Monday, June 2, 2014

Live 105 BFD, the Festival Stages – Not Just Ear Candy

     Let’s start with a definition, since within the Indie world, the same term is interpreted differently by people who believe they are speaking the same language. The most obvious examples are the names of Indie genres, where knowledgeable minds will often disagree as to what features of songs are characteristic of a particular genre. The term that we will define is “ear candy.” Ear candy is to music consumption as store-bought candy is to dietary consumption. Neither has the substance to provide long-term satisfaction. That is, at first taste, both types of candy are pleasing and energizing, but the benefits are short term and continuous consumption eventually leads to dissatisfaction. Don’t get us wrong, we freely admit to enjoying both types of candy, but in the right doses.

     With that definition in place, we state that we mischaracterized the lineup on the Festival Stages for the 2014 Live 105 BFD festival, which occurred yesterday at the Shoreline Amphitheater. In an April post, we watered down our concern by merely stating that the performers at the Festival Stages were “heavily Indie Pop.” More accurately, the concern at that time was that we would experience an ear candy overdose.
     There was far more variety than expected. Some of it was unpredictable, such as Kongos incorporating a rap artist into their set. And some of the variety just went unappreciated by us, until yesterday. The bands may have been in the same genre, but they had very different executions within the genre. There was Big Data, which generates its sound without a guitar other than a bass, which balanced the Bleachers' (the side project of Fun’s Jack Antonoff) effective use of  Antonoff’s lead guitar (sample the 2:00 mark of Bleachers’ hit “I Wanna Get Better”). There was Kongos’ use of multiple male voices, which balanced the female leads of Big Data and MS MR. Moreover, the performances at the Festival Stages included an accordion (Kongos again) and Nashville electro (Cherub – “Nashville electro” sounds like an oxymoron).
Big Data
Birds of Tokyo
Kongos 2
New Politics
New Politics 2
Fitz and the Tantrums
Foster the People

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