My apologies for taking so long to post this. I promise it will be entertaining.
The security Nazi's struck again, but this time it wasn't the sunscreen which I had very well hidden in a towel in the bottom of my bag. It was my nalgene water bottle which I had taken in the previous 2 days and didn't have a bit of trouble. This mall cop on steroids tells me I can't bring it in because it's a banned item... even though it was NOT on the list. I told him that and he said "you didn't bring that through THIS security". I sure as hell did. So he sent me to his manager. He told me to stash it in the bushes and pick it up on the way out.
Well, the rebel in me came out. 'Screw them, man', I thought. I could smuggle in a tub full of 'I can't believe it's not pot' if I wanted to with no problem but God forbid I bring in an empty water bottle made of plastic. Those old white guy guards are on a power trip, like mall security on steroids, I swear. I walked away, stashed the bottle in my bag and went to the other side, 50 feet away. I found a nice black guy and got in with no problem. The black guys in security are always so nice and so cool and have never once hassled me. My advice, always find a black guy if you want to bring in anything illegal... you know, the stuff that could kill someone like sunscreen and empty water bottles.
I wanted to catch the whole set of Wild Sweet Orange but only caught the last 3 songs, due to my snafu with the bastard's in security. WSO was amazing. If U2 and Travis had a baby, it might sound like this. I am definitely buying their album. They were probably one of my favorites of the weekend.
After that, I was walking over to Weakerthan's and this guy handed me a token for a free bottle of water if I filled out a survey about my opinions about Lollapalooza. Oh, trust me, I'd give them an earful about their ridiculous security. But first... Weakerthans.
Weakerthans were a no show! A Chicago band called Office played their slot. They were decent but sounded really 80s to me, and not the 80s that I adore, but the 80s that I abhor.... late 80s cheese rock. Meh. Were Weakerthan's held up by security at the gate?
I decided to go back and fill out the survey. One of the workers had to read the first two pages to me because it was all about "How many corporate sponsors of Lollapalooza can you name... without looking?" and "Will you buy products from these corporate sponsors?"
Corporate sponsored balls bounce around the crowd
Then I got to complain about the security... which must be the fault of the corporate sponsors. They didn't get an extra $6 per day out of me because I filled up my own bottle and you know they were doing everything in their power to keep me from bringing it in. And sunscreen - they're selling it at their Lollapalooza kiosk. Its all about making money. They don't give a crap if I die from skin cancer or dehydration. You know if they were selling weed at the concession stand, they'd be checking the backpacks for pot, yet they completely turned a blind eye (not that I care if people are smoking weed, but isn't it illegal? It's EVERYWHERE here.). I'm sure they know they'll sell more food with a bunch of stoned 18 year olds.
I met up with Jeff again and we caught some of Chromeo's set. They were so much fun. The singer wore a suit with no shirt underneath. He kind of looked like a pimped out Patrick Dempsey. The keyboard player, the fat one, was shirtless with his underwear hanging out. Hawt. They did Bonafide Lovin', You're so Gangsta, Tenderoni and all the great songs.
I did want to catch a few minutes of Black Kids who were playing right next door and I have to say I wasn't all that impressed. It was really loud and over-modulated. Bad sound. Some bands here sound fantastic and others have some sound guy riding the faders way too high. Argh.
I went and got some food. This time I ate a slice of cheese pizza loaded with hot pepper flakes and a pineapple-coconut-kefir smoothie. The smoothie was a bit weaker than I would've liked, but the pizza was good. I could've gone for another piece.
Jeff and I caught the first 10 minutes of Saul Williams and it was completely unlistenable. It was way too loud and sounded like random noise. I like what I've heard of Saul Williams. Trent Reznor must really put some slick production on his tracks because this was rubbish.
We walked over to see Love and Rockets. Flogging Molly was playing on the stage next door and they were awesome. They are Irish punk and I wish I would've caught their show instead of wasting time at Saul Williams. The people were PACKED in for the show so far back. I couldn't see a thing - the screens much less the band. They are on my list for bands to catch next time I'm around Chicago. They always seem to be playing Chicago. If they play Lolla next year, I'll be up front!
Love and Rockets is a band which I have wanted to see since Earth Sun Moon came out while I was in high school and FINALLY, I get to see them. Perry Farrell announced them.
Daniel Ash was looking like he'd lived the life of a rockstar but David J. looked the same as he did 20 years ago. The drummer is super cute but I have no idea who he is. We'll just call him the handsome one.
