10,000 Lakes Festival 2009 recap

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Gomez – Gomez rules.  This was one of the bands I was really excited to see at the festival.  The crowd was relatively slim and while most were quite chatty with first-day festival energy, Gomez put on a very fine rockin’ performance.

Widespread Panic – With the day #1 crowd finally packing full the concert floor and most of the lawn, Widespread Panic headlined the night.  Their first set was nothing to write home about, but their second set brought the energy.  Still I have a hard time getting too excited over this band.  Jimmie Herring is a damn impressive guitarist though.

Kinetix – This Denver, CO rock band is led by a hip-hop singer and funky ass rhthym section.  These guys were a nice small stage treat after Widespread Panic.  I didn’t see it all, but what I saw was good and a whole lotta fun.

Pretty Lights – This set kicked butt.  Onstage was dj Derek Vincent Smith and drummer, Cory Eberhard.  Together they shook the entire concert bowl with electro-driven rhythyms and great mixes.  I was impressed.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Railroad Earth – Over the years I’ve heard a lot of good things about this band.  This was my first opportunity to see them and they were excellent band to bounce around to in the mid-day sun.  Rootsy Americana tunes is their game and they play it very well.

Mason Jennings – Umm, boring.  We’re talking a major yawner here.  And I waited through the entire set to ensure I had a good spot for Wilco.

Wilco – This was the best show of the festival and it wasn’t due to “the Price is Right” intro.  I talked to a lot of people up front who had never even heard of Wilco before, and once the music progressed I watched these same people rock their asses off.  The band opened with “Wilco (the song)” and ended with “Hoodoo Voodoo”.  In between was a lot of recent tunes with “One Wing”, “Bull Black Nova” and “Country Disappeared” sounding phenomenal from the new album.  The band was on all night and most of the crowd appreciated it.  Of course there were a few dipshits trying to ruin the party for everyone.  For every glow stick that hit that stage some little girl’s puppy died.  You stupid punks who were throwing those should truly be ashamed.

Wilco will love you baby
Wilco will love you baby
Nels & Glenn of Wilco
Nels & Glenn of Wilco

Atmosphere – As soon as I got to the stage sprinkles came down.  I don’t know a lot about this hip-hop band but the section of their set I hung around for was fantastic.  The crowd was rocking as much as I had seen all weekend.  When the first downpour came, I tucked my camera under my arm and ran like Adrian Peterson.  I give props to those who tried to stay it out.  In the end a big set was cut way short due to thunderstorms.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Tea Leaf Green – My first time seeing them and I wasn’t overly impressed.

Steve Kimock’s Crazy Engine – The band was ripping it!  I only caught a few tunes on my way to the main stage to hold down a front row spot for Trampled by Turtles but these guys were great.  Thankfully I heard the rest of their set from afar while waiting for TBT.

Trampled by Turtles – The boys from Duluth have grown up to the Main Stage!  I’m thinking the Field Stage would have been a better fit as this huge stage dwarfed the band but the crowd was out in groves and it was great.  They started off with a few jitters (can’t blame them), but as things warmed up their hardcore fanbase and new listeners gave them the support they deserved.  It was great seeing one of Minnesota’s finest treasures letting it fly up there on the big stage and it seemed to end far too soon.

Dave Simonett & Tim Saxhaug
Dave Simonett & Tim Saxhaug
Ryan Young & Dave Carroll
Ryan Young & Dave Carroll
Eric Berry & his daughter
Erik Berry & his son

Widespread Panic – Hey promoters, why the hell didn’t Umphrey’s McGee have this headlining spot?  Seriously though, are you people friggin’ crazy?  Midwest represent!!  Although I’ve had some great times at Widespread shows in the past, their unchanging tempos, stale drumming and similar song structure is boring.  This set was just OK in my book, which ain’t saying much of anything at all.

Wookiefoot – This show was a load of fun and one of the highlights of the festival.  Although their music has never captured me, the stage show is the brilliance behind this band.  Everything from the lights, to the fire dancers, to the back-up singers, to the alien bugs on stilts makes this an impressively theatrical show.  The band pushes the creative envelope and delivers a positive message which in the end will always make me smile.

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Umphrey’s McGee – My love for the music these guys create is definitely not unknown, but I had a hard time getting into this set.  They seemed to be on a mission to destroy everything in front of them with some very heavy jams.  They played as well as they always do but it wasn’t the most festival friendly set in my opinion.  The sun was incredibly hot which didn’t help at all.  These guys need to be seen at night to truly appreciate, and put them in a rock club and it’s prog-rocking heaven.  They have one of the best light shows out there and that arsenal wasn’t even touched.  Hey 10KLF, main stage headlining with two sets next time OK?  Thanks!

Umphrey's McGee
Umphrey’s McGee

Dave Matthews Band – My love for this band faded the day I realized quality beer was not available in 30 packs.  That didn’t stop me from checking them out though and I’m glad I did.  I had just as much fun watching their hardcore (and large) fan base enjoy themselves as I did watching the actual show.  Their “Burning Down the House” cover was excellent.  Even though I felt they cut it short (why not 2 sets?), this show was good fun.  It was also another gorgeous night for tunes and a fine way to end my 10KLF 2009.

With beautiful people everywhere, near perfect weather, friendly security and staff, this ranks very high in my 10,000 Lakes Festival experiences.  My only gripe was with the scheduling but one cannot control everything.  Next time make Umphrey’s McGee a headliner for the sake of everything good in music.  Then I shall return.

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