(Video included) What a weekend. Three days and nights in Grant Park, a night at House of Blues and another night at Schubas. I’m beat. But it was worth it.
When the lineups were announced for Lollapalooza, people everywhere were saying that it was one of the weakest lineups in recent history. We disagreed. Then the Beastie Boys had to cancel (get well MCA) and the peanut gallery grew louder. While the headliners drew criticism, we said early on that it was the “supporting” acts who deserved the most attention. They didn’t disappoint. And, for that matter, neither did the supposed sub-par headliners.
We also made some early show-stealing picks for our Lolla tour including Band of Horses, The Decemberists and Jane’s Addiction. In the case of Band of Horses they did steal the show – quite literally – from Jane’s Addiction.
Playing right before Jane’s, BOH decided to extend their set by a good three songs, continuing to play while Jane’s started their set. “We gotta blow that shit out!” said BOH’s Ben Bridwell before launching into a rocking “Wicked Gil.” And he wasn’t done. “Should I keep going?” he asked, before playing “Ode to LRC.” Then, “Let’s do one more!” as he climbed down to the crowd and led us through “The General Specific.” Between songs, you could see the frustration building for Janes Addiciton’s Perry Farrell before he shouted, “What the fuck is this?” and then called them “crackers.” In all fairness, BOH got a late start due to Lou Reed running late. But when you butt in on the festival’s organizer … it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that 2009 could be BOH’s last Lollapalooza appearance.
It was worth it. BOH absolutely killed Lolla. The crowd was enthralled and the band appeared to be having the time of their lives. Bridwell commented several times about how amazing the crowd was and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that he meant every word. I’m a big Jane’s Addiction fan and, for me, it’s a close call. If it weren’t for Jane’s disappointing end (‘Jane Says’ is a classic but I’ve heard it enough for two lifetimes – and I know I’m not alone) they would have been my highlight performance. Farrell then ended the set with a nice proposal, then a lengthy discussion about the 2016 Olympics, kids, life, “thank you’s” to crew, organizers, and so on. The crowd waited for another song that was never played.
This year goes to Band of Horses. Unfortunately we have a missing video. But check back for the aftershow video from House of Blues.
The Decemberists were also very good, as was Snoop Dogg, Andrew Bird and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s proved to be a more-than-capable fill-in for the sorely missed Beastie Boys.
Before the video, a few Lolla highlights you won’t see:
- The Raveonettes were great and so were Silversun Pickups.
- The entire festival was well-organized.
- Not one pat-down from security for me, in all three days. Security was light, but it seems to have worked. Turns out, no matter how much pot is smoked people don’t want to fight.
- Friday’s hours of rain resulted in mud wrestling. Unfortunately, it was all dudes.
- Beer was plentiful, mostly cold and actually reasonably priced – $5 for a can, allowing for stockpiling. Cleanup was also outstanding, due to volunteers and a rewards program from Lolla.
- The North side of the park is better – closer proximity to just about everything and a convenient exit after the shows. You can also simply turn around to hear either North side stage. However, there was a highly advertised North side entrance gate, but that was only open for half a day.
- The porta-potty’s. That’s right. They served two non-traditional purposes.
- The set on the North side of Grant Park backed up to a fence and Columbus Drive. Waiting in line, suddenly two guys came flying from behind, landed on top of two porta’s, dismounted (one somersaulted) and dashed into the crowd amid a throng of high-fives and cheers on their way to a free day of Lolla. Well done, sirs.
- The set on the Southeast side provided an impromptu baby-making session for one couple, complete with door pounding. Yikes.
- This guy.
On to the show. The video below includes clips from 11 different artists we saw. Surely there were other great performances that we missed. There’s also one highlight of a couple who took a swim in Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain. It had to be done, and I’m glad it worked out for everybody. Almost everybody.
Hope you enjoy the video. We have more from each artist we will upload later.
Have some highlights of your own? Leave a comment and share with us!
Lollapalooza is two short weeks away. Friday’s lineup is solid and there are some difficult choices to make. But we’ve managed to settle on our schedule for the day. Below are some videos from each artist we’ve picked; some live and some studio work. Out of Friday’s entire lineup, I’m most interested in seeing The Decemberists if, for no other reason, to hear their new album played live. They seem to be really growing into their sound and that’s pretty exciting. But I’m also really looking forward to Heartless Bastards, Fleet Foxes and Heartless Bastards.
Here they are the Sound Citizen picks, in order of their scheduled appearances for Friday, August 7.
The Henry Clay People, 11:30 a.m. Relatively raw but their solid, steady sound does it for me.
Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, 1:00 p.m. One of our favorite concerts this year. Don’t miss this one.
The Gaslight Anthem, 2:00 p.m. They draw comparisons to Bruce Springsteen (they’re from Jersey too) but mainly seeing them because I’m not yet sold on White Lies, playing a different stage.
Heartless Bastards, 3:00 p.m. Loving this straightforward rock sound. They were touring with Dan Auerbach — a big endorsement in my book. Along with this video is another great one here.
STS9, 4:00 p.m. Don’t know anything about them and I’ve never seen them. But I’m definitely intrigued.
Fleet Foxes, 5:00 p.m. There’s something about this band; kind of a throwback to the 60′s folk/trippy scene, Neil Young, Beatles… interesting. Below is one breakout hit, here’s another.
The Decemberists, 6:00 p.m. As mentioned previously, this one has “show stealer” written all over it.
Andrew Bird, 7:00 p.m. The Chicago boy returns. Big Bird fan, excited to see him for the first time.
Kings of Leon, 8:15 p.m. Maybe the radio has overplayed them, but Kings of Leon put on a great and powerful performance.
Coming soon – our Saturday picks!
Rumors were enough to secure tickets, but now the 2009 Lollapalooza lineup is official. There are few surprises with the headliners, as Depeche Mode, The Killers, Jane’s Addiction, Beastie Boys, Kings of Leon and Tool are all included.
But some of the unconfirmed rumors held true with Band of Horses, Animal Collective, Ben Harper, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, TV on the Radio, Andrew Bird and The Decemberists all set to play.
This is as strong a starting lineup as I’ve seen in recent years at Lollapalooza, but not because of the headliners. It’s the smaller bands that will set this year’s Lolla apart from the others. It’s a great mix of established indie rock, along with some up-and-comers. If you don’t know many of the bands mentioned above, it’s an excellent opportunity to get exposed to some new talent. The good news is that they’re not done. Expect more bands, and possibly another strong headliner to announce their appearance in the coming weeks and months.
I predict that, at the end, a lot of buzz will be circulating about how bands like Band of Horses, Silversun Pickups, Dan Auerbach and The Decemberists stole the festival from the likes of Depeche Mode, Tool and The Killers. That said, don’t underestimate Jane’s Addiciton.
The full lineup can be found here.