August 4, 2015

The Lolla Laydown / 2015

Ah, what a weekend! What a glorious weekend that has so many aspects that I absolutely live for; sunshine, live music, groovin' amongst the people, and SO MANY GOOD VIBES. Yes, Lollapalooza took place this past weekend and it's safe to say that it is my ultimate happy place. While I've only attended three years now, I feel that I've made the absolute most of them, soaking up every ounce of the glory. The glory is always mine!

Easily one of the best line-ups ever for me.

The line-up came out in, oh, I don't know, March? I remember that day. I remember thinking that it was something I needed to check immediately at work and did not care of the repercussions of checking material that was not relevant to the job itself. When I saw who was expected to play, I believe I literally squealed, or made some unbearably loud noise for being in a store-front environment. Then I think I took it to another level by running around and verbally expressing my excitement in words that probably didn't make sense, very likely I was just attempting to string sentences together involving Florence and drooling on myself in the process. IT WAS HAPPENING, MY QUEEN WAS HEADLINING! FINALLY.

However, while Florence + The Machine sealed the deal, SIR PAUL McCARTNEY?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Alabama Shakes? Oh yeah! Alt-J? For sure! Glass Animals? Sign. Me. Up. The bands looked solid and I needed to be there. Luckily, all went well with acquiring tickets and I knew I had a way into the happiest weekend on earth, well, two tickets. I decided that Friday and Sunday were my best routes to go and they certainly did not disappoint.

See, the thing about Lollapalooza, is that it serves as something you look forward to all summer. It's something you endure, something you do in the name of loving music. So many amazing artists come together and beat the heat to give us some of the best festival performances we've ever seen. We meet new people while running into old friends. It's the range of options you have before you, the different types of music, where there's truly something for everyone. It is the best feeling to be under that skyline whilst observing and taking in everything that is going on around you. LOLLAPALOOZA IS MAGIC.

But it's also unbearable heat and humidity in between the evacuations from the festival due to thunderstorms. It's going with the flow, checking out artists you've never heard of, and finding a place to groove in the lawn. It's planning your bathroom breaks accordingly so you don't have to leave your favorite artist when you're near the front in a sea made up of thousands of people. It's having to deal with the Bud-Light only beer options. It's grabbing a slice of Lou's deep dish or a pulled pork sandwich from Smoke Daddy and sittin' on the curb promising yourself that this is all totally great for your immune system. It's all part of the glory, the MAGIC.

______________________________Friday, July 31st

2:15. Glass Animals: YES. I am so glad I got to see them in time. I was actually quite worried because I wasn't sure how early I was going to go and whether or not I was going to go solo. I ended up going early to catch them because I knew I could not miss them. I got EXTREMELY lucky with timing. I walked up as they played my three favorite songs; 'Gooey', 'Pools', and 'Hazey' - they also threw a Kanye cover in there 'Love Lockdown'. They did a hell of a job making it their own style, it was delivered exceptionally well. I wish I could have seen them in a more intimate setting, like the Bottom Lounge for their pre-show, but groovin' in the field to their tunes was quite fantastic, and groove I did. Things got funky.

3:30. Father John Misty: I checked him out for the sole purpose of checking him out. I have heard a lot of wonderful things about him but have never given his music a fair chance. I figured seeing him live would be a wonderful way to do that. I dug his grooves; definitely something you see with a best friend or a sweetheart, and not necessarily solo unless you're more familiar, but that's okay. He was fucking hilarious. He said some of the funniest stuff from the stage that made it that much more worth it.

::crowd member shouts out question::

FJM: "Oh, so you wanna ask questions, do you want like a fucking Q & A session? Is that what you want? Okay, what?"

Random crowd member: "Do you want to go to brunch?"

FJM: "They asked if I wanted to go to brunch. I don't eat brunch. ::long pause:: I eat lunch twice. Let's hear it for that!"

::crowd cheers::

FJM: "This is way too easy."

The crowd waiting for Alabama Shakes against that glorious skyline.

5:45. Alabama Shakes: OH, HELL YES. This was just one of the reasons I was so revved for this festival. I saw them back in March at my beloved venue, The Chicago Theatre. I even was lucky enough to meet Brittany outside after the show. She is a beautiful human being. Despite being blown away by them in that venue, I knew that they thrived in an outdoor setting. QUEUE IT UP! I hadn't heard Sound and Color before the previous show from a few months ago, but now, having become very familiar with it (okay, in love with it), my excitement was on point. As usual, they were phenomenal. They experienced some technical difficulties, but was fixed in a matter of minutes and seemed even better when Brittany boomed "BROKE THE FUCKIN' P.A. SYSTEM!". Perfect.

7:45. Sir Paul McCartney: I can tell you right now, that going in Friday, I never expected to get rocked that hard. I mean, I was expecting him to be awesome, I just didn't fathom that it would be as life-changing as it was. The crowd around us was chocked full of beautiful people who were looking to groove, share the spirit, and soak up every ounce of what was happening before us. We danced endlessly, sang along to every song, and LOST OUR MINDS.

Let me tell you, my number one show will always be Florence + The Machine, December 4th at Chicago Theater, HOWEVER, this was just a different circumstance and experience.

I have never had an experience like this at a show before, and that could be for a few different reasons. I am so grateful that I was there that night. So many tears of sheer joy. It really took so much out of me in the best possible way. Let's not forget how he pulled Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes on stage to accompany him in rocking the hell out of 'Get Back'. MINDSPLITTING.

