Monday, November 23, 2009

Overdue Review of Saul Williams and the Afro-Punk Tour, 10/27/09

Hello, friends! Thanksgiving approaches for those of us in the US, and I've got to say, it's a pretty awesome holiday. The main point of this holiday is to eat rich, homemade, slow-cooked comfort food made from recipes handed down from generation to generation and to eat in sufficient quantities so that you are too sleepy and contented to want to maim or kill your dysfunctional family. This year, Mr. Maise and I are hosting for the first time and will be roasting a dead turkey of our very own. In some ways, it will be nice not to have to cross state lines in order to get some lunch this Thursday, but it is also very intimidating and daunting, especially since we have approximately 5,000 hours of cleaning to do in our home in addition to all the food preparation.

So I figured it was definitely worth a look back at the Saul Williams show that Ro and I caught at the Double Door in October, especially since it was one of the strangest concert experiences I have had recently. I've got no audio-visual goodies for you for this one because that's normally Iris's area of expertise, plus venue security was being REALLY vigilant about cameras, so I wouldn't have gotten away with it anyway.

I will go to great lengths to see Saul Williams live. And when I say "great lengths," I mean staying out WAY too late on a weekday. I used to be quite the insomniac before I hit 30. Now I require a full 7-8 hours of sleep in order to feel remotely human the following morning. Yet when Saul performs in Chicago (with the exception of Lollapalooza), he tends to not take the stage earlier than 11:30 p.m. or midnight. By the time the show ends and I make it back to the 'burbs, it's usually around 1:30 or 2 in the morning, which means that I have to mainline caffeine to stay awake at my desk the following morning. (And I usually feel even MORE exhausted the morning after that, as my body tries to adjust to the violation of my circadian rhythms.) But Saul Williams is worth it. With his high energy level and his clear love for the music and the audience, he creates performances that always exhilarating and powerful and thought-provoking.

But this wasn't my favorite show of his, however.

He was headlining the Afro-Punk tour, which was playing at the Double Door, a lovely, intimate venue. Their audience was composed of 98% annoying white hipsters, which is an occupational hazard of performing in Wicker Park. Hollywood Holt performed first...he was a very entertaining rapper from Chicago, and I wish that he had had the more prominent set just before Saul Williams, as I much preferred him to American Fangs, which had a sort of generic rap/punk sound and seemed to be onstage for years.

Saul Williams appeared on stage around 11:00 or so in his typical warpaint and a turquoise-colored feather headdress. He opened the show with the same recitation of inspirational/revolutionary figures as he did at his Martyr's show back in 2008. This performance had a bit of a "been there, done that" feel to it, especially since he's not promoting a new album at this time. He played a lot of my favorites but didn't have as much energy as before, I thought. Maybe this particular tour is burning him out or he's getting bored with his first two albums, but the highlight of the show was clearly "Grippo," which he performed with his daughter Saturn, who appeared absolutely ecstatic to be onstage and to be up past her bedtime. He sang some of my favorites like "Black Stacey" and "Surrender (A Second to Think)" and "WTF" and "Skin of a Drum," but all I could think about, greedily, was what I was missing. Like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Scared Money" and "NiggyTardust." He did play us a new song with much more intensity, and I was happy to hear that he's working on a new album.

I mean, don't get me wrong...even a "meh" Saul Williams performance is better than most other acts, but it's nothing compared to when he's at the top of his game. A perfect example is "Tr(n)igger," which was an absolute EXPLOSION at Martyr's but didn't have nearly the same urgency and joy at the Double Door.

