I’m a little late posting this considering it occurred in AUGUST, but better late than never…
I’ve wanted to go back to Lollapalooza every year since the other time I went in 2006 (see here and here). I finally went back this year and again had a great time. I went with my friend Joe. We got a hotel right next to Grant Park, where it takes place. The weather was perfect all three days. Perhaps a tad too warm at times – we saw more than one person faint – but I was good with the sunscreen and hydration.
At night, we hit some bars in Chicago. Didn’t quite know where we were going, but we managed to find some good spots. We were talking to someone in a bar that was closing at 2 am, and she said that there were other bars open until 5 or 6. In DC, they have to stop serving at 3 am. In Rochester, it’s 2 am. So 6 am is pretty damn cool in my book, although we didn’t stay out past 4 so I can’t verify.
After leaving that bar at 2, we got into a cab and asked him to take us to some bar that was still open. He wasn’t very helpful at first – just asked where we wanted to go. We eventually got him to understand that we didn’t care where we went, as long as we weren’t going to get shot, there were people there, and it wasn’t all the way on the other side of Chicago. He took us to some district that I don’t remember the name of, and we went to a couple of bars that I also don’t remember the name of. It was a couple of miles north of Grant Park – maybe someone from Chicago will know.
One of the bars was very… interesting. There was a raised platform behind the bar with three stripper poles and patrons would get up there and dance. There was also an island that people would sit on the edge of and it also had a stripper pole or two so girls would get up there and dance. I couldn’t figure out if this used to be a strip club that had been turned into a bar, or if they purposely had designed it this way. At any rate, I was sitting on the edge of that island when some blond girl that had been dancing a little ways in front of me came over and extended her hand to me. Well I didn’t know what the heck that meant but I took her hand, then it became clear she wanted me to help her get up onto the island.
Listen up gentlemen, because I’m going to tell you how you handle a situation like this: Stand up on the island, pull her up to you, and start dancing with her. Easy, right? Did I do that? Of course not. I instead tried to pull her up onto the island from my seated position, and since I didn’t have the right angle, and she was wearing these ridiculous heels, she fell back on her ass. She just looked at me with this shocked expression, like she couldn’t believe I just let her fall. Yes, I’m suave.
But back to Lollapalooza… These are the performers we saw:
- B.o.B – This was a good way to start out the festival. He was upbeat and energetic and looked like he was genuinely having a great time. Really got the audience into it. And he ended with a cover of MGMT’s “Kids” which was great. I love it when artists throw in some covers to their sets.
- Balkan Beat Box – Very cool music.
- American Bang – They were okay. A little generic sounding.
- Drive-By Truckers – The songs I’d heard of theirs online I thought sounded sort of catchy and had some funny lyrics. But at the festival, I listened to them for about three songs and was incredibly bored so we left to go catch Devo. Looked like they had a decent following though.
- Devo – That’s right, Devo. They put on a good show. I had to give them credit for some of the crazy outfits they wore because some of them were not very flattering to men of their age with a little bit of extra weight, but they certainly didn’t seem to care.
- Hot Chip – I saw them at Lollapalooza in 2006. Back then, they were on one of the smaller stages but this time they were on the big one and there were a whole lot more people watching them. However, I think a lot of people were in the audience because they were getting there early to stake their spot for Lady Gaga, who was going to perform on that stage an hour after Hot Chip ended. I think Hot Chip may have been a tad peeved over basically warming up for Lady Gaga, but that’s just my guess. There were a few times they’d say “are you looking forward to Lady Gaga” or “stick around for Lady Gaga” and I couldn’t tell if they were being sincere or not. Then at the end, when the lead singer guy (I don’t know their names and don’t feel like looking it up) was done singing, he just walked off stage while the rest of the band finished up without waving goodbye to the crowd or anything. As far as how they sounded, they were good, but one of the band members – the one with the deep voice - couldn’t make it because his wife was about to give birth. They dubbed in some of his solos, but you could still tell he was missing on some of the songs.
