Show Review: Lilith at Shoreline Amphitheater, 7/5/10

by Dakin Hardwick on July 7, 2010

There has been a lot of controversy over the resurrected Lilith tour, including complaints of mis-marketing, poor ticket sales, and a general lack of consistency in the line ups. When it comes down to it, though, none of this matters when it comes to the actual event. I was there to account these events first hand, and I honestly felt that the show I went to was quite successful. It was actually refreshing to attend a festival that was so well organized, as well as such a well behaved audience.

As for the event day itself, I only truly had two complaints. My first issue was with the door times: The event was advertised as doors at 2:30, which they did, indeed own up to. The only problem was that patrons couldn’t enter all the way into the main stage area, and if you were a lawn seating patron that wished for a good spot on the lawn, you were once again forced to wait in line for this area to become available. And there were a lot of people wishing for a good lawn spot, and the line of people with their blankets and picnic baskets grew so long that it actually made it difficult for people to move between the two side stages, which were at opposite sides of the venue. My other main complaint was that it was difficult to find posted set times. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I attended this event as press, and I was provided with a printed schedule, so I was fine, but every few minutes people would stop me when they saw me reference it, so I would let people either photograph it with their cell phones, or copy down set times if they needed them.

Aside from those two minor glitches, the show itself went very well. Set times stayed within five minutes of their scheduled time, and even though a technical glitch caused a delay during The Bangles set, instead of cutting anyone’s set short, the cracker jack team of stage hands managed to cut the setup time in half between them and Miranda Lambert.

But, on to the music!

Terra Naomi

Some of my fellow Platters have been telling me about the greatness that is Terra Naomi for a little over a year now, but I always seem to miss her. So, the bar for her may have been set a little higher than it should have, but nonethless, she faired quite well. It’s not an enviable slot to be, the first act on a side stage at a festival show. She was very happy to be there, and engaged the crowd quite nicely. It also should be noted that at the beginning of the set, there was about 5-10 people watching her, yet by the end of her 30 minutes,  the crowd swelled to a solid 200+ people that decided that she was far more worth their time than standing in line for a $14 margarita served in a plastic guitar.

The Submarines

It was a bit of a struggle to get to the other side of the venue to see The Submarines. The line of people waiting to enter the main area had literally stretched from one end of the thoroughfare to the other, and the band started at the exact moment that Terra Naomi ended. With some polite, yet swift footwork, I managed to make to the other stage (known simply as the “B” stage) only missing a few minutes of The Submarines’ set. I enjoyed their sound, it was a slightly unexpected bit of bright and perky indie rock. It is worth noting that there were multiple times throughout their set that John Dragonetti, a male, provided about 1/4 of the vocals, yet Blake Hazard was still the primary front person. Her energy was infectious, and it was awesome watching her bounce between tambourine and xylophone without losing a beat. They even managed to get the audience, which was primarily seated on the grass at this point, moving and involved when they played their “hit” song “You and Me and The Bourgeoisie,” most famous for it’s use in the advertising for the iPhone 3G.

Marie Digby

Although I was a little disappointed that Marina + The Diamonds had dropped off the bill, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a familiar voice while wandering around the festival grounds. There was a tiny tent hiding near the bathrooms with a giant ABC logo on it. I look in a little closer, and I see a familiar face that I can’t quite put my finger on. It turns out the it’s Marie Digby playing a set on a tiny stage, surrounded by couches and lounge chairs. She was midway through her song “Sanctuary” before I realized who she was, but it was quite exciting to come across a relatively popular musician at a giant event playing such an intimate set. She proceeded to play a pair of pop covers on acoustic guitar, Beyonce’s “Beautiful Nightmare,” which was a bit more chilling than Beyonce’s already dark reading of the song, and then a joyful version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” that managed to get the small crowd surrounding her singing along.

It seems that the ABC Lounge was the festival’s hidden secret, many of the performers playing that day spent some time there. They would do two or three acoustic numbers, and then Digby would interview them live in front of the audience. I highly recommend checking this out, if you opt to attend the festival elsewhere.

