Review: Ride, The Besnard Lakes at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston 10-03-2015

Ride at the Paradise sign

This was a show I needed to go to for many reasons, one being a rough week at work, but it was also a good excuse to catch up with some friends from Providence and have some drinks. We met up at Limoo, which is located across the street from the Paradise. We chose this place based on the Yelp reviews were really good, but our experience there was pretty bad. This is one of the few times Yelp has failed me. Once we finished our food, we made our away across the street to the Paradise, where we were some of the first people inside. I started with a Goose Island Autumn Ale, which was really good and waited for The Besnard Lakes to go on.

The Besnard Lakes 2The Besnard Lakes 11The Besnard Lakes 4The Besnard Lakes 6

The Besnard Lakes

The Besnard Lakes, who I have previously seen at Austin Psych Fest, totally killed it with a mix of shoegaze and psych music. It looked a little cramped on the stage between 5 members of the band, their instruments, and Ride’s equipment already set up behind them.

Ride Drums

I went to the bar and ordered a Goose Island 312, which I’m pretty sure was from an old batch because it tasted terrible and nothing like the one I had at Lollapalooza a couple of months ago. I trashed it and went back to the Autumn Ale. There seemed to be a lot of time to kill in between the sets and the club was totally packed by the time Ride came out.

Ride 1Ride 15Ride 14Ride 11Ride 5Ride 4Ride 3Ride 2


Ride are my favorite band of the early 90’s shoegaze era. Of the 3 major players (My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride), they were the ones I was hoping would reunite. There was a cool musical build up as Ride took to the stage and the crowd cheered very loudly. The band started by playing “Leave Them All Behind” and classics such as “Seagull” and “Vapour Trail”. They ended the main set with some long, crazy noise feedback during “Drive Blind”. The band came back for a two song encore where they finished up with “Today” and “Chelsea Girl”. The set was awesome and Marc Gardener and Andy Bell sounded great! I was kind of bummed that they didn’t play my favorite song which is “Nowhere”. Perhaps another time. Also, I expected the show to be a lot louder than it actually was, maybe that’s because the My Bloody Valentine show last year was just so incredibly loud.

While waiting near the stage after the show, one of the people breaking down the stage asked if I wanted the drumsticks, so yeah, of course I took them! These will go awesome in a frame with Ride’s vinyl re-release of the “Nowhere” album that I have already pre-ordered.

On our way out, the doorman for the Paradise Lounge part of the club asked if we wanted stay for the after party and that the bands would be there hanging out. How could you say no to that? We hung out there for a while, then the bands started to filter in and people got excited. I ended up getting my one of the drumsticks signed by Mark Gardener and it was the highlight of my year to actually meet him. I was unsuccessful in meeting the rest of the band and getting them all to sign them though.

We finally parted ways, and it was a long wait for the T, but I ended up chatting with a couple of people that were at the show as well. This was an amazing night of friends, music, and just a great time seeing one of my favorite bands ever. I hope Ride stay together and will definitely catch them again at some point in the future.

Lollapalooza 2015 Day 3 – 8-02-2015

After a 3rd straight night of after-parties, it was starting to catch up with me. I wandered around the city for a while to find a coffee shop with wifi that doesn’t have the words “star” and “bucks” in them, but came up pretty empty. I did stumble across Firecakes and got myself a delicious donut though. I had planned to get to Grant Park early since I wanted to make sure to see Skylar Spence, but as I arrived, there were thousands of people filing out, which previous in experiences at Lollapalooza, means a storm is coming.

Evacuation from the park

Crowds leaving the park

Storm buildings

Dark clouds starting to come in

Waiting out the rain at the Hard Rock

Waiting out the rain in my room at the Hard Rock Hotel

Line to get back in to Lollapalooza

The line to get back in to Lollapalooza

It turns out they did evacuate the park due to a storm rolling in, so I went back to the Hard Rock to wait it out. Once the all clear came through on Twitter, I went back down to the park, where there was a massive crowd of people at the gates, but I got in faster than expected. The downside to all of this is that it’s kind of hard to keep track of the revised schedule.

Moon Taxi 2Moon Taxi 1Moon Taxi 4Moon Taxi 3

Moon Taxi

The first band I saw was Moon Taxi, who were playing on the large Bud Light stage. Although I wasn’t familiar with their music, I actually enjoyed their set. At one point, they brought out Nick from Walk the Moon to do a cover of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” which was pretty cool.

