Live review & photos by Danielle Boise, editorial comments by Ellen Eldridge
Friday September 21, 2012
Van Hunt started the festival off Friday night on the Electric Ballroom Stage by performing his rendition of the Simon and Garfunkel hit “Mrs. Robinson.”
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts appeared on the Great Southeastern Music Hall Stage and kicked off their set with “Bad Reputation” before going into a couple of Runaways covers like “Cherry Bomb” and “I Love Playing With Fire” off of the Runaways’ Queens of Noise album. Jett also performed “Do You Wanna Touch Me” and some new songs: “TMI,” “The French Song” and “Naked,” which is “about going inside and taking a good look at what I’m here for” declared Jett. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts rounded out the set with “Reality Mentality,” “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” “Crimson and Clover” and “I Hate Myself For Loving You.”
T.I. was up next on the Electric Ballroom Stage and wowed crowd with songs like “Bitch You Know” and “Whatever You Like” that left the dancing and singing along to T.I.’s high energy performance.
The indie darlings The Avett Brothers appeared next on the Great Southeastern Music Hall Stage and performed “The Fall,” “Will You Return?,” “February Seven,” “Paul Newman vs. The Demons,” “Laundry Room,” “Jam (to the tune of “Sally’s Lover”),” “January Wedding,” “At the Beach,” “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” “The Prettiest Thing,” “Down with the Shine,” “Distraction,” “Paranoia,” “Live and Die,” “Go to Sleep,” “Winter in My Heart” and “Kick Drum Heart.” For their encore they performed “Murder in the City” and “Talk on Indolence.” For more information The Avett Brothers, visit www.theavettbrothers.com.
The Foo Fighters put on a stunning display of pure unadulterated talent as they awed and amazed the crowd of amorous fans when they wrapped up the first night of Music Midtown 2012 on the Electric Ballroom Stage with a dynamic set that consisted of “White Limo,” “All My Life,” “Rope,” “The Pretender,” “My Hero,” “Learn to Fly,” “Arlandria,” “These Days,” “Walk,” the Van Halen cover of “Everybody Wants Some!” “Cold Day in the Sun” and “Monkey Wrench,” which they dedicated to Dave Grohol’s hero, Joan Jett. Also included in the set “Hey, Johnny Park!,” This is a Call,” the Pink Floyd cover of “In the Flesh” “Best of You,” “Times Like These,” Dear Rosemary,” a cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “Breakdown” followed by another cover of “Bad Reputation,” where Joan Jett accompanied the band on stage. Foo Fighters, a band that has been together for 18 years now, wrapped up the set with “Everlong.” For more information on the Foo Fighters, visit www.foofighters.com.
Foo Fighters QUOTES:
“Damnit! They are only letting us play for two fucking hours tonight; some nights we go three, three and a half hours.” – Dave Grohl
“This is absolutely, most definitely my favorite song that I’ve ever written in my whole fucking life, cause it only took five minutes,” Grohl said, referencing his song “These Days.”
“This is the biggest fucking show we’ve ever played in this city before.” Dave Grohl declared at the start of the show as a sea of fans reach out towards the Foo Fighters.
“If you get us playing cover songs, we’ll be here six fucking hours. You don’t want that. We know the first minute of every rock song, after that it’s too hard to figure out” joked Grohl after “Everybody Wants Some!”
Saturday September 22, 2012
Garbage performed stunningly on the Electric Ballroom Stage as Shirley Manson dressed in black from head to toe with vixen red lips strutted across the stage with intensity as Garbage performed their hit songs, like “Supervixen,” “Stupid Girl,” “Paranoid,” “Vow,” “I’m Only Happy When it Rains,” “#1 Crush,” “Push It,” “Automatic Systematic Habit Play” and ended with “Queer.” For more information Garbage, visit www.garbage.com.
Ludacris came out and blew the crowd away as he had the whole park letting loose and having a good time, has he performed “Southern Fried Intro,” “Number One Spot,” “Act a Fool,” “Southern Hospitality,” “Are Codes,” “Ho” and “Growing Pains” before going into a series of covers like Usher’s “Yeah!,” Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart,” Enrique Iglesias’ “Tonight, I’m Lovin’ You” and Fergie’s “Glamorous.” Ludacris then returned to his own material for a few songs with playing “Money Maker,” “Pimpin’ All Over the World” and “What’s Your Fantasy” before he went did a mash-up with House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Ludacris rounded out his set with “Stand Up,” “How Low,” the DJ Khaled cover “All I Do Is Win,” “Move Bitch” and he ended the set on “Get Back.” For more information Ludacris, visit www.ludaversal.com.
