On Saturday morning we decided by democratic process to skip Kevin Devine’s morning set (sorry) and make the barbecue pilgrimage to Lockhart to eat at Kreuz Market. Our host, among other skills a barbecue scholar, told us that Kreuz used to have its own herd but now gets its meat from Sysco. And most of the tinier Texas barbecue restaurants get their meat from Walmart. This broke a bit from the romantic narratives surrounding Local Eateries of America as I understood them, but indignation would have been disingenuous this weekend, as I had flown all the way to Texas to see a bunch of bands from Brooklyn. We all have faith in economies of scale.
Here is my rank of the top ten sets, evaluated by the standard formula
(great set = dAwesome/dSurprise + C).
1. Andrew Bird 8.4
2. Arcade Fire 8.3
3. The National 8.0
4. LCD Soundsystem 7.6
5. Preservation Hall Jazz Band 7.5 (kicker: the kids from New Orleans Bingo! Show in Kiss white-face throwing ice cream out into the crowd—definitive absurdist comment on the post-Katrina voluntourism industry?)
6. Wilco 7.3 (enjoyed the emphasis on pre-Yankee favorites, but we could hear My Morning Jacket over them and the two stages were not close)
7. Mighty Clouds of Joy 7.1
8. Bob Dylan and his Band 6.9 (like Van Morrison last year, I’m not totally convinced he was aware he was on stage the whole time; great arrangements of It Ain’t Me Babe and I Shall Be Released; horrible arrangement of Tangled Up in Blue; the magic lanterns; check mark next to ‘saw Like a Rolling Stone live’)
9. Peter Bjorn & John 6.6
10. Yo La Tengo 6.4
Lots of violins this year. Violins and whistling.