Friday, August 24, 2012

August 5, 2012 Some Final Thoughts On Lollapalooza

So today is the last day of Lolla. I really don't have any must see bands except The Gaslight Anthem and Jack White. At least it is a perfect weather day.

My first stop was the Bowerbirds...

..not much to listen to for my musical ears....lightweight synth pop. Pleasant enough for those that enjoy that kind of music.

Here's proof that Lollapalooza takes place in Chicago...even Lolla has road construction.

Out of towners must think this road takes you to every highway in Chicago.

This is a young punk band named Red Oblivion, they seemed, hmmm what's the word...young. But more along the type of music I enjoy.

 Big Sky City

The north end of Grant Park, apparently very few of us got up early today.

I really enjoyed the punk / rockabilly music that this band, Mona, played. The lead singer seemed to be a Joe Strummer fan...nothing wrong with that.

I watched Oberhofer for awhile...again just pleasant rock & roll, nothing special. I was beginning to think Lolla was losing it's appeal to me...but then....

...a hot chick on stand up bass...

...a rocking bluegrass / punk hillbilly band called 'The Devil Makes Three' just blew me away with their incredible set.

I saw this band open for either Flogging Molly or the Dropkick Murphys in the past but today they were just what this old man needed to hear.

A cool old coffee truck. Lolla does have a great selection of food though I noticed more hamburgers and pizza choices this year.

After listening to White Rabbits and Trampled By Turtles, I stopped by to see The Walkmen who played on the Sony Stage but I bet the kids in the crowd didn't even make the connection. They have some good songs, but something was missing for me. I started to head over to see Gary Clark Jr...

...but stopped to check out Imaginary Cities who I really enjoyed, but I can't explain why. They were able to keep my attention...I guess that is all it takes today. I finally met up with my friend Brian at the Google Play Stage to watch The Gaslight Anthem. He's been coming to Lolla longer than me and he agreed this year wasn't as much fun. So it wasn't just me being an old man...wait Brian was there with his twenty year old he is pretty close to my age...uh-oh. The Gaslight Anthem sounded good, but I am a fan already. I watched Of Monsters & Men, then checked out the hugely hyped Florence + The Machine...YAWN!!!! She has a great voice but wasn't using it today, though I did hear she recently tore her vocal chords so I blame it on that. She still seemed like a new millenium Stevie Nicks on stage so take that for what it is worth. Most of the crowd seemed to love their set. I'm just like the old guys in the balcony who hated everything on the Muppet Show.

This is Miike Snow...the extra i wasn't for interesting. Again, not my kind of music. I need music to come from the heart or have soul or have great lyrics or be played by masterful musicians. Sorry Mr. Snow, at least the kids seemed to enjoy you.

I am pretty sure this was Zeds Dead...a Pulp Fiction reference, of course I had to check them out. The DJ stage was packed all weekend long, mostly by people much younger and much higher than me.
I stayed for all of Jack White's amazing set. First off, he was louder than any other act all weekend. He sounded great so did his band. Then in the middle of his set, a whole new band replaced the first band...the new band was all females and they rocked too.  He could have played more White Stripes songs...small complaint.
So to wrap up my three days of music in Grant Park. It wasn't as much fun as past years. They sold more tickets this year and it seemed too crowded. If you were close to the stage, you were usually surrounded by real music fans. The further away...douchebags who couldn't care less about the band on stage. These people only came so they could say they were at Lolla. For the most part, I still enjoyed seeing the kids / young people get so excited about seeing bands they loved. After Jack White was finished, I was walking across the park when I heard a young girl tell her friends, "I know it's over but I can't stop dancing!". That made me smile all the way home. Other aspects, the food was still good but the prices went up by $2 -$4 for some items. One of my favorite moments happened at the Mercat a la planxa food booth. I ordered a steak sandwich and the cashier says, "cool shirt, I love Jackson Hole. Did you ski there?" After telling him I hiked in the Tetons, he said he was from Utah. I am going to Utah in September, so our conversation continues for about ten minutes. He tells me to hike at Goblin Valley State Park because it is his favorite. Then he gives me his card and it turns out I have been talking with the chef at Mercat, Cory Morris. For those that know me, if there's anything I love as much as live is good food. So I guess I'll give Lolla another try next year. And if Perry Farrell stumbles across my blog, my requests for bands to play Lolla next year are Vintage Trouble and The Heavy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 4, 2012 Evacuate Lollapalooza

