August 8, 2013

Lollapa-OH YEAH! [2013 review]

It's time to break down 
LOLLAPALOOZA.


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.

 


video
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.

video
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.
Thank you!


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.

video




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?

x X

August 6, 2013

[LANA DEL REY] pre-show / p. 1

Let's see, how does one delve into writing about an event such as this?

If you've read this blog for awhile, maybe you've stumbled into this article about Lana Del Rey I wrote having to do with her supreme magnificence. That article will easily sum up most of my feelings I have for her and for her music. My excitement for Lollapalooza was already in full gear before the line-up had even been announced. Then of course once it was announced, you had the glory of seeing the Lana/NIN conflict, because, well, of course there was a Lana/NIN conflict. Then, to save my soul, the whole Lana pre-show thing was announced at the House of Blues. That's kind of where I thoroughly lost my shit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That's where I saw Florence for her first Chicago show in April 2010...and then to have the opportunity to see Lana there for her first show would take the take the cake. My god, that was going to be absolutely phenomenal. So let's just dive into that, because if we don't, it will just go month by month explaining my growing excitement towards it all and my overdose of Lana adoration.

.   .   .
[Thursday] Aug. 01 / LANA DEL REY LOLLA PRE-SHOW.

The plans were in the works for a few months leading up to this show. The real catch was that the original ticket price was about $40, give or take any fees added to that. If you know her tour habits well, you knew that this was pretty much her only U.S. show, and e v e r y o n e wanted a hold of that ticket, and they all got them on pre-sale. So 10:00:02 rolls around on the actual sale date- gone and only to be found for no less than $115 on StubHub. What did we all do? WE BOUGHT THEM. Actually, Dan bought it as I sat on the bed crying, unable to afford a ticket to see my First Lady, and I'm especially grateful for that. As time crept up, I had done all my prep work and had planned on going dressed as a mix of 'Ride', 'Born To Die', and 'Lolita'. I mean, of course I actually just wanted to dress up and look fantastic, but an 8 hour queue line would require something a bit more feasible. Accomplished.

It's like a Lana Del Rey Polyvore page.

The day's attire.

Brooke and I had planned on heading into the city early to queue because this wasn't tuned to Dan's taste. Of course, like fools, we thought we would be the only ones in line for at least a few hours. We got there around 12:30 only to find 39 other people ahead of us, (some who had been there since 5am) and I know this because I had a 39 on my hand for two days after. The queue is always a place where you find your die-hards and more often than not, people that go to a LOT of shows and know how this whole process goes. The first group of people had devised a number system where you'd have a place in line, sort of a "keep the peace" way of going about it so things were more fair to those who got there before you. Luckily, the venue complied with this and made sure we stayed in order and also would later let us in according to our number order. To be able to wait in the venue, you needed to buy a "Pass The Line" ticket for $20. This would then be eligible to use towards food/house merch/bar, which in turn ended up being kind of awesome when we were all hungry and ended up eating on the floor in the queue line. There were only so many of us that were able to stay in the actual venue part. Later in the day, a few different lines formed outside. As the hours rolled on, we met people from all over the country AND world. There were more people from out of state, than here in Chicago, and that meant people running on NO sleep or people who had spent all day of waiting, or worse- both. We (about 60 of us) ended up chatting a bunch, exchanged twitter handles, and held anxious conversation while I slipped out for smokes any time possible. You see, it was kind of different this time around because waiting in the venue all day is cool and all, except when it's gorgeous and sunny out and you anticipated being outside. During one of my smoke breaks, I ran into Blake, the drummer for  Lana. I shook his hand and we exchanged a few words while I puffed my cigarette and he snapped some pictures of the city. Two people had ended up meeting her during that day a few hours before her show, and I believe they were the only ones. Of course, that always takes effort and the additional add-on that by the time you DO find them, you're just being creepy and invasive about it. Trust me, I would have loved the chance. Oh well, all was fine with the day and the process of waiting, except for when I found out I had balcony seating, {cue to major internal freakout} there I was waiting all day for the main floor glory. I was crushed; I wanted rail, I wanted to be with all the people I had surrounded myself during the course of the day, I wanted to be close- and damn close at that. So of course, when they opened the doors to get in, I just got myself right on that main floor without any effort in making my way towards anything that meant more distance between me and that stage. Eight hours was a cruel amount of time to wait, and I wasn't going to be in some balcony.

some of the queue group!

