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.

  

Dhani Harrison talks up the Beatles’ “Rock Band”

Dhani Harrison…yes, you may know him as George’s son…has been making the press rounds, talking up You Are Here, the album by his band, thenewno2. While doing so, however, it hasn’t exactly required a great deal of arm-twisting to get him to chat about how he had more than a little bit to do with the folks at Apple Corps agreeing to license the Beatles’ music for their very own volume of “Rock Band.” But that’s fair enough, since “Yomp,” a song by thenewno2, was released as downloadable content for “Rock Band” on July 29, 2008, and another track, “Crazy Tuesday,” was released as one of 20 free songs for “Rock Band 2.”

“I basically did that for Apple,” admitted Harrison, “so that they could see it and say, ‘Oh, look, there’s Dhani, he’s a new media kind of person, and this is how he’s selling his stuff. Maybe we should consider doing that with the Beatles, seeing as we don’t have any digital deal or anything.'”

The Beatles’ “Rock Band” evolved out of several meetings Harrison had with Alex Rigopulos, co-founder of Harmonix Music Systems, the developers of “Rock Band.”

“He’s a genius,” said Harrison, “just the loveliest, loveliest guy. We were sitting around one day, and he just said to me, ‘Do you think they would ever go for a Beatle game?’ And I was thinking the same thing to talk to him about! ‘It would be amazing, wouldn’t it?’ I said to him. Actually, I think I said, ‘It would be amazing because I could kick your ass at ‘I Am the Walrus’ while dressed as a wizard in Shea Stadium.’

“Do you know what I mean? Or I could put on the ice skating outfit from ‘Help!’ and then beat you at ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ in the universe somewhere. I don’t know. Just make up whatever you can; ‘I Am the Walrus’ at the Cavern Club, even. Wouldn’t that be fun? And we both just started riffing on that kind of stuff until we both just were in hysterics, and it was obviously a brilliant idea, but I said, ‘Well, that’s never going to happen, is it?’ And he said, ‘No, it’s never going to happen.’ I said, ‘But I should talk to the guys from Apple, anyway. Because it is actually a no-brainer. It is the biggest no-brainer that I’ve ever, ever thought about, and if Apple don’t go for it, then they are shooting themselves in the foot, because someone else is going to do it. Someone else is going to get their own game.

“In the way the media works these days, in the way that music delivery systems work these days, I find it quite often best to be first,” Harrison explained. “If you were the first person ever to design an application for the iPhone and you patented it, you would be very, very better off than we are right now, you know? But you’ve got to be the first one to do it. So I figured that Led Zeppelin or The Stones were going to do it unless we just got on to it. So I got cracking with the guys from Apple. I kind of almost bullied them into believing how amazing it was. They really didn’t need much convincing if you looked to the fourth quarter, the month of December 2007, I think they sold something like 10,000,000 units of ‘Guitar Hero 2’ in just one month, and they are $50.00 each. I said, ‘If you do the math, if you go 50/50 with ‘Rock Band’ and you sell a Beatles ‘Rock Band’ game, that’s a big deal’ you know. And not to mention that, once the game is made, you can just keep adding songs to it. You could do the Bangladesh pack, you could do the ‘Live and Let Die’ pack, you could do the ‘Imagine’ pack…”

Are you salivating yet? Better clean yourself up. You’ve got ’til September 9th until the Beatles’ “Rock Band” hits stores.

  

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