It's time to break down
My summer had been drenched in Lolla excitement. The tickets were purchased before the line-up was released (as were everyone else's that day) and then it was only time for the line-up to be unveiled, and then the anxious anticipation of seeing that actual schedule. I had started predicting the line-up since the last Lolla ended (and I got a lot of them right) and when it was actually released, it split my mind wide open.
"WAIT WAIT WAIT, SO LANA DEL REY, NIN, THE POSTAL SERVICE, AZEALIA BANKS, ALT-J, DEATH GRIPS, THE CURE, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, THE NATIONAL, 2CHAINZ, AND CRYSTAL CASTLES ARE GONNA BE THERE?!"
I had requested off work for Lollapalooza for both of my jobs in February. YES, FEBRUARY. I've worked at jobs where somehow four months advanced notice isn’t enough. Once that was done, it was really just smooth sailing and waiting in major anticipation. At first, there was some real stress over the whole interference in scheduling with Lana Del Rey and NIN, but once I had snagged my ticket to Lana’s solo show I felt infinitely reassured that I’d get to see both. Conflict resolved! Game on!
You see, Lollapalooza is made for people like me, and there’s a lot of us out there, who need to just get in the field, gather with a shit ton of people, see an array of bands, meet a bunch of new people, and just dance around like crazy for a few days. I am always so happy to be a part of the whole experience. Dancing is always somewhere within my day, and at this festival, I really amp it up. There are no restrictions; you are just there to listen, to be, and to dance an infinite amount. This year was so much better in terms of its seamlessness. The weather was exquisite, the fest fashion was aplenty, the line-up was absolutely sick, and I was just so happy to be back there again, versus experiencing it for the first time. I went in hard this time. I tried to pack it in and have as much fun as I could. It really paid off. This Lollapalooza was absolutely epic and all I want to do is go back and re-live it. I can tell you, it feels good leaving with only a few regrets of the bands you had missed. This year, there were a handful of shows I wanted to catch, but didn't quite make ‘em work. So let’s delve in!
. . .
FRIDAY, AUGUST 2
Bands Seen: Timeflies, Jessie Ware, Atlas Genius, Crystal Castles, Thievery Corporation, Queens of The Stone Age, and Nine Inch Nails
Bands Regretting Missed: New Order and Flux Pavillion
Timeflies: Essentially I had wanted to see this band because of the song called "The Chase". I love that song so much and I really REALLY wanted to dance my heart out to it in Grant Park that day. It's just a good anthem to motivate and make you feel larger than you are. As Lolla goes, you tend to know a lot of the bands, but just a handful of songs from the lesser-knowns. Unfortunately, I missed this jam, and don't even know if they played it, but it was a good set none-the-less. To be honest, I would love to choreograph the next "phenomenon" dance to that song. Can you imagine everyone in Grant Park rockin' my moves? I can.
Jessie Ware: I had heard some hype about her on Spin about a year ago. I downloaded her album and bounced from song to song as it would come in shuffle. I had liked her, but I hadn't really given her the proper listen she deserves. Sometimes when a new female artist emerges, it takes a certain something or an odd amount of time for me to accept it and get into it. However, the song 'Wildest Moments' always caught my attention and unfortunately I missed that in her set too. I also really dig the simplicity of her music video for it. It's hard when you go in the middle of sets or leave early because there's already a chunk of songs you already missed or ones you will be missing out on. Jessie was extremely chatty and friendly with the crowd and seemed genuinely stoked to be included in this years Lollapalooza. Good, she deserved it. I think she will be a few slots higher in the years to come.
Atlas Genius: Didn't we all just go to hear 'Trojans'? I have their EP, but I have only given it a handful of listens and fell in love with their main jam last summer, so dancing to it in Grant Park was a must. I went over there to hear the last three songs of their set after Jessie's. Of course it was their final song and everyone was way amped to hear it live. Let's talk about that music video for a second...my god. I love it. I have never watched it until I linked it in here, but it's captures nostalgia beautifully and makes me feel about 4 different ways. 2:48 has always been my favourite part of that song. I will be watching that video a few more times this month.
