Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Adventures at Lollapalooza 2008






Welcome again to my Lollapalooza recap for 2008. Armed with two frozen water bottles a day and a small umbrella, I made my way back and forth across Grant Park in the scorching sun for all three days with a smile on my face. It was also a treat since Saturday was my birthday and I usually can't think of a better place to be than surrounded by good live music. Also, I apologize for the quality (or lack) of some of the pics for the first two days. Stupid ol' me, I didn't have the same settings that I used last year and didn't figure out how to zoom closer until late Saturday. D'oh!

Day 1 - Friday

Bang Camaro



These guys started the festival off for me with a ton of power and presence. They play heavy metal covers with a ridiculous amount of bombast and musicians. Twenty vocalists in a rock band sounds almost like a parody on paper, but Bang Camaro was quite the opposite. I didn't dare laugh, but bobbed my head instead. I really didn't expect them to be that good.

K'Naan



I think this guy was probably the most laid back out of anyone I'd seen all weekend. I've only listend to a couple of his songs back in 2005 and I remember them being a bit more fast paced. There weren't a ton of instruments, so it was easy to hear his rhymes and the Petrillo Shell is usually the best spot for quieter acts. He relied on some African percussion and some other instrument I couldn't recognize. The majority of the show felt very random and slightly disorganized, as if he wasn't sure what he was going to do next or how. He was still fun though, especially during the acapella moments, which there seemed to be a ton of.

Sofia Talvik



Adding more credence to the theory that anything from Sweden is awesome, Sofia Talvik provided the morning folks with some soft melodic folk pop. The sound was actually pretty decent despite some overlap from Bang Camaro at a nearby stage. I can't wait to listen to some recorded tracks as I'm sure they must be lovely.

Magic Wands



Because hey, it wouldn't be a festival if we didn't have someone quirky. Accompanied by miniature dolls of E.T. and Elliott on top of their amps and one omnipresent stuffed lion, Magic Wands played a set full of rock tunes over hazy, electronic beats. I get the feeling that they would be better indoors, but I enjoyed them.

Black Lips



Zzzzz. These guys were just so sloppy. I understand garage rock is not about technical precision, but at least let there be some soul there. Their riffs deserved so much better.

Butch Walker







I hope Butch walked away with a thousand new fans with this set. Not because he's been working his ass off as the premier go-to guy for all things pop/rock, but because he and The Let's Go Out Tonites played their asses off with a batch of impressive new songs (so new, he had to read the lyrics off a sheet of paper) and a few old ones that should have dominated top 40 radio. Walker started off the set solo, switching between instruments and even using a loop machine to give full life to one song. The minimal beginning was one of the few moments of the festival where I didn't hear a ton of conversation going on around me. The set as a whole just reaffirmed why Butch Walker is one of my favorite songwriters living right now.

The Go! Team



The Go! Team have become pretty reliable as a live act over the years. You can always expect their shows to be fun and full of energy. Friday was no exception. And plus, I could never get tired of frontwoman Ninja's dance moves which always remind me of Rosie Perez in the opening scene of Do The Right Thing. And is it me, or does her new look remind you of Lil' Kim?

Electric Touch



They were very lively and the crowd was into them. I'll give them points for stage presence, but I'm having a hard time remembering whether I barely thought they were okay or if I was completely indifferent. Neither one suggests anything exciting.

Duffy

One of my more anticipated acts of the festival turned out to be one of the more disappointing. While the songs themselves are very good, Duffy's thin voice does not mesh well with them live. There is a Ronnie Spector-ish quality to her vocals which wouldn't sound bad over something sunnier and poppier, but she's really lacking in the deep soul department. Badly.

Mates of State

The string players were a nice addition, even on the songs they weren't initially on. I'm still not 100% sold on these guys live, but I really like their albums. The Petrillo Shell would have been a better stage for them.

