Frank Turner it was a solo acoustic set and he was great. This time he had his band and they were great. Frank is one of the best songwriters out there today. He had the crowd singing along in the rain. Due to the small stage, the band was also getting soaked but just ignored the rain and rocked out. It was another great start to my Lolla experience. Mother Nature must have felt like partying today because within an hour the sun was out and it was time to enjoy some music and a beautiful summer day. RIYL - well crafted lyrics, having fun, sing-a-longs
I checked out the Dodos and the Company Of Thieves for a song or two but decided to get out of the rain and have lunch...a very tasty BBQ chicken burger.
Band Of Heathens from Austin, Texas. I'd never heard this band but I liked the description of them in the Lolla program. They have a rocking country sound leaning more toward rock & roll lyrically. The three guys in this picture took turns with the lead vocals which gave them a varied sound and style. I really liked their set but wanted to check out Ike Reilly. Lolla provides a lot of exercise if you want to see all the bands you like. RIYL - The Band, multiple singer-songwriters within a band
Ike Reilly. I might be late to this party but I'm a huge fan now. I already owned his "Salesman & Racists" CD but never gave it much of a listen. My mistake. I now own almost all his records. Absolutely brilliant songwriting about social, political and personal issues. Ike seems to have lots of issues and is willing to sing about them. This is what rock and roll is supposed to be...dangerous. Believe me, this guy does not have that 'politically correct filter' turned on when writing songs and I fucking love him for that. Brutally honest songs sung with the power of a punk attitude. RIYL - a pissed off Bob Dylan, enjoy angering uptight people, rock'n'roll with a punk mentality, great songwriting
I wandered around for awhile. I saw a few songs by Mumford & Sons, Hockey (how could I not check out a band with that name) and a crazy ass band called X Japan.
On my list of must see performers today was Erykah Badu. I can't say I am a huge fan but I love her style. Her deejay warmed up the crowd with late 80's early 90's call and response hip hop songs. Then she appeared on stage looking like Glenda, the funky witch from 125th Street in Harlem. She took complete control of the stage and the crowd...singing like an angel with the force of the devil. On a hot humid afternoon, Erykah was keeping it real cool...her band and background singers were spot on perfect. Her set ran long and she shouted down Wolfmother as they started their set on time across the park on the main stage. Very impressive. RIYL - Erykah Badu...because no one is like her...strong black women with a social conscience
I walked to the north end to check out MGMT & the Temper Trap. Both bands have a dance rock sound and the kids seemed to love both of them. I didn't stay long because I had to get back to the south end of the park for Cypress Hill.
Cypress Hill had the crowd in a frenzy as soon as they hit the stage. Part of that could have been the rockin' beats, part of it could have been the cloud of pot smoke that hung over the crowd on this humid afternoon. Either way it was impossible not to jump around and have a good time. RIYL - marijuana, old school rap with rockin' beats, having fun
Felix Da Housecat's set. So I wandered into Perry's. There were kids who looked like they had been in there all day...glassy-eyed and dancing madly. That's cool with me. Everyone was just having fun.
Soundgarden from way in the back. They sounded good. I was a fan back in the day but I really don't like when bands reform long after their prime. They seemed to still be able to bring the hammer down on stage. Chris's voice wasn't the same but that's a minor complaint. I really wanted to see Arcade Fire so I headed to the opposite side of the park. RIYL - 1990's original alternative music, rock'n'roll played by a legendary band
Arcade Fire had the north end of the park jammed. I didn't see it this crowded all weekend. Unfortunately, the sound was awful. I could barely hear the band and it seemed like there was no bass in the mix. So after a long weekend of music, I decided it was time to leave.
The first story took place in NYC this past June. After the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, I was on a crowded F train heading north through Brooklyn. On the train were a group of twenty something year old tatooed punk rockers and sitting across from them were three teenage black kids. A couple of the punkers were singing lyrics to punk songs and they saw one of the kids smile while listening to his Ipod. This began a friendly back & forth on the music each person liked, hip hop and punk. At the punkers request the kid did a freestyle rap about meeting punk fans on the subway. The kid was really good. One of the punk rockers asked him if he ever recorded anything and the kid said that he had not. It turns out that guy owned a recording studio. He gave the kid his card and they exchanged phone numbers both promising to get together to record some music. I was so excited to have witnessed this scene that my two thoughts were...only in New York City and how cool that a love of different types of music brought these diverse people together.
The second story happened to me at Perry's DJ area tonight. I was taking pictures near a group of young kids, boys & girls about college age. They were dancing to Felix Da Housecat's set when one of them asked me why I wasn't dancing. They rejected my first excuse of being too old by pointing out someone my age dancing. Then I said I couldn't dance and I was told anyone can dance. So I put my backpack down and attempted to dance. Deservedly so, I was ridiculed by a couple of the kids in a polite way and encouraged to keep dancing by others. As I picked my backpack up one of the young girls that forced me to dance gave me a kiss on the cheek and said that was for dancing with her. As I watched the kids dance, I thought about the music causing so many people to move together as one and I walked away smiling.
The last story also happened tonight. While I was standing in the middle of the park watching Soundgarden, I began to tear up. Here's why, years ago Soundgarden was playing on my stereo when I got the phone call about my friend Scott. He had died and I was stunned by the news. So tonight while Soundgarden played I thought to myself, damn I bet Scott would have loved Lollapalooza. He loved music as much as I did and I am sure that he would have loved spending the past three days with me in Grant Park. So with 'Spoonman' blasting from the stage, I looked toward the sky with tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face and asked Scott if enjoyed Lollapalooza this year.