Lollapalooza 2010 recap: Friday

The Lolla grounds grew again, stretching the grounds out wider so that there is no chance of one stage bleeding into another. Which is awesome, if you’re a band, but bank on walking an extra mile and a half over the course of the day.

Foxy Shazam, Sony Bloggie Stage
Got there late thanks to the relocation of the media area (Roosevelt, really?), but their final song was a beast. Lead singer Eric Sean Nally leapfrogged onto the guitarist’s shoulders, then kicked his guitar as he was trying to solo. The keyboardist stood on top of his keyboard, stomping on the keys. It was bedlam. It was awesome. Definitely see these guys if they come near you.

First cover song of the day: B.o.B., covering MGMT’s “Kids.”

Ancient Astronauts, Perry’s
These guys got stuck in a reggae groove and couldn’t get out, but there was a neat mash-up of “Blitzkrieg Bop” thrown in, which was cool.

Playstation edit

“That’s right, I paid $200 to spend the weekend inside on a Playstation. So?”

Raphael Saadiq, Parkways Soundstage
I’m still not sure how he wound up on the bill but I’m not complaining, as his album The Way I See It was one of my favorite albums of 2008. His set was refreshing, the band decked out in suits while Saadiq dished out his vintage Motown jams. Then right in the middle, he completely threw down this gargantuan guitar track. Very odd, but the kids loved it.

The Big Pink, adidas Stage
So…much…droning…must…play…this…one…note…forever…

On the plus side, they ended their set 15 minutes early. Whew.

Devo, Parkways Soundstage
Hats off to the boys from Akron, as their afternoon set killed. They mixed in a few songs from their (damn good) new album Something for Everybody, played “Whip It” surprisingly early in the set, then went on a fans-only trip from there that had this old-school Devo fan flipping out. “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA”? Hell, yes.

F**k Buttons, Sony Bloggie Stage
Went to catch up with my buddy Tim at this set, but he was already bored and moving on before I got there.

Second cover song of the day: Matt & Kim doing Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.”

Kim of Matt & Kim also had the quote of the day, when she talked of wanting the people working the Jumbotron to do a close-up of her tits.

Neon Trees, BMI stage
These guys sounded pretty good, and the singer said he saw some kids sneak over the fence. It was amazing to watch everyone bail on their set after they played “Animal,” though. Same thing happened during Devo’s set after “Whip It.”

Hot Chip, Parkways Soundstage
There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with Hoy Chip’s set, but I had been on my feet for six hours at that point, and I needed to rest. Went to lie down on the hillside, and fell asleep. Damn, that felt good.

Meanwhile, the crowd gathering for Lady Gaga is without question the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, at Lolla or anywhere else. all of Grant Park is a sea of bodies. And there’s still one more band to go before she takes the stage.

Ass Pear edit

Lady Gaga wannabe ass pear.

Chromeo, adidas Stage
These band of funk poppers are about to jump to the next level. The new material was good, and they know how to entertain a crowd. They even fooled around with Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” with one of them singing in Auto-Tune, “I want my Chromeo.” Nice

Lady Gaga, Parkways Soundstage
Say this for the girl – she puts on an elaborate show. There was a car on the stage with a keyboard built into it, and one of her backing singers looked like Grace Jones. The problem is that there were a lot of young kids there to see her, and Ms. Gaga spent a bunch of the time swearing like a sailor. It grew tiresome. And at any rate, there was someone else we wanted to check out.

2ManyDJs, Perry’s
The brothers in Soulwax – speaking of which, any time you guys want to make another Soulwax album is all right with me – closed the DJ tent with a fun set that featured the Chemical Brothers, 808 State, Guns ‘n Roses, the KLF, Stardust (a.k.a. Daft Punk), the Clash, the Gossip and even Pink Floyd in a medley of songs about money. The graphics that they had synced up with the set were awesome too, taking the album covers of the songs they’re spinning and bringing them to life. Best of all was the shot of Nicolas Cage and what I’m pretty sure was Macaulay Culkin. Fun times.

Big, big opening day. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, Saturday isn’t quite as hectic. Looking forward to seeing Green Day tear the place down. They’re booked for two hours and 15 minutes, which is the longest set we’ve seen at Lolla yet. I’m pretty sure they’ll make it count. For now, though, it’s time for bed.