Gogol Bordello

Whenever someone asked me who they should go see at Lollapalooza this year, my first answer was Gogol Bordello. I told people that whatever you do, you must see this band live. Everything just seems right with the world when they're performing their unique brand of gypsy punk in your presence. Especially pleasing was the back-to-back combo of "Not A Crime" and "Never Young". I think that was the point where they won over people who weren't familiar with them. The whole set was full of high impact moments like that that got the crowd jumping collectively as one. As energetic as they were, I still couldn't believe I saw a woman sitting down reading a book for the entire performance. And not even moving! Here is Eugene Hutz just oozing rock star out of every orifice onstage and this lady is just reading. The people who pay to get into Lollapalooza astound me sometimes.

Cadence Weapon



One sick DJ and a tight flow. How hard can that be? Cadence Weapon and DJ Weasel took it back to the basics and showed that you really don't need much to put on a great hip hop show. I wasn't expecting him to be so hyper, but it fit well with the hard hitting electronic beats. He's also a nice guy. I ran into him later on during the festival and told him how much I admired his Pitchfork review of Young Gunz.

Cool Kids

At first, I couldn't understand the appeal of Cool Kids. After seeing them live, I think most of the credit goes to their production. The beats are definitely are hot and were fun to dance to. While Cool Kids are not bad on the mic, you can only hold my attention for so long by pretending it's 1989 over and over again.

CSS



Oh, how sweet it was to finally see them. I've missed out on them a couple of times, including last year's cancellation at Lollapalooza, but that was rectified. Remember when I talked about the Black Lips and said that you didn't have to have super chops to put on a good show. CSS definitely supported my side of the argument. Aside from the rhythm section, everyone's skills are pretty rudimentary, but who cares when the music is so jammin' and your frontwoman is half-sex kitten and half disco goddess. Daft Punk is cool and all, but I want CSS to play at my house. You couldn't help but take notice of the party going on if you were a passerby.

Radiohead

How can a huge Radiohead fan such as myself view them objectively. I'm familiar with all the songs and about 90% of them strike a strong chord with me. Did I lose my mind when I heard the opening riff to "Airbag"? Very much so. Did I shout out loud as soon as recognized the ambient noise in the beginning of "Lucky"? You bet your ass I did. But once I finally calmed down and got over the fact that I was watching my favorite band perform, I asked myself, "If I had never heard Radiohead before in my life, would I become a fan after this?" The simple answer is, but not a very resounding, yes. With selections like "The Gloaming" and "Dollars and Cents", it wasn't a set aimed at newcomers. For instance, once again I was the only person screaming when they played "Dollars and Cents." I kept saying "Oh my God, 'Dollars and Cents'", but no one seemed to figure out why I was so excited. Another thing that kept it from being truly transcedent: the sound. It was awfully quiet for an act on the main stage. All day long, I had my earplugs in, but I took them out during the third song and found that I really didn't need them. It was also more than frustrating being surrounded by non-stop conversations and being able to make out the words surrounding people's words better than Thom Yorke's lyrics. With all that aside, let me say once again that Radiohead put on a great show, but after seeing them at Hutchinson Field back in 2001, I know the power that their performances can bring. One cool moment though was when the fireworks went off behind them. It was beautiful how it came at the perfect moments, specifically when the fireworks went off rapidly right before the climax to "Fake Plastic Trees". I have a little video of the performance, and while it's not at the exact moment I described, hopefully this will give you a bit of an idea.

video

This was my third year at Lollapalooza and I think that day 1 of 2008 was the single best day since I've been going to the fest. So many acts made me feel grateful to be alive.

Top 5 Acts for Day 1

1. Gogol Bordello
2. CSS
3. Radiohead
4. Butch Walker
5. Bang Camaro

Day 2 - Saturday

Krista



What makes Krista so unique is that she's a combination of Alanis Morrissette and Evanesence who also raps. Plus she's young! She's like an A&R's wet dream come to life with cross demo appeal to spare. It's no surprise that she's on J Records and I could actually see her hit big, but song after song sounded the same with those Evanesence-like choruses followed with a rapid fire rap. I think the kids will dig her though.

