Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


New American Music Union festival

Gnarls Barkley, Spoon, The Raconteurs, Bob Dylan

South Side Works, Pittsburgh, PA

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The festival was two days long, featuring a lot more bands than listed above, but due to childcare these four were the only ones I was able to see. Of them Gnarls Barkley and Spoon were terrific. The Raconteurs and Bob Dylan not so much.

Gnarls Barkley was already on stage when Betsy and I arrived, running through their great cover of Violent Femmes' "Gone Daddy Gone." Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo were wearing tan jackets over a white uniform (Cee-Lo quickly removed his, due to the summer heat) and their band all had maroon-looking vests over their dress whites (the drummer gussied up his uniform with a bowtie). Other highlights were "Run," a set-closing "Smiley Faces," and even their ballad (which I'm not as into on record) "Who's Gonna Save My Soul." Naturally, "Crazy" was great to hear live, but I was a little surprised that the crowd didn't go, well, crazy when the band played it.

Spoon put in an excellent performance, ably assisted on selected songs by a 3-horn section. Standouts were "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb," "I Turn My Camera On," "Don't Make Me a Target," "Don't You Evah," "I Summon You," "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine," and "The Underdog."

It was my second time seeing The Raconteurs, and frankly, I'm not a big fan. To me, they sound like a cover band without the familiar songs. On record they come across much better than live; live they simply sound self-indulgent.

And it was also my second time seeing Dylan, the first being only last summer. Dylan's performance was rather lacking for most of the set, only really taking off during "Ballad of a Thin Man." Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so. We didn't make it to the final song, departing during the encore break.

Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers "curated" the festival, choosing the bands and acting as the public face of the event. He made an appearance before The Raconteurs to thank people for coming, rev himself up that Dylan would be later on that very stage, and to declare "See you next year!" (a de facto announcement that he's on board for a second year of the fledgling fest).

Dylan setlist:
Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
It Ain't Me, Babe
The Levee's Gonna Break
Spirit on the Water
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Tangled Up in Blue
Honest with Me
Beyond The Horizon
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Nettie Moore
Summer Days
Ballad of a Thin Man

Like a Rolling Stone

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