  

Lollapalooza 2010 Pre-Day One: Choose your battles

One of the things about Lollapalooza’s marketing angle was that we’ve always found amusing is the idea that the consumer was getting well over 100 bands for about $200, so they’re paying about two bucks per band. The problem with that logic, of course, is that most of the time there are five bands playing at once, meaning that you couldn’t possibly see every band that you’re supposedly paying two bucks to see. And that’s all right – we get that they’re trying to provide as much entertainment for as many different musical cliques as possible, and that’s how it should be. Yes, it may create the occasional conflict – last year’s biggie for us was when they pitted the Kaiser Chiefs against the Airborne Toxic Event – but for the most part, the worst thing you’ll have to deal with is missing the beginning or end of a band’s set as you’re trekking from the northern stages to the southern stages, or vice versa.

This year, however, boasts some scheduling conflicts that frankly have us scratching our heads. Why, for example, book Mavis Staples and Raphael Saadiq, presumably here to add some color to a largely lily-white music festival, and then have them play at the same time? Odds are, anyone who’s interested in seeing one of those two would like to see the other; why make that impossible? If crowd control is the issue, it couldn’t have been too much trouble to have them play one after the other on opposite ends of Grant Park, would it? Or even better, have them play back to back on the north side or south side. We know that they all have other touring commitments that complicate things, but really, we see no reason why Saadiq and Staples couldn’t play against artists that, you know, they have nothing in common with.

But alas, there are a lot of bands that we’d love to see this year but can’t, due to some conflict or other. In order to see Devo, Green Day, 2Many DJs and Wolfmother, we’ll have to miss the New Pornographers, Cut Copy, Phoenix, the Strokes, and MGMT. On a heavily front-loaded lineup (Friday is easily the most star-studded lineup this year), missing out on five bands is big. We suspect that we’ll be killing much time at the DJ tent this year, and that’s all right: we had a great time there last year (thanks to our friend Leyla at Sunday Morning Soliloquy for showing us the light), and with the inclusion of Ancient Astronauts and 2ManyDJs, a.k.a. Soulwax (they’re huge in Belgium, because they were born and raised there), Perry Farrell clearly understands the importance of taking the DJ tent seriously. We still haven’t forgiven Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike, though, for making us late for the Go! Team in 2006 when he blew off his appearance at a Hard Rock function. No one’s late at Lolla, period. Well, except Amy Winehouse, and you all saw what happened after that. (much drinking and drugs…)

Still, scheduling conflicts aside, we’re looking forward to a fun – and if the current forecast is to be believed, not terribly hot – weekend of music, and though we’re missing the New Pornographers, we’re interviewing one of them next week. Wonder how she’ll react when we tell her we decided to see Devo instead…

Along with a giant, comprehensive recap of the festival highlights, there will be nightly recaps of each day’s events, so make sure to check back here each day to find out what went down.

  

Was Lollapalooza ’09 the best one yet?

This year’s Lollapalooza is officially on the books, and whether or not you were there to catch all the highs and lows of the ’09 edition of the long-running festival in person, now it’s time for a recap. Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker and James Eldred were ‘paloozing with the best of them this year, and they’ve thoughtfully prepared a day-by-day report of what went down at Grant Park last weekend — and if that isn’t enough to sate your appetite for Lolla coverage, they also collaborated on a liveblog of the event.

It’s all up at Bullz-Eye now, so to read about the “epic” lineup and “biblical” weather, just click on the image above or follow this link!

  

Lollapalooza 2009, Sunday recap: Spending warm summer days indoors

All right, we didn’t actually spend the day indoors, but we hid in the shade as much as possible, because, well, it was freaking hot today. This led to one of us staying up north (he had other plans, which you’ll read about later) and one of us staying south. Who got the better end of the deal? Let’s just agree to disagree, shall we?

Ra Ra Riot, Chicago 2016 stage
Eldred: These guys sa sa sucked. Okay, not really, but they were ba ba boring. And despite the fact that I found their cellist incredibly hot (wow, I never thought I’d say that) I found my head even hotter, so I headed for the shade.