Crystal Castles: HOLY MACKEREL! Awesome. I loved dancing to their beats for sure. The way Alice Glass carries herself is very "to the wind" so to speak. She just kind of has that effortless rock and roll thrash-ability to her that makes her very engaging to watch. I have their self-titled album, but couldn't tell you every song on it. It served its purpose as we all let lose in the park. I need to delve into more of their stuff for sure.
I was trying to text a few people at the same time, but the
reception, as always, is horrific. I noticed Dan was filming.
I think the train of thought here was; "Oh, you're filming?
Phone away...let me dance then."
Thievery Corporation: Okay, so it's not really "fair" to say that I saw them, because I was technically sitting in the grass patiently awaiting QOTSA, but since they were on Petrillo, it basically took a turn over the shoulder to see the stage. I haven't heard anything that they have done in awhile and I'm most familiar with The Richest Man In Babylon and the song I fancy the most off that album is 'Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes'. I also knew the likelihood of them performing this would be slim. It's a gorgeous song that I perpetually use as my "takeoff" song when I travel. If you're about to take off in an airplane, listen to this. (break the rules and do it- if you time it right, the wheels will lift off the ground as the main beat hits on 2:19). When I saw them, they seemed to be playing something that I was much more unfamiliar with when it comes to Thievery Corporation, but was still fun to listen to and rather funky. Now that's always fly.
Queens of The Stone Age: WOW. I loved their most recently dropped album and knew that this show was going to be absolutely awesome. Our plan for the day was to camp for QOTSA into NIN and hope that Dave Grohl was going to come out and drum his heart out. However, it still rocked regardless. My high school self was SO happy 'Go With The Flow' and 'No One Knows' were played along with songs from ...Like Clockwork. They were phenomenal and Josh Homme has a double win in my book for rocking a duet with Florence for 'Jackson' (it's a still picture video, you're not going crazy). I don't know what happened during this set, but I got like, "nap-time" tired. I sat down for a lot of the set, rocking out from the ground. I just wanted to take a breather because I knew that NIN was going to rip my face off. It was the perfect set to introduce them and I'm stoked I saw them.
Nine Inch Nails: OH. MY GOD. I was really stoked to catch them because I regretted missing them in 2008 at the last Lolla they were, at which was pretty much the last time NIN toured. I've also been amped on their singles that have been creeping out off of Hesitation Marks. I knew what I was in for because I got the tiniest taste when I saw How To Destroy Angels back in April and it was beyond mind blowing. I knew that if Rob Sheridan was behind the next event and the rest of them for time to come, that it would be absolutely delicious to take in within Grant Park as the city was aglow around them. Dan and I had delved into NIN to get a better idea of what we were in for in the days ahead of the show. We watched the FUJI show which allowed us to confirm our undying excitement. I love knowing that they borrowed their idea for their opening sequence from Stop Making Sense, one of my favourite films ever and how they changed it in a way that made it their own.
1. 1. Copy of A 2. Sanctified 3. Came Back Haunted 4. 1,000,000, 5. March of the Pigs 6. Piggy 7. The Frail 8.The Wretched 9. Terrible Lie 10. Closer 11. Gave Up 12. Help Me I Am In Hell 13. Me, I’m Not 14. Find My Way 15. What If We Could? 16. The Way Out Is Through 17. Wish 18. Survivalism 19. Only 20. The Hand That Feeds 21. Head Like A Hole 22. Hurt. ....AKA EPIC.
Set favourites included 'Copy of A', 'Came Back Haunted', 'Closer', 'Piggy' 'Terrible Lie' 'Only', 'The Hand That Feeds', 'Help Me I Am In Hell', 'Head Like A Hole', and of course 'Hurt' made everyone cry at the end. A hell of a closer. I thought they were phenomenal. A huge upset was the fact the monitors weren't turned on, likely due to the band's request to fulfill their ideal stage setup, but I wanted to see them in some closer way. All in all, NIN rocked my face off, and my neck felt the repercussions for days. I really gave myself to the music during this set.
