Lollapalooza 2010, The Final Recap: The Happy Hour Bands

As we recap the highlights and lowlights of Lollapalooza 2010, we can’t help but feel a little bad for the bands that play in the middle of the day, as their spot on the schedule means one of two things: either they haven’t ascended to the level of headliner and are holding spots until the big boys play, or they are big enough to headline, but are merely being used as bait to bring people in early. And, to add insult to injury, depending on which stage they’re playing, they get burned to a crisp by the sun. If you ask them, of course, they’ll tell you, like any player called up to the big leagues, that they’re just happy to be here. But we have to think that some of these bands would have preferred to play later to larger crowds, especially one group of spud boys out of Akron who are treating the comeback trail like a warpath.

Devo, Friday, Parkways Foundation Stage
Best show of the weekend that we saw with our own eyes, bar none. Devo’s currently riding a massive wave of good buzz with the release of Something for Everybody, the band’s first album in 20 years, and we were pretty sure that they would beat that new record over the heads of everyone here. And at first, they did, doing a new song/old song bit for the first six songs in the set. And then a strange thing happened – they played “Whip It” halfway through the set so the casual fans could leave (it’s a Lolla thing, leaving after hearing “the hit”), at which point they put on a fans-only show that left us stunned. Sure, we thought there was a good chance they’d play “Peek-a-Boo,” “That’s Good” and “Girl U Want,” but only in our wildest dreams did we expect them to break out “Going Under,” “Gates of Steel,” “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA,” “Jocko Homo,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” and “Mongoloid.” Both the set list and the performances were out of this world. Let’s hope the younger bands on the bill saw this show and took notes.

Photo by Dave Mead

Metric, Saturday, Playstation Stage
Ah, Emily Haines. We could watch her dance all day long. Our guy Greg raved about the band’s set at South by Southwest earlier this year, and he was not wrong. Playing the Playstation Stage, which is known as the Petrillo Band Shell the other 362 days of the year, the band sounded very good, though Haines’ vocals were drowned out here and there. The biggest drag is that the stage is sunken, and they drew such a large crowd that we had a hard time seeing Emily without peeking at the Jumbotron. The set wisely consisted primarily of their latest album Fantasies, and their version of “Stadium Love” had the entire crowd doing that “Ooooh-wooo-woooo” bit in the chorus, very cool. Haines could stand to work on her stage banter a bit, though. Actually, just about every band here could improve in that category.

Photo by Dave Mead

Wolfmother, Sunday, Parkways Foundation Stage
We still remember their performance from 2006 as being the most bone-crushing set anyone’s thrown down at the Chicago Lollas, and our man Eldred told us that the new Stockdale-plus-three-new-members incarnation of the band brought the goods as well. And while the set may have been predictable, the crowd still went “apeshit” for them.

Photo by Dave Mead

F**k Buttons, Friday, Sony Bloggie Stage
We went to the media area to get some water after Devo, while our friend Tim headed north to check out this electronic duo. He was bored and moved on before we even got there.

The Big Pink, Friday, adidas Stage
The best thing we can say about the Big Pink’s set was that it ended 15 minutes early. “Dominos” is catchy enough, but as we were getting food – and well within range of their stage – all we heard was droning. Lots and lots of droning. The 15 minutes of silence before Devo’s set was a blessing.

Read the rest after the jump...

Lollapalooza 2010 recap: Sunday Sunday here again, a walk in the park…

…or not, as the case may be. If today were an entry into Rotoworld’s player news, it would read like this:

1:00 CST: Bullz-Eye placed SE David Medsker on the 15-day Disabled List with a myriad of ailments and unfortunate timing.

Allow me to explain. And I can use a mathematical formula to do it.

Waking up a little sick and a lot sore + torrential winds + spitting rain + a miserable forecast from that called for more rain and 90-degree heat + a lackluster lineup (sorry, Lolla organizers, but while there were a few bands that interested me, none of them were of the must-see variety) + the fact that it’s my birthday = playing hooky for all intents and purposes, even though I did next to nothing, really. I’ve thought that three days was one day too many from the very moment they turned this into a three-day affair in 2006, and this year’s schedule did not help dissuade me, considering how grossly front-loaded it was.

But fear not, dear reader: we had another guy on site (on assignment for another site) who did some leg work for his ever-grateful editor. So here are James Eldred’s comments on the day’s events. And for the record, while I feel a tad guilty about actually taking some ‘me’ time and celebrating my birthday with my best friend rather than trekking down to Grant Park to see a bunch of bands I really had no interest in seeing in the first place, I can tell you with complete confidence that I’ll remember the day Tim and I spent in our old haunt a lot longer than I would have remembered any of those bands. What a drag it is getting old, indeed. Is this my last Lolla? Ah, I’m not ready to cross that bridge yet, though I will admit that I had more fun using a pair of pliers to pull broken plastic dart tips out of the dart board at Sedgwick’s than I did listening to Hot Chip on Friday. It’s all about where you are in life and what you want or expect from it, I guess.

HEALTH, adidas stage
Raining like a mother outside, but this dance/noise rock group from Los Angeles nearly blew away the bad weather with pure noise. An amazing way to start the day.

Nneka, Parkways Soundstage
This Nigerian/German singer with an amazing Afro got the worst of the morning showers. Great voice, but too quiet for a festival.

