Lolla '10: Day 1 Recap
Wow. What a weekend! Still utterly eggggzauhsted, I'm refreshed. Being at Lollapalooza brought me back into my element, and it was even more fun than my first Lolla experience two years ago. Not only did I interview several bands - with Roxwel doing 16 total - but I also snapped photos in the pit and saw a lot of the fest from behind-the-scenes.
After hooking up our contest winnner with her pair of 3-day VIP passes on Friday morning, I kicked off the afternoon by chatting with Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell of London's electro-rock duo The Big Pink, both very nice chaps. Next up was their set and my first time in a photo pit. It's like having a front row seat! I think throughout the whole weekend, I was pretty much the only photographer clapping, singing along and slightly shaking my ass while shooting the bands. What can I say? It's just in my nature :-)
Having been thoroughly impressed by The Big Pink several months ago in Austin, I stuck around for their full set after exiting my sweet seat (photographers only allowed for first three songs), and I made my way through the crowd to hear them encore with their hit "Dominos," which has recently been featured on a Jaguar commercial. And believe it or not, Robbie and Milo haven't even seen the ad. I am noticing that the video has been deleted on YouTube. Hmmmph...wonder what's up with that?
Anyhoo, with Devo playing the Parkways Foundation stage right next door, I slipped over that way and took some pics of the "Whip It" hitmakers. Note to self though: rent a better lens for Austin City Limits. Mine doesn't have too much of a zoom, which made it especially difficult to get a good shot on this high stage. Not being much of a Devo fan - okay, not at all - I didn't see too much of this set, but the fans seemed to be digging it. I happened across a gussied-up, white wig wearing man in the front row, as well as a group of people doing some sort of line dance to their tunes. Ahhh, the freedom to dance in the wide open, beautiful space that is Grant Park, right smack dab in the heart of downtown Chicago!
The highlight of my day - and maybe even the whole weekend - followed. Thank you, Matt and kim! You are truly an inspiration. And if I am ever question my love of music, I think all I would need to do is look at my set photos and the videos I took from the side stage. These two are so effing adorable and seriously gave me wicked chills up my spine while I watched them perform. Smiles never left their faces, and they were so genuine and appreciative of their fans. They also put on a rocking show. I am so damn impressed with Kim's drumming. That girl is ripped and so full of energy. I saw her on my way out - after she surfed the crowd, which they both were encouraging throughout the set (I honestly started feeling bad for the all the people security was having to pull from the crowd, though they seemed to not mind so much) - and told her how much I enjoyed their performance (maybe something like, "You guys f*cking rock...you're so adorable!"). She just carried this big smile, grabbed my arm and said, "Thank you!" Matt and kim truly epitomize why I love music. I just picked up their latest album, Grand, last night and haven't taken it off repeat.
Only having seen Matt and kim's video for "Lessons Learned" - the one where they strip in Times Square (I'm dying to know how they pulled that off!) - I had no idea that I was gonna be hauling ass to The Black Keys on the complete opposite side of the park because I was downright powerless to leave Matt and kim's set with ample time to get into the photo pit for the Akron, Ohio rock duo. Oh well! I trucked it fo sho and made it just in time for The Black Keys' third song. I stuck around for a bit after snapping some photos, chilled in the grass and caught my breath. Ultimately, I'd like to see The Black Keys perform in a more intimate venue - typically my preference for any band - as I just didn't get a good feel for their live performance.
I saw a lot of duos on Friday. In fact, Chromeo played one hour before Lady Gaga took the stage nearby, so I once again took my front row seat and got some pics of the Montreal-based electrofunk duo. I remember Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits talking 'em up when I first interviewed tDB back in early '09, and - being the first time I've actually seen them live - I definitely enjoyed what I saw of Chromeo's set. You see, I tried to get in the photo pit for Lady Gaga, but I, like many others, got turned away as only the first fifty photogs were allowed in. I guess if it weren't for maybe a space issue, I'd question that move considering her stage setup cost a whopping $250k. You would think they'd want as many photogs of that as humanly possible.
And about that...so I am in no way a fan of Lady Gaga's music. I can get into pop too, but her songs just don't do it for me at all. That being said, she is one hell of a performer, and it's all about the shock value. Kinda like what's her name...Madonna? Gaga could definitely work on her stage banter though. In a nutshell, each time she spoke (or screamed) it was all about how much she hates money (How much is that home she's wanting to buy? Oh, that's right...$26M. Hmmmm, sorry, not buying it!), and, of course, how she wasn't accepted when she was younger / how her music wasn't good enough / etc. But guess what?!? Now she's a superstar! She yelled that a few times from the stage. Whatever. I get that she does create a place for people outside of the norm - whatever you consider that to be - to let their inner freak out. And that's cool by me. Music is a very subjective art form. But I guess I think it should be about just that...the music. Not your costumes or stage "props" (aka a subway car and such). I mean, don't get me wrong. You should definitely create an appropriate ambiance for people to really absorb your music - if it's even needed - but Lady Gaga is too over the top for me.
If my ramblings don't make much sense, I blame it on sleep deprivation! Be looking for my Lolla Day 2 recap tomorrow.
"And so I stayed up all night / (Wish I) Slept in all day" - "Lessons Learned," Matt and kim