. . .
SATURDAY, AUGUST 3
Bands Seen: Adventure Club, The National, HAIM, The Postal Service
Bands Regretting Missed: Ben Howard and Matt and Kim
This was kind of a lazier day for us and we strolled in during Ellie Goulding's set, who initially I had wanted to see, but I had cat-napped through the day and got to hear the final songs from a distance.
Adventure Club: we had just sort of sauntered over there to hit Perry's to kick it off. I always love the energy around that area, and I'm so glad it's more open now so people have the opportunity to go nuts. It's a great people watching area too.
The National: I'm a huge 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' song and fell in love with it a couple years ago when XRT played it all summer and I have their album, but have just glossed over it once in the past. I just love his voice and the depth it has to it. Fortunately I was able to hear my jam. Delicious success. As the festival unfolded, I had much better luck of hearing what I wanted.
HAIM: Holy Shit. I had heard A WHOLE BUNCH of hype about these three sisters from a lot of people, and the majority of those people were from the Twit. I didn't know anyone personally who had jammed to their music, but from what I had heard, they seemed very worthy of checking out. I also enjoy waiting to save things for live if I know an appearance will be made soon. These girls were outstanding. I loved their spirit and enthusiasm for playing on that very stage and I can't wait for them to blow up over the next couple years. They would deserve every ounce, I mean, they're only going to get better. Here was a good write-up of the show.
Dan was able to snag this awesome video of the end of their set.
These girls really knew how to take command of the stage and
I'm glad that Dan was impressed with them as well, since I had
wanted to go to see this set. I'm stoked I got this video in here.
The Postal Service: Honestly, this had to have been one of my absolute favorite shows of even the past year or two. I had initially planned to see Azealia Banks, but she cancelled, HAIM moved up, and Death Grips was going to fill in for Azealia. THEN DEATH GRIPS CANCELLED and off to The Postal Service I went. It was sort of a huge blessing in disguise, because I would have chosen TPS over Death Grips, but Azealia may have trumped. Since that had now been tossed around, there was no question. They came on the stage and 'The District Sleeps Alone Tonight' starts up and the crowd was in all their glory for sure. It was memories of 10+ years ago flooding back to you in that field. A sense of ease and memories came over us as we swayed against the skyscrapers. They played EVERYTHING you wanted to hear that night and my high school self was so beyond satisfied. You know, when you aren't going to shows yet, and then all of a sudden they become a huge part of your life, you can't remember the times where you never even fathomed seeing certain artists live. That's exactly how I felt. If someone told me when I was 15 that I would be seeing Postal Service live at Lollapalooza in 10 years, I would't know how to comprehend that. Even seeing them on the line-up didn't proper ignite my excitement- until I heard that song. Then I remembered, and it was love all over again. Just thinking that show makes me so damn happy, it was exquisite.
1. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight 2. We Will Become Silhouettes 3. Sleeping In 4. Turn Around 5. Nothing Better 6. Recycled Air 7. Be Still My Heart 8. Clark Gable 9. Our Secret (Beat Happening cover) 10. This Place Is A Prison 11. There's Never Enough Time 12. Tattered Line of String 13. Such Great Heights 14. National Anthem (utterly phenomenal) 15. (this is) The Dream of Evan and Chan 16. BRAND NEW COLONY! [I was hoping so hard they'd come out and end with this. I danced my face off to this whole set and completely lost it when they came back on and did the final two and closed it how they did. Definitely some tears for 'Brand New Colony'.] 100% Worthy. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
. . .