Susan Justice

Susan Justice played a pleasant blend of folk, pop, and soul, but managed to take those influences in a very different direction than her closest stylistic peer, Indie.Arie. Her songs were mellow, and nice to listen to, but nothing early in her set really stuck out to me. I rather enjoyed watching her on stage, and I found that she had a real gift for performance. By the end of her set, my feelings shifted from thinking that she was kind of bland, to quite enjoying her, and I’m eager to see what ends up coming of her.

Kitten

While others were busy dealing with the press conference, I stayed behind to watch Kitten. This was the first act that really got people moving. She asked people to get on their feet, but by then she had earned it. The lead singer, whose name I can’t determine from Google searches, is 15 but acts like a girl-punk singer from way before she was born. She tried to stand on amplifiers three times, each time getting kicked off by a stagehand. She jumped into the audience to get the dancing going, and generally made a fool out of herself, but in that good I’m-the-singer kind of way. The music itself was synthy dance pop, nothing particularly special, but definitely the liveliest thing on the side stages all day. (This paragraph written by Gordon Elgart.)

A Fine Frenzy

Because of a press conference that we were invited to join backstage, which was fun but left very little to report about, aside from the fact that $1 from every ticket sold was donated to the Bay Area Women & Children’s Center, a battered women’s shelter based in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, I missed most of A Fine Frenzy, which is a shame, because I’ve heard great things about them. We made it for the final song, which was an energetic dance number, and lead singer Alison Sudol was all smiles and bouncing.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat was the first act to play the main stage, meaning that she was the truly the first act in the eyes of the majority of the attendees. The venue was surprisingly full. I honestly wasn’t believing the reports claiming that the shows were struggling with ticket sales, because as of 6 PM, there was hardly an empty seat, and we were still about four hours away from the headliner.

Caillat’s set was filled with hits, many songs that I didn’t even realize were hers before this set. Her band was solid, and her voice was practically perfect. Musically, it was excellent. She even wrote the perfect setlist, opening with her current single, playing her biggest hit in the middle of the set (her duet with Jason Mraz, “Lucky,” with Mraz’s part sung by her guitarist), throwing in a Fleetwood Mac cover for good measure (“Go Your Own Way”) and closing with her first single, “Bubbly.” I just felt that her stage presence could use a little more development. She is beautiful woman, and wore some incredibly short shorts and cowboy boots, which drew attention to her legs. I felt that she relied a little to much on her looks to engage the crowd, and I kind of think of that as cheating. I am hoping that somewhere backstage, Susan Justice and Caillat got together, because they could learn alot from each other in terms of performance.

The Bangles

Before I discuss The Bangles’ set at Lilith, I must disclose the fact that I consider them to be a vital part of my musical development. I was seven when “Walk Like An Egyptian” came out, and I loved that song. I think it helped kick off my infatuation with all female rock bands. That being said, I was super excited to finally get to see them live. I did see them do an acoustic set once at a Border’s Books & Music in 2003 while they were out promoting Doll Revolution, a criminally underrated record, but seeing them electric has always been a goal of mine.

They opened up with a blistering rendition of “Hazy Shade Of Winter.” Guitarist Vicki Peterson played the song’s signature riff with the same energy and power as the original recording, and the harmonies were solid and tight. It felt as if they hadn’t missed a beat in the last seven years throughout most of the song, until the psychedelic breakdown in the middle, which was attempted, and then disregarded. It was sad, but this was their first show in years, and a few missteps are expected. Throughout the course of the set though, I couldn’t help but feel that they were slightly under-rehearsed. A few lyrics were flubbed, a couple of moments were missed, but in whole it was a really fun set.  I am sure that when they return to the bay area in September, they will be much tighter. They played the perfect array of songs, remembering to play all of the hits, a few fan favorites, a new song, and even some buried treasures from their early days. There was a little bit of a glitch before “Going Down To Liverpool,” because they used a drum machine that was difficult to read in the brightness of the summer sun, but that didn’t really calm the energy.

They closed the set with the aforementioned “Walk Like An Egyptian.” Bassist Michael Steele is no longer in the group, so instead of doing her verse, they broke into The Who’s “Magic Bus.” Susannah Hoffs even managed to include her signature side glance from the video, although she did seem a little uncomfortable with the lyrics, which are admittedly pretty silly, after all, it was my favorite song when I was seven.