The Melismatics



These guys were the winners of this year's Last Band Standing, and I've actually heard of them, which makes them only the 2nd band in the competition whose name I recognized (along with Chicago's very own Helicopters who placed last year). I couldn't recall what they sounded like when I heard their record a few years back or if I even liked them, but they had some decent songs and I would say that they were pretty standard for the most part.

De Novo Dahl



If the Flaming Lips had a genre named after them, the press would probably call De Novo Dahl one of the leaders of its next generation. The Southern psych rockers played an amazing set that made me smile all throughout and were as much to watch as they were to listen to. I loved that they could win over a crowd of strangers who didn't know them from the next band. It gives me hope for the masses.

Witchcraft



I liked these guys for the most part. They had a very authentic sound and the riffs were just plain nasty. I think they were a bit sleepy because I really couldn't connect with the energy. I know that sludge isn't supposed to make you rock you out, but I expected a lot more enthusiasm from them and the crowd. Maybe Lolla isn't quite ready yet for a serious ass-thrashing band like Mastodon or High On Fire.

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's



Solid, standard fey indie pop. Pleasant enough performance.

The Postelles



Probably my favorite band I knew nothing about before the fest. They have a very sunny 60's garage pop sound and some killer tunes. I would definitely drop down some dollars to see them live again. Bands that make me smile and tap my feet are usually okay in my book.

Does It Offend You, Yeah?



Without a doubt, the loudest act I encountered all weekend. It was also the first major dance party as well. Just about every single person close to the stage was moving to the band's demonic post-punk grooves. I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for them live since most of their songs start to sound the same after a while, but they excel very well at what they do. Dancing to "With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You)" and "We Are Rockstars" was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. They played a terrific set all around.

Ferras



Okay, I'm not even going to pretend that I was paying attention to this guy's set. I was talking to someone else for most of the time I was there and I really had no intention of going to see him at all since I've actually listened to his music before. He just happened to be along the way. Instead, I'm going to let this pic of the paltry crowd at his stage speak for itself.



Dr. Dog



It was kind of weird hearing Dr. Dog without the analog treatment. Their records are mixed to sound like they came straight from your parent's vinyl collection, but even without the studio wizardry, they were still decent. I think I still prefer them on record more than anything though. Their set was perfect for laying down in the sun on a blanket. I'm usually against those who sit on their blankets all day long for fests of this magnitude, but I can't get even mad at those who did it for Dr. Dog's set. It was so easy-going and melodic and oh so perfect for a summer afternoon.

Gutter Twins

These guys are one of the most talked about collaborations of the year with good reason. Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli led their backing band into a set full of rugged blues rock songs with poetic bite and captivated the crowd by mostly standing still for the entirety of the set. Lanegan was reserved, letting his gruff voice command the attention while Dulli displayed a cool confidence that one can only get by playing two decades of shows. Song after song was just fantastic to listen to.

MGMT

Easily the biggest disappointment of the weekend for me. I've heard different things about their live show. Some loved it and some couldn't stand it. I easily fall into the latter category. The entire set felt too sleepy and overly mellow. Add to that, the MySpace stage was just probably too big for these guys. I felt unmoved and frustrated listening to them. And I love "Time To Pretend"!

Booka Shade



Seriously, another thumbs down for MGMT. The Booka Shade set was obviously the place to be and rivaled Does It Offend You, Yeah? as the biggest dance party of the weekend. I thought they sounded better than most electronic artists live (actually the sound at the Citi stage was probably the best out of the entire fest). They took house to a whole new level of hotness.

DeVotchKa

Have Gogol Bordello and these guys toured together before? If not, it would be an awesome bill. DeVotchKa's brand of Eastern European rock can be a bit more subdued then the nonstop ruckus of Bordello, but they crank it up whenever needed along with the best. It was one of the more fun sets of the weekend.

