Monday, October 19, 2009

Long Overdue Lollapallooza Review--Day 2

Okay, so this is so overdue, it's basically irrelevant, but basically, I need to clear my conscience of these missing reviews before I move on to cool new things like Saul Williams on October 27th! Thank God for schedules and setlists posted online because Christ knows I wouldn't remember any of this off the top of my head...

So let's take a look back at Day 2 of Lollapalooza, shall we? The lineup that day was kind of "meh," compared to Day 1, especially because the Beastie Boys were forced to cancel and were replaced as the headliner by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (To which we said, "No no no.") So there will likely be less rhapsodizing in this recap, but I shall do my best.

On Day 2, we replaced the constant rain with blistering heat and dehyradation. At least we knew it was coming. The weatherman was predicting inferno-like conditions for that Saturday and Sunday. In fact, as I positively shivered with cold during Depeche Mode, due to being drenched for hours and cooler temperatures, I reminded myself that the following two days, I would surely miss the rain and wind. Paramedics seemed busy with those who do not understand the dehydrating effects of alcohol on the human body, but for the most part, I must say the crowd seemed slightly better behaved than in years past. We encountered much less unconsciousness, vomiting and oblivious nudity this year, and since I'm not 19 years old, I certainly didn't miss it.

We were able to catch the end of thenewno2's set, and it was unfortunate that we couldn't have seen more, but they had a super-early set beginning at noon, and we were exhausted from the night before and traffic, yadda yadda. Hey, if a professional publication wants to pay us so we could stay in a nearby hotel in order to provide a fuller, more detailed review, we won't say no! Anyway, as you may already know, thenewno2 (a reference to the British TV show "The Prisoner," I am told) is led by George Harrison's hottie son, Dhani. Dhani may look and sound exactly like his father, but that doesn't mean that you'll be seeing a Beatles cover band. You'll hear the '60s British invasion blues-y influences in his music, but who *isn't* influenced by the Beatles, let alone actual progeny of the Beatles? But there's also a significant nod to Massive Attack and a certain cool, electronica sound. I think we came in somewhere around "Out of Mind" and we stuck with them til the end of their last song, "Choose What You're Watching." But we definitely liked what we heard, and the good news is that we will be seeing thenewno2 once again when they open for Wolfmother on November 13th. (Note: I have absolutely no interest in Wolfmother, so here's hoping we get to the show on time!)

Here's thenewno2 singing "Choose What You're Watching." Don't you just want to chase Dhani in a madcap manner around the streets of London with a group of screaming girls? Maybe that's just me...



We had some free time after thenewno2, so we had the opportunity to experience some new bands. Iris was particularly taken with Dirty Sweet, a bluesy rock band from San Diego whose members do not appear to wash their long, greasy hair. Ever. Still, they were a great band for an outdoor festival on a hot summer day. They've got a sort of a Southern classic rock sound. The vocals are very reminiscent of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, and there's even a touch of the Pete Townshend to be found in the guitar riffs of this song, "Baby Come Home."



Dirty Sweet would be, in my opinion, the perfect band for a dive bar at midnight. Not that that is the only venue where they belong; they would just really fit the atmosphere.

After Dirty Sweet, we sat for a while in the makeshift beer garden, watching the technophiles dancing to the stylings of DJs Moneypenney and then Kaskade. You know, the usual "oonce oonce oonce." Although I don't understand who could dance around in a huge crowd in that heat. We took the opportunity to pow-wow about who we would see next. No one had any burning desires, so I suggested Ida Maria. There was quite the Scandinavian invasion this year with Peter Bjorn and John, Ida Maria, and Lykke Li, so I wanted to get in on the Lingonberry Revolution if that's going to be the huge new thing. Then I could say that I coined the term "Lingonberry Revolution," for one thing.

I like to think of Ida Maria as Norway's answer to Blondie. She's got a garage band sound with sweet, slightly accented vocals, as exemplified in this song, "Louie."



It's kind of like if Bjork actually sang rock songs, as opposed to her usual artistic yodeling. (And don't get me wrong--I love Bjork.) Apparently she had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction (her dress popped open, exposing a pink bra), and she doused herself with water while twirling and singing songs like, "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked."