- Lady Gaga – She put on an awesome show. Her music’s catchy and all, but that’s not the reason someone goes to see Lady Gaga. The costumes and sets were over-the-top ridiculous. She also went on these long rants about how she was made fun of in school but now she’s popular. Over and over. It was so absurd I just laughed. The most bizarre point in the concert was probably when she had a big monster on stage with teeth and long tentacles (controlled by dudes with sticks). This was during the “Paparazzi” song. She told the audience it was the “fame monster” and told everyone to take its picture because it was the only way to defeat it. Then she screamed “don’t rape me” at it.
- The Soft Pack – Caught some of their set, and they were okay.
- Dragonette – They were very entertaining: fun, cheesy synth pop dance music. I figured they were European, but I see they’re from Toronto.
- The xx – Had a huge crowd, and were good but a little mellower than I was in the mood for at the time.
- Metric – They were good, but what I remember the most about this was that it seemed to be the peak of the sun & heat. We had to call uncle and get out of there for a bit. Some big dude in front of us kept fainting and trying to stand back up, before his friends finally got him out of there. It was also the time some people near us started smoking pot - oh wait, no that was EVERY CONCERT we saw all weekend.
- Spoon – I’m running out of things to say about these bands. They were good.
- Green Day – I wasn’t even looking forward to this concert. I figured I’d see them because, well they’re Green Day, but I’ve never been a huge fan of their music. I bought Dookie and Insomniac back in college, and they’ve had some good songs since then obviously, but I could pretty much take them or leave them. So I was surprised when they put on a phenomenal concert! The pyrotechnics and visuals were great, and they interacted with the audience and just looked like they were having a great time. Their songs kicked ass too, when they were blasted that loud. They got one guy to do his first stage dive, and Billie Joe Armstrong had to keep telling people to put down their cell phones and cameras so that they could catch him. How lame is that? He must have been thinking “what’s wrong with these kids these days!” They had a different guy come up on stage to sing “Longview” and he was great. He ran all over the stage and acted like a total rock star. You could tell this was a dream come true for him. He kissed Billie Joe on the mouth so I think he may have had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the band. Green Day invites an audience member to do that at every concert, but Billie Joe told him he was the best one he’d seen on this tour and gave him his guitar.
- Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls – There’s one stage that was devoted to DJs and Joe and I hung out there for a little while on Sunday. I didn’t exactly feel like dancing that early in the day, but it was fun to listen to. Anyway, this was one of the DJs we listened to and he was good.
- NERVO – Came on after Didi Gutman and were also good. Two blond girls from Britain.
- Yeasayer - I think I saw these guys but I don’t really remember much about it.
- Wolfmother – I saw them at the last Lollapalooza and they kicked so much ass, I knew we had to make sure to catch them this year too. And sure enough, they were awesome. They just ROCK, plain and simple.
- Cypress Hill – They were good. I mean they were Cypress Hill, so you know what to expect: “Insane in the Brain”, rapping about weed and killing people… what more needs to be said?
- Soundgarden – At this point you may be looking at the date of this post again to make sure you didn’t enter a wormhole to 1994. Yes, this is 2010 and we saw Green Day, Cypress Hill, and Soundgarden. I was a big fan of Soundgarden back in late high school and college. I remember listening to Badmotorfinger on cassette tape. Superunknown was one of the first CDs I ever bought. (Before you comment that I’m THAT ancient – I was one of the later converts to CDs, okay??) I don’t own a cassette player now and never bought Badmotorfinger on CD, so some of those songs I haven’t heard in a long time and I forgot just how awesome they were. There were no fancy special effects, these guys just rocked out. Chris Cornell even has long hair again so it was perfect. I had to laugh at times when he’d do his high pitched wail because it’s been 20 years since they recorded some of these songs but they still got it. I was psyched when they sang “4th of July” because that’s one of my favorites but it’s not a “hit” so I didn’t know if they’d perform that one. They did “Gun”, “Jesus Christ Pose”, “Rusty Cage”… It was awesome. I included links in case you’re either too old or too young to know Soundgarden. (By the way, if you’ve never heard Johnny Cash’s cover of “Rusty Cage” you should check that out.)