Skyler Spence 2Skyler Spence 3Skyler Spence 1Skyler Spence 4

Skyler Spence

I was using the Lolla app to keep up to date on the schedule changes, but that didn’t seem to work out too well when I tried to see Skyler Spence’s set. After waiting 20 minutes at the Pepsi stage, for what turned out to be Albert Hammond Jr. setting up, I found out that Skyler Spence was playing on the BMI stage across the way. I was bummed to miss a good portion of his set, especially since that was my number one artist to see. He seemed to really be having fun up on stage, almost seeming like he couldn’t believe he was playing Lolla. Afterwards, he chatted with people along the railing, but didn’t quite make it to where I was standing…boo.

Gogol Bordello 1Gogol Bordello 4Gogol Bordello 3Gogol Bordello 2

Gogol Bordello

I took a walk over to the Palladia stage to see Gogol Bordello, who despite playing Lollapalooza a million times, I never actually saw. Jumping around the stage and playing their gypsy punk, the band sounded great. They were actually pretty fun to see, with people around me singing along to every song.

Chainsmokers 1Chainsmokers 2Chainsmokers 4Chainsmokers 3


The Chainsmokers were another of my must see bands for the day, so I cut through a very large crowd to get to Perry’s stage for their set. With lots of fire and high energy, tge Chainsmokers totally killed at Perry’s.

Halsey 1Halsey 2Halsey 3Halsey 4


Back to the BMI stage where Halsey was playing to a decent sized and very attentive crowd. I mean, these seemed to be hard core fans, knowing the words to every song.

Wild Belle 1Wild Belle 4Wild Belle 3Wild Belle 2

Wild Belle

I went over to the Pepsi Stage to check out Wild Belle, where it was hard to get close, but that was some intense dark and spooky music.




Bassnectar 3Bassnectar 2Bassnectar 1


NGHTMRE was on the Palladia stage spinning some robotic sounding EDM, which also served as a good warmup for Bassnectar, who was playing the Bud Light stage next. Bassnectar is another act that seems to be on the Lollapalooza lineup every single year or maybe it just seems like it. Either way, he was awesome and the field was filled with people dancing for the last big act of the weekend.

So, that was it for Lollapalooza 2015 and I had great time. It was good to be back after taking a break last year, and I really did miss being there, especially since festivals are my favorite places to be. I probably won’t stay at the Hard Rock Hotel again, as my stay was not as good as in previous years and I can’t recommend it anymore. Seriously, what happened to that place? It used to be fun, but now it’s just overpriced and boring. I’ll give the new Virgin Hotels around the corner a shot for sure. And don’t get me started on the hassle with Southwest at the airport when I left Chicago. In the end though, it was all worth it and it was still an amazing experience as always. I’ll be back next year for sure!

Culture Collide After Party – Night 2 – Yawn, Bleachers 8-01-2015

After the second day of Lollapalooza, I once again, showered and changed into some clean clothes for night 2 of the Culture Collide after parties. After standing in a line that was longer than last night’s, it only took about a half hour to get in. Once inside, I made my way to one of the several bars for a cold drink. The drink menu was different than the previous night, but they tasted just as good.

Yawns 2Yawns 1Yawns 3Yawns 4


With a drink in my hand, I made my way close to the stage to see indie rockers Yawn, who are also from Chicago. They played a set that seemed to have more of a dance sound as opposed to only being straight up indie. I really enjoyed their set.

Busy Beaver Buttons

Busy Beaver Buttons

I did a little wandering around in between bands as DJ Lani Love was spinning some tunes. I went over the Busy Beaver Button table where the people working it ended up talking me into having a custom button made with my caricature on it. The people working this table were awesome people, fun and really nice.

Bleachers 1Bleachers 2Bleachers 6Bleachers 5Bleachers 3Bleachers 7


Bleachers is a side project of the band Fun’s Jack Antonoff. I’m by no means a fan of Fun, in fact, I find them really annoying, but Bleachers on the other hand sounded great! They did a pretty cool high energy cover of The Cranberries “Dreams” and they ended the night with “I Wanna Get Better”, which pretty much became an audience sing along. You could tell the band was enjoying themselves on stage and it’s always cool when it’s so obvious. It felt like they played a really long set, but I never kept track of the time.

