|Big Ears Music Festival|
I'm surprised I've never seen anyone mention the Big Ears festival on here. It's an annual music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. All the shows are held at different venues around the city. The artists featured are usually on the cutting-edge in some way and they don't exclude any genres. To give you an idea, a "typical" lineup will likely have a lot of jazz, electronic, modern classical/chamber-type stuff, folk/singer-songwriter, and experimental/avant-garde artists. I went to the one in 2018 and never posted about it, not sure why. I guess I was just so tired by the time I got back and then I just forgot. Anyway though, after seeing the lineup for Big Ears 2024, I just had to buy a pass no matter how much it was. Pass secured, we're goin'! Here's who I saw in 2018 and who I'm planning on seeing in 2024. And here's a link to the 2024 lineup: https://bigearsfestival.org/2024-lineup-announcement/
Who I saw in 2018
Jenny Hval at the Bijoux Theater - At this time, Hval's latest album was Blood Bitch - which isn't my favorite of hers - so that's what her set focused on. There are a few good tracks from that album that she played, but what stands out the most about the show is the part where she had a conversation with a chatbot - the words projected up onto a big screen - but she was singing her parts of the conversation. That was really cool. I still remember vividly when she asked the bot, "Do you liiiiike... Laurie Aaaaanderson?" It would've been cool to hear more from her earlier albums, especially Viscera (she didn't play anything from it), but Jenny's one of my heroes so I was honestly tickled just to see her in person.
Music for Church Cleaners Vol. I and II
Aine O'Dwyer at the Knoxville Museum of Art - This was a really wild "set." She didn't play any songs, just sound experiments. The audience spent most of the performance sitting on the floor in the common area of the museum. We sat in a circle around a harp, taking turns going up and plucking one string; she had us listen to the "dings" of the nearby elevator as she went up and down; and she ended the performance by dropping a whole bunch of ping-pong balls from a balcony down into the area where we were sitting. It was a hard floor - concrete, I think - so the balls bounced like crazy, and the sound of that many of them just bouncing away against the really harsh acoustics of that room was actually kinda cool. I nabbed one of those balls as a souvenir, still have it.
Sam Amidon at the Bijoux Theater - This was my first time hearing this guy. Really fresh and lovely folk/Americana-type stuff. Later on in life he popped up again as a guest feature on David Thomas Broughton's Crippling Lack, one of my favorite albums of all time. Cool.
The Peter Evans Quartet
I forget which church exactly this performance was in, but it was definitely a church. It was the perfect setting for this kind of ridiculous avant-garde trumpeting. It made it 10x more resonant, harrowing, and strangely beautiful. It was amazing how dynamic of a performance he wrestled out of a single trumpet.
Same church. This guy was one of the founding members of the Philip Glass Ensemble. I'd never heard any of his music before this show, though. He played several of these very pretty, minimal piano compositions. A bit droney. Also perfect for a church.
YRU Still Here?
Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog at The Mill & Mine - Technically that's the name this album should be under. I'd never heard these guys before this show either. Really fun jazzy/noise rocky type stuff.
The Litanies of Satan
Diamanda Galas at the Tennessee Theater - First time hearing her music. Holy shit. Super nice theater too, very elegant. Fit her music and demeanor perfectly. Definitely one of the best of these shows, if not the very best.
Four Tet at The Mill & Mine - This was so much fun. He didn't really do "songs" aside from certain recognizable motifs here and there, it was more just one continuous house set. And he blew the fuckin' roof off that place. Man, what a good time.
Suuns at The Mill & Mine - Love these guys. One of my favorite modern rock bands. Great set too. Hearing "Instrument" and "Edie's Dream" live was amazing.
Who I'm seeing in 2024!
Leaves Turn Inside You
Conference of the Birds
|17||Sleepytime Gorilla Museum|
Grand Opening and Closing
Really hope the show schedules line up in such a way where I can see all these! I’ll at least get to see most of them and that’s okay. Fuckin’ STOKED, man!!!