Setlist

Hazy Shade Of Winter

Some Dreams Come True

Manic Monday

He’s Got A Secret

If She Knew What She Wants

(Going Down To) Liverpool

Eternal Flame

Open My Eyes

Ride The Ride

In Your Room

Walk Like An Egyptian

Miranda Lambert

I wasn’t very familiar with Miranda Lambert before this show, but a good portion of the crowd told me good things about her. She was the first person to use the entirety of the stage, and her band looked interesting. Her bassist had one of the biggest mohawks I have ever seen onstage, and I’ve seen Rancid multiple times, yet she also had an older gentleman handling the lead guitar/slide guitar parts. She was really good with the crowd, and had a genuinely good time. My only issue with her was primarily with her mix. Her vocals were really muddy, so I couldn’t make out many lyrics, which was sad because what I could make out seemed like it was pretty witty, albeit a little violent. Her shotgun-shaped mike stand was fun prop that she used just enough, and her brief cover of Kings Of Leon’s “Sex On Fire” helped me forget how much I can’t stand Kings Of Leon.

Heart

Heart aren’t given enough respect by the feminist movement. More than any riot grrl band (not to devalue the importance of riot grrl), they opened the rock world to women in a huge way. They were the first rock band where the women were the songwriters and also took control of the leads. Nancy Wilson is the kind of guitarist that could show Jimmy Page a thing or two, and at this show, they made sure to keep this set as metal as they could. The whole set was devoted to the edgier, heavier Heart. Only in the middle of the set, where they played a few decent songs off their upcoming record, Red Velvet Car, did things mellow. Nancy took lead vocals from her sister on the strongest of the new songs, “Hey You,” and then played a powerful reading “Alone,” with the stage bare aside from the Wilson sisters and keyboardist Debbie Shair (Ironically, this was the only time all day that only women were on stage).

Ann Wilson’s voice has only improved with time, with a soulful richness that is incomparable in any genre of music. They closed the main set with the near-perfect closer of “Crazy On You” and “Barracuda,” which is still one of the greatest riffs in musical history. They managed to avoid any of their sappier stuff like “These Dreams” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You.” In fact, my only complaint about their set was the encore, which was a cover of Led Zepplin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” which left the majority of the crowd kind of confused, aside from the handful of people that recognized the song. It’s a weird song, and kind of took the energy away from the set, which would have been better served by “Magic Man,” or even a slightly more intense Zeppelin cover, like “Rock & Roll” or “Battle Of Evermore,” both of which Heart have been known to cover in the past.

Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan is, of course, the brainchild of this whole affair. Which made it feel a little strange when the bulk of the crowd seemed to leave after Heart. It might have been the fullness of the day, or they may have actually all been there for Heart, I don’t know. Nonetheless, the few folks left gave her rapt attention. She opened the set on the piano with her ballad “Angel,” kind of a mellow choice, but after the full throttle set from Heart, it was pleasant to hear such a tender song. McLachlan was much more energetic than expected, playing a balance of old and new, but rarely going too deep into her catalog.

Setlist

Angel

Building A Mystery

Loving You Is Easy

Stupid

World On Fire

A Will Remember You

Forgiveness

Aida

Out Of Tune

Sweet Surrender

Possession

Ice Cream

The set was closed out with the ladies of Heart coming out for a cover of Patti Smith’s “Because The Night,” and the few folks in the crowd moved on home, certainly content with their experiences, and maybe coming home with a new favorite act or two.

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Color Photography by Marie Carney, Black & White Photography by Heather Beaudry, and Sarah Mclachlan & Marie Digby Photography by Me, who would really like a Susannah Hoffs signature Rickenbacker for his birthday.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pouria July 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I’ve always wanted to see M.Lambert live. Mostly because I have a huge crush on her.

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Tony July 9, 2010 at 7:29 am

Great review, as always it makes me feel like I was there without the cost and inconvenience.

A comment on the Pic Lens photo’s style. Once in a while I get a photo with a string of thumbnails across the bottom and an X in the top right to close. This works great. The rest of the time you get one photo and have to click to go the next, when you close the window you end up back at the start of the article. Kind of weird 🙂

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Jason July 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Thank you for the very thorough review! I do feel like I was there now, which greatly alleviates the weird sense of guilt I have about missing it.

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