Sunday, July 13, 2008

Music: The Good Life, Juana Molina, And Feist - Free Concert In The Park

On Saturday I decided to check out the free concert at Omaha's Memorial Park. The park get's its named after the World War II memorial built at the top of the park.

The concerts were going to start at 6:00 PM and, not being sure how crowded it would become, I showed up around 4:30. Turns out I was too early. There were a few people staking out spots on the grass but it turned out that most of the crowd didn't show up until after the concerts had started. I bought myself a hot dog and some lemonade and found a nice spot between the sound booth and the stage to set up my camp chair.

I was flying solo on this mission. The Wife decided not to go with me. She was not familiar with any of the acts and frankly just didn't feel like going. This was fine with me. You don't have to feel like doing everything that comes your way.
As I waited for the show to start I finished my dog and drink listening to the sound checks and stage preparation. I watched people come in. I wondered about a few who were wearing long pants and sweaters on this 80 degree day (Later that night I would understand all too well). There was little shade and, since the stage faced east, the audience faced the setting sun. The sun was really beating down and I cursed whoever set up the stage that way. Fortunately I had sunglasses and my Tilley hat. I think I was the only person there in a Tilley. Either I'm fashion forward or I looked like a dork - don't know which and I don't want to know.

Being Nebraska in the summer, I'd sprayed myself with bug spray before I came to the park. I needn't have bothered. The bugs didn't bother me all night because of all the clouds of bug spray being applied in the crowd ... upwind from where I was sitting ... cough cough. Between the bug spray and the cigarette smoke I'm amazed that I'm alive. I was really used to no bugs and no smoking in California.

The first act started playing at 6:15. They were a local Omaha band called The Good Life. They were OK but they didn't thrill me much. The lead singer, Tim Kasher, seemed to think that singing loudly was the equivalent to singing well. Note to self: Bring earplugs to next concert. The melodies were fine but there really wasn't anything really catchy there. Not enough to inspire me to buy a CD anyway. Ho-Hum. It didn't help that the Kasher reminded me of Keanu Reeves.
   
The second act was more interesting in my opinion. Juana Molina, an Argentine singer, mixed live sampling of her voice, acoustic guitar, and keyboard to create a complex musical experience. She sang in her native tongue, Spanish, and joked that she couldn't do anything about that but that the audience could imagine she was singing the best lyrics ever written ... and they would be right. Ha. While I found her music and style to be intriguing, the repetitive nature of the melodies, background vocals, and harmonies, a byproduct of her methodologies, turned me off.

After the second act the Sun dropped behind the trees and I immediately understood the jackets and long pants. It got amazingly cold amazingly fast. I'm sure it really wasn't all that cold but my body just isn't used to swings from the 80s to the 60s yet. As I was waiting for the third act I started getting goosebumps on my legs and I was becoming uncomfortable. Add on top of that there was a full hour between act two and three and I was starting to get irritated.

The third act, the feature of the night, was Feist. I have to admit that I've been intrigued by Feist. She has been suggested by friends, it was on several best of 2007 lists, and Amazon.com seemed to think that I might also like her. I'd listened to snippets of a few of her songs but I didn't hear anything that really grabbed me. When I saw that she was performing in Omaha and it was FREE I decided this would be the opportunity for me to satisfy my curiosity and to once and for all decide if I should buy her CD. I was underwhelmed. Again, like the other three acts, she was OK but there just wasn't any 'wow' there. The only good song was "1234" made famous by the Apple commercial.

I did find one thing interesting. Images were projected on the backdrop during Feist's performance. The images were created live. It was kind of like overhead projector art. The art performer is the person on the left of this picture. Leave it to me to go to a concert and be distracted by the special effects - heh.

Just before Feist's last song I decided I'd had enough. I folded up my chair and started heading up the hill to the exit. I checked out the shirts but didn't find anything of interest. Just before I left Feist was starting on the first song of her encore. By the time I got to the car she was on her second encore song. This was the first time I left a concert before it was over. Part of that might have been because it was free and I wasn't out anything if I left early. Another part was that I was a little uncomfortable and wanted to warm up. I guess the fact I did leave early says something about my interest in Feist - I ain't got any.

Pictures of Memorial Park and the concerts can be found here.

2 comments:

  1. JaG: So true. I just wish it would have been a little better.

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