Bat for Lashes, Vitaminwater stage
Eldred: I’m always hesitant to give bands who primarily play slow-to-mid-tempo music a chance at festivals. I usually don’t have the patience for it when I’m melting away in the sun. However, Bat for Lashes proved to be the exception. The beautiful Natasha Khan (who is Bat for Lashes in the studio) came out in a sequined jumpsuit, and with a powerful bellow held the audience captive while she also played piano, the autoharp and what I think was an accordion. Pretty amazing stuff, made even more amazing by the gale-force wind that nearly destroyed the banners surrounding the stage.

Portugal, The Man, Playstation stage
Medsker: I will concede that I came very late into their set in order to find a good spot to watch the Kaiser Chiefs, but I hoped that some good grooves would come my way. All I remember is some drawn-out, “Black Magic Woman” type of jam session, and little else. Hooks, apparently, are not their strong suit.

Airborne Toxic Event, Chicago 2016 stage
Eldred: I really didn’t make an active choice to see these guys. I more or less collapsed in the shade, and they happened to be playing in the background. I’m more or less indifferentl to them. Sure, their single “Sometime Around Midnight” is a good tune, but I really couldn’t care less about seeing them. I was jealous of my cohorts who made the trip across the park to see the Kaiser Chiefs. Still, I did get to hear the ATE’s unlikely cover of Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” (the song that Buffalo Bill dances to in “Silence of the Lambs”), which was actually pretty good and went over great with their fans. I might not like their tunes, but they definitely know how to entertain a crowd.

Kaiser Chiefs, Budweiser stage
Medsker: I was concerned about how the Chiefs would be once I heard that singer Ricky Wilson broke a rib during one of the band’s shows in New York opening for Green Day. I should have known better. They absolutely killed, opening with “Never Miss a Beat” and scarcely letting up from there. Ricky was even diving into the crowd and climbing the speakers. I wonder, though, if there will be any fallout from Ricky saying, “Can we get these people 20,000 beers?” The crowd roars, and then he says, “But no Bud, though.” (Look at which stage they played.) I saw Guster pull a stunt like that at a show. They wound up not getting paid. Sponsorship-bashing issues aside, the Kaiser Chiefs made the most of the last date on their US tour. Please come back soon, boys. Eldred, for one, wants to see what he missed out on.

Dan Deacon, Vitaminwater stage
Eldred: Praise Dan Deacon, that crazy electronic music-playing bear of a man. Sure, he may have taken a bit too much time getting the sound just right, but the payoff was more than enough. Joined by close to 20 people (including a marching band), Deacon not only played music, but the audience, guiding them to create a stage in the lawn for someone to jump down and conduct the crowd, culminated in an ungodly barrage of plastic bottles flying into the air. Pure madness and pure ecstasy. Dan Deacon made the heat go away with the power of his good vibes.

The Hood Internet, Perry’s
Medsker: This pair of Chicago DJs were spinning some crazy mash-ups from the word go. Someone was rapping over “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” while Rivers Cuomo was singing “Buddy Holly” over a monster dance beat. I also heard bits of Walter Meego (another Chicago band, which makes me suspect they know each other), New Order, Mylo, that birthday texting song, and, of course, Michael Jackson. And thank goodness the people by one of the drink stations were giving away bottles of water. After the Kaiser Chiefs, I needed about a gallon.

Neko Case, Budweiser stage
Medsker: Neko has one of those sing-me-the-phone-book voices, but this setting seriously tested my patience. She and her band sounded fine (once they took care of a feedback problem), but as Neko herself admitted, she was playing a nighttime set during a daytime show. She was grateful for the “frisky” people up front. Sadly, I was not one of them. Two guys in front of me gave me the biggest laugh of the day when they waited for Neko to start, heard three notes of her first song, and walked away shaking their heads.