Neon Trees performed on the Great Southeastern Music Hall Stage and blew the massive crowd of fans away with their post punk pop soul set, which included, “1983,” “Sins Of My Youth,” In the Next Room,” “Everybody Talks,” and rounded out their set with “Animal.” For more information on Neon Trees, visit www.fameisdead.com.
What’s not to say about Florence + the Machine, other than that they connected in a very personal way with the audience as they were ethereal, breath taking and beyond gorgeous as Florence Welch belted out songs off of both Lungs and Ceremonials with a vivaciousness including “Only if for a Night,” “What the Water Gave Me,” “Drumming Song,” “Cosmic Love,” Rabbit Heart,” “Spectrum,” “Heartlines,” “Lover to Lover,” “Shake it Out,” “No Light, No Light” and ended with “Dog Days Are Over.” For more information Florence + the Machine, visit www.florenceandthemachine.com.
So, it was my responsibility to review the Saturday bands and ambiance of the 2012 Music Midtown. I decided months ago that I would pass on the chance to see one of my bucket-list bands, Pearl Jam, because I would be seven months pregnant at festival time. I didn’t need the stress of thousands of people crowded around me nor did I want to run between stages shooting bands–though the bands scheduled would be excellent choices for any photographer. When I did get a Saturday pass to accompany Danielle Boise, I took it as a sign.
Really, it took my inner 15-year-old nearly two decades to forgive the sense of indignation felt at the thought of Dave Grohl going on without Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but I have come to truly appreciate the Foo Fighters. Pearl Jam, Saturday’s headliner, remains a bucket list band that heavily influenced my formative years though I more or less fell out of love with the band after I started college.
T.I. and Ludacris are two artists, when I found myself enjoying rap, were usually the performers. I never considered myself a huge fan, but I would say I liked the music. Anyway, I had every intention of catching Adam Ant’s set but construction on 285 delayed my arrival so that I walked through the gates as Ludacris started his set.
It took me a total of more than three hours to get inside the Music Midtown gates with credentials around my neck. I decided to just find a sliver of grass on the top of the hill in front of the handicap area (where the guests in wheelchairs had a fenced off area safe from over-crowding). With my back on the fence and my butt on the grass, I sat wedged between two blankets, one of which was unattended. About the time I was musing on Ludacris’ mash-up of Nirvana, a 40-something white couple approached. They looked at me and announced, “this is our spot” to which I gestured with my hand that they had their blanket and I was not encroaching on “their spot.” I even moved my bag to my lap to take up less space. The man and woman continued to look at me like I was a stray dog eating out of their trashcan.
The man said again, “this is our spot,” and I looked at him with anger and a touch of fear welling up from within. I said, “I’m seven months pregnant; you want me to move?” They resoundingly replied “YES!” and I got up, put my finger in the man’s face and said “FUCK YOU!” Then, I stumbled off trying to control my absolute anger while holding back my tears. I was, for all intents and purposes at that moment, alone. I meant to watch the show, absorb the ambiance and write about the bands I recently started to enjoy like Florence and the Machine. Instead, I decided that the festival would only get more crowded and space to relax would grow increasingly scarce. I left.
Later, I found out that by the time Pearl Jam took the stage the line for the port-a-potties was over an hour long and standing room only existed throughout the fields and hilltops. I attended the 25 anniversary of Woodstock in 1995 at the age of 15. I’ve done my festival time and relished every tortured experience getting to the front of thousands of fans just to witness a band that helped me form my sense of self. I’m over it.
I fully understand why Rose Riot chose to drive 16 hours ’round trip to see Adam Ant in Tampa (click for full review and photos) a few nights after Music Midtown. Danielle’s shots of Adam Ant at Music Midtown are below, but see also the sincere review from an intimate venue to catch the perspective of an Ant fan as opposed to festival fans. Festivals are great for hanging out and getting introduced to music. Those who want an intimate experience with an artist should attempt to see a headlining show at as small a venue as possible.
For more information on Music Midtown, visit www.musicmidtown.com