Ten O' Clock rolls around and Lana saunters onto the stage looking perfect, as if anyone expected less, letting the words of 'Cola' escape her lungs and hit the thick venue air. The whole day I had been wrapped in anticipation to see what she would adorn herself with that night. She has a remarkable sense of style, but had no idea what to expect for that evening. Once we all confirmed this gorgeous being was on stage clad in a brown top, denim skirt, and black boots, the crowd went absolutely nuts and the venue acquired the essence of what could be described as mania. I mean, rightfully so, but why do people feel so inclined to shove as if their life depends on it? Oh yeah, because it's Lana. And we were mystified. The first time she sort of knelt down to sing to us, is when the crowd got thrust forward and pulled back like a sea taking victims in an under tow.


By the time the song was over, I was found somewhere in that sea of people being washed out to the bar area where the excitement was much more dim. My hair had been trapped in people's bags and hands and my body had been pushed into the crowd of people to the point where we had to get the hell out of that area, and now I found myself regretting passing up balcony seating. We watched the show from various distances, and I had now become distracted with thoughts of how to get my spot back or how to somewhere get closer, but we all just wanted to be closer...


 As the melodies I had been using for anthems escaped from her mouth from song to song, I lost myself in waves of tears; a representative of my extreme elation towards seeing her live and for the crowd experience that had pushed me that much further from my desired spot. This confused people; people seemed worried that I was crying, as if you wouldn't cry in the presence of a person who has made such an impact on your life. I absorbed that live music like a sponge, and then immediately seemed to be wrung out in between the notes. The thing is, a lot of people, even if they like her music, will tell you that she's not a strong performer. The thing about that is that everyone remembers a year ago from SNL when she had never performed on television or any huge outlet at all. She's been oerforming quite a bit since then, but far from the states, and most people will only see that if they go out of their way to find it. Needless to say, she's gotten a lot better with moving to her music and knowing her stage. She's a beautiful being that sings such beautiful things in the most beautiful way.


'American'
video


SETLIST:
1. Cola 2. Body Electric 3. Blue Jeans 4. Born To Die 5. Carmen 6. Young and Beautiful 7. Million Dollar Man 8. American 9. Ride 10. Summertime Sadness 11. Video Games 12. National Anthem.


Lana really is fantastically gorgeous and true to her form, of course she came down and shook hands, signed vinyls, and chatted with a few people quickly while an amazing extended rendition of 'National Anthem' wailed over us in the background. The first few rows got lucky with this and of course, we initially found ourselves within those rows. How I would have loved a brief interaction with her. All you can say is "It happens.", especially when you muster a 17+ crowd and minimum touring.

'Body Electric'
video

Spin, Lana, Spin!

I waited until they kicked us out of the actual stage area in attempt to snag a set-list. I am typically lucky with such things, however, I wasn't really lucky with much that day. I don't know why I keep going to such a bittersweet aspect of it all. The show itself was amazing; the set list was chocked full of amazing picks and the experience leading up to it was so grand, but the whole crowd experience really left me with a displeasing taste. It's hard when you let your emotions get so tangled within the excitement of the show's events. I honestly just wish she toured more so that you wouldn't have this kind of experience when you see her. It's the kind of show where everyone should just stand and take it all in and just shut up and let her sing. I'm very fortunate I saw her here though instead of Lolla, that would not have been a much better setting, although maybe a bit more calm in some sense. I'm lucky because I don't remember everyone shouting her lyrics back at her like I heard happened at the Friday night showdown. I made all the right choices. It was absolutely vital that I saw Lana Del Rey perform on the House of Blues stage and not mixed within a crowd within Grant park, after all, it's in the name.

All in all, the whole circumstance was pretty epic and something that's hard to say you regret. Of course when you queue for 8 hours and you don't get a set-list, and you don't get a hug, handshake, or even a scribble on a piece of paper, you just feel a little bit down and out. In the end though, it's not what it's really about, though and it's so hard to keep your sights on that when you feel that meeting the artist is now only some competition between super-fans. It's about supporting your artist and getting to know the people who love her just as much as you do. I'm really grateful that I even had an opportunity to see this fantastic starlet, because I was really really hesitant about missing NIN at the actual fest. She was awesome to do a pre-show for us and they were awesome to have invited her. I can only hope she tours more and the experiences keep getting better and the crowds still hold true to their Lana love, while exhibiting a bit differently next time.


THANK YOU, LANA.



I hope you can see now that, yes, you're worth it for people to fly all over to come watch you perform.
Here's 'till next time!