Then the show just got bizarre. CX Kidtronik, Saul's DJ sidekick, took the stage with his solo rap act, Krak Attack, while Saul took an extended break. Krak Attack seems to be a very jovial act--playing with the irony of various cheesy hip-hop cliches. For example, Kidtronik and his bandmates brought the ladies up on stage to do some dancing during their set. I believe they had a song comparing the relative virtues of white girls and black girls...or was it skinny girls vs. big girls? I don't remember. The point is, while all this was going on for a good 20 minutes or so, all I could think was, "Et tu, Saul? What the hell is this opening act nonsense in the middle of the damn show?! It is midnight!!!" I probably would have more patience for Krak Attack if they had appeared after Hollywood Holt, but I did not have the patience for them at that point, as I pondered whether it would even be worth it to stick around for Saul's return. I was not the only one, as Krak Attack's impromptu performance caused a mass exodus. I decided to stick it out, thinking that perhaps Saul would make it up to us. When he finally did return, we got a lively rendition of "List of Demands." Then it appeared that there would be more...but there wasn't. Show over. Huh?

I must confess, therefore, that I was not the happiest of campers after this show ended. I felt a bit cheated--feeling that Saul hadn't been quite at 100 percent for whatever reason and then annoyed that he surrendered his stage to Kidtronik for an inordinate period of time. I would gladly lose more sleep over Saul Williams, but next time I hope he gives it his all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Overdue Review of Adult Swim Metalocalypse Tour: Dethklok and Mastodon, October 17, 2009

All righty, moving along with our overdue reviews. I'm working on Iris to do the Indigenous review because she knows a lot more about that band than I do. Come back, Iris!

So if you're familiar with Dethklok and Mastodon as well as opening bands High on Fire and Converge, you might be thinking, gee, Maise, that doesn't seem like your musical genre. You're right; it's not. I drag Mr. Maise to so many concerts and social events that every now and then I choose to do something that he would actually enjoy doing. Sometimes this means that I sit through Ozzfest in 118-degree heat or endure an evening of Godsmack. And he's been kind of going through a country music phase lately, so in comparison to some of the things he could drag me to, a Dethklok show is a piece of cake because I do enjoy the show Metalocalypse on Adult Swim. It's kind of a hard show to describe, but it involves the exploits of Dethklok, a metal band with endearingly stupid members. Somehow a sinister group of world leaders and religious figures fears the power that Dethklok has over its fans, so they always have some sort of plot to take down the oblivious members of this band. And their concerts are always extravagant, resulting in the gruesome deaths of audience I said, it's kind of hard to explain, but here's the theme song and a little clip, just to give you an idea, if you haven't seen it before:

In one of my favorite little scenes, bass player Murderface encounters the "rock and roll clown," Dr. Rockso:

So obviously since this is an animated band, I was expecting something along the line of the Gorillaz. Animation playing on the screen to a live accompaniment. Since death metal isn't really my thing, as I explained above, I figured that at least I would have something to look at. I wasn't expecting to enjoy the show as much as I did. However, there were some opening acts to endure first.

The first act, High on Fire, was actually pretty good. I certainly didn't hate them. It's not necessarily something I'd listen to on my own, and it kind of felt like A Day in the Life of Dan Angel, but considering it was a metal opening band that I've never heard before, I felt pretty fortunate. Their songs had some melody, which is optional when you're dealing with the "cookie monster metal" bands. Here's a general example.

Next up was Converge. You probably wouldn't peg the members of this band as death metal types. They are short-haired and look a little like frat boys (except with more tattoos). The lead singer's vocal stylings sound EXACTLY like my male dog barking. EXACTLY. It's a lot of "WOOFWOOFWOOFWOOFWOOF!!!!!" Needless to say, the lyrics of their songs are completely unintelligible, and I started to get bored with them very quickly.

Mastodon was up next, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. They sort of reminded me of Metallica, when Metallica was good. They played "Crack the Skye" for us, their concept album that is kind of about some guy in a coma and Rasputin. They had some cool imagery for us to look at...scenes that seemed to come out of an old B-movie, psychedelic pictures of Rasputin holding bears on leashes, interstellar travel, and other trippy stuff. But I could really only handle an hour of them. They played "Crack the Skye" all the way through, and then they started playing older stuff, I presume. But I needed to take a break in the lobby because I was starting to get antsy, and they were really LOUD. So loud. OMG. This concert had me feeling my age, that's for damn sure. I had forgotten ear plugs, which I normally don't have to wear at shows, but this was just way beyond my comfort level. I could have sworn that my ears were about to start bleeding at some point.