Explosions In The Sky

So my one shot to pretend like I was a character from Friday Night Lights had finally arrived. If I had been near a fellow FNL fan, I would have probably gone into some dramatic monologue in a Texan drawl or just kept on repeating "Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose." As much I love that show, I think I might I have loved Explosions In The Sky's set even more. It was the definition of transcedent. I don't think anyone around me was talking because they were so engaged in the music. I don't know how many times I closed my eyes and smiled, basking in the sun and mild breeze. I couldn't help but to just let my guard down and feel free. Their records are beautiful. Their live show is beautiful. Fuck it, life is beautiful.

Spank Rock



I kinda miss the old Spank Rock. I remember when I first saw them open up for M.I.A., and MC Spank Rock was just some lanky kid spitting filthy rhymes and didn't know whether to bust a New Edition slide, a James Brown move or an LL Cool J pose. Now it's all Miami bass bravado, which is all cool, but the old Spank Rock definitely made me smile more. With that being said, Spank Rock provided another excellent opportunity to dance and probably shocked the most festival goers who had no idea what to expect with their ultra filthy lyrics. It was also nice to see Amanda Blank do what amounted to a mini-solo set and has me anxious for her debut album. She did her own material for an unusually long time, but it didn't stop the party from going. Really, is it any surprise that Spank Rock would bring anything but a party?

Jamie Lidell



While Jamie Lidell is a solid live performer, I'm just not all that sold on the man's songs. I'll admit that the stuff from the latest album sounds better than Multiply, I can't help but feel indifferent to him, whether it's live or recorded. The band was tight and made me groove a teeny bit at times, but his take on soul music just feels very generic to me. Also, he kinda reminded me of a porn star version of Jarvis Cocker. You just have to squint a little. Look and compare.



Uffie



I didn't have high hopes for this set because of Uffie's thin voice and her reliance on vocoders, but I'm very glad to say she averted a Lady GaGa type disaster. I couldn't pass up the chance to see her since she spends most of her time overseas, so catastrophe or not, she was high on my list of acts to see. Glad to say that her set was fun, thanks to the raunchy beats and her playfully sexy attitude. She even made me like "Hot Chick" for the first time.

Battles



Battles rocked it out as expected. We all need a bit of demented fun every now and then and they were the perfect soundtrack for it. I wish I had gotten video of the birds flying above the stage during the breakdown of "Atlas". Such a perfect moment.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings





I have been converted. For years I've heard about their amazing live show, but having experienced it for myself, I can truly attest to their power in concert. I can't remember the last time I heard a band that sounded so crisp yet beautiful at the same time. Everytime those horns hit, I started cheesing. Not only did they have amazing chops, but they excelled in dynamic showmanship. It was more than just a concert; it was an event. The pacing of the set, filled with talking interludes about sex, dancing and just how plain awesome the Dap-Kings, was marvelous and fun. Hard work and preparation pays off people. I don't know how else to explain such an amazing show.

Also, Sharon brought up this guy on stage who had on a North American Scum t-shirt. He was definitely as much fun to watch as Sharon and just about as charismatic. LCD Soundsystem fans rockin' along to Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. My faith has been restored in humankind.





Even Chicago soul legend Syl Johnson made an appearance.



Rage Against The Machine









Sorry, I'm just not a huge Wilco fan. I'll get into them one day, I'm sure, but I've been wanting to see RATM since forever. The band itself didn't disappoint, but the sound at the AT&T stage was way too trebly for them. I also missed the lack of bottom and felt that I was missing out on the real power of Rage. While I would still love to hear his rhymes, Zack de la Roche's voice was just way too high in the mix. Luckily the energy was still there and it made up big time with the lack of volume. Unfortunately, there were some scary moments during the show when de la Roche had to stop the show several times to tell everyone to move back so that the crowd members at the front would not get crushed. It felt like a losing battle since Rage doesn't have any ballads in their catalogue and any song they did would have only gotten the audience amped up again. The closest the crowd came to calming down was during "Born Of A Broken Man", which is probably the softest Rage has ever been on record. It was one of the few moments in the set where I could get the whole power of the band and reminded me of way back in high school when I used to always say that Led Zeppelin, Metallica and RATM were three of the most monstrous rock bands ever because everyone was a master of their instrument. I do feel sad for Rage though. Their music was meant to get across a political agenda and it has grown in to a force co-opted by jocks who don't know the difference between Mumia Abu Jamal or The Lion King's Mufasa. The fact that the show had to be stopped o many times just to prevent people in the front from dying made me a little sad inside at how such mindful music could gather such a mindless following.