Once the show ended, I hung around for a bit, then wandered around downtown Chicago on a search for some 2AM food. I found a place that was still open and serving personal sized Chicago deep dish pizzas, which was delicious! Back to the Hard Rock to get sleep and take on the final day of Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza 2015 – Day 2 – 8-01-2015

After a really fun night at the first of the Culture Collide after parties, I woke up early and surprisingly not hung over, despite having several of the free drinks offered. I managed to sneak in a workout at the gym in the Hard Rock Hotel, find some coffee, do some sightseeing, and then get ready for day 2 of Lollapalooza.

Toro y Moi 1Toro y Moi 3Toro y Moi 2

Toro y Moi

I got to Grant Park just in time to see one of my favorite bands, Toro y Moi. Despite the bright sun and high temperatures, there was a huge crowd gathered at the stage to see Chaz Bundick and company breeze through their not-really-chillwave-anymore-but-still-awesome mix of old and new songs.

Hermitude 1Hermitude 2


On a coworker’s recommendation, I went over to the Pepsi Stage to catch the Australian electronic duo Hermitude. Despite being electronic, their set was a pretty mellow (in comparison to the nearby Perry’s stage) way to spend the afternoon in the shade of the trees.

I’ll say this first, I don’t really care for the very overplayed Walk the Moon, but was curious to check them out live for a bit. There was such a massive crowd for these guys, that it was impossible to get down to the field and see anything. This is exactly what happened with Imagine Dragons on the same stage 2 years ago. So, I went over to the nearby BMI Stage to watch Elle King’s set for a while.

Elle King 1Elle King 5Elle King 4Elle King 3Elle King 2

Elle King

If you listen to XMU on Sirius/XM, then you’re probably familiar with Elle King’sEx’s & Oh’s”. Most of her set was nothing like that song, in fact it was kind of twangy and almost country. That being said, I actually enjoyed it and her banter with the audience about the songs, Ohio, and that she probably slept with most of the guys there, was hilarious! King also thanked the crowd for choosing to see her instead of Tyler the Creator who was playing on another stage the same time, which she was kind of bummed to have to miss.

Tyler the Creator 1Tyler the Creator 2Tyler the Creator 3

Tyler the Creator

I had to see some of Tyler the Creator’s set, because it’s kind of a guilty pleasure. Man, there was a huge crowd. With a stage setup that looked like a child’s bedroom, Tyler was standing a giant bed, which also had a giant rocking chair next to it. The bass was deep and Tyler led the crowd in chants of “fuck that”. I didn’t stay for the whole set, but was a little bit disappointed. Guess I expected a little more.

I hit up the Chow Town area for some food before going over to see Chet Faker, who I was really looking forward to. It turned out to be a bust due to the huge crowd at the Pepsi Stage. I couldn’t get anywhere near there. I went back to the main stage to see some of Kid Cudi’s set, who was much better than I expected. From there, I found a good spot on the little hill near BMI Stage for Mt. Eden’s set. It was a good place to sit, recharge my phone, and watch the guy sitting in front of me puke several times, then proceed to drink some more from his wine filled sport bottle.

Banks 1Banks 5Banks 4Banks 3


Banks was up next and man, that was some dark and hazy stuff. I really enjoyed her set and she seemed to have the crowd’s attention the whole time.

Metallica 1Metallica 5Metallica 4Metallica 3Metallica 2


Although I haven’t been a fan of Metallica since the 80’s and early 90’s, I wanted to see some of their set out of curiosity. I took a walk over, but the field was so full of people, I ended up watching a few songs from the stairs in the back starting with “Fuel” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. At this point, I decided to head back to the hotel, shower and change, then stand in line for the second night of the Culture Collide parties.

Culture Collide After Party – Night 1- Wolf-Face, Chris Crack, Slick Rick 7-31-2015

After taking a much needed post-Lollapalooza shower and changing into some clean clothes, I went downstairs at the Hard Rock to wait in line for the Culture Collide after party. By the time I got there, the line was already around the corner. After waiting for about a half hour or so, the line moved we were inside, which really surprised me, since in previous years, that meant at least a 2 hours wait. As soon as I went into the room, there was free food and drinks, as well as gift fanny packs that contained sunglasses and a bandana.