 It wouldn't be Lolla without a religious asshole preaching his twisted version of the bible to all the sinners attending the concert.
This particular douchebag will spend eternity in a special place in Hell because I checked with my God and that's exactly what He told me. So after I verbally abused him while on the phone with my friend Adam...
...he decided to attack the Hare Krishnas who were peacefully dancing behind him. He started chanting that they were worshiping a false God, that the bible says there is only one God and theirs is a false God. One of the Krishnas tried to calmly explain that God is there for everyone, but the mentally unstable one with the megaphone just stepped up his attack on them. Imagine that, this guy made the Hare Krishnas seem normal. I told the Krishna you can't argue with crazy, he just laughed. As entertaining as all this was, I headed into Grant Park for some sinful music.
 Once again I stopped to check out the ongoing art project at Perry's. The cute Asian girl with the pink boots and short shorts had nothing to do with my decision to stop here...seriously didn't even notice she was in the picture...really...fuck it who am I kidding.
 A bit of was a beautiful day in Chicago...very hot...but blue skies.
 Take a close look at Doomtree...two dorky white guys providing the beats, another white man who looks like his day job could be as an accountant and a sexy white woman who looks like she is from the set of Desperate Housewives...they rocked the mics and were great at old school rap with a political message. I loved their set and stayed for the whole thing.
Here's Doomtree's other two rappers. A rap collective I guess, they took turns on the mics and each one had the old school Beastie Boys / Run-DMC flow that I still love to hear.

 The comment I hear the most is how cool it is to attend a music festival right in the city. The skyline makes a great background for a festival.
 This is Bear in Heaven. I had to check them out for my wife, Chrissy. The kids seem to love the spacey electronic rock so much.
 The band schedule.
Iconic Chicago shot. FYI - This is part of Lollapalooza, so tourists can not walk up to the fountain this weekend without a ticket to Lolla.
 For the second day in a row, I was blown away by a young soul singer. This time it was Aloe Blacc who I have heard of but his live performance was incredible. Another talented songwriter and fantastic singer that showed off some Temptations / Four Tops dance moves. He had the mostly white crowd dancing throughout his set in the 95 degree heat.
 Mr. Blacc's band was top notch too. I love a good horn section.

This video shows how powerful the song "You Make Me Smile" is. I'll be using this song when I DJ weddings.
 Then the day took a strange turn...I walked by the Google Play stage and Chairlift was not playing. Then I saw the info tent closing up by putting the sides down. Now is a good time to admit that I do not have a smart phone. No twitter, no internet access, just an old fashion, old man cell phone. So I did not recieve the message all the kids got from social media sites. When I got to the Playstation Stage or Petrillo Bandshell for Chicagoans, there was no JJ Grey & Mofro. Now I did notice the lack of a crowd and the lights were lowered to the stage...
...then I finally noticed this screen was also lowered to the ground. My first thought was "FUCK ME, I SHOULDN'T HAVE GOOFED ON THE BULLHORN PREACHER ON THE WAY IN TODAY! GOD DOES HATE SINNERS." It turns out that a massive storm with 80MPH winds is coming to Lollapalooza. Again, that preacher was right, God does hate sinners...damn I'm in big trouble I dropped to my knees in the middle of Grant Park and begin to pray

"Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?"

Oh no, that's not praying, that is a Janis Joplin song. God Damn it...ooops...sorry about that...why don't I know any prayers...I am a heathen who deserves to die at Lollapalooza. Wait how about this one...

"Dear God, sorry to disturb you, but... I feel that I should be heard
Loud and clear. We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image, see them fighting
In the street 'cause they can't make opinions meet about God,
I can't believe in you"

Wait, that is an XTC song. It turns out I don't know a real I got up and left Grant Park. I figured I'd ride the elevated Brown line around the Loop but suddenly that didn't seem like a good idea...
...because at four in the afternoon, it was as dark as night and the wind was rocking the train, so I ran down to the street just as the rain and wind began a ferocious attack on the city. I grabbed a taxi and spent two hours at my friends, Debbie & George's place...eating cheese and drinking wine.
 After the storm, I headed back to Grant Park... a revised schedule that now runs until 11pm...that meant I would have to decide to stay for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who I've never seen live or leave early to catch the Afghan Whigs at the Metro. I decided to stay for the RHCP.
There were these cartoon artwork pictures up in the park, so I took this one for my brother, Jeff.
First I checked out Fun...they packed the small area around the Google Play Stage. They are a good pop band but everyone seemed to only know their hit song, "We Are Young". Franz Ferdinand still plays dance rock as good as anyone else but I really wanted to see Bloc Party... I slogged my way across muddy Grant Park... see Bloc Party. They sounded great. This band should be more popular, but what do I know.
 The Chili Pepers sounded great, I loved seeing them live, they play nothing but hit songs...
 ...but truth be told I wasn't impressed. Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing them live. But I really thought they would blow me away live...they didn't. BTW, I was playing with photoshop and liked the post apocalyptic look of this picture the best.
 I was really moved by Flea's post concert plea to support live music. It doesn't matter if it is rock, jazz, classical, punk or hip hop...go out and see live music. I agree with Flea.
The massive zombie like walk back into the real world after a strange day at Lolla.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 3, 2012 Black Friday At Lollapalooza