Top 5 Acts for Day 2

1. Explosions In The Sky
2. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
3. Booka Shade
4. DeVotchKa
5. Does It Offend You, Yeah?


Day 3 - Sunday


The gates finally opened before 11:15 on this day. Woo-hoo!

Ha Ha Tonka



I think these guys would be a lot of fun in a bar. I mean that as a compliment. Their sound is heavy on Southern rock and perfect for knocking down some beers in some dim, musty joint. I just don't think I'd care much to buy an album of theirs.

Office



Where are youuuu Office? I waited around 15 minutes for you. I've always wanted to see you and I thought that I would get that chance, but you just took too long. It's not that I don't like you—actually I think you guys are awesome, I'm just a little disappointed, that's all. Call me next time you're in town. -Ivan

The Octopus Project



The first great act of the day. This just goes to show you that if you're good, no matter what kind of music you play, people will play attention. Even if it's spaced out art rock. Despite some sound coming from the Citi stage, they still won the crowd over and it was a lovely way to start the morning. I can only imagine that they would sound better on record.

Kid Sister











Kid Sister is enjoying life right now. Look at that smile. That joyful presence comes through onstage and in the music and you can't help but to root for her. What makes rooting for her especially easy is that the music is good also. Those who managed to see her set were treated to a sneak preview of songs off her upcoming debut, Koko B. Ware. "It feels good not to sing these songs in the shower any more", she told the audience. The album promises to continue in the vein of such old school flavored cuts like "Switchboard" and "Pro Nails" and to be just as fun. She also brought out some ladies painted gold from head to toe, which was definitely one of the more memorable images of the weekend.

What Made Milwaukee Famous



They were solid for the most part, but I'm still not that impressed with them live. I saw them at Lolla a few years back and felt the same since I love their recorded work so much. The songs were still epic at times and I could feel them win over some of the crowd, but for those who might have been disappointed by these guys, I suggest giving their first album a try.

Also, to prove that I'm not being unfair to Ferras, here is a picture of the crowd at the same exact stage at the same exact time on the following day. Granted, What Made Milwaukee Famous have a bit of a following, but if you're good, you will draw a crowd regardless.



Tally Hall



Love them or loathe them, I always have a good time whenever I see Tally Hall live. Their set is consistently tight and enjoyable. Some people might find them polarizing, but you really have to let your guard down and appreciate the craft of these polished popsmiths. They're trying to make you smile, they're trying to make you laugh, so it's okay if you do those things during their set. It's power pop for crying out loud. And you're just plain evil if you can't appreciate "Taken For a Ride."

Nicole Atkins & The Sea



The sound for Nicole Atkins was just gorgeous. I could hear everything perfectly and it was by a mile the best mix of the weekend. The performance itself was very impressive. Atkins' dreamily strong vocals could soothe even the harshest soul. It was enchanting and rocking at the same time and truly a treat for anyone who managed to catch her.

Brazilian Girls



I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that Sabina Sciubba is one of the sexiest frontwomen in the world. I'm not basing this on looks, but on how well she conveys that sexiness in her voice and in her presence. I never thought of Brazilian Girls as home plate music before, but I may have to change my thinking. Their sexy, seductive grooves could have possibly jump started the world's biggest orgy if they played any longer.