Here's a clip of Mastodon live, to give you the general idea:

With the surprisingly painless (well, except for my ears) opening bands out of the way, I was eagerly anticipating Dethklok. They opened, naturally, with the Dethklok theme. In this video, you can get a better look at the guys actually playing the music; they seem unlikely candidates for the creators of heavy metal:

Brendon Small, one of the series' creators, writes and performs all the music and does the voices for at least three of the Dethklok members. I have a hard time believing that the voice of Nathan Explosion, Dethklok's lead singer, comes out of his mouth. If you've ever seen Small's work on another animated series, "Home Movies," you'd probably find it even more surprising. He would occasionally banter with the crowd, using the different character voices. It always fascinates me to see a real live person talking in a famous cartoon voice...maybe that's just me.

They played a lot of songs from their first album, accompanied by videos, which were, like the show, grotesque and hilarious and kind of epic. I'll post a couple of my favorites here. These two had me laughing out loud while totally rocking out.

This one, in particular, is the perfect theme song for the health care debate. I'll post the lyrics below because I never have any idea what "Nathan" is saying:

Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug

I drove my truck into a moving van
It was all filled up with jet fuel and
I crashed right in and explosion
Smash through the window and ripped off my hands

Medical team drove up and found me
Bleeding in pieces picked up off the street
Drove me into a filthy hospital
Horror experienced financially

Woke up in pain in a gown in bed
Internal hemorrhaging inside my head
I really think that I should be dead
I saw the bill and then I cry bled

To keep me alive it is costing me
National deficit times three
There is no way to avoid this fee
Please pull the plug and kill me

It's costing too much

Pull the plug plug

Pull the plug

Breath lighted
Heart attacks
Pull the plug

Pull the plug


Pull the plug

Pay you my life instead of life support
Harvest my plasma because it's worth more
Take all my blood and my organs
Sell them to buyers over in third worlds

Burn my cadaver for some energy
Charge the patients in their misery
Such a strong quarter for the industry
Pharmaceutical fucking victory

Can't pay the price
Pull the plug
Pay with my life
Pull the plug
Say my farewell
Pull the plug
See you in hell
Fucking pull the plug

So. Fucking. Brilliant.

So although this was an evening I originally thought that I was going to tolerate at best, I had a great time. Mr. Maise enjoyed himself too, and it was actually something that he wanted to do, for a change. I'd highly recommend checking out Dethklok, primarily for the experience of the animation + live music. Plus, if you don't already watch Metalocalypse and think that might be your absurdist cup of tea, I'd recommend that as well. I'm kind of hooked now, myself.

Any pleasant surprises in your lives lately?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Long Wave Goodbye--Overdue Review of NIN at the Aragon, 8/29/09

So I have to admit, for what should be obvious reasons to regular readers, I've been dreading writing this review. Here are some things, in no particular order, that I'd rather do than write up this overdue review:

--Go back in time to 8th grade and play a game of volleyball with the bitchy popular girls and their mile-high bangs
--Have braces installed on my teeth and continually tightened for no good reason
--Go to Walmart at 4:30 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving
--Drive a great distance with my husband while a scoreless baseball game is being announced on the radio
--Actually do the office work that has been assigned to me

Some of you may be wondering why I'm so hesitant to revisit this experience, which at the time was an enjoyable one. It's not that it's the last NIN show I'll be writing about for the foreseeable future. I've written thousands upon thousands of words with regard to Mr. Reznor and his bandmates. I'm more than ready to move on and discuss other things. I suppose if I say that it's because I'm not looking forward to all the malicious, psychotic bullshit that is sure to follow, then I guess the terrorists will win.