Wolf Face 1Wolf Face 7Wolf Face 6Wolf Face 5Wolf Face 4Wolf Face 3Wolf Face 2


I took my drink and moved into the larger performance space, where there was a very odd looking band dressed straight out of the movie Teen Wolf. It turns out this was a band called Wolf-Face, who are from Tampa, Florida. Lead singer Michael J. Wolf (I see what you did there!) seemed to really be enjoying himself, as the band played fast punk rock, with topics covering things like gym teachers and, well, being a werewolf. It’s funny, because, after a while, I stopped thinking about the schtick and just enjoyed the music. These guys were really fun!

After still taking in what I just saw, I went into the other room to check out what was going on. There was a table where you could make your own buttons and some sort of photo booth thing. Wolf-Face were hanging out and and taking group pictures with people, which was way cool! In the meantime, a DJ was spinning as the crowd mingled.

Chris Crack 2Chris Crack 8Chris Crack 7Chris Crack 6Chris Crack 5Chris Crack 4Chris Crack 3

Chris Crack

Next was Chicago rapper, Chris Crack. This isn’t usually my kind of thing, but I actually had a good time and enjoyed his set as he took command of the stage with members of his New Deal Crew. At one point, Crack jumped down into the crowd as he rapped. This was a damn good warm up for Slick Rick.

Slick Rick 1Slick Rick 6Slick Rick 5Slick Rick 4Slick Rick 3Slick Rick 2

Slick Rick

I had a few more drinks as DJ Kaos warmed up the crowd for Slick Rick by playing and quizzing people on their knowledge of old school hip hop songs from the 80’s. That was pretty fun. Slick Rick came out wearing sunglasses and gold chains that could be seen from the back of the room. He seemed to do a fairly laid back set of classic hip hop with the crowd singing along to just about everything.

I was on a total high (or perhaps a very nice buzz from all of the free drinks) for the rest of the night. These after parties are one of my favorite things about Lollapalooza weekend. Time to get some sleep and prepare for day 2 of Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza 2015 – Day 1 – 7-31-2015

After little bit of a late start, I got down to Grant park around 3pm, where there was a massive line to get through the gates for the first day of Lollapalooza. After waiting for 25 minutes in the hot sun, I was inside and wandered around to find the various stages. There weren’t too many bands I wanted to see on this day, so it was more of just walking around and exploring.

Cold War Kids 2Cold War Kids 1

Cold War Kids

The first band I came across was Cold War Kids on the massive Samsung stage, who were playing their 5th Lollapalooza. I got there in time to hear the last two songs. As soon as they ended, MS MR began playing on the Sprint Stage, which is in the same field.



MS MR came out to a very large crowd that danced through most of their alt-pop set. Singer Lizzy Plapinger completely took charge of the stage and really entertained the crowd. At one point, Tove Lo came out and did a duet with the band.

I moved on from there to get a beer from the “craft brew” area because it’s the better option than drinking Bud, which is sold everywhere else in the park. I really wouldn’t consider most of what was sold in this area as craft beers, but it comes off as more of a place to charge more for beer. I ended up with a Goose Island 312, which although tasty, would be my only beer of the day. After that, I tried the Do-Rite Donuts (whose donuts are amazing by the way) chicken sandwich which tasted amazing and washed it down with some a watermelon mint cucumber ginger lime juice from Owen and Alchemy. Hooray for nutrients! I found a spot in some shade near where the War On Drugs had just started playing.

The War On Drugs 1The War On Drugs 3The War On Drugs 5

War On Drugs

I first saw the War On Drugs at Austin Psych Fest last year and really liked them. It seemed to be a really mellow set and had a very large but equally mellow crowd, which you could tell by the smell of pot in the air.

I took a seat off to the side of the nearby main stage and waited for Alt-J to start. In the downtime a girl near me was carted away on a stretcher, I’m guessing may have had a little too much of something or other, which would be a common sight throughout the weekend.

Alt-J 1Alt-J 2Alt-J 3


Alt-J sounded really clear, at least from where I sitting. With a huge crowd, they played a set of indie rock and it was cool to hear “Left Hand Free”, one of my favorites from them, live.