Chromeo



Without any surprise, Chromeo got the crowd moving. This was another big dance party and I think having some of the electronic artists on bigger stages this year proved to be a good move, so yay Lollapalooza. The material from Chromeo's latest album is still effective, but I found it to be repetitive at times, which wasn't the case when I saw them at Intonation a few years back.

Black Kids



I had overheard at a show one time that Black Kids were horrible live. I thought to myself, "Pfft, this person does not know joy since they obviously do not know of 'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You,'" and just passed off the conversation as typical jaded hipster bile. But then I saw Black Kids for myself and realized what that guy was talking about. Then I saw Black Kids for myself. Everything just sounded so sloppy and it didn't connect at all. When looking at them onstage, I get the feeling that they have yet to catch up with their success and they didn't seem quite as ready for the big leagues. Lead singer Reggie Youngblood probably realized he was losing the crowd since he had to plead with the crowd to dance a few times during the set. Having heard some of their record, I can attest that they are far more enjoyable through that avenue, but live, they simply have no magentism.

Amadou & Mariam



Amadou & Mariam on the other hand showed that you don't have to beg to get the crowd moving. When I arrived for their set, I saw a wave of people jumping up and down and it didn't stop until the last song. I honestly wish I had left Black Kids earlier instead of praying that they would get it together in time. I could have seen more of one of the best sets of the weekend. The energy provided by the audience and the backing band provided nothing but pure fun.

Flogging Molly



Flogging Molly had some of the most enthusiastic and rabid fans I encountered all weekend. The band seemed to revel in it and based on their live show, I can see how they've grown to the point of having an album debut in the Top 5. Their sing-a-long pub anthems thrown in a punk grinder entertained and energized like some of the best acts of the weekend. By far the most bodysurfing I had seen at any of the stages.

And when Flogging Molly tells you to raise your hands, you say how high, dammit.



Saul Williams



I dig Saul Williams as an artist, but the sound levels at this stage were just too uneven for my taste. It sounded like one big chaotic and embarassing mess. While the show was packed with energy, the most powerful moments came when the music stopped and Williams recited some of his poems. Honestly, I don't even think ne needed music. He could have just done spoken word for an hour straight and it probably would have been an awesome set.

Flosstradamus



They're one of greatest DJ teams in the world. What more can be said? You don't like the way they mix popular songs over house beats? Whatever.

Girl Talk



The crowd on the stage definitely elevated the show to become the #1 party of the weekend. You need only look at that picture to tell how fun this set was. I think it was also the most communal since he played nothing but hits which provided many moments for a sing-a-long. It was no surprised that when he slipped in Radiohead songs like "15 Step" and "Paranoid Android" in the mix that the crowd went berserk, but I smiled especially hard when I heard a bit of Ace of Base's "All That She Wants" being dropped.

And it wasn't just crowded onstage. This girl had to climb a tree just to get a good view.



Mark Ronson



I really didn't know what to expect from a Mark Ronson live show. He doesn't sing and I doubted that Amy Winehouse or Lily Allen would have showed up. But when I saw a 13 piece band onstage and heard them kick off the set with "Apply Some Pressure", I knew that I was going to be in for a treat. What came next was a parade of guest stars and welcome surprises.

First there was Rhymefest...



Holy crap. Chi-Town stand up! I know that Ronson produced a track on Rhymefest's first album, but I didn't know they were that tight. Rhymefest took over Ol' Dirty Bastard's verses on "Toxic" and he was the perfect MC for that role since Fest is does spot on impressions of other rappers and their deliveries. I could barely tell the difference between him and ODB at times. Rhymefest was as energetic as always, rapping over Jay-Z's "Public Service Annoucement" and stage dove while freestyling. Shortly after that, he leaves the stage. I'm impressed not only by Rhymefest, but at just how sharp and smooth Ronson's band was. Even if you hadn't listened to his album, it would have been hard not to have fun.

So he brings out another guest...and it's Candie Payne!! OMG!!



