Its winter in Chicago. Its cold. It has finally snowed. WINTER IS HERE.
Let us rewind to a simpler time. A time of warmth and sun and happiness. Lollapalooza 2011.
So. This past weekend was my once a year 3 day long “whateva I do what I want” experience. Also known as attending Lollapalooza. I’m writing this through post-Lolla struggle so I’m not sure how much sense it’ll make but I can try.
Friday was a pretty low key day for me. I got to the park pretty late in the game, and ended up having to leave for a few hours to deal with a emergency. Meh. I was supposed to meet up with my friend M for Muse but the clusterfuck cell signal situation wasn’t helping so I ended up wandering into the dj tent with my vegan cookie dough ice cream and dancing for about 30 minutes before I peaced out and shuffled to the brown line to go home. It wasn’t the best day.
Perry’s tent was pretty sweet though.
Acts i saw: Ceci Bastida, Foster the People, Girl Talk…wow. I really tanked it that day.
Oh, and I ate this:
Andouille sausage with beer mustard and fingerling potato salad courtesy of Franks n’ Dawgs. PHENOMENAL. I love that place.
I got to the park early with a plan. I wanted to see Chico Trujillo. Not taking any chances with shady cell signals S and i kicked it old school and set a place to meet. Sweet. It rained a bit as the set started but I didn’t really mind and the band was AWESOME. At some point though I realized the irony of coming to Lollapalooza to hear the same kind of music that blares from my neighbor’s car windows at all times. They were GREAT though. I danced and finally felt like I was *in* this Lolla thing. I took video but I’m too lazy to upload it right now. Like you care. If you’re interested, my favorite song of theirs is Conductor. It knocks.
Next up I traveled to the opposite end of the park (this travel across the park 10 times a day thing is one of the things that makes Lolla such an endurance test) for Fitz & The Tantrums. They were AWESOME. I’d only heard a few of their songs before but I’m a total convert. Check them out. They rule.
Because I had some time to kill and no one I was interested in seeing at that moment I stuck around with S and saw Mayer Hawthorne and The County.
His music is basically a total bite of 60s70s soul/r&b/etc. He did a bunch of covers and spoke in this weird accent (dare I say blaccent) and…I hated him. It felt like a ironic hipster cover band getting over on making the kind of…you know what? I’m not. I just hated the whole thing. It made me feel icky.
Then I split with S and crossed the park to meet up with my hs buddy Bunny (yes. thats her name. Not her real name but she’s been called Bunny since she was a small child and its the name she used at school) and her husband to watch The Deftones. The sound wasn’t great and frankly, it made NO SENSE whatsoever to put them on a smaller stage. The Deftones are still extremely popular and they released an album a few months ago after a good chunk of time off the scene. But the band still kicked and I had a great time chatting with Bunny who I hadn’t seen since the day we graduated HS. We reconnected on FB though and I always liked her so it was a good reunion.
After The Deftones I crossed the park AGAIN to go to CeeLo with S. WOW. What a hot ass mess. I really thought Cee Lo was gonna kill it but…nah son. It was terrible. It started out well, with covers of Danzig and The Violent Femmes. He came out in an outfit that was kinda Gwar-esque and I respected that. But…the set was plagued with technical issues (there was a theme of that this weekend), and he seemed to do a TON of covers. It was strange. The DJ seemed to produce most of the music despite his band being onstage and the set never got a flow going. Cee Lo himself seemed to say “fuck this shit” and ended the set 15 minutes early after a pretty weak version of “Fuck You”. Disappointing is an understatement.
After Cee Lo we shifted to a position on the hill so that we could see/hear Eminem but not be in the thick of the crowd. It kinda sucked because there was a sound bleed from Perry’s and it really seemed like they halved the mounted speaker situation. I didn’t understand that at all. While we waited we listened to The Atmosphere and now I LOVE THEM. One of the best parts of Lolla is stumbling across new bands and the Atmosphere was definitely my pickup of the fest. Yay!
Eventually it was time for Eminem. M showed up around that time joined us. Bunny and her hubby randomly came across us and hung out. I would never say that I’m a fan of Eminem…but he put on a damn good show and of course, its always surprising to find that you know so many songs from an artist you don’t pay that much attention to. I do like that song he has out now with Bruno Mars and Royce da 5’9” “Lighters” so I was pretty pleased that both of them came out onstage to do that song with him. It was a “moment”. Yay. Em did the fake I’m gonna go and pretend the show is over and then come back out in five minutes for an encore thing and closed the show with “Lose Yourself” which was really fucking epic. As a result of this show I would definitely let Em have some. Deal with it. Another piece of entertainment was watching this one group of kids sitting near us. It was 5 kids, probably in their late teens (I’d give them all 18 at the most). Clearly these kids had…something. And they kept sending the Asian kid off to ask people for…something…to roll their something in. It was pretty funny. They struck out.
