CHICAGO – Back at The College Of New Jersey my friends and I used to hop on Route 1 and head North for New Brunswick to take part in secret gatherings below the Earth at such establishments as The Meatlocker, The Womb, Paradise Lost, and other underground institutions of the sort.
It was during one of these excursions where I first met Daniel Pujol, leader of the Nashville-based music project PUJOL, and despite the grandeur of a Lollapalooza platform, the Garage-Rock outfit was able to recapture that intimacy on Saturday afternoon, constructing a community at The Grove Stage.
“Regardless of where I play or how many people I play to, whether it’s a basement or Lollapalooza, I try to make a point to keep an intimate sense of community to the show, because if I didn’t I feel like I’d be lying to people,” explained Pujol.”
“That sort of charismatic brainwash that goes on at a lot of performances, I can’t make myself do that. A lot of things right now are about someone providing others an experience, the same way that McDonalds provides people a hamburger, and that is a creative limitation.”
“What I mean is, if your soul purpose of performing something is to provide a vague emotional experience for someone, it implies that you’re not acknowledging the reality that happens after the performance. It’s implying that they’ve walked out of their ordinary lives and into this environment that’ll allow them a release from their life…but I wouldn’t want to patronize or belittle someone’s life like that.”
“That’s the heady explanation. Really, my legs are two different lengths, and I can’t jump around and stuff so I have to be personable.”
And so he was, calling out to faces in the crowd, complimenting individuals amongst the thousand-plus patron mass for their intriguing t-shirts, and providing context for each grimy Pop-Rock offering, delivered in a style akin to that of The Rolling Stones…if Mick and the gents were filtered through blown out amps plugged into sparking electrical sockets.
Since the project’s inception back in 2010, Pujol has embarked on a work schedule that has delivered 10 releases, including a 7” single and live production on Jack White’s Third Man Records, as well as a 2012 sophomore LP titled Unites States Of Being which received critical acclaimed from the likes of SPIN, amongst a expansive touring schedule…and according to Pujol a third long form collection is on its way in either Fall or Spring of 2014 with a preceding 7”.
Such Great Heights: The Postal Service appeared on Saturday as a brief moment in time removed from a preservation vault marked 2003 and put on display in a bed of lasers lights, artfully crafted backbeats, and dueling Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis vocals that conjured premonitions of high school depression and a sense that we were witness to something extraordinary. The group was handed an unfavorable festival slot across from Mumford & Sons but combated a Red Bull Sound Select fireworks extravaganza with a performances of “Such Great Heights” that produced an uproarious torrent of emotion from an adoring congregate who drowned out the pyrotechnics with an impressive demonstration of their own.
Sea Of Love: As someone who never quite provided The National a proper appreciation, viewing the affect Matt Berninger’s stirring poetics and the textured instrumental approach of the brothers Davendrof and Dessner had on one of the largest main stage gatherings of Day 2 was jarring. The audience provided no collective smiles nor jubilance, but deep thoughts, tender connections, and emotional releases that came to a head when the outfit dove into “Sea Of Love”, which created such a response in return.
In Summation: Death Grips decided not to appear in Chicago and fans destroyed their equipment…Gold Medal winning board sport athlete, Shaun White, has a band named Bad Things that saw Perry Farrell sit in for a song on their Kidzapalooza stage performance…The drawng power of Matt & Kim was once again underestimated by festival promoters and placed on a stage way too small for the audience that gathered.
Local Natives mixed their most recent spacious explorations with the Pop-influenced pieces of the past and a setlist staple that has become a cover of the Talking Heads “Warning Sign”…Kendrick Lamar appeared with a full backing band for the first time which helped him crank it up past 11 and “all the way to 15”, an action inspired by two members of the audience who surfed the sea of humanity in wheel chairs. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” said Lamar, and I’ve never seen Hip-Hop performance of that energy delivered on such a massive scale.