Me and Dan were happy clams watchin' Paul McCartney.
(except, yeah, we're not actually watching him in this picture, I get that)

_____________________________Sunday, August 2nd


While the weather looked nice and tasty that morning, people who had looked at the weather (it's Chicago, so EVERYONE), knew we were expecting storms. I saunter in with my two friends just as they announced evacuation. BEAUTIFUL! Of course, you could see the storms brewing to the west, getting ready to charge at the "Lollapalooz-ums (thanks, Paul)." We all dealt with it, found some shelter somewhere, and came back in at 3:30 after standing unbearably close in humid conditions at the gate front. Crowd mentality at its finest. They got things moving real quickly though. You can't blame them for taking such precautions. This jived up the schedule a little bit, so times below may not be accurate, just going off memory. Sunday was really just vibing with what my friends wanted to do. There's a handful of bands I wanted to see, but there's always only so many you can get to. Sharing the experience with friends makes these shows that much better it seems. 

3:30. Moon Taxi: Okay, sure. Why not. We were there, we wanted a field to sit in, and the tunes sounded good. REALLY good, actually. I was pleasantly surprised. That's what I love about festivals. Your ability to never hear of someone, decide to check them out on a whim, and fall in love with their tunes. Our goal was to sit in the lawn, I ended up groovin' instead.

4:30 (give or take). Angus & Julia Stone: a friend in the group wanted to see them and I wanted to ride their vibe for awhile. They ended up being pretty rad. Of course, everyone was over the moon when they played 'Big Jet Plane'. I loved that song without paying proper attention to who it was. It will happen when it keeps coming up on your Rdio playlists when you aren't paying attention.

5:15. Odesza: Okay, we really just wanted to sit down and hang out because someone in our group wanted to see A$AP Rocky, who was playing on the same stage a bit later. I think we just really wanted to hunker down in one area, which was perfectly acceptable in yesterday's heat. However, they were rather engaging, and I liked them, and if I wasn't trying to preserve my legs for Florence, then I would have been womp, womp, wompin' all around that lawn.

6:30. Gogol Bordello: Watched his set from a distance while we sat in-between both stages. He's always a funky performer. Of course, I was quite stoked when he played 'Start Wearing Purple', because, well, who can disagree with that?

7:15. A$AP Rocky: Initially, I did not think I'd be seeing him, however, when you have a friend who really wants to see with it, you go, and you're more often than not, pleasantly surprised. While this would have been something I don't think I would have gone to other wise, I'm glad I did. It's just a fun time, especially when you're with two girls who dig the groove.

Bre, Me, and Bailey waiting for ze Queen!

9:00. FLORENCE + THE MACHINE: WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR! MY SIXTH FLORENCE SHOW! I always get extremely anxious and emotional when I see Florence. I don't know why, but I think I just want everything to go really smoothly and enjoy every minute of it without anything getting in the way of that. Basically I treat it like it's a damn wedding day or prom moment or something.

I wanted to be really close in the crowd, but not so close that I wouldn't be able to move or dance. I require plenty of that, especially room to cry and get down on the ground in fetal position. Weird things happen for me at Florence shows, but they're always epic. Last night was no exception.

By the time she had come on, the sky had turned into a tumultuous mix of gorgeously dispersed lightning, strong winds, and distant storms. Here is the thing, Florence is really her own force of nature, and having the meteorological spectacle going on behind us as she performed was just, well, electrifying to say the least. She never fails to bring full force energy when she comes to Chicago, hell, when she goes ANYWHERE. I was so happy that SO many people got to be exposed to her live performance last night. So many people were absolutely blown away, and as usual, so was I. The real cherry on top was when she said she'd be playing 'St. Jude'.

That song carries so much weight for me. I have been listening to it constantly for weeks straight and am absolutely in love with the song and the music video (it's rare to have both). It's just heavy. It's pure emotion. The first chord played, and I lost it. Immediately burst into tears and just rocked back and forth, taking in the musical glory. Of course, during this, I fell to my knees and sobbed a bit more. I love when this happens at shows. This is pivotal. One moment you're up dancing around and singing having a great time, and the next song has you completely caved, on the ground, sobbing. THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF MUSIC. Your favorite artists should be able to move you like that. That's what Florence does for me. And I am so grateful for that.

That moment where she mimicked the video and put her fingers in her mouth and extended her hand outward toward the crowd - THAT WAS EVERYTHING.

While the lightning provided a glorious backdrop in addition to our city skyline, it's ultimately what ended up cutting the show short. She was going to play until 10:30 with the schedule re-do, but due to the approaching storm, got cut off around 9:45/50. This meant only 45 minutes versus the 1hr 30min that was planned. However, even seeing her at all was a such a treat. They played a glorious array of songs and the ones they did play were quite perfect and fitting for the setting. She kept spirits and energy high by bursting into the crowd, running through the aisle, and of course, taking off her shirt during 'Dog Days', making the security guard sprint for his job. So. Glorious.

1) What The Water Gave Me 2) Ship To Wreck 3) Shake It Out 4) Rabbit Heart 5) Cosmic Love 6) Delilah 7) St Jude 8) What Kind of Man 9) Dog Days Are Over

Florence's Scoreboard (taken from her Facebook)

All in all, this weekend was fantastic. I am so glad that I got to experience another wonderful year at Lollapalooza. I really don't have too many pictures; I tried to experience as much as possible without taking pictures or trying to get video. There were some things that I do feel had to be captured, and of course, I always need a picture of me looking overly excited in a field!

I hope everyone who went had an amazing time this weekend and had some sort of life-changing musical moment. I certainly did. Here's those who live for the music!