you were such a big university to get to have Common, the Cool Kids, and Third Eye Blind rock y'alls shows. That's freakin' awesome. I'm glad to hear that you came away impressed by Common, he's definitely on another level. Good luck finishing up the quarter. :)

René said...

what? no Wrestlepocalypse shout out?