Trent was right, though...the haters do suck the fun out of everything, even if you try your best to ignore them. However, we here at Places Parallel will persevere. We will continue to keep up with Trent and his music, once he's finished with his hiatus, but we also have a LOT of other concerts to discuss, and what's more, I'd like to see more interaction from you, the sane reader, about what's interesting in music and what good shows you've seen. I assure you that I have no intentions of abandoning this site, and I plan to make good use of the "delete" button when necessary to ensure that this is a welcoming place for all.

August 29, 2009 was my ninth NIN show. I figured that if Trent really does put his old hits out to pasture and retire from touring, that would be a nice number to close out that period of my life. (I only wish it could have taken place on 9/9/09. Not even in LA did he do a 9/9/09 show. Lame!) I was accompanied by my dearest friends and favorite concertgoing companions, Ro, Iris, and Mr. Iris. The show took place at precisely the sort of intimate venue at which I have always wanted to see NIN: the Aragon Theater. He may very well have played his first Chicago show at the Aragon, or a place like it (the Metro, the Double Door, the Riviera, etc.). The Aragon has always had a special place in my heart as it is where I saw my very first rock concert in the big, bad city when I was a teenager (the Violent Femmes). When you're young and hemmed in by curfews and rules and small allowances, a real honest-to-God dingy, urban concert hall--poorly lit and with sticky floors--represents danger and real freedom. You feel the tension build before the show even starts in this hot, crowded place with all these strange people. You're slightly nervous that you're going to lose your friends; some creepy guy offers you a beer, and you refuse. You cling to your $20 bill tightly. It's all the money you've got, and you're trying to decide which t-shirt to buy. I can still feel that electricity in the air when I see shows at the Aragon; maybe I steal the spark from all the young kids in the crowd. At any rate, it was the perfect place for a dedicated fan like me to see her favorite band.

I've written so much about the experience of seeing NIN live that it's hard to know what else there is left to say. Regular readers know that the music means a lot to me personally. That's probably true for most NIN fans. The music taps into emotions that can be difficult to express our daily lives--rage, lust, despair--but these emotions must be given voice sometimes, or a person can just lose it. The lyrics are confessional, yet it's easy for the rest of us to project our own feelings and experiences upon them. I could tell you how each and every song on "With Teeth" is about my personal problems circa 2005--forget all that stuff about some guy named Trent and rehab. I went to every show possible so that I could experience a sense of release and a sense of communion with the hundreds or thousands of people around me--all of us shouting out the same words that are so difficult to say at work, to our lovers, to our parents, to our friends, to ourselves. I could tell from the angry, impatient, excited buzz in the air that the audience of this show was hungry for that release.

Experimental indie Danish (more Scandinavians!) rock band Mew was the opener. I can't remember a lot about their set, other than the fact that their songs were accompanied by unsettling imagery. Their music was pleasant enough to listen to; I think they are often compared to Muse by people in the know. But the hungry, angry crowd was not to be satiated by them; plus, it was at this point in the show when we first encountered "Richard" and his unfortunate wife/girlfriend/date, "Amy." Richard was extremely intoxicated and was well on his way to becoming even more intoxicated. He had been at the show the night before; he wanted to make sure that everyone in the venue knew that. You're aware of that, right? Good. He seemed like a fairly knowledgeable fan in his early- to mid-30s, and perhaps if his blood-alcohol level were somewhere below 0.3, he would have been okay to talk to. We stayed in Richard and Amy's vicinity because it provided Iris with a central view of the stage for her video-recording, but we were soon to regret it.

Finally...the moment we've all been waiting for! NIN took the stage beginning with "Home," which is kind of a "meh" opening. They probably could have skipped it and gone straight to "The Beginning of the End," which would have been appropo.

