Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lollapalooza, Day Two--Electric Boogaloo

I awoke on this lovely morning to the voice of Iris, sweetly calling up the stairs, "Um, Maise? My car's gone." This left me with a sense of shit, shit, shit, shit, shit! Yes, we had forgotten to put a new parking tag on the rearview mirror of the Irismobile, and my Draconian homeowner's association had it towed. $150 later, the Irismobile was free! (AAA claims they will reimburse the Irises for their trouble, so all's well that ends well.)

After that was settled, we stopped at Ro's for a lovely breakfast and then proceeded to Lolla, day 2. The first act we saw was one of Trent's openers, with the unwieldy name of "Does It Offend You, Yeah?" I had never heard them before, but I really enjoyed their set. They mix electronica with punk with simple, rather adolescent, but classic rock themes on songs like "Let's Make Out" and "We Are Rockstars." They have terrific energy and enjoy bantering with the crowd. "Aw, that guy just threw up. Everyone say, 'awwwwwww'," remarked the lead singer (Morgan Quaintance?), empathetically. What I really appreciated was that they are British, yet I could actually understand what they were saying beyond, "Hello, Chicago!!!!" Quaintance, complaining of the heat, frequently jumped offstage and in front of the crowd. Later in the day, Iris got their autographs at the f.y.e. tent, so I'll let her tell you all about that experience:

DIOYY's set was lot of fun and it was nice to see that their fan enthusiasm was just as high in the autograph tent. They laughed and joked with almost everyone and were taking pictures for themselves of fans with funny t-shirts, cool tattoos, or whatever else seemed to amuse them. I of course choked when I made it up there and leeched off of the guy's conversation ahead of me about "Terminator" the TV series, which the boys all agreed sucked last year. "Yeah, but did you know that Shirley Manson is supposed to have a reoccuring role in this year's season?" "Oh really?" Yeah, so not the best bit I could have come up with, but I'd only really heard about this band a few days before, what the hell was I supposed to say? The only drawback of this experience is that we had Dierks Bentley playing in the background at the Bud Light stage. Who the fuck let a country musician into Lolla?

While Iris got her CD signed, I expressed a curiosity in The Gutter Twins. I had heard good things about them, and the Lollapalooza guidebook promised that they were going to be "a satanic Everly Brothers." The former leaders of The Afghan Whigs and Screaming Trees have united to create unbelievably dull music. Sure, they're gothy. I like gothy. Sure, their lyrics are dark. I like dark music, but I'm sorry, this show bored the shit out of me.

Fortunately, we had the resolution of the Sandwich Showdown to keep us occupied! Paul fit 7 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches into every pocket of his pants. He had made 20 and was going to use duct tape to layer them on the inside of his pants but could not get them to stick. He also ate one sandwich on the way. Some of his sandwiches were severely flattened because he had been sitting on them all day. These were the least appetizing.

Neil arrived shortly afterwards. He was able to successfully rig a duct tape-layering system and brought a variety of sandwiches: peanut-butter-and-banana, peanut-butter-and-jelly, and turkey with cheese. His grand total? 8. Vanquished, Paul paid the $10, and we all ate sandwiches. (Paul was the one who ate his smashed ass-sandwiches.) And thus, the Sandwich Showdown concluded.

We left during the Gutter Twins' set to make it in time for Devotchka. This was by far my favorite band of the day. They are similar to Gogol Bordello with their extremely eclectic gypsy-folk-Latin-rock style. You may remember them on the soundtrack of Little Miss Sunshine. They bring a wide variety of instruments to the stage, in addition to the usual guitars and drums: theremin, tuba, bouzouki, violin, trumpet, accordion. Their music is joyful and infectious, and I didn't mind standing in the sweltering heat as the sun reflected off the pavement in front of the Playstation 3 stage, listening to their entire set. I can't wait to get their latest album on my ipod and make it the soundtrack to the movies in my head. I love this fucking band so much, it hurts.

After Devotchka, we tried to meet Mr. Maise at Perry's stage to see Perry Farrell with his special guest...Slash! Mr. Maise reported that Slash showed up midway through the set, but the sound died, and the concert ended prematurely. However, Perry and Slash are scheduled to play today (Sunday) at the kids' stage, so we are going to try to catch them there.

Next on our to-do list was British indie soul-funk-electronica star, Jamie Lidell. I'll have Iris tell you all about him because while I enjoyed his improvisational human beat-box riffing, Mr. Maise decidedly did not. So I agreed to walk with him to the other side of the park so we could see Broken Social Scene.

Jamie was a blast! We missed the first few songs of the set, but Jamie and his band were really going to town when we arrived. I wasn't quiet sure what to expect, seeing as how this was another act I'd only discovered days ago, but I wouldn't have envisioned the outfits they were wearing. Check them out.

