Orion Festival In Photos: The Bands, The Scene, And The "Potato Tornado"

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Maura Johnston
This mural was painted over the course of the weekend on the outside of the Metallica Museum.
I spent the past two days at Atlantic City's Bader Field, which played host to the inaugural Orion Music + More Festival, a two-day "music, arts and lifestyle" bonanza put together by the thrash kings in Metallica. It was pretty great all around—James Hetfield kept referring to the bash as a "backyard party," and while things weren't that intimate, the way that the band left its stamp on all aspects of the festival (particularly the big-tent aspect of the musical lineup) gave it a charge of intimacy and care that was much more present than at other multi-band, multi-day extravaganzas I've attended in recent years. A detailed report will come later, but for now, please enjoy these pictures of various scenes from the past two days.

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Pazz & Jop 2011: Michael Tedder On Fucked Up's Majesty, Danny Brown's Cunning Skills, And The Joy Formidable's Outro Power

To supplement this year's Pazz & Jop launch, Sound of the City asked a few critics to expand on the reasonings behind their voting. Here, Michael Tedder breaks down his entire ballot, and along the way he talks about about the operatic heights of Fucked Up, the shredding ability of Annie Clark and Ritzy Bryan, and the power of the "boof."

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Fucked Up, David Comes to Life (30 points): I was starting to get a sense of the way the wind was blowing for this year's roundup, and I'm generally aware that aggressive music, no matter how smart and inventive, has a ceiling for critical support. (I should point out that I submitted my ballot before the Spin endorsement.) So, just like I did last year with Titus Andronicus' The Monitor (I will not accept the idea that anyone this decade wrote a better album about America now, or a better album period than that), I went all in, points wise, to try to get my favorite album in to the top ten. Like last year, I failed, and I regret nothing. Anyway, people focusing on the intentionally confusing plot of this rock opera are not paying enough attention to the operatic arrangements (that term is not used as loosely as you imagine) Mike Haliechuk and company are offering up here, like some bizarre amalgam of Crass, Queen and Chavez. Also, I still don't know how Veronica died, and I'm surprised that in these #OWS days no one is discussing the working-class fatigue subtext ("those better days have passed us by") on display here.

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Live: Fucked Up Bring David To Life At (Le) Poisson Rouge

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Fucked Up Presents David Comes to Life
(le) poisson rouge
Monday, November 14

Better than: That start-to-finish performance of Pocket Full of Kryptonite at Brooklyn Bowl last month.

It took all of about 40 minutes—or, considering the context, until the end of Side B—for Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham to barrel off the stage at (le) poisson rouge Monday night, weave through the tightly-packed, dangerously surging crowd, climb, sweaty and bare-chested, on top of the bar and proceed to tell a complicated joke about Madonna. The event, a start-to-finish performance of Fucked Up's searing 80-minute rock opera David Comes to Life, had started ambitiously: the first four musicians to take the stage were wearing suits and carrying violins, and the venue's typical rock show configuration had been abandoned in favor of a more intimate theater in the round. But the instant the melancholy overture ended, it was business as usual, with Abraham stripping off his shirt, high-fiving audience members and ricocheting across the stage like some kind of burly Tasmanian Devil. Surely, this is also how things go at the Met?


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This Weekend In New York: Florence Welch And A Perpetual Sweat Machine

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In Waste Of Paint, our writer/artist team of Jamie Peck and Debbie Allen will review goings-on about town in words and images.

This past Saturday was Debbie's birthday, and what better way to spend one's birthday weekend than with punk rock, cheap beer, and a nice, intense, purifying shvitz? Why bother to go to Spa Castle when you could get the same experience at 285 Kent for a fraction of the price, and with a better soundtrack to boot?


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Live: Fucked Up, JEFF The Brotherhood, And Iceage Sweat It Out

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Fucked Up w/JEFF the Brotherhood, Iceage
285 Kent Ave
Saturday, June 25

Better than: Seeing Fucked Up at, say, Terminal 5.

After playing the middle slot between two legends of indie in a cavernous Manhattan concert hall this past Thursday, Fucked Up shared Saturday night's bill at the Williamsburg sauna 285 Kent with a couple of ambassadors from punk's next generation. And while the Toronto sextet's name could only be officially added to the bill in the wee hours of Friday morning, the hype surrounding the bill's two younger bands is such that they might have still sold it out on their own.