The setlist, courtesy of Echoing the Sound:

The Beginning of the End
March of the Pigs
I'm Afraid of Americans
Gave Up
La Mer
The Frail
I Do Not Want This
Gone, Still
Right Where it Belongs (v2)
The Way Out is Through
Mr. Self Destruct
The Good Soldier
Dead Souls
Reptile(w/ Peter Murphy)
Strange Kind of Love (with Peter Murphy)
Final Solution (with Peter Murphy)
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole

As you can see, it was very heavy on "The Downward Spiral"--no complaints from me on that! It would have been cool had he chosen to do some kind of concept, like "Pretty Hate Machine" from beginning to end, but this was a nice mix of his work spanning his entire career. It wasn't too different from what I have heard at previous NIN shows, but I was particularly happy to hear "I'm Afraid of Americans," "Dead Souls," (which poor Ro had been waiting to hear live for the first time for like seven shows), and "Gone, Still" from "Still," which I've never heard live before. I'm going to be honest and admit that I didn't miss the obligatory "Ghost" instrumentals. Those never felt quite as powerful as, say, "La Mer" or "Just Like You Imagined."

One moment that was especially powerful to me was "Ruiner." I think it may have been the first time that I heard this song live, but what struck me this time was chanting the words, "You didn't hurt me, nothing can hurt me, you didn't hurt me, nothing can stop me now." I know, I know, it's Trent's oft-recycled "nothing can stop me!" But I happened to reflect on everything I've overcome in the past and personal problems I'm dealing with now, and it helps to be reminded that there is a rock-solid part of me that cannot be touched by these things, that will never be defeated. It kind of has nothing to do with the song, but it's an example of how we can take away different things from the music than perhaps what was originally intended.

So as you see, Peter Murphy was the special guest, as promised. Which was awesome. We have seen Peter and Trent collaborate onstage with these very songs in the past, however, when NIN toured with Bauhaus, so there was kind of a "been there, done that" feel to this portion of the show, although I am always happy to hear "Strange Kind of Love." Perhaps this could have been avoided by bringing Peter to back up Trent for different songs or by begging and pleading with Gary Numan to come to Chicago. I'm really jealous of the LA crowd getting to see that! Also, it would have been awesome if Trent could have brought on some local legend, like uh...I dunno. Cheap Trick? Just kidding! But seriously...I don't know whom Trent has totally pissed off over the years, but Chicago has brought the world Veruca Salt, Liz Phair, Ministry (yes, yes, I KNOW Al hates Trent), Local H, and of course, The Smashing Pumpkins, although the total weight of the egos of Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan on one stage would probably cause a tear in the time-space continuum and end all life as we know it. Any of those would have been mind-blowing. Seeing Peter Murphy is always welcome...just not mind-blowing.

Trent had a nice spoken interlude wherein he thanked all of his fans and talked about how much he loves Chicago. It was very heartfelt and sweet, and I can't remember a word of it, so we just have to wait until Iris returns with the video of his speech. Come back, Iris!

Meanwhile, during all of these proceedings, Richard managed to make an enemy of every single person around him--from the man whom he spilled a beer on, to me and Iris because he was standing in front of my 4'10" self and talking loudly to the embarrassed Amy throughout the ENTIRE show, to Mr. Iris because he had no respect for anyone around him, to the guy who just finally snapped at the end of the show and shouted, "You were here last night? Good for you! The rest of us weren't, and we'd like to experience the show! SHUT THE FUCK UP!" He managed to commit every possible concert foul, and it's amazing that he didn't get involved in a fistfight. With his nonstop drunken chatter, it was hard for me to get in my zone during the show, so that was unfortunate. It was also unfortunate that so many of us had to waste so much time and energy being pissed off at him rather than enjoying the show. He really detracted from the entire experience. So let this be a lesson to all can pre-party, just don't overdo it! And to all enabling girlfriends/wives, please remove your drunken man from an area before someone punches him in the fucking mouth, as he clearly deserved. So that was kind of a sour note on a great evening, but it can't be helped. As we have all learned recently, a lot of NIN "fans" are total assholes.

