Bradley's Almanac

The ‘Nac at XX Merge: Gone Mergin’!

Posted on July 25, 2009 at 10:32 am | No Comments

Greetings from below the Mason-Dixon line, y’all. In case you haven’t been following me on Twitter, I’m down in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area for XX Merge – the 5-day 20th anniversary blowout celebrating the magic made by Merge Records. They’re one of my favorite labels, perhaps the fave, and when this thing was announced earlier this year I was compelled to make the journey down south from Boston. Actually, the Boston area is well-represented here at XX Merge, with at least a dozen attending fans I could name off the top of my head, and likely many more I haven’t met. Warms the heart, it does.

As I write this, we’ve hit the festival’s halfway point – it kicked off on Wednesday at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro (the event’s main venue), and what followed were three consecutive nights of massively varied, rarely disappointing, passionately delivered sets by artists who are clearly grateful to be here, and to be part of the Merge family. 17 bands so far, with at least 16 more to go: a free outdoor show this afternoon in the parking lot behind the wonderful Orange County Social Club, then one more Cat’s Cradle show tonight, and a grand finale at UNC’s Memorial Hall tomorrow evening. Then home, where I will clearly require a post-vacation vacation.

One of the best parts of this shindig is the lack of a mapped-out lineup for all four of the Cat’s Cradle shows – you only know what time the first band’s on, but you don’t know who they’ll be, or who will follow them, unless you’re looking for clues on the merch table or the equipment setup. It’s added a lot of extra fun to this thing, and has also helped keep the crowds solid for just about every act.

I’m planning (ok, more like hoping) to write up a post on each day, but for now I’ll just share a few links for you to experience XX Merge vicariously, through my eyes and others…

  • As I mentioned, I’m Twittering this sucker when I can, so follow up if you’re game. There are plenty of others doing the same, so do an easy #XXMerge hash tag search for the collected crowd consciousness.
  • While I don’t have much extra time to write down here (too busy, um, having fun), I have been using what I do have to upload my photos. Check out my XX Merge Flickr collection for shots so far from XX Merge Day One, XX Merge Day Two, and the Friday afternoon Merge FANily BBQ Picnic & Kickball Game. I’ve got some great pics from the day three show to share, but I wanted to fire off this post first.
  • By far the best pre-XX Merge coverage I read was the wonderful work done by the local Independent Weekly, who pulled together an extensive seven-part preview, and who are adding more content as the fest progresses. A must read. I’ll have links to coverage from other publications in my individual posts.
  • By the way, I can feel your envy from here… best not to bottle that up. You can take comfort in the fact that this party is being very well-documented, with at least five-camera video being shot, participating bands being interviewed, and from what I hear, special acoustic take-away performances being laid down. Esteemed director Jem Cohen is involved, so there’s little doubt the footage will see the light of day, somehow, somewhere, somewhen. And hopefully sometime before XXV Merge. Which, given the absolute blast I’ve been having, I’ll be at as well.

    More later… back onto the humid Carrboro streets I go…


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  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Saturday, December 16th
    Bent Shapes (farewell show),
    Laika's Orbit, & Beware the
    Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion
    @ Great Scott

    Monday, December 18th
    Big Brave
    Child Bite
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, December 21st
    @ Sonia

    Friday, December 22nd
    Love Love & Friends Xmas Show!
    with special guests Rick Berlin,
    Field Day, Bob Kendall,
    Anna Rae/Hemway, & Martha Marin
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Thursday, December 28th
    Cymbals Eat Guitars
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday & Sunday
    December 30th & 31st
    Deer Tick
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, December 31st
    Speedy Ortiz
    Wendy Eisenberg
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, January 6th
    Fur Purse (LP Release Party!)
    with Whore Paint,
    Shepherdess, and Sister
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Wednesday, January 10th
    Craig Finn & the
    Uptown Controllers
    with John K. Samson
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, January 12th
    Passion Pit
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, January 13th
    40 musicians form 8 new
    bands & perform that night
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, January 13th
    Lana Del Rey
    Jhene Aiko
    @ TD Garden

    Saturday, January 13th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Mini Dresses
    Strange Passage
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, January 13th
    Camper Van Beethoven
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Thursday, January 18th
    Family Planning
    Olivia Neutron-John
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, January 21st
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Mega Bog
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, January 26th
    The Posies
    @ City Winery Boston

    Wednesday, January 31st
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    Night Beats
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, February 3rd
    Steve Earle
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 9th
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, February 10th
    Weakened Friends
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday & Sunday
    February 10th & 11th
    Ian Hunter
    & the Rant Band
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 16th
    Steve Earle
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 16th
    Robert Plant
    @ the Orpheum

    Saturday, February 17th
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, February 17th
    Noel Gallagher’s
    High Flying Birds
    @ the Boston Opera House

    Sunday, February 18th
    X Ambassadors
    Now, Now
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, February 21st
    Frightened Rabbit
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 1st
    French Vanilla
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, March 6th
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, March 8th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 8th
    @ the Royale

    Friday, March 9th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ Sanders Theatre, Harvard

    Friday, March 9th
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, March 10th
    Nada Surf celebrating the 15th
    anniversary of their "Let Go" LP
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday, March 23rd
    Glen Hansard
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Saturday, March 31st
    S. Carey
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, April 3rd
    Yo La Tengo
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, April 7th
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, April 10th
    Franz Ferdinand
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Tuesday, April 17th
    Chelsea Wolfe
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 20th
    Buffalo Tom
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, April 22nd
    The Darkness
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 27th
    They Might Be Giants
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, April 28th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    "Substance" collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday & Sunday
    April 28th & 29th
    Camp Cope
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 18th
    The Fratellis
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, June 2nd
    Japanese Breakfast
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, June 11th
    Jimmy Eat World
    Alex Lahey
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, July 17th
    @ Xfinity Center

    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park

    Friday, August 10th
    Pedro the Lion
    @ Brighton Music Hall