And not only that, she started off with a funked up version of "I Wish I Could Have Loved You More." I wrote about her some months back on this blog, so if you happened to catch that, you'll understand my excitement. Her album is only available in Europe and I thought she would be one of those artists that never came to the U.S. But she did and she played my jam! I was the only shouting when Ronson said her name and sure enough everyone looked at me like I was crazy, but I was kind enough to tell them how to spell her name after some folks dug the first song. Payne also took over for Lily Allen on "Oh My God", which got the crowd into it as well.

And after that, out came Kenna!



This guy has been screwed so much by the industry that it was a wonder that he even made it to a second album. During his part of the set, I realized that Ronson had completely won over the crowd. With a little bit of encouragement, the entire field jumped to the chorus of "Out of Control", a song that was practically invisible from radio and TV, yet people moved liked they had heard it a hundred times before. It was one of the most memorable moments of Lollapalooza for me.

After that Daniel Merriweather came out (sorry, no pics because I was running low on space and wanted to save for Kanye) and did a cover of the White Stripes' "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)", but sadly no "Stop Me." This rap group from Philadelphia called Plastic Little also made an appearance and rapped over a few classic beats ("Ante Up", "Apache") before going into their own material, which I thought was okay. Overall, I liked the energy they brought and it didn't derail the show.

Alex Greenwald of Phantom Planet made an appearance as well, which wasn't surprising since a video was made for their cover of "Just" and it's also a Radiohead song. But the surprises kept on coming when the rest of Phantom Planet came out and performed their signature tune "California" with the horn section. Just about everyone in the crowd sang along to it. Despite it's ubiquity, I'm still a fan of the song, so I enjoyed myself.

Kanye West





So since I'm the biggest sucker in the world for missing the Glow In The Dark tour, this performance at Lollapalooza would be the closest I could get to it (gotta have something to tell the grandkids). In a relatively short time, Kanye West has morphed into one of the biggest and best pop stars in the world. It was evident from the opening number, "Good Morning", that this would be a dramatic set. He could have easily gone with a dozen other songs to get the crowd amped up, but by going mellow in the beginning, the climaxes would have yet to come. The light show reflected the futuristic sound of his latest album, Graduation and that same concept followed with older songs like "Get 'Em High", which featured Kanye's vocals in a demonic and near screw-like fashion and the new arrangement for "Heard 'Em Say" took an IDM mixed with arena synths approach. The set was one highlight after another. Kanye performed a verse from his latest hit Young Jeezy, "Put On", which sonically didn't stray too far from the show, and later turned it into an interlude giving tribute to his mother. The repeated refrain "I put on for my city" made me and about several other thousand Chicagoans proud. But the biggest highlight for me had to be "Homecoming." I think it's one of the best love letters to Chicago and to hear Kanye perform it while in front of the skyline was a moment that was well worth three days of nonstop walking for. The scale of Kanye's set was as epic and dramatic as anything I had seen in hip hop. Not once did it drag nor did it ever lose my attention. Even when Kanye went off on his tangents about being one of the greatest, the music was still there underneath to maintain the flow and it provided a nice break between blocks of songs. Kanye West has not only proven to be one of the premier recording artists of this decade, but he has earned his place among the all-around entertainers of the world who are a joy to watch.

Top 5 Acts for Day 3

1. Kanye West
2. Mark Ronson
3. Brazilian Girls
4. Nicole Atkins & The Sea
5. Amadou & Mariam


Here are some other pics I took during the weekend.

Broken sunglasses by the AT&T stage the morning after Rage.




















Horse shit by Buckingham Fountain shortly after the gates opened on Saturday. Happy birthday to me.









The likely culprit.





My only Perry sighting of the entire weekend.

1 comment:

  1. What's goin on w/u HBE?

    LMAO @ the poop photos! Good read, too bad Black kids were whack in person. I also noticed that you took a crapload of photos when Kid Sister was onstage....Do I spot a crush? HAHAHA!

    -E

    ReplyDelete