"What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I'm the chosen one
Oh nooo!" - 'Black Sabbath' by Black Sabbath
"Oh, can it be
the voices calling me
they get lost and out of time
I should've seen it glow
but everybody knows
that a broken heart is blind
that a broken heart is blind" - 'Little Black Submarines' by The Black Keys

Oh yeah, I'm back at Lollapalooza. I am always excited to spend three days checking out live music. Today has been called Black Friday because the headliners are Black Sabbath and the Black Keys. I am a fan of both bands. I've seen Ozzy in concert and I've seen the Black Keys too. But I've never seen Black Sabbath live. So who did I watch tonight. You'll have to read on for that answer...
 ...first up was The Growlers from California. They have a cool mix of influences that are musical and drug related according to their bio. I love their song "Gay Thoughts" so here it is.
I kind of liked the shot below taken through the mixing board tent.
I walked across Grant Park to the north end to check out Michael Kiwanuka. I heard the end of O Rappa 's set which really impressed me. They are a Brazilian reggae/rock band.
 This is why I love Lollapalooza. I had never heard of Michael Kiwanuka before today. I was blown away by this British soul singer.

 The band was fantastic. They had everyone grooving once they started playing. I loved the music and the songwriting. If you love good music, I highly recommend this band.
 Again, another shot I took for me.

 I stopped by to check out Kevin Devine on the BMI stage because I love songwriters that write lyrics that mean something. He sounded pretty good but I only stayed for a couple of songs...
 ...I wanted to see Dr. Dog
Can someone tell me what this flag means?
After watching the mellow sounds of Dr. Dog...

...I stopped at Perry's to check out Zedd on the huge DJ booth stage.
 Then I stopped to watch the artists painting the shipping container at Perry's.
 It looked like guest artists were adding their own thing to the existing work.
 I enjoyed talking with the artists, then I met...
these two guys. They asked me to take a picture of them with a Black Keys fan. So we talked Black Keys for a few minutes, then I asked to take their picture because I was digging their suits. We continued to talk about music as we headed toward the Red Bull Stage for the Afghan Whigs set. When I headed to the bar for a beer, they showed their passes and headed backstage at the Red Bull Soundstage. Does anyone know who these dapper gentlemen are?
I spotted this funny pin while waiting for the Whigs to take the stage.
 The Afghan Whigs, my favorite band of the 1990's...BTW I love the crowd reflected on Dulli's guitar...
 from "Up In It" in 1990, "Congregation" in 1992, "Gentleman" in '93, "Black Love" in '96 and  "1965" released in 1998... band released 5 albums as consistently strong as this band.
 Greg Dulli & company sounded great today. I always thought their songs leaned toward a man's perspective. But I had three ladies next to me that sang along to every song, so I guess those tortured relationship songs can swing either way.
" I'll warn you, if cornered, i'll scratch my way out of the pen
Wired, an animal
The claustrophobia begins
You think i'm scared of girls
Well maybe
But i'm not afraid of you
You want to scare me then you'll cling to me no matter what i do
Tell you a secret
They shared a needle once or twice
I loved her, she loved me
We slept together a couple of times
You think i'm proud of this
Well maybe
But the shame you never lose

Infatuated with a lunatic and cornered by the muse
And it goes down every night
This must be what jail is really like
And i will scratch my way out of this pen, again

Or maybe not
It all depends
Your ideal, your image
Your definition of a friend
If what you're shoveling is company
Then i'd rather be alone
Resentment always goes much further than it was supposed to go" - 'What Jail Is Like'
Like Monty Python used to say, "and now for something totally different"...Dawes.
On my way to watch Dawes, I checked out The Head & The Heart, The Shins and Band of Skulls. Each band sounded good but I thought "Nothing Is Wrong" by Dawes was one of the best CD's of 2011 so I really wanted to see them live.
 I was not dissappointed. They sounded great. I was surrounded by real fans because I got up close to the stage. More on that topic later. A group next me were dancing to every song and they kept swapping dance partners as the laughed and sang along. It was a cool Lolla moment for me.
 Dawes on the Google Play Stage.
OH WHAT A DILEMMA. Do I take this one in a lifetime chance to watch Black Sabbath who I've never seen live or watch the Black Keys who I've seen twice. Really old washed up band or hot young band just hitting their prime? I watched Black Sabbath for two songs, Black Sabbath & The Wizard.
Then I headed to the south end of Grant Park to see the Black Keys.
 The Black Keys rocked Chicago. Good choice on my part.
Fireworks from the Bears practice at Soldier Field...
 ...just added to the musical fireworks provided by The Black Keys.

So if all the world is a stage, then what happens when the music stops. This old man is ready to go home. A fun day in Grant Park ends...with an empty stage.