SUNDAY, AUGUST 4
Bands Seen: Alex Clare, Alt-J, Vampire Weekend, 2Chainz, Major Lazer, The Cure
Bands Regretting Missed: Grizzly Bear, Phoenix, and Knife Party
Sunday was all about kickin' it with a group. Dan and I had solo-ed the first two days, and went with Dirk and Sara to the fest on the last day. We ended up meeting up with Erin and Bailey later in the day for Alt-J and a few other sets. It was good to go solo, and it was good to have a group. Both had their advantages. I was so stoked I found Erin and Bailey and got to hang out with them at the festival. It was a definite Sunday highlight.
Alex Clare: WOW! What a gem. I had no idea, because I think we were all too busy falling in and out of love with 'Too Close'. His other jams were excellent and it was reminiscent of the whole Gotye thing. What I mean by that, is that 'Somebody That I Used To Know' is NOT even near his best stuff and unfortunately, that's what everyone knows. Alex Clare has a lot of other great stuff, but it's just not mainstream yet, and likely never will be. It never quite seems to work out how it should, but it was great to be exposed to more of his music and see the huge crowd he drew in. He was beyond stoked. AWESOME.
ALT-J: Oh, Alt-J, how I love you so. I am so stoked they snagged a spot within this year's Lollapalooza. They absolutely deserve it, and I can't wait to see them higher up on that list in years to come (I can only hope). I saw them back in March and could not wait to see them again. Of course, it's tough to see your favourite bands at such festivals because you either have to make some serious sacrifices, or you have to settle with what you get when you end up meandering up to the stages. I saw them further back than I would have liked, but was with a great group of people that made the spot awesome. I loved dancing to their music out in the park. What an honor to see these guys again.
|Me, Bailey, and Erin not taking life too seriously.|
Vampire Weekend: Let's be honest, I stayed for about two songs, I wanted to check them out...and they're great, but there were 2Chainz to be seen...
2Chainz: Okay then! Talk about packing them into The Grove stage! My god. Was this show ridiculous/fun, oh absolutely. Was it chocked full of talent? Ehhhhhh... however, this was an artist to just go see because they were there and it was time to throw down to some rap. Let's talk about how elated I was when the DJ threw on 'Bandz Make Her Dance'...SCREAMING. I was stoked. I didn't expect that, but it made it all very worth my time.
Major Lazer: Rad. I'm not overly familiar with his work, but a buddy of mine briefly introduced me to it and I had kept my eye on the name. It was great to dance to before we headed over to see The Cure. As I said, Perry's is kind of the stage where you don't really have to know the artist in anyway to have a good time and dance. This is also the only stage where neon MIGHT be appropriate.
The Cure: BECAUSE HOW COULD YOU NOT?! I was really excited and thought it was actually going to be packed full of people. To my surprise, the second half of the field seemed more open. I had a ton of room to groove my heart out to 'Just Like Heaven', 'Pictures of You', 'Mint Car', 'Lullaby', 'Love Song', 'Friday I'm In Love', 'Lullaby'...wow, how exhilarating. That's a band I don't anticipate seeing live ever again or can even fathom a time they might choose to tour in the future. It was an excellent choice. I knew Phoenix was rocking out in their usual fantastic festival fashion, but I also knew that Phoenix would be back and The Cure wouldn't. I'm stoked for the people who have been waiting over a decade to see them tour again, and getting the chance to do so this weekend. We ended up leaving a smidge early to beat the enormous crowd that makes it's way out of Grant Park at 10:00pm each festival night. We had seen what we wanted to see and left with overwhelming content. What a great closeout.
All in all, Lollapalooza this year was absolutely incredible. I had the fantastic luck to run into 6 random friends over the course of the festival out of 300,000 people, got to move to a whole bunch of awesome jams, I heard some of my favourite bands absolutely lay it down and send some of the best grooves and tunes into Chicago's summer air, and I had a wonderful ease about things this past weekend. It was so great to experience another Lolla this year and I only hope it continues to be just as awesome in the future.
Did you go? Who did you see?