So I happened to be out in Chicago last weekend visiting a dear friend, and my visit just happened to coincide with a certain musical festival named Lollapalooza. Serendipity. This year's series was notable for several reasons -- prime among them being that Jane's Addiction was regrouping to headline the show on Sunday. (Their lead singer, Perry Farrell, created the festival in 1991 as the band's farewell tour.) What follows are some quick notes and snapshots from the show; these are thumbnails, so click through for the full images. If their quality still upsets you, my friend Erica Gannett over at Venus Zine was photographing the show for three days straight, and her camera (and aesthetic sensibility) is much nicer than mine.
The festival is, was, and until 2018 will be held in Grant Park -- hallowed ground to any liberal, and there were plenty of those on hand. Here was the scene around 3 PM, looking north towards one of the festival's two main stages (there were seven in all, covering much of the park's 319 acres).
Here are the Raveonettes, who were a charming and attractive bunch, but frankly unremarkable.
And here's Gang Gang Dance, who were loud and ugly and all the more beautiful for it. I was slightly disturbed by the proliferation of Bonnaroo and Grateful Dead t-shirts here, but I guess hippies are drawn to tribal music like moths to an open flame. Note the guy on the far left, who looks like he's just stepped out of the shower. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what he was contribuing -- but this must be what distinguishes an "art collective" from a normal band.
And here's Passion Pit on the very same (and badly undersized, considering their audience) stage. They were very upbeat and energetic, and drew throngs of young, enthusiastic people who seemed to know every word to every song. And I know I've commented on it before, but the wild disparity between Michael Angelakos's voice and anatomy is even more pronounced when he's on stage.
Here's Snoop's set, on the south side of the park. Apparently it reeked of sewage down there, and it was also obscenely crowded, so I kept a safe distance and replenished myself with some gourmet Lolla food: Top Chef Graham Elliott Bowles's black-pepper-parmesan-truffle popcorn and teriyaki portobello satay with spicy peanut sauce. Not bad, but I was still pretty upset that they were out of the lobster corn dogs.
MSTRKRFT = masterful. Wish I could have stayed for this set for longer, but Lou Reed was calling.
Unfortunately, this is as close as I felt like getting to him. Did I mention the crowds?
Rockstar egos can sometimes override the festival's rigid scheduling, and Lou Reed played for about half an hour longer than he was allotted. He's Lou Reed, so I'm not complaining, but I have to admit that by the fifteenth minute of "Waiting for My Man," most of the people waiting for Band of Horses's set were rolling their eyes. Ben Bridwell was waving to people and shrugging helplessly from the side of the stage, which was nice of him in a down-home sort of way. Indeed, the band's time in South Carolina seems to have rubbed off on them; besides being inordinately humble and grateful for the crowd's enthusiastic reception, Ben had swapped out his trucker cap for a stetson, and sounded even more like Neil Young than usual.
There was also a helicopter circling the north side of the park at this point, looking like a heavenly, oscillating disco ball. It was probably supposed to coincide with the Jane's Addiction set, which Perry Farrell decided to go ahead and start even though Band of Horses hadn't wrapped up yet. I tell you, these things get pretty personal.
"Do we keep going?" Bridwell asked his audience, and was greeted with resounding cheers. It was a battle of the wills, and by my estimation, Band of Horses won. By the time they ended their set, I was too wiped -- and too daunted by the crowd -- to try to get anywhere near the Jane's Addiction stage. I listened to a few songs, watched Dave Navarro on the Jumbrotron as he waved the cameraman away from him a few times, and then headed back to Bucktown for some shut-eye before my 6 AM flight. Woof.