TL;DR Acts I saw: Chico Trujillo, The Deftones, Fitz & The Tantrums, Cee Lo, Mayer Hawthorne and The County, Atmosphere, Eminem
I ate this:
Kalua pork served on banana bread from Sola restaurant. I felt bad when I saw their tent on Friday cause…NO ONE was eating there. As soon as I looked at their menu board I saw why. They were charging too much. This menu item is $11 in their restaurant and they were charging $10. And its an appetizer. Is it worth $10? Sure. It was DELICIOUS. But you’re serving it to me on a paper plate and I’m eating with a plastic fork while walking down the street. If I was in your restaurant I’d at least get like…a real chair and some water refills (they win though for having the best most absorbent napkins of the food stalls. Really A+ stuff). And almost no one else was charging that much. The other food averaged in the $6-$7 range. They lowered their prices the next day (so did The Gage and one other restaurant that I can’t remember) and I felt ok with paying $9. Idk. Or maybe I just really wanted it. I had never heard of this restaurant before this weekend (even though a quick google search shows that its on Lincoln ave and not terribly far from my house) so I plan on patronizing it soon. As soon as I can fathom doing anything more taxing than going home and crawling into bed.
Lord jeebus. Sunday was…a day.
Started out all fine and good. I ran a little behind schedule but I got to the park in time to catch Imelda May from the start (which was my goal) and she ROCKED IT OUT. Love love love her. After that I really didn’t have anything I cared about for a good chunk so S and I went off in search of food (and met up with M) and then back to the field to see “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart”. MEH is an understatement. OMG I hate them.
After that I was supposed to go with S to see Flogging Molly (who I really like) but I was already starting to lose steam so the three of us settled down to watch The Cars. What happened next is a bit fuzzy but at some point me and M split off from S and we wandered around a bit, checked out the merch tent, kicked it in Perry’s for awhile and then…the sky clouded over.
Determined, M and I went to the field to stake out our spot for The Foo Fighters. SRS BSNS. We wanted to be on the hill so we’d be slightly raised over the crowd enabling us to see the stage/screens and close to the stage so we didn’t have to deal with sound bleed from Perry’s (that second part didn’t really happen. Perry’s WAS LOUD AS FUCK). So we got a good spot. And then…it started raining. First, a light drizzle. A woman sitting near us was like “psssh. Its just a passing shower!”….she was wrong. It rained hard and steady for about twenty minutes. It was hell. M and I were hunched under her umbrella, sitting on blankets that were getting soaked, pelted in all directions by fat rain drops and basically hating life. Except it was kinda fun? IDK. We joked around and laughed and screamed when water ran down our backs. Eventually the rain stopped and portions of the crowd decided to amuse themselves by using the now muddy field as a huge filthy slip and slide. Which then devolved into grown men “bowling” with themselves as the ball and the garbage cans as the pins. Seriously. I was sure someone was gonna break a neck and I was thankful when the cops showed up and shut that bullshit down. Although i must say, the last guy who made it across (and did it with the cop standing RIGHT THERE) actually did a running leap OVER the carbage cans and landed into a penguin slide. It was IMPRESSIVE. I actually applauded that one.
Yay rainbow! At this point I decided M and I had earned a beverage so I took the loss and trudged through the mud (that was probably at least 30% goose shit) to the closest bev tent for a beer. It was a mess. As with these things, everyone was really friendly and cool and laughing and helping each other out. It seems that Sundays at Lolla are “injure me then offer me drugs Sundays” because I was cheerfully offered something by a nice shirtless guy in a apology for almost knocking me over into the muck (last year on Sunday I got offered E from the dudebros who hit me in the face with a football and then ended up partaking in some herbal refreshment with a couple I met while sitting on the curb immediately after. What is my life) and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether i partook. (yes i did). S showed up soon after and blessed our situation with a plastic shower curtain that we used as ground cover. I just shoved my wet dirty towel into my backpack. There was nothing else to be done at that point.
Once everything got going, the Arctic Monkeys came out and did a shortened set (I’m now in love with these guys too. They kicked ass). Followed by Explosions in the Sky on the other nearby stage. It was at this point that I figured out that I should probably hit the port-a-potties again before The Foo. I encountered the LONGEST lines ever and the whole thing probably took about 20 minutes (including another stop at the beer tent and a cig break with another friend I randomly ran into. I’m tsk’ing myself.).
So….FOO FIGHTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This show was just AMAZING. Its always nice to be reminded how much you love a band. I’d say I know every single word to about 80% of their songs but its not the kind of thing I think about often. (that said, Monkey Wrench has been on repeat in my brain since last night and I’ve listened to it about 10 times today already). About 15 minutes into the set…it fucking rained again. HARD. Thankfully S also had ponchos so M stayed dry(ish) under her umbrella and I slipped on a poncho and dealt with it. And that point all my clothes were soaking wet (Wet T-Shirt contest anyone?) and it was a big “oh well we’re just gonna rock out in the rain and be awesome” thing. At some point you’ve got to just accept that your body will be covered in mud, your hair will be wet, and you will get really familiar again with the concept of diaper rash (whatever, you wear wet shorts for 3 hours and then try to walk and tell me your inner thighs don’t feel some kinda way about it).
A really great end to the weekend though. I love Lollapalooza. Can’t wait for next year. I may seriously have to start a savings fund for a VIP ticket though. I think I’m getting too old for this shit.
TL:DR Acts I saw: Imelda May, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Cars, Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters.
I ate this:
Chicago-esque dog with caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, beer mustard, pickles, and a side of triple truffle fries.