I went to Grand Old Day in St. Paul this year. It was my first chance to really see Grand Ave. turned into a middle of nowhere style carnival. Moderatly frightening. I work on Grand Ave. and had this year off for Grand Old Day, so I was hesitant to go because I've had to work it every year, and that is an awful expereience, we gave out free ice cream last year so I spent my whole god damn day scooping ice cream for sugared up, spoiled brats. Spectaular.
So really I was going to Grand Old Day to see some music. There are somthing like 7 or 8 stages on Grand for the day. Most of which are hosting bands that aren't worth seeing in a free concert, much less the outrageous five bucks they charge for a wristband to get into the "free" event. But the Dixies stage is usually a pretty good line-up. This years included The Dad in Common, The Alarmists and Tapes-n-Tapes. The Dad in Common was my real reason for going (i just picked up their newest disc "Various Moms," - awesome) But I was moving in my new roomate for most of the early afternoon (our living room is real comfy now) So I missed both The Dad in Comon and The Alarmists, but went to see Tapes-n-Tapes anyhow.
Now i've seen them four or five times now, and am continually being tricked by the prospect of seeing them again. i really like their first Ep and The Loon is a solid album as well. But they are fucking awful live. Their could be a number of reasons this is my perception. The first time I saw them was pretty stellar, at First Ave. with Stnnng!, Kill the Vultures and The Plastic Constellations. Good show, good crowd, good drinks, good times. But everytime since them I have progressivly liked them less and less. they write good songs, it hasn't diminished the value of their albums, but they have no energy at all live. Not that I'm looking for mosh pits and a band that's going to run on stage and start destroying everything (I had my run with S.T.U.N. and The Blood Brothers) but they just feel like corpses on stage. Given the mix at an outdoor show such as Grand Old Day is not where you should be if you're looking for a solid sound mix and a fun crowd. But Jesus, it's everytime, they always have a bad mix, there is always something that is standing in the way of them delivering a good show. So I'm going to try and do something for mysle fand I am publicly declaring that I refuse to see Tapes-n-Tapes again. Unless the improve their shows...
On the bright side of the show the premiered some new tunes. Which were supriosingly some of the best tunes they played on Sunday. So I'm not giving up on listening to them all together, I think just from hearing those songs that there is potential for a decent follow-up to The Loon, and maybe their extensive touring over the last year is influencing their writing and they are writing songs that are based more out of a live tradition. Songs that are being fleshed out through live performances and informed by their lives on the road. (That doesn't necessarily mean that it will be good, as is repeatedly shown a band that has a good major-label debut has to change their lives greatly to adapt to life as a touring band and between a different lifestyle and inter-band tensions it ruins many bands by a second album, but they sound like they are benefiting from their experiences).
Really, if you take anything away from this posting, let it be this: Don't Go To Grand Old Day (in caps, I know). It's like a carnival for yuppies. The Dixie's stage isn't bad, but damn I hate Grand Old Day.