Shortly after this, I called it a day, but I assure you that I have my reasons. One of my all-time favorite bands is playing on the north side of town, and they don’t play here much. My apologies to the Killers and Jane’s Addiction, who will surely put on great shows. Bonus coverage to follow…

Passion Pit, Citi stage
Eldred: Every year the Citi stage seems to be the home of an act that could easily pack one of the larger stages. Last year it was Girl Talk, and this year it was Passion Pit. (Ed. note: Whither Peter Bjorn and John?) People were packed tight on the concrete to see the band perform “Sleepyhead” and other highlights from the debut LP. Well, maybe “other highlights” is a bit of a stretch, since a good portion of the crowd hightailed it after the group belted out their signature tune. Passion Pit didn’t seem to be bothered by the the fleeing masses or the heat, but the latter sure got to me. I caved and went back to the hotel, Snoop Dog be dammed.

The Killers, Chicago 2016
Eldred: Refreshed after a lenghty break in my a/c blasted room, I trekked back for the final act of the festival. Given the choice between the Killers and Jane’s Addiction, I chose the Killers, and not just because they were the closest to my hotel (okay, that may have had something to do with it). There was nothing particularly wrong with the Killers’ performance, but there was nothing really amazing about it, either. I don’t know, maybe seeing Depeche Mode and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the two nights before set my expectations too high. Everyone seemed to be having a good time though, especially Brandon Flowers, who was eating up the massive crowd (which he claimed was the biggest they’ve had in the States). Maybe they weren’t the best band to close a night, but they sure as hell pleased their fans. All I know is that after three days that included pouring ran, blaring heat, and everything in between while running back and forth both sides of Grant Park to watch over 20 bands, I’m done with rocking out…for a least a few weeks.

Bonus coverage: The Trashcan Sinatras, Schuba’s
Medsker: Ah, now you know where the old man has gone. From the moment that I heard “Hayfever” while I was getting ready for work one lazy morning in 1993, the Trashcan Sintatras have owned me, so once I heard that they were going to be in town the weekend that I was supposed to cover Lolla, I begged the Lolla scheduling gods that I would not have to choose between the Trashcans and either Depeche Mode or the Beastie Boys. As it turned out, they were scheduled against the Killers – whom I saw in 2005, and they were fun – or Jane’s Addiction, and with all apologies to the guy that started this whole thing, I’d rather see the Trashcans. Yes, that’s how much they mean to me.

The show was great fun. They played a bunch of tunes from I’ve Seen Everything, including ‘Hayfever,” and a bunch of songs from their new one In the Music, which hopefully will be out in the States soon. And I made good on my promise to buy the guitarist a drink, for which he was most grateful.

And now, we sleep. Full, detailed recap soon to follow. But for now, night night.

  

Lollapalooza 2009 Saturday recap: Here comes the sun. Stupid sun.

It’s official: the weather gods are fucking with us.

After yesterday’s cool temperatures and nonstop autumn rain, it only makes sense that today would be not just sunny but insufferably hot and humid, with a plague of horseflies thrown in for good measure. And by all accounts, it’s going to worse tomorrow. Hotter, and with next to no cloud cover. And of course, that’s the day the Kaiser Chiefs are playing. Anyone who saw them in 2005 will remember that Ricky Wilson lost his voice and threw up from heat exhaustion at that show. And this time, he’ll be in direct sunlight (and nursing a broken rib). Rut-roh.

Band of Skulls, BMI stage
Medsker: I’d say that this English blues rock trio (think White Stripes with less fuzz and more groove) drew the short straw today and had to open the show, but Lolla has a tendency to put the buzz bands up first to lure people in early. Smart play, because the Skulls drew a pretty big crowd for the BMI stage, and sounded damn good for a band that was clearly not used to playing at 11:15 in the morning. Selfishly, I was glad to see them play their radio hit “I Know What I Like” early in the set, because the flies were eating me alive. Besides, a Beatle offspring was warming up on the south side.

thenewno2, Citi stage
Medsker: Say this for Dhani Harrison, the son of George and leader of thenewno2: he has no interest in sounding like a Beatle. Instead, his merry mates attack their guitars and keyboards like Radiohead after a case of Red Bull. They’re clearly loving the music that they make, and it made me fell guilty that I didn’t share their enthusiasm. I did talk to Dhani in the media area, though, and he couldn’t have been nicer. I mentioned Liam Lynch (creator of “Sifl & Oly” and all around genius nut case), and he told me that Liam hasn’t left his house in over a year. Methinks an intervention is in the cards.