The sound, once again, was way too loud and distorted. Other bands I've seen at that stage had really good sound so it certainly wasn't the speakers. I guarantee some sound board jockey thinks he's cool by turning it up to 11. They did a few of their hits but didn't do 'So Alive' which I was looking forward to hearing. They did No New Tale to Tell and Ball of Confusion (opening song), which was hard to make out with the distorted noise coming out of the speakers.
Daniel Ash of Love and Rockets singing and the cute drummer
The band pretty much stood in one spot and didn't really interact with each other. I had a great vantage point but it wasn't that entertaining. Next to me were 2 ultra skinny middle-aged gay men who were completely into the show, screaming the lyrics and acting like teenage girls. They were more entertaining than the band. Thank you random gay guys for keeping me entertained for an hour.
David J. of Love and Rockets
Love and Rockets also had the crummy camera guy who couldn't keep the dumb thing focused and kept making choppy zooms and pans all over the place. I honestly could've done better myself. My 5 year old could've done better. Maybe I should apply for the job next year. I do have a degree in Film and Video, so I'm more than qualified and I sure as hell can focus a camera.
The Bubblemen came out at the end of the show. Below is a clip of The Bubblemen on stage and a very good indication of the crappy audio at the show. Okay, it wasn't quite this bad, but it was not at all good.
Just as Love and Rockets ended, a massive surge of people came up to see Nine Inch Nails which weren't on for another hour. I decided to head over to the other stage and catch some of The National, a band that Apocalypse really wanted to see. They did not disappoint. The sound was great both in their playing and in the sound coming out of the speakers. They are also very good looking, which is very important in the age of video. Plus, they had a camera man who can frame a shot! I am picking up their album too. I have lots of music to buy.
This guy named Andy started talking to me during the show. Andy is from Ohio and we collectively decided to check out Kanye's show. (Andy is also known as Spoons on T61 and you can thank his Top Rookie status to me giving him some T61 pro tips.)
Spoons and Batface89
I was dying to see Obama and the rumor was (now) he was going to be a special guest during Kanye's show. We got a pretty decent spot. Kanye is one hell of a performer, but I don't really know his music... much more than Jesus Walks and that Daft Punk song. He didn't do Kanye's Workout Song... too bad :(
He ran back and forth and jumped all over the stage, while under a fantastic light show. He was wearing a white coat and sunglasses. The sunglasses I can understand with the bright lights, but he was sweating bullets after 5 minutes on stage but never took the coat off. Suffering for fashion. He also had some pretty ridiculous sunglasses on, but they're just like the ones he is always wearing (you know, when we hang out).
At one point, he started talking about how computers were as big as a room and now they pack a full computer into a phone, so how new is better. Then he went on to say that music legends are worshiped while the newer guys don't get that kind of respect. He mentioned the greats by name, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Kanye West. "Well, maybe not yet," he said about himself.
Kanye on the big screen
Kanye and his ego performed for about 2 hours. Oddly the highlight of the show was when the backup singer belted out "Don't Stop Believin'"... hey a song I know! Andy and I were wondering whether this was Kanye's usual audience demographic - suburban white twenty-somethings. Probably not.
Kanye's Light Show
Obama didn't show. I cried for an hour. Okay, not really but I was disappointed.
We decided to go to Piece, a pizza place that is co-owned by Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick is one of my favorite bands ever. The crowd getting on the L Train (subway) was nuts. The station was packed as tight as the MGMT show and it was twice as hot. We ended up having to wait for 3 trains to get a spot because there were so many people. It's up at the Damen Station on the blue line, so we had to catch another train, which was another 3 train wait. It was late and when we got to Piece it was closed. :(
We walked to another place and sat down but the kitchen was also closed. So Andy, who is from Ohio, not Chicago, says "I have an idea". We start walking down the sidewalk and came across this area that had plywood and a few concert posters glued to the walls. Andy opens the door and I honestly thought he was taking me into some abandoned building to murder me. Not the case. It was a top secret speakeasy called The Violet Hour. It's completely hidden with no sign or address and the inside is swanky! All the cocktails were $11 each but they were all prohibition era recipes. I've never had a better cocktail in my life. The music was a bit weird. Some sexy jazz would've been great but they played singer/songwriter type stuff. It seemed really out of place. The drinks were fantastic, the crab cakes to die for and the ambience was ultra cool. The company was also terrific :-)
Afterward, we went to my friend Mason's VJ party a block away and had some cheap pints of Stella.
I got back to Mary's REALLY late but I had a blast all weekend. Lolla was a lot of fun and I wish 1000x over Apocalypse could've spent the weekend at the show, I still had a fantastic weekend.
Next year, Apocalypse. 2009, baby.