And that, I think, is that! * know, it was actually kind of cathartic getting through this. I think I'm enjoying catching up on all my overdue reviews as opposed to having that nagging voice running through my brain: "You're ignoring Places're ignoring Places Parallel..."

Stay tuned, more reviews to come!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And Finally--the Long-Awaited Conclusion to Lolla-freaking-palooza 2009!

Is it November already? Must be time for another post! As I've said countless times, I just want to keep the promises I made to you guys months and months ago, and then hopefully we can all move on and maintain a more regular publishing schedule, etc. Oh my God, when I get through this last Lolla review, I will feel SO relieved! At least I've gotten this written before Lollapalooza 2010!

My husband was eager to get to Grant Park somewhat early that last day to see Cage the Elephant, who have since become much more ubiquitous on the radio and in commercials than they were earlier this summer. They do happen to have the most interesting backstory of any act at Lollapalooza last summer (paraphrased from Lolla marketing). Apparently, the band was founded by two brothers--Matt and Brad Schultz--from Kentucky whose parents were former hippies turned Jesus freaks and lived on a Christian commune. Rock music was forbidden, until their parents were divorced, and then they immersed themselves in all kinds of good stuff like classic rock and grunge. Just like all those kids whose minds were blown by the first Velvet Underground record and had to create their own band, the Brothers Schultz grabbed some friends and made their own record in like 10 days and became a big success in the UK before anyone had ever heard of them here. By now you've probably heard the infectious "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" and perhaps even "Back Against the Wall." They were brand-new to me that day, but I noticed that Cage the Elephant brought good old-fashioned blues-inspired rock to an enthusiastic crowd on a very hot day indeed. The first band I think of when I hear them is the Rolling Stones; they have a classic sound with something raw, sexy, and a little dangerous lurking in the lead singer's voice. After all, we all know what happens to the kids with super-religious, strict parents once those kids get a taste of freedom...unbridled, awesome hedonism! There's also a purity in their garage band sound, reminiscent of the White Stripes before they got all pretentious and discordant with the godawful "Icky Thump." As I recall, their live show was energetic, but it was hard to dance and "whoo" at 100 percent when we all just felt like passing out from the heat. (Paramedics with stretchers passed us at one point to rescue an overheated floozy in a sundress.) I'd definitely recommend catching one of their live shows if you get the chance. I think they were back in Chicago this past weekend, but I was too busy paying tribute to the Angelcat in Los Angeles at the time.

We managed to catch the latter half of the The Airborne Toxic Event's set, as they overlapped with Cage the Elephant, and Mr. Maise was definitely more interested in seeing CTE. We did manage to see TATE's big hit "Somewhere Around Midnight," which always makes me feel melancholy when I hear it because I never have anyone drunkenly chasing me around after glimpsing me at a bar because he's THAT in love with me. I mean, my husband loves me, but he's home and we eat dinner and fall asleep on the couch it's just not the same! "Somewhere Around Midnight" was probably the big highlight of this abbreviated set for us, as I'm otherwise not terribly familiar with this band. I was also a little distracted because it was at this point that my husband disappeared for 15 minutes to get a beer and Ro and Iris disappeared for 20 minutes to re-fill their water bottles. It's sometimes hard to wrangle a whole group at these large outdoor festivals.

Okay, so I admit that I don't know the first thing about Neko Case other than the fact that she is a fellow admirer of greyhounds. She was also playing on the side of the park where we eventually wanted to end up at the end of the night, so we decided to establish a "base camp" of blankets and Neat Sheets on the west side of the park by the Budweiser stage in a shady area that was near (but not *too* near) the port-a-potties and a bar. It was really the perfect location for our group. Those who were tired and hot could lie back on the blankets and absorb the music. If someone wanted to get some food or drinks or take a closer look at the band, the rest of us were easy to locate. Iris and I did leave for a while to get a better look at Neko Case and her lovely fiery red hair. She kind of reminded me of Tori Amos, with a gentler sound that seemed more inspired by country and folk music (although I guess she's also a member of the New Pornographers, so she can do indie rock as well). She genuinely seemed to be having a good time on stage with her bandmates and interacted warmly with the audience. She's just a little too mellow for me, but I appreciated her as an artist, and I can see why her fans are so devoted to her. And any friend of retired racing greyhounds is a friend of mine!

