» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

July 10, 2006
There has been some confusion lately: no, Pitchfork Media was not the group who "put on" the Intonation Festival last year in Chicago, the music website was merely the curator. That is why there shouldn't have been as much of a big deal made when Pitchfork announced its own music festival that will take place in the same park in the same city as Intonation in 2006. Slightly confusing, yes, but also worth it, for music fans of the Windy City, Midwest, and really anyone who loves to good music, Chi-town is the place to be until September.

For 2006 the Intonation Festival paired with a new curator in VICE, a New York magazine/label that has also released music from a number of the involved acts of the two-day festival (e.g. The Streets, Lady Sovereign, Bloc Party and The Stills). The June 24th and 25th lineup was noticeably more diverse than the Pitchfork festival a year prior, and with a broader focus came the difficulty of re-capturing the attention of the zealous hipsters and concertgoers that were so struck by Intonation 2005. Vice certainly made an effort to appeal to everyone, their pruned schedule of acts ranged in artistic styles from heavy hip-hop to stoner/classic rock to indie to dance over the course of two days.

Saturday - Jumping right in, Saturday was a humid swamp-ass of a day. There were two stages set in opposite corners of the large Union Park recreational field, with a tail of vendors and porta-potties wrapping around the remainder of the closed off streets and baseball diamonds. I missed the first two bands - Favourite Sons and Erase Errata - and didn't feel too bad about it after listening to sound clips provided on each group's respective MySpace.com pages. We did arrive in time to catch part of the set from Chicago homeboys 90 Day Men, a band who I have seen plenty of times over the years, and figured was no big deal to listen indirectly while browsing the vendor area and merchant tents.

The marketplace was a flank of diverse businesses (locally brewed Goose Island beer, national Tower Records, Ben & Jerry's) and social awareness groups (PETA, I-GO Car Sharing, Music For America). The small tent-row appearance was not unlike a carnival setting, and to a degree had that same cheap, desperate feeling. Saving the area were two larger tents that separated the market area from the stages and audience area, and this was where many visual artists and publications were. Poster artists Diana Sudyka (of The Bird Machine), Mat Daly, and David R. Head Jr.; along with representatives from High-Fi Records, Quimby's Bookstore, and Stop Smiling Magazine could all be found within 50 feet of each other.

At 2:30 that afternoon Devin The Dude took to the Vice stage and seemed to do way too much general concert talk [we love you, Boise Idaho!! type of shit] and rapping about weed, and didn't seem like he knew enough about the crowd he was playing to (which was mostly a bunch of white indie kids). Some, like myself, took the lull in energy to collect themselves over at the Virtue Stage where Jose Gonzalez was soundchecking to a growing audience. The songwriter's mellow indie folk drew a response that was sometimes louder than the volume from his bare bones guitar & vocal act would lend. His simple but constructed song forms and on-point voice overcame battles with errant feedback and elusive string tunings.

When electro joke-rock band Chromeo followed, I decided it was time to go get some Mexican food down the street. My girlfriend and I shared some stuffed peppers and came back with a beer buzz to reports that faux-metal act High On Fire was killer and The Stills were "pretty good," but still nothing all that amazing had happened yet. We could hear Roky Erickson rehabbing through a powerful 45 minute set as we picked up free t-shirts and water bottles from the UK decorative BBC America tent.

At 6:55 PM the Boredoms became the point at which the fan enthusiasm finally started bubbling over to a slight boil. The Japanese-based experimental noise group's setup included three drum sets and a keyboard station facing each other in a square in the middle of the stage. Two slender men and a petite woman followed each other in drum sťance, intermittently diverging into tribal dance rhythms. From the back right-hand corner of the stage a dreadlocked Japanese man would step into the middle of the drum square and repetitively bark chants to the beats, lurching up and down on a pedestal before stepping back and culling colorfully demonic chords on a synthesizer.

As the sun set and the Boredoms wound down to a close, nearly the entire crowd migrated towards Ashland Avenue and camped in front of the second stage. Former member of Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah, who is hot on the critical success of his latest solo release Fishscale, is reportedly not Mr. Punctuality. Nearly 15 minutes after his listed go time of 7:50, Ghostface took the stage to a sea of swatting hands in the air (whether it was him being late or the Boredoms running over was not clear). The MC proceeded to shout and aggressively bang his way through a 40-45 minute performance that some complained had unequal sound levels but was nonetheless a festival high. For most, it was a good chance to catch some established hip-hop talent on a mid-major performance stage.

Twilight was taken over by the UK with over-hyped grimester Lady Sovereign and the captivating Mike Skinner of The Streets. Lady Sov, as she's commonly referred to, came off as a different version of Kris Kross or Lil Bow Wow-young people who can technically rap but whose words ring super hollow. Only a handful in the front of the crowd seemed to take the tiny pony-tailed teen MC seriously, but at one point she impressively rhymed in unbroken, rapid fire sequence with an intensity to which the entire crowd expressed their awe with a collective Ooooooo.

Saturday's headliner was The Streets, who is hyped and who can hold it down live. The Brit rapper has a silent arrogance that takes physicality in a rhythmic wrist rotation, slight head cocking, and standing pose. Skinner maneuvered through fan favorites "Let's Push Things Forward," "Fit But You Know It," and "Has It Come To This?" as well as a number of tunes from the recent The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living that proved to be lesser known by the sizable crowd but still engaging to most.

Sunday - Bill Dolan's act was the best of both days, and you heard it here first. Most people were glazed over by amplification, image, and supplemental stage presence of other performers; unfortunately none of those aspects had anything to do with musical talent. Dolan, guitar slinger from groups such as 5ive Style and Heroic Doses, brought with him a rhythm section that was something special: on drums John Herndon of Tortoise, and Matt Lux of Isotope 217 on bass. All three wore suits and played together through a funky rock set, which included "Deep Marsh" and "Hot Box."

Lupe Fiasco played to a favorable hometown crowd. His stage presence and casual chatting helped to get more of the audience involved, and it was one of the most diverse crowds of the festival. He rapped through a solid set, had his skateboarding crew come out and do tricks, and motioned towards nearly everyone watching him. A good all-around feel for an MC with a lot of potential.

The second day was filled by a lot of mediocre acts-Panthers, Constantines, Annie, The Sword. The only ones that really hit me were Dolan/Herndon/Lux trio, Lupe Fiasco, Jon Brion, and Dead Prez (although I completely missed Rhymefest, Robert Pollard, and Tyrades). Of those that I saw that were especially notable were Blue Cheer, which to most people had no historical significance whatsoever nor was their act all that exceptional, Dead Prez, who ripped through a hardcore rap set with full-tilt energy and got a mixed crowd to shout "reparations!" in unison, and Bloc Party, who had the largest audience of the entire festival but really seemed tired or as if they didn't care to be there too greatly.

SEE ALSO: www.intonationmusicfest.com
SEE ALSO: www.viceland.com

Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other articles by Josh Zanger.



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