The media area was actually swarmed with rock stars today, and unlike my usual timid self, I actually worked up the nerve to chat with a few of them. James from Glasvegas was very nice, and their drummer has the coolest purse ever: it has the cover of Blondie’s Parallel Lines on it.

Miike Snow, Vitaminwater stage
Eldred: Further lending credence to my theory that the Swedes are taking over the world via catchy pop music, Miike Snow lit up the sun-cooked audience with their unique brand of upbeat dance-friendly rock. Donning freaky white masks for their first two numbers, the members of the group also wore matching black outfits, and the combo made them look like a gang straight out of the classic film “The Warriors.” Accompanying the wacky outfits were some amazing jam-heavy renditions of “Animal,” “Burial” and “In Search Of.” Awesome stuff that made me forget about my baking body for a bit.

Atmosphere, Chicago 2016 stage
Eldred: Look, I wanted to like them, I really did. But it was pushing 100 degrees at this point, there was no shade to be found and most of the people around me were Tool fans already camping out prime real estate for their performance some six hours later. And the Tool fans, well, lets just say they live up to their favorite band’s name. I took off for the shade of the media area and gawked at Coheed And Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez and his permtastic hair.

Perry Farrell, Perry’s DJ stage
Medsker: Leave it to the show’s founding father to break his own rule about punctuality. Dude was 15 minutes late getting to the stage, not that the people there minded. This was my first trip to Perry’s stage in all the years that I’ve been coming to Lolla, and I wished I had done it sooner. It was nice to hear recorded music for a change, especially when the DJ on before Perry was playing Rage Against the Machine, meaning just because people were DJing doesn’t mean that area was strictly a Euro house wankfest. I didn’t know either of the songs I heard Perry sing, but I just loved watching him grooving to beat music. His wife was there backing him up, and if you’ve never seen a picture of Perry Farrell’s wife, you owe it to yourself to look her up. Now.

Arctic Monkeys, Budweiser stage
Medsker: I actually felt bad for the Arctic Monkeys and Glasvegas. The pale European bands had to play at the peak of the day, and they were both directly in the sun. That had to have sucked, not that the Monkeys showed any signs of exhaustion. They went out and did their typically Monkey-like angular rock thing, and they had what looked like a football stadium’s worth of people watching them do it. Unfortunately, I could not stay to see if they played “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” (I’m assuming they did) because it was my birthday, my wife and daughter are in town, and we have dinner plans with old friends. But fear not: Mr. Eldred stayed for the whole day, and from what he told me via text, things got much, much better from here.

Santigold, Playstation stage
Eldred: Hell yeah, they did. Santigold may have came out 10 minutes late, but no one cared once she tore into high-energy renditions of “Creator,” “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Unstoppable.” Backed with her own brand of hardcore Solid Gold dancers, Santigold rocked, plain and simple. Her rendition of the Cure’s “Killing An Arab” made the older fans go nuts, leaving the younger crowd slightly confused, if still entertained. I say screw the kids, all artists should perform covers of obscure ’80s songs to teach the little bastards some art.

Diplo, Perry’s stage
Eldred: Guitar players may get all the chicks, but DJs get all the chicks who are on Ecstasy. Perry’s stage was crawling with barely-dressed young women screaming like crazy the second Diplo took control of the turntables. Decked out in a three-piece suit and looking suave as hell, he showed how a DJ can dominate a “rock” concert even when focusing on obscure dance and house tracks for most of the first half of his set, which is all I stuck around for because I wanted a prime spot for Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Budweiser stage
Eldred: I was hoping that Tool would draw the majority of the fans, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ performance would be of the intimate variety. Unfortunately it looked like I wasn’t the only person sick of all the Tool fans, because the place was packed tight. I was nearly killed twice (once by overcrowding, and once by a low-flying crane camera) but it didn’t matter. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs absolutely destroyed the place. My underwear could have been lit on fire and I wouldn’t have noticed as they delivered both the fast-paced singles from their new dance album It’s Blitz! as well as post-punk rockers from Gold Lion and Fever to Tell. Karen O. is a goddess, decked out in a crazy Indian headdress and floating around like Stevie Nicks in her prime, rocking like Siouxsie Sioux and dancing like Terri Nunn. I want to marry her.

  

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