We sort of half-listened to the next act, Dan Auerbach, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. After all, if you see a guy who looks like this onstage in 2009, you might suspect that you'll be hearing something like Bon Iver...slow, acoustic, ballads about isolation and heartbreak. Dan Auerbach. But as I recall, his music was uptempo and blues-influenced. I really can't tell you anything substantial about Dan Auerbach unless I plagiarized Wikipedia or some such, so I'll just tell you about the human drama that we witnessed at this time. Ro noticed that a large number of people were jumping the fence to get into Grant Park. If they weren't jumping the fence, they were leaping over the row of port-a-potties. Which, frankly, was alarming to me. No one loves hanging out in those little blue outhouses, but could you imagine if you were in there, and someone came crashing down on top of you because he/she misjudged how far he/she had to jump? Horrifying! My favorite port-a-potty leaper was a guy who made the jump, then starting running immediately as he hit the ground, but simultaneously attempted to disguise himself by ripping off his shirt and his glasses. You know, like Clark Kent. Sort of. He assumed that no one could possibly recognize him as an unticketed individual, as we all laughed loudly and pointed.

Anyway, once these people crashed Lolla, as it were, they would then all take off running towards the field in front of the Budweiser stage. But Ro noticed that a couple of guys who were working at the bar would stop these individuals, lead them back to the port-a-potties, and then the gate-crashers would go inside and calmly walk out and be on their way. Then the guys working at the bar would go inside the port-a-potties, presumably to collect the bribes that had been left for them there. They probably made quite a bit of money! We noticed that occasionally they would have discussions with these gate-crashers and then lead said jumpers to an ATM so that they could procure the cash needed for the bribe. These two enterprising men did have a little competition as police were also on the lookout for fence-jumpers, and if the police caught them, they would wind up in handcuffs and (if they were lucky) merely escorted out of the park or perhaps arrested. So my recommendation to you, dear readers, is to a) just pay for the ticket to avoid looking like a chump and b) if you do want to crash, then have some extra cash on you for bribery or bail-posting purposes.

After Dan Auerbach, Lou Reed was scheduled to play. This particular slot of time was the most agonizing decision for me of Lollapalooza 2009. It was Snoop Dogg vs. Lou Reed, and they were at opposite ends of Grant Park, so it was impossible to see both. On the one hand, you have a rap icon who has pretty much become a pop culture punchline and who isn't terribly relevant in the world of hip-hop but who would be a hell of a lot of fun to see. On the other hand, you have a rock icon who is apt to be temperamental and who would probably avoid playing all your favorite songs just to be spiteful. We decided to go with Lou Reed, to see a legend in the flesh and in the hopes that he would play "A Perfect Day" Looking back, I feel that this was probably a mistake. First of all, he came onstage probably about 15-20 minutes late, which caused all kinds of chaos later in the night, as I shall explain. His setlist was all right, I suppose...I'm only the most casual Lou Reed fan, so I wasn't expecting to know every song by heart. We did get "Sweet Jane," "Waiting for the Man," and "Walk on the Wild Side." Lou seemed to be having a good time on stage but didn't really interact with the audience. That may be par for the course with him. So it wasn't a bad show, but I probably would have had much more fun singing along to "Gin and Juice" with all the other white hipsters in the crowd.

