12 March 2009

Poster Child

 :: T H E   A E S T H E T I C   A P P A R A T U S  ::
Test Print No. 176

This blog theme is so obvious it's ridiculous:

I love design.  I love music.  Enter: The Concert Poster.

And not just any old concert poster. Not the ones that if you Google, "Rock Poster Design" can be created in 3 lame-ass Photoshop filters (makes my blood boil, Jerry). I'm referring to posters that simply, yet highly conceptually, capture the essence of a tune/mood/vibe/show via four mere elements: typography, imagery, ink, paper.

Posters that make you want to go to the show.

Posters that reignite the full body experience you felt during the show.  Cigarette, please. ;)

The creations below are crafted by the Minneapolis masterminds at The Aesthetic Apparatus. There are a bevvy of studios I want to blog about when it comes to poster creation, but AA's concert posters aligned so naturally w/tunes I already had in my music library—making them a fitting partner for my initial foray into such rich subject matter. Their dialogue surrounding their work is worth reading as their insights are wonderfully entertaining, and definitely poignant.

Whether you are here to just read or just listen, enjoy. I am highly confident I did not disappoint w/this offering. At best, I hope this post entices you to reflect on some of your favorite concerts and rekindle that awesome yummy feeling you had when you were at the gig. Concerts are money well spent as memories last a lifetime.

Happy Spring! Joy

I'll Believe in Anything
Wolf Parade  (iTunes)
 Love this poster, love this band, and love this song-def in my top 20 tunes. Just the energy, the screetch, and the lyrics... Amazing lyrics:
"I need sunshine. Your blood, your bones, your voice, and your ghost..." Made me a believer, that's for sure.

As for this specific poster, I dig the overlapping silk-screened details. They are poetic, in a vertigo kind of way.

Underwater (You and Me)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
As you've read in prior posts, I saw CYHSY at Lollapalooza and the live experience was incredible. They sounded amazing-my fear was their unique sound was studio produced. Quick sidebar: I am a water rat and love everything about water thus was drawn to this song. This poster's depictions of these bobblehead-esque shapes just jives w/the undulating tempo of the song. And a fab dose of orange. Always on my visual hit parade.

Do the Whirlwind
Architecture In Helsinki
On the same bill was AiH...surely an over-the-top high energy show. AiH is a pretty campy group, and this song is thematic of their style.

One More Hour
Sleater-Kinney    (iTunes)
Another act I caught at Lolla (06?) was Sleater-Kinney. It was high sun, high heat, and man, were they an angry duo just rockin it full blast. And, I can't stress "angry" enough which clearly Aesthetic Apparatus picked up on as that's one hissy fit of a kitten image, yes/no? This poster does the band justice: The use of fuschia is a sarcastic nod to a female band who'd never want to be aligned w/the stereotypical pink. A playful attention to detail. Bonus points.

The Seed
The Roots    (iTunes)
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon house band. Love it. Love this song. Just groovy. The vid does a fab job of capturing the Roots' essence, as does this poster. I mean, come on, if you walked passed this poster stapled to... a wall, ...a pole, ...in any city, ...of any size, you'd know right away the funk and groove this band was gonna put out. Strangely, I like to cook to this song. That is NOT a euphemism, btw. ;)

Revolutionary Kind
Gomez    (iTunes)
I like this song as I'd like to think I am the 'Revolutionary Kind'. Um, up for discussion. ;)  A few time codes to share as this song just strikes a chord w/me on these occasions: at 1:15 "Keep on in the jungle with your techno-cality..." (what does that mean?) and the tilt-a-whirl instrumental from 1:56-2:43, and then the finale w/the acoustic guitars starting at 2:46, me-likey. I like this poster as Gomez' music is like a tree in the forest. You can find your way, but it will take some introspective navigation. If you are lucky enough to be in Austin for SXSW Music, put them on our agenda. And, send me pics.

Don't You Evah
Spoon    (iTunes)
Mostly b/c I have no musical aptitude in my bones




I gravitate towards songs that provide a glimpse of reality, of honesty, or rawness to them. I love this intro...kinda like you are there in the studio w/Spoon. I mean if evah, I'd love to be that Roadie Gal saying, "Check check, One two, One two... Hello Cleveland". Rock star moment (note: not Rock Band 2 moment. Distinct difference.) As far as the poster, just love the frenetic visage and the stark two-color palette.

Liz Phair    (iTunes)
I am not an angry female. But I do have a healthy appreciation for when Liz let's loose on her opinions regarding love + relationships. She and Juliana Hatfield came on my radar during my Witt days as being enlightened yet rather pissed off gals. Nice nod(s) to my alter ego, I suppose. Ha! I love how this poster captures that dynamic (sexy yet angry) via the hard-to-miss typographic treatment! Girl rule, boys drool, eh, Lizzy? ;)

Lake Michigan
Rogue Wave    (iTunes)
Guess I have Lollapalooza 2009 on my mind as every time I hear this tune I think about Chicago in the summer. I love Chicago and have had many good times there. And based on my ability to snag two elusive $60 3-day souvenir tix today, I will be at Lolla for another year. This poster, it's blue hues, and the teenie tiny postage stamp area that has the concert info speaks to Rogue Wave's success-tiny, but mighty. Give them a listen, please.

Sister Havana
Urge Overkill    (iTunes)
How awesome is this tune? Man, loads. Funny enough, my high school kin (Boardman High School, thank you very much) has taken to Facebook like a fish out of water in the past two weeks. I love this poster due to it's Class Ring inspiration. I never had a class ring, but def respect angst high school can conjur. Vote for Pedro!

Pinback    (iTunes)
By most fans' accounts, this song is about a fish dying. We owned a fish once. Sharper Image made a case for their bookshelf circular fish tank... I guess. And then the fish stared to die. I cried. I felt so bad.... This song doesn't make me cry, but it does remind me that I should stick w/kids and dogs. That, I can handle. This poster... is it a fish?, or maybe a bunny?... wow, hard to say. But it does radiate a sense of higher being which this song brings forth for me.

If I were a runner, I'd def put this in my run playlist. Just seems like a great pace to do that runner like thing. Oddly, most folks I know run... I need to do some reconnaissance. Read: I'm a power walker, trampoline-er, yoga/pilates doer. Not a runner. Run Forest Run c'est moi.

Love Dog
TV on the Radio   (iTunes)
So this has been a long blog post. Thank you if you've stayed to this bitter end. My point: this last song is amazing and this poster-just proves the eloquence of simple design. The details across the wrist are the perfect touch to such a pristine and highly graphic design.

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I am extraordinary, if you'd ever get to know me
I am extraordinary, I'm not your ordinary
average every day
sane psycho
super goddess
average every day
sane psycho

See me jump through hoops for you
You stand there watching me performing
What exactly do you do?
Have you ever thought it's you that's boring?
Who the hell are you?

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  1. AA are a couple of Madison boys that left and made their art bigger than city they moved to. It was inevitable.


  2. Columbus locals, FarmBarn Art Co., have been producing beautiful concert poster design for several years now: http://www.thefarmbarn.com/

    Some of them are even available for sale on their site.