So it was an enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes, especially when you're listening to a brand new band for the first time. In order to catch Care Bears on Fire, we left as she sang a rousing cover of the Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

Wow, man, Care Bears on Fire. Despite the fact that the band members have just started high school (Jena, the oldest member, is now in 10th grade) and were playing the "Kidzapalooza" stage, we were intrigued by the hilariously violent imagery suggested by their band name and wanted to check them out. They have a cute, kid-friendly and very catchy punk sound, but these girls are also rather terrifying. When bantering with the "Kidzapalooza" emcee, they kind of sounded like Dakota Fanning giving an interview--you know, just professional beyond their years. Indeed, they already have two full-length albums, a record deal, television appearances, a Lollapalooza gig, and have collaborated with Adam Schlesinger from The Fountains of Wayne. One of the members complained onstage about the microphone volume with just the right amount of rock star petulance. These are girls who most likely know what label of bottled water they prefer and precisely what temperature it should be at. If you suffer from any kind of self-doubt, ennui, or a sense that life hasn't really gone the way you've planned, by all means, avoid Care Bears on Fire. On the other hand, their punk cover of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears was kinda brilliant. Totally calculated and contrived, but brilliant nonetheless. I mean, they're just teenage girls and should by all means be encouraged to rock, but they are also extremely intimidating. I'm just saying.

We headed over to the Chicago 2016 (a lost cause...alas!) stage to stake out a spot on the hill, as we would eventually be watching Tool later that evening. It was just really hot and exhausting this year...we didn't have the stamina to cross Grant Park multiple times to catch individual acts, like the Arctic Monkeys or TV on the Radio, so we settled for what was around us.

God, Coheed and Cambria. They seem to be at Lollapalooza just about every year. They've got a throwback classic hard rock sound reminiscent of Rush or Dio. Personally, I prefer Tenacious D, but Coheed and Cambria does have a lot of very loyal fans. They're just not my genre *at all*. Their set seemed to last years. Years! I lay back on our Neat Sheet and closed my eyes and tried to endure.

Next, there was no way in hell I was going to sit through Rise Against, so I took a chance on Lykke Li, and this was probably the most pleasant surprise of the entire day. A member of the "Lingonberry Revolution" (remember...it was coined here first, folks!), the Swedish singer is an adorable blonde with a high voice reminiscent of anime characters who does dancey-pop songs with an otherworldly indie sensibility. If it sounds a little like Peter Bjorn and John to you, that's probably because her debut album "Youth Novels" was produced by PB&J's Bjorn Yttling. I feel kind of bad calling her "adorable," but oh my God, just look at her! Plus, isn't this the best song you've ever heard?



"Youth Novels" is a worthwhile investment, and I felt bad being so behind the curve...her many enthusiastic fans knew all the words to every song, and here I was listening to her just for the first time.

Animal Collective was next, and I guess to appreciate/understand them, you have to be the kind of person who writes for Pitchfork. All I know is that this artsy group from Baltimore with weird stage names like "Panda Bear" and "The Geologist" was the absolute worst act I've ever been subjected to at Lollapalooza, bar none. I'm not very motivated to check out their albums, but I know that their setlist involved making the same screechy noise repeatedly for like an hour and 10 minutes straight. And the worst part? Their set went over egregiously, to the point where they were drowning out Tool. This was a big problem at this year's Lollapalooza...when bands reach the end of their scheduled time, someone needs to pull the plug because there's a BIG problem with acoustics when the stages are right across from each other. It's really disrespectful to other bands and their fans. I mean, honestly, did we really need an extra 10 minutes of "Screeeeech, beep, Screeeech, beep, Screeech!!!"? Ugh!