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Live: Getting The Warm And Fuzzies With Dinosaur Jr.


Dinosaur Jr., Fucked Up, Off
Terminal 5
Thursday, June 23

Better than: You and your friends sitting around, telling each other how much you appreciate each other.

Keith Morris is a founding member of both Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, the co-author of a song called "World Up My Ass," and a pioneering reason why anyone gives a shit about anyone else on this bill. He is also an unfailingly polite punk legend, thanking the audience for arriving early and then introducing each of the musicians in his new group OFF!, which includes lifers Mario Rubalcaba, drummer for Hot Snakes/Rocket From The Crypt, and Steve McDonald, bassist for long-running LA alt-pop group Redd Kross. The two played with a frenetic precision likely born of some formative years jamming along with prime Circle Jerk material. On guitar was Dimitri Coats, whose band The Burning Brides were the third- or fourth-best group (not as good as Cave In, perhaps better than The Icarus Line) in the highly populated category of "early-naughts underground bands whose chance at mainstream popularity was doomed by label woes."

Coats hung in there after the Brides' label fell apart, getting side gigs and production work that led him to working with Morris on a potential new Circle Jerks album. That project fell apart, but the pair then formed OFF!, whose EPs and live show find a renewed Morris attacking his vocals with a viciousness that shames most young punks, and Coats boiling down his textured, arena-sized riffs down to bite-size blasts of white noise. OFF! ripped into a set that was equally fueled by fury and the joy that, after all this time, people still want to see these guys do their thing.


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The Year In Hardcore Circa 2010, Featuring OFF!, Trash Talk, Fucked Up, and More

On top of our growing 2010 year in review coverage, we've asked some pals to help out, too. Below, Pitchfork/Status Ain't Hood writer Tom Breihan looks back at the year in hardcore.

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OFF! at L.A.'s 6th St. Warehouse. Photo by Sean Peterson.
Let's talk for a minute about this idea: Hardcore in 2010, in a lot of ways, has become the white suburban skate rat's version of the blues. The parallels are there if you look for them. And this year has afforded all kinds of opportunities to contemplate the genre again, as its just had one of its most fertile periods--with new records from OFF!, Trash Talk, and more--in a long, long time. Both hardcore and the blues are intense, direct, basic forms, both created by people who didn't have a whole lot else going on in their lives. You can recognize either one from a mile away, and hardcore's hyperspeed two-chord blare is as durable and distinct, in its way, as the 12-bar chord pattern. Within hardcore, plenty of bands-- Converge, say-- do Stonesy/Hendrixy things with the genre, pushing it in all sorts of directions. And actually, those restless experimenters were there from the beginning; think Bad Brains or Big Boys or X. But hardcore doesn't rely on that sort of experimentation. Hardcore records aren't typically judged on how far they push the genre forward; they're judged on how completely they inhabit the form. If a hardcore band can hammer their style hard enough, if they can play with fury and urgency and a vague sense of danger, then they're a good hardcore band.

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The Faces of All Tomorrow's Parties New York 2010

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all photos by Per Billgren

This past weekend in Monticello, New York the third annual All Tomorrow's Parties New York took place. Here are some snapshots of the people we met.

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Fucked Up's Pink Eyes Naked: Infinitely More Rewarding than Lindsay Lohan Nude Pix

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Santiago Felipe
When 300 pounds of perspiring flesh take the stage to recite the lyrics of a band the New York Times refuses to pronounce, reverse psychology occurs. To alleviate our fear of what is, by any standard, a very large man, we flip the classic stage fright device-- "picture your audience naked"--and project it onto that 300 pound creature we affectionately call Pink Eyes. We like to see the Fucked Up frontman naked and, thankfully, he complies. In celebration of his total lack of self-consciousness, we've rounded up our favorite blush-inducing Pink Eyes poses.

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Always A Pleasure: The Times Once Again Finds A Way To Praise Fucked Up Without Printing The Words "Fucked Up"


Rad song too.

The Paper of Record's dedication to both safeguarding our sense of verbal decorum and giving shine to Toronto's finest proto-anarchist punk band is a lovely thing: The Times writes about Fucked Up a whole lot considering they'll only render the band's name as ********. (Examples here and here.) Been a while since this happened (with dismaying silence even after FU released the 2009 Canadian Album of the Year), but finally, over the weekend, a resurgence!


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