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
    Unsane
    Big Brave
    Child Bite
    Hepatagua
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, December 21st
    Ceremony
    Nothing
    @ 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
    Ovlov
    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
    ONE NIGHT BAND
    40 musicians form 8 new
    bands & perform that night
    @ the Sinclair


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


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


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


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


    Sunday, January 21st
    Tennis
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, January 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, January 24th
    Destroyer
    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
    Girlpool
    @ 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
    Porches
    @ 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
    Wintersleep
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, March 1st
    Shopping
    French Vanilla
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, March 6th
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ Great Scott


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


    Thursday, March 8th
    Tune-Yards
    @ the Royale


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


    Friday, March 9th
    OMD
    @ 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
    Ought
    @ the Sinclair


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


    Tuesday, April 17th
    Ministry
    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
    Turnover
    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
    Weezer
    Pixies
    @ Xfinity Center


    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park


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