And finally, we get to the headliner of day 2: Tool. I'm really not the most qualified person to review them because I've never had much interest in them, to be honest. They were definitely more appealing than the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but if the Beastie Boys hadn't been forced to cancel, I would be reviewing them instead, for sure. It's not that I'm particularly opposed to their style of music or Maynard's singing voice...although I find their songs sort of monotone and indistinguishable from each other and the lyrics undecipherable. They did have a very impressive stage show with their dark and slightly disturbing videos. And apparently, Iris got some good pics of Maynard basically stripping down to his skivvies gradually during the show (it's hot up there with the stage lights!), but I was unaware of any onstage antics because we were sitting off to the side up on a hill, so I could really only get a good look at the screens displaying the videos.

This is their setlist, according to Lollapalooza's website, if you're curious:

1. Jambi
2. Stinkfist
3. Forty-Six & Two
4. Schism
5. Rosetta Stoned
6. Flood
7. ├ćnema
8. Lateralus
9. Vicarious

Wow, their songs must be really long! My husband informs me that these are their more recent works and not from the earlier albums that he used to subject me to when we would drive back and forth from our hometown to college.

Sorry about this non-review of Tool...they're really not my thing. If our long-lost Iris ever returns to us, hopefully she can give you a much more thorough look back at this show!

Oh, but the best part of the entire show! We witnessed an EXTREMELY drunk woman dragging an EXTREMELY drunk male companion up the hill. She had a death grip on his arm, and he was stumbling trying to keep up with her. They were so drunk that everything they did appeared to be in slow motion. He apparently did not enjoy being dragged like a mule, so he grabbed her by the ponytail. This enraged her, so she kicked him square in the balls, then dragged him away. All this was accomplished, as I said, very slowly and with no words whatsoever. Although I was momentarily afraid that they were going to puke and/or fall on me, it really was the most amazing piece of theater I've ever witnessed.

And that, my friends, was Day 2. Hopefully this week I can finish off Lollapalooza 2009, the bane of my existence, and then we can MOVE ON. However, I am going to warn you that I think I'm catching the swine flu.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can I Come Out of Hiding?

Okay, I'm SO guilt-ridden for not delivering on various concert reviews and not having enough time to post anything else (I really have been a miserable ghost bitch all month) that I've been actively avoiding this place, and that's just silly because a) I'm the cofounder of this freaking blog and b) I love you all, especially because we've been too boring for the Trolls lately.

So I'm just going to put up something quick til I can deal with all the shit that's been haunting me for MONTHS now, and I just want to let you know that my concert-going days are not over! I've got Dethklok this Saturday (definitely not my genre, but I do enjoy "Metalocalypse" on Adult Swim). Then on October 27th, Iris and Ro and I will be enjoying Saul Williams once again at a lovely intimate venue called the Double Door. Then on November 13th, Ro and I will be seeing Dhani Harrison's band, thenewno2, again (oh yeah, that's right...we saw them once at Lollapalooza, which I have yet to review...sigh), but crazy-haired Wolfmother will actually be the headliner at that show.

Anyway, I just wanted to report to you on my musical guilty pleasures because I've really been indulging them lately. Instead of my usual gothy moodiness, I've been turning to the most ridiculous pop music to motivate myself to work out and drive to the office without attempting suicide on the way and to generally crack myself up with all of these songs about "the dance floor." Dudes, I am never in clubs or on dance floors in my 30s, but apparently, I'm missing a LOT.



(gag reflex alert: Chris Brown is featured on this otherwise kick-ass song)

Okay, so she never wears pants, and she kind of looks like Marilyn Manson from some angles, but I've got to admit, I officially like Lady Gaga. She's not half as avant-garde as she thinks, or maybe she doesn't even really think she's avant-garde, but I do appreciate her humor and self-deprecation and shameless pop hooks. This video really won me over with its wacked-out medical couture and uh...a starring role by Alexander Skarsgard. The Minnie Mouse outfit at the end kind of has to be seen to be believed.



Finally, in my guilty pleasures du jour, is this, "Crazy Possessive" by Kaci Battaglia. The first time I heard this chorus, I laughed out loud. Plus, Kaci totally has a "Real Housewives of New Jersey" thing going on, so it's all priceless:



So yeah, this is what happens when Trent "retires." Places Parallel collects dust, and I start singing along to Flo Rida.