First Aid Kit 1First Aid Kit 2First Aid Kit 3

First Aid Kit

Dillon Francis 2Dillon Francis 4Dillon Francis 3

Dillon Francis

I made my way over to the BMI stage, which is very small, to see some of Young Thug’s set. The crowd was so massive that you couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, so I moved on to Perry’s Stage to see Dillon Francis, who is one of the few EDM artists I like. This was by far the dirtiest area, with plastic cups, crushed beer cans, and trash everywhere. That being said, as always, this stage brings out a very interesting mix of people. Dillon Francis was perched very high on the stage and got the crowd fired up with a killer set of high energy dance music.

Paul McCartney 6Paul McCartney 1Paul McCartney 4Paul McCartney 2Paul McCartney 7

Paul McCartney

I went across the way back to the Samsung stage to catch some unknown guy named Paul McCartney (I kid! I kid!). This was one of the largest crowds for any bands that I’ve ever seen in my 6 times of going to Lollapalooza. The interesting thing was that it was mostly a mix of older people and lots of families with small children. I stuck around for about 6 or 7 songs (honestly, I’m not really a Beatles fan), which included a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, then went back to the Hard Rock to change and get ready for the Culture Collide after party.

Floodfest Party at the Virgin Hotels Chicago – Broods, DJ Golden Touch, Viet Cong, Win Butler 7-30-2015

After getting about 2 1/2 hours of sleep, I was up and ready to hop on the airport shuttle from Woburn to Logan Airport for an obscenely early flight to Chicago and Lollapalooza 2015. The downside to arriving soo early is that your room isn’t ready when you arrive at the hotel, which I’m fine with since it gives me a chance to find some breakfast. After a couple of hours, I got the call that my room was ready and was able to check into the Hard Rock Hotel. I have started to have a love/hate relationship with the Hard Rock Hotel in the last couple of years. The nearly $14 per day for wifi is one of those reasons to hate it and I seemed to get a bit of an attitude during check in. Maybe that’s why my room was soo cheap this year. Anyway, I’m here to have fun!

Floodfest poster



Daytime Small room

The room was very small at the daytime party

The daytime Floodfest show, which took place at the Virgin Hotels Chicago, featured Coasts and Broods could only be described as a “clusterfuck”. This was something advertised as being open to the public, but as the doorman explained to us, it was for industry insiders only, but promised he’ll try to get us in. Ugh! After standing in a line that dwindled from about 15 people to 3, they let us in just in time to see literally the last 30 seconds of Broods’ set. I will give the doorman tons of credit, because he tried like hell to get us in. One good thing that came out of it is that I made a new friend from Brooklyn, who was the only other person left standing in line. So, we just chilled in a cool little outdoor area, had a beer, then left.

Jesse Rogg aka Golden Touch

Jesse Rogg aka Golden Touch

The night time show was a much more pleasant experience. We were let right in and went to the 3rd floor of the Virgin Hotel. This was a really small room and it wasn’t crowded at all. I went over to the bar and ordered the most expensive rum and coke ever…and not on purpose…yikes! People seemed to mingle about as Jesse Rogg aka Golden Touch was DJ’ing for a bit.

Viet Cong 1Viet Cong 3Viet Cong 2

Viet Cong

As much as I love a large music festival, sometimes I prefer these smaller intimate shows for something like this and Viet Cong did not disappoint. With their loud and noisy post rock sound, Viet Cong seemed to be having a great time playing this really small room with the crowd enjoying it just as much as the band. This was seriously one of the coolest things about this weekend.

In between sets, I was contacted on Twitter by someone from Vnue, which was one of the sponsors of this show. I ended up meeting with two people from Vnue, who were really cool guys and I ended up with a t-shirt, sunglasses, and some pins.

Win Butler 2Win Butler 1

Win Butler

DJ Windows 98 aka Arcade Fire’s Win Butler was up next to do a DJ set. I was surprised at how crazy tall he is. I’m not really much of a fan of Arcade Fire other than a couple of songs here and there, but his DJ set was pretty eclectic, spinning and manipulating everything from Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” to Rob Base’s “It Takes Two“ to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It“. Win Butler seemed pretty cool too, taking pictures and talking with the crowd all night.

Afterwards, I ran into my new friend from earlier and we chatted about music and festivals. It’s always cool to meet new people with similar interests. I made my way back to the Hard Rock for some much needed sleep and to get ready to take on the first day of Lollapalooza.

Twitter Updates


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.