Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Milam's March Madness, Round 1 (West and International)

Welcome back to Milam's March Madness, where we're smack-dab in the middle of Round 1. If you're just catching on, here's the run-down of the Madness, and the results from the first half of Round 1.

And if you'd like to download a bracket to fill out yourself, just click here and then fill in your own results! Be sure to post them in the comments so we know who you like...

***Note the iMeem Player to the right. Every day it will have a playlist of the bands competing. Today it features all the bands from the West and International regions.

Let's jump right in with the...

West Region

Play-In: Nickelback vs. Explosions in the Sky
Battle: Nickelback does what Nickelback do. Explosions in the Sky then plays a 30-minute instrumental, which prompts the entire room to make out like their ship is going down.
Winner: EITS, and Friday Night Lights fans everywhere.

1) Green Day vs. 16) Explosions in the Sky
Battle: Explosions in the Sky is still playing from their Play-In match. Twenty-three hours later, the crowd's collective makeout session has ended in jealousy and cattiness. The soap opera has turned on them. Green Day wins before they take the stage.
Winner: Green Day

8) Augustana vs. 9) The Hives
Battle: The Hives come out and absolutely melt face. They rock socks. The crowd is enthralled. Then Augustana shifts the momentum, takes them down a notch, hits them with power chord ballads, and cracks them open like walnuts. The crowd is reeling. "I've never felt...so much," one guy says. In a matchup that really could've gone either way, the audience calls The Hives back for an encore, because "they're funny, too."
Winner: The Hives

5) Maroon 5 vs. 12) Fall Out Boy
Battle: In the battle of "bands everyone knows, but nobody admits to liking," the crowd collectively bobs their head to guilty pleasure after guilty pleasure. Guys wink at girls during Maroon 5's set, only to act aloof during FOB's. Ultimately, Fall Out Boy loses after an uneven set. They happily go home and vent on a message board.
Winner: Maroon 5

4) Counting Crows vs. 13) The Thrills
Battle: Propelled by the hometown crowd, the Crows put together an astonishing set, tight and inspired and superior to the Thrills' sunny-but-small performance. The world watches, mouth agape in open wonder, daring to ask if the Counting Crows are sending a message. Might the Crows of New return to the Crows of Old?
Winner: Counting Crows, impressively, amazingly.

6) Jet
11) All-American Rejects
Battle: The Rejects throw together a surprisingly powerful performance, as their songs take on an anthemic quality live. "We've seen these instruments before," says their singer mid-set. Jet answers anthemic-rocker with anthemic-rocker, doing the world's second-best AC/DC imitation (AC/DC comes in first). In a tight matchup, Jet wins over the crowd, for no other reason than "they're happy drunks."
Winner: Jet

3) Weezer vs. 14) Fleet Foxes
Battle: Sincere irony proceeds insincere irony in what can only be described as "the biggest, funnest bunch of pop masturbation in recent memory." The crowd, simultaneously enthralled and confused, comments, "When am I supposed to laugh? What's my line? Help!" Of course, this is the game Weezer came to play, and one they've never lost.
Winner: Weezer

7) Death Cab for Cutie vs. 10) Band of Horses
Battle: Hipsters everywhere rejoice as two heavyweight welterweights take the stage. One lone audience member asks, "aren't all these songs about the same thing?" and is promptly exiled from the venue. On record, Death Cab might've won, but not-liking-your-audience can hurt an occasional live show. Band of Horses, on the other hand, is always happy to be there.
Winner: Band of Horses

2) Foo Fighters vs. 15) The Fray
Battle: The Fray plays. Dave Grohl takes the stage and asks, "what the hell is a fray?"
Winner: Foo Fighters

Round 2 Matchups (ON THURSDAY!):
1) Green Day
9) The Hives

5) Maroon 5
4) Counting Crows

6) Jet
3) Weezer

10) Band of Horses
2) Foo Fighters

Thoughts:
--Green Day vs. The Hives. In other news, Planet Earth has a shortage on black shirts.
--Counting Crows vs. Maroon 5. Two uneven live bands that have the potential to either burn the house down or make us all cry tears of rage. One brings it with pop gloss and production, one with musicianship and intensity. This will either be the greatest show on earth, or the worst, or half of both. This is what I know.
--Is Jet everything Rivers Cuomo secretly wanted to be?
--There's a lot to like about the Foo-Band of Horses matchup, but one thing stands out: the number of times the singer will raise one hand triumphantly to the crowd. I put the over/under at 560 for the night.

