If you are unfamiliar, the premise of Hoodwink, traditionally held the night before Bamboozle festivals, is that bands pick a favorite, different band, and play a set of their songs. I, who loves cover songs, love Hoodwink. Because some people (me) have real jobs, I missed the first few bands. I am told that Eye Alaska, who did the music of Kanye West, stagecrashed the set of The Summer Set, who were doing Taylor Swift. So Eye Alaska wins at life.
All the Day Holiday plays The Beach Boys: they have dressed in costume, which is adorable. Blue oxford shirts, black trousers, sunglasses, hair neatly combed. It almost makes up for the terrible sound mix. It’s about 80% too loud treble, underscored by just enough bass to rattle my ribcage. The really weakness in this set is their insistence on using as much falsetto as the original band. It takes a real man to admit that his falsetto isn’t ready for prime time. Also, thanks to this band’s popularity, this is the first time I’ve seen kids running and dancing wildly at the sound of the Beach Boys in … ever.
The Maine plays Everclear: From the first song, they are excellent. (To be fair, the source material is way easier.) But the Phoenix-based Maine has the right laid-back SoCal angst for this band’s repetoire.
Hmm, as they go on, it becomes apparent that they frontloaded the set with the songs they were good at. The lead singer’s grip on the lyrics collapses after the second song.
Say Anything plays The Misfits: Okay. Loud. Par for the course.
Motion City Soundtrack plays Nine Inch Nails: I suppose anyone who thought about it a moment would realize that MCS would be the best band at Hoodwink this year. They picked source material that was strong and adapted it to their strengths rather than trying to force themselves to be an electrometal band for a night. But it still shows a new side of them, which I think is the secret aim behind the Hoodwink concerts. This is awesome, hard as hell rock. Plus, they use their techs to their full ability, so at one point, there are seven guys playing on stage. Plus, no one except drummer Tony Thaxton seems to be the only one allowed to play just one instrument. It’s positively Arcade Fire. But it is amazingly worth it, if just for the three dueling synths + Moog closing of “Closer.”
The way frontman Justin Pierre throws himself around the stage, I think this might be the closest I ever coming to seeing Trent Reznor himself. It’s almost worth the horrible pain in my eardrums from the WAY TOO MANY amps.
When they start “Hurt”, there are at least a dozen real lighters in the air. That is more than I’ve seen at a show in at least ten years. Also, my favorite people here are3 the nice middle-aged mom with the string backpack and her husband, who is having a religious experience.
Andrew McMahon plays Bar Classics: He starts with a Dylan impression. Progresses to “Rocket Man,” a deep Simon & Garfunkel cut, and a quarter-speed version of MGMT’s “Kids.” Time to go home!