A cummerbund seems a little formal for Lolla, but I think the saxophonist in the tunic toned down the seriousness. Two songs in, the band sort of disappeared into the audience, and Jamie gave us a 10-minute freestyle show. It was impressive to listen to, but a little boring to watch since his back was turned to us for most of the time. The band returned, and they rounded out the set with "Multiply," "Wait For Me," and "A Little Bit More," which was fun to dance along with. I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to hear "Game for Fools," but that's a slow song so it wouldn't have really fit the mood.

Afterwards I hightailed it back over to the autograph tent, which was on the other side of Grant Park. I don't know whose bright idea it was to schedule an autographing session 20 minutes after the set but, Jesus! "I had a cart," Jamie said, explaining his superhuman ability to arrive at the f.y.e. tent so quickly. Good news is that Jamie was in fine spirits AND was even early for the signing. Oh my God, he's so cute and funny. I started to hand him my CD and asked if he would pose for a picture. He said, "Sure. Should we do this standing up, love?" Which kind of sent me into a fit of giggles. Of course I have to crop myself out of the picture because I have the dorkiest grin ever, but doesn't he look adorable?

It seems as though everyone loves Broken Social Scene, but they were merely pleasant background music for us as we camped under some shady trees, found some food, and chatted with friends. I don't really have a lot to say about this rather large indie rock band. I was getting tired of all the mellow music. I was ready to RAWK. Fortunately, Rage Against the Machine would provide all the RAWK one could ever want, and then some.

The crowd was ginormous for this, the first Rage concert in Chicago in years. We camped out on the hill, very very far away from the stage. However, very very far away from the stage was a good place to be for this show. Rage did a "greatest hits" set, opening with a chilling prison break siren and launching into "Testify." During "People of the Sun," the band stopped the show for the first of three times to announce that people had gotten hurt up front and that everyone needed to calm down and step back. In between ranting about cops and politicians, Zack de la Rocha urged people to respect security and each other, and he clearly looked concerned, explaining that they might have to end the show early if things didn't settle down.

See, I like Rage Against the Machine. I like their music, I think their hearts are in the right place, and I think they are genuinely concerned about the welfare of their fans. However, I just can't take them seriously. Halfway through the show, I was snarking on them. These are the people who RAILED against the injustice of the Clinton years (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA), and as soon as the shit really hit the fucking fan with 9/11, the Bush administration, the abuse of civil rights, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, what does Rage do? They "break up" over "creative differences." Tom Morello creates boring-ass Audioslave (as well as some acoustic protest music), and Zack de la Rocha disappears as effectively as Trent Reznor after The Fragile. In other words, they took their ball and went home. We had to have System of a Down create the commercially successful protest music for clueless college kids. Fuck RATM.

On the other hand, it was good to hear all the hits from my clueless college days: "Bulls on Parade," "Sleep Now in the Fire," "Bullet in the Head," etc. (Although was it really wise with this crowd, for Zack to repeat dramatically, "I think I heard a shot..."?)

Of course, we had to have Zack's preachy moment. He made it very clear that RATM was not pro-Obama...oh really? Who the fuck you guys gonna vote for? Nader? Kim Jong Il? And Zack said that if Obama came to power and didn't do things right, they were going to...well, I don't know what they were going to do because I couldn't understand him with the crappy sound up on the hill and Zack's angry muppet voice.

I've got tons of respect for Tom Morello, though. He really does amazing things with the guitar. He is quietly earnest and hardworking, and he doesn't showboat. Plus, he was wearing a Cubs hat.

With the multiple pauses to remove the wounded and arrest the instigators, a generator by the AT&T Digital Tent that started pouring smoke in an alarming manner, an unauthorized fire-dancer being shut down by the police to the disappointment of the crowd, this was a fucked-up show. They ended with everyone's favorite, "Killing in the Name of," and as far as I'm aware, no one died during this set.

All in all, Day 2 of Lolla was excellent with a ton of great acts to see, pleasant weather, and a lot of PB&J sandwiches.

However, nothing compares to our excitement for tonight, when we will be seeing both SAUL WILLIAMS (who's autographing, OMFG!) and, of course, NINE INCH NAILS!

More to come...including more pics and videos!

Oh, speaking of Rage Against the Machine, look who showed up backstage!

I'm glad to see that Trent's feeling better. Or did he pull a Ferris Bueller because he just wanted to see this show? Hmmm...


Iris said...

All videos are now posted!

Isabel said...

These reviews are great, I think I'll check some of the videos out to try and get into something new. I find RATMs politics a bit embarrassing though, all the 14 year olds moshing to Killing in the Name aren't raging against the system, they're telling their mum to fuck off.

The idea of the West just pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq is dishonourable as well - you don't just destabilise a country and then pull out leaving them to get on with it. And I seriously don't think the senate will be burned down if they don't - Zack should get over himself