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International Region

1) Radiohead vs. 16) Dr. Dog
Battle: Dr. Dog gives the performance of their lifetime, inspired and virtuosic and euphoric, while Radiohead audits a class about modern robotics, unaware that the show is tonight. Yorke randomly stumbles into the venue later and crafts an instrument out of sawdust, copper wire, and ingenuity, whistling while he works, and the crowd erupts.
Winner: Radiohead

8) Vampire Weekend vs. 9) Belle & Sebastian
Battle: In a hotly-anticipated matchup, Vampire Weekend performs admirably, even slinging some verbal assaults at B&S: "We've read Rimbaud, too!" B&S counter assaults with their own deliberate set and off-the-cuff insults: "cheers to the cardigan set..." Ultimately, the crowd determines B&S was more dynamic; they had more ways of making people feel smarter than everyone else.
Winner: Belle & Sebastian

5) Oasis vs. 12) The Raconteurs
Battle: Jack White starts the set by asking, "where's Meg," then launching into "The Hardest Button to Button." The Racs, ever sharp, morph it into "Many Shades of Black," and thus begins a 30-minute Stripes-Racs fusion medley that critics later dub, "one of pop's greatest achievements...a revelation!" Oasis stumbles into a "Wonderwall" into only to have Liam drunkenly refuse to sing it. "I'm available!" comes a call from off-stage, a voice that sounds remarkably like Ryan Adams... Some bands just beat themselves.
Winner: The Raconteurs

4) The Strokes vs. 13) Mars Volta
Battle: Despite a strong performance, the Amsterdam crowd receives Mars Volta's surreal sonic alchemy like a bad trip. It pays to be lucky.
Winner: The Strokes

6) Franz Ferdinand vs. 11) TV on the Radio
Battle: TV on the Radio takes the stage and the crowd goes nuts, rubbing their chins and nodding with approval. "Yes, I see what they're doing there," they say. "Hmm, interesting take," they say, pointing a pinky toward the stage. FF boosts the volume on the kick drum and reintroduces the audience to backbeats, melody, and joy. The audience--like idiots!--follows their tapping feet and votes for Franz Ferdinand.
Winner: Franz Ferdinand

3) Coldplay vs. 14) Kaiser Chiefs
Battle: The Kaiser Chiefs, forced to perform from inside Coldplay's "Giant Grenades and Daffodils" set, give an uneven performance, at one point remarking, "just what is this Martin trying to say, anyway?!" Later, Martin climbs the set and replaces the grenade pin with a daffodil, hoists an unmarked red flag and sings in falsetto, "That's what I'm trying to say! Wooo!!!" The audience harmonizes.
Winner: Coldplay

7) Arcade Fire vs. 10) Against Me!
Battle: The ultimate battle of representing meaning or actually meaning something. Under intense peer pressure to like everything Arcade Fire does, one crowd member (who wished to remain anonymous) remarked, "I don't know, it reminded me of church." When asked if that's a good thing he said, "I go because I feel like I should, not because I want to."
Winner: Against Me!

2) White Stripes vs. 15) Keane
Battle: Keane steals the Grenades and Daffodils set, attempts the pin-replacement move, and tumbles to the wooden stage floor as Meg White rushes out to help. Later, Jack plays the first three notes of "Seven Nation Army" and everyone votes immediately, and twice.
Winner: White Stripes

Round 2 Matchups (ON FRIDAY):
1) Radiohead
9) Belle and Sebastian

12) The Raconteurs
4) The Strokes

6) Franz Ferdinand
3) Coldplay

1o) Against Me!
2) The White Stripes

Thoughts:
--There aren't enough hats in the world to cover the bald heads at the Radiohead-B&S battle. Anyone who's anyone from the "mousy, bookish, British, bespactacled, and balding" set will be there, corduroy blazing.
--Since 2002, many have asked whether The Strokes are better than The White Stripes. I look for Jack to make a statement that the Strokes aren't even better than his other band.
--Ah, very-popular-and-kinda-good vs. kinda-popular-but-very-good. I just tried to predict the Coldplay vs. Ferdinand winner and went crosseyed.
--Jack White wasn't happy about the Against Me! draw. They're like Syracuse...you might beat them, but you still don't want to play them.

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Back tomorrow with Round 2!

Go Tahgers,
CM

5 comments:

Lady M said...

This makes me smile.

Again...Jack White is going to be busy.

Makes me look forward to listening to Band of Horses today. ...after I listen to my new Buddy & Julie Miller CD.

editorial note: change the regions in the iMeem disclaimer. =)

Hillary Brooke said...

I lost a lot of sleep over the fact that Cake & Smashing Pumpkins didn't even make the cut...I'm just saying...they would have thrown down.

And Death Cab's defeat...they should have pulled out some Postal Service defense. Damn.

Will Odom said...

TV on the Radio going out in the first round? You sir, are a philistine.

Chris Milam said...

An unrepentant philistine! I know, I know. Mostly it was bad luck with the Franz Ferdinand draw. They're better than some bands that made it to the second round (looking at you, Vampire Weekend).

TV's SNL performance reminded me of the Fine Young Cannibals SNL set from back in the day (the Huge Dude Dancing, etc.). I won't lie to you, it clouded my judgment.

Michael said...

I dont know franz ferdinand's music that well ... but I do really like TV on the radio's newest album a lot. I could see how their live show might leave something to be desired.

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