Lou Reed's tardiness meant that the next band, indie darlings Band of Horses, wound up starting about 15-20 minutes late. I don't have a ton to say about them except that, like Animal Collective, they chose to continue their set well after Jane's Addiction began. I realize that it wasn't their fault that they had to start late, but they knew they were going on right before the final headlining act of the festival--and not just any ol' headliner, like Kings of Leon, but the original lineup of Jane's Addiction. Now, while Jane's Addiction isn't exactly tapping into the rock zeitgeist as they once did, I feel that they deserve a modicum of respect for inventing the very concept of Lollapalooza. When Jane's Addiction came on, starting with "Up the Beach" and leading to my favorite "Mountain Song," I couldn't even hear it from all the sound being generated by Band of Horses on the other side of the field. And I want to say that they continued until 10-15 minutes into Jane's Addiction's set, even though Jane's Addiction delayed their entrance about 10-15 minutes. What a clusterfuck! Therefore, I propose again that no matter what the circumstances, festival organizers pull the plug on bands at their scheduled ending times. Because I don't care how great the end of someone's set is, it's usually not worth ruining the beginning of someone else's act.

And FINALLY, we come to Jane's Addiction. When Jane's Addiction were at the forefront of the alternative music scene, I was a mere impoverished teenager and had no pocket money to attend any of their shows. When Jane's Addiction was touring with NIN last spring, they did not appear at the Chicago show, probably because they had signed on to headline Lollapalooza. So this was my first (and possibly last) opportunity to see the original lineup of Jane's Addiction. Although it was ever so slightly anticlimactic, as I had seen Perry Farrell and various backing bands several times in the past, and he was always eager to play all the old Jane's Addiction hits. So there wasn't really a sense of "omg omg omg, I've finally heard 'Stop' live!!!"

When their set opened (annoyingly drowned out by Band of Horses, of course), they played "Up the Beach" as a helicopter flew low overhead and shined a spotlight on the crowd. Very dramatic and over the top, but also kind of awesome. I noticed people aiming their laser pointers at the helicopter. Smart move, assholes! I thought as I waited for the pilot to be blinded and crash into the crowd below.

Here is the setlist, courtesy of

1. Up the Beach (w/ helicopter entrance)
2. Mountain Song
3. Ain't No Right
4. Three Days
5. Whores
6. Been Caught Stealing
7. Then She Did
8. Ocean Size
9. Ted, Just Admit It
10. Summertime Rolls
11. Stop!
12. Jane Says (w/ Joe Perry)

Hmm...let's see, what do I remember about the show? Good production value, Perry's weird, yet strangely literal segues into songs...I'm pretty sure at one point he called us all "sluts" before beginning "Whores," for example. At one point the first few rows of the audience were given huge lengths of fabric to wave over their heads in order to simulate an ocean--presumably for "Ocean Size" because like I said, Perry can be awfully literal in his interpretation of song titles--and Perry ran in front of the crowd like the happiest dork, pretending to swim and dive. At one point Perry pointed out that their drummer, Stephen Perkins, was performing for us against doctor's orders, and thank God too, as it would have been a real bummer to lose both Jane's and the Beasties as Lolla headliners. As you can see in the setlist above, Joe Perry showed up for a special guest appearance. At the time, Steven Tyler had just fallen off a stage in South Dakota, so Aerosmith didn't have much to do with themselves. So Joe Perry helped out with "Jane Says." Perry asked the crowd if they wanted to see Aerosmith at Lollapalooza next year. Well, of course not, but no one wants to be rude to Joe Perry, so everyone cheered in the affirmative. Anyway, it might not be much of an issue if rumors of Aerosmith's inner turmoil are true. And then a very lucky Jane's Addiction fan was allowed to propose to his girlfriend onstage, and she said yes! (Not that there was any pressure on her or anything). And that's about all I have to say about that. Like I said, it felt a little redundant after all the other times I've seen Perry perform at Lollapalooza, but it was nice to see the original lineup of Jane's Addiction play together again, and they were in fine form, as you can see here.

And so that is FINALLY that. Once again, my apologies for all the long delays; real life occasionally gets in the way of my ghost life, but there is more to come!

Oh, and in all your comments, even the mean ones, I think you should include the sentence "Iris, come back!!!!" She's not dead or anything, but it sure isn't the same without her around here...