X Japan, Parkways Soundstage
X Japan was full of psychotic Japanese fans and very confused Americans. The band was over-the-top crazy and louder than fuck.

Wolfmother, Parkways Soundstage
Nothing unexpected from the classic-rock revivalists, but the crowd went apeshit for them.

Soundgarden, Parkways Soundstage
To quote Subpop founder Bruce Pavitt, Soundgarden sounded like Total Fucking Godhead. A bit rusty around the edges still, but it was two hours of grunge-rock heaven nonetheless.

Some other notes we culled from other people:
– Erykah Badu’s set was very nice
– The National were all right
– Arcade Fire were all right, too

Yes, I know those comments are none more vague, but they were from the couple at the table next to me at dinner, and the girl looked like she was severely sunburned. I didn’t want to push it. I was just happy to get an opinion from her before she burst into flames.

There will be a more in-depth Lolla recap in a few days – where we go on and on and on about how fucking AWESOME Devo’s set was – but it’s time to pack up the suitcase and head home. Good night, Chicago.


Wolfmother: Cosmic Egg

RIYL: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath

Wolfmother is back! Well, Andrew Stockdale, the lead singer/guitarist of Wolmother is back – everyone else quit/got fired last year and Stockdale decided to continue the Wolfmother name without them. But the new Wolfmother, now a foursome instead of a power trio, doesn’t sound terribly different from the old Wolfmother. So there’s not much need to describe the “sound” of Cosmic Egg: it sounds like Wolfmother. Have you heard “Woman” or “The Joker and the Thief,” from their 2005 self-titled debut? Then you know what you’re in for here. Is that really a problem, though? Sure, Stockdale may just be cribbing the best bits from ’70s metal (specifically, the crunching riffs of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, the howling screams of Robert Plant, and the totally groovy organ solos of Deep Purple), but what the hell is wrong with that? Have you heard the “modern” rock on the radio today?

wolfmother cosmic edit

Maybe we got it right in 1976 – why move forward? If anything, Wolfmother needs to move further in that direction. When they try to slow things down or pop things up for radio, such as on the anemic love ballad “Far Away,” they sound lost. When they let themselves kick out the jams, they deliver; whether slow and methodical, such as the wah-wah heavy “Sundial,” or fist-pounding and headbanger friendly, like “New Moon Rising,” “Phoenix,” or just about every other song on the album. Yeah, it may not be the most original or “intelligent” release of the year, but it’s a solid dose of hard rock and heavy metal at a time when they’re few and far between.

A quick note of annoyance, though: there are two versions of Cosmic Egg, deluxe and standard (our review copy was the standard edition). The deluxe copy comes with four more songs, which add up to 20 more minutes of music. These aren’t outtakes, live tracks or acoustic versions; there’s nothing notably different about these tunes. So when you’re buying the “standard” version of the record you’re basically not getting the full version. It’s hard to tell what the purpose behind such a release strategy is, since all it does it drive people who bought the standard version to go online and download what they’re missing. It’s hard enough for artists to sell records these days, and crap like this just makes it that much harder. What’s the point? (Modular 2009)

Wolfmother’s MySpace Page
Click to buy Cosmic Egg on Amazon


Wolfmother serves up a tasty “Cosmic Egg”

It’s never easy for any artist to take a successful debut and translate that success to a second album, but the road to Wolfmother’s sophomore release was particularly troubled — in fact, vocalist Andrew Stockdale is the only member of the band that managed to survive the journey from 2005’s Wolfmother to the just-released Cosmic Egg.

All that upheaval must have been more than a little traumatic, so it’s hard to blame Stockdale for brushing off questions about it during his Bullz-Eye interview with Jim Washington — in his words, “it’s a bit exhausting to talk about” — and in any event, the band’s heavy sound has survived the transition pretty much intact, so why dwell on the past? Better to just crack open Cosmic Egg and revel in its aural assault, which expands upon the band’s notably Zeppelin and Sabbath-influenced attack. As Stockdale tells Washington, “Certain things inspire you, but then it becomes your own thing. I think the new record is a bit heavier at times and a bit lighter at the same time. There’s a real energy in it, a lot of expression.”

To read the full interview, click on the image above or follow this link!


Various Artists: 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack

The supervisors to the sountrack for “500 Days of Summer” get points for putting the Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” Doves’ “There Goes the Fear,” and Dayl Hall & John Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” on the same soundtrack; they get super mega bonus points, though, for putting them back to back. The set, as you might guess, is an eclectic mix of rock and pop of the mainstream (Hall & Oates, Simon & Garfunkel), modern (Doves, Wolfmother), and hipster variety (Feist, Regina Spektor, She & Him). The songs will surely make sense in context with the film, but it makes for a unpredictable listen at home. In other words, don’t play it at your next party, unless you want Spektor’s “Hero” to be code for “Time to go home, people.” Again, there is nothing wrong with “Hero,” or Feist’s “Mushaboom,” and Meaghan Smith’s bedroom pop cover of the Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man” is really cute. The overall result, though, is the kind of thing that is best served cut up and thrown onto mix discs and playlists. Still, it’s pretty good, as current soundtracks go. (Sire)

Click to buy 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack