Hell is Other People: Final Thoughts on Lollapalooza 2013

My festival is prettier than your festival

My festival is prettier than your festival.

Lollapalooza 2013 kept up its annual tradition of kicking my ass and leaving me a shell of the woman I once was by late morning on Day 3. But still I rise to share my unsolicited options on the goings ons of the final day.

Biggest Surprise (to me): 2 Chainz – Late Sunday afternoon presented one of my few scheduling conflicts of the festival. Vampire Weekend, 2 Chainz, and Major Lazer were all playing around the same time and I had mild interest in all three. I wouldn’t call myself a major fan of any of these artists but I was curious enough. I quickly axed any intentions to go see Major Lazer because I knew I didn’t have the patience to deal with the kids rolling on whatever in Perry’s and I can twerk sumthin’ to Watch Out for This in my house unencumbered any day I choose. In the end I decided to check out the beginning of Vampire Weekend and then, if I felt like it, dip over to check out a few minutes of 2 Chainz before headed over to The Cure. Vampire Weekend obliged me by playing every song of theirs that I know during the first 30 minutes of their set (how kind) and off I went to Schaumburg the Grove stage to party it up with 2 Chainz…and every white kid from the surrounding suburbs. I don’t really know anything about 2 Chainz except that he says his name like 2 CHAINZZZZZZZZZZZZ and wants a big booty hoe for his birthday. Turns out that was really all the prep I needed. His DJ got the crowd going for a few minutes before he came onstage and from there on out it was pure energy. I had a great time dancing and shouting out obscenities amongst throngs of sweaty strangers. It was a great time. Although there was an awkward moment just as I was leaving his set where 2 Chainz shouted out Trayvon Martin and then followed that up with a little commentary on  the violence in Chicago. Lets just say…the crowd wasn’t here for that. At all. It was a little…never mind. But they perked right back up when he asked who likes bitches (or something) and all was well again. Its ok 2 Chainz. You didn’t know that even though you were in Chicago, you weren’t in Chicago.

Best Discovery: Lianne La Havas – I ended up seeing Lianne’s set because I didn’t want to deal with finding my friend later if we split up and she wanted to see this show. I know. But sometimes great things come out of such lazy decision-making and Lianne is one of them. Lianne is completely charming on stage, a bawse on the guitar, in possession of a very light and beautiful voice, and on top of that she has the nerve to be extremely gorgeous. Her music appears to take notes from jazz, rock, soul, and pop which made for a perfect late afternoon soundtrack. Plus, Prince is a fan of hers. And we don’t argue with the purple one. Check out her song I Forget and then thank me for sharing her fabulousness with you.

Queen

Queen

Most Glaring Omission: The Stuff – Lollapalooza has always billed itself as a music festival with a little more. There have always been multiple diversions aside from the acts on the stages, mostly in the vein of sponsored booths and whatnot. This year while Samsung and Toyota rep’ed hard, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of corporate sponsorship, most notably in that a handful of stages had names like “Lakeshore” and the “Grove” whereas before they would have been the “Sony” stage or whatever. Sony is particular has always had a HUGE presence at Lolla so I wonder what happened there. Stage sponsorships don’t really mean that much to me as an attendee but I do wonder what the impact on that kind of thing had during festival planning. I’m clearly a huge supporter of Lolla in Chicago and I want the festival to thrive, and I’m not naive enough to think these things run on peace love and flowered head bands. They need money, honey. Also, if anyone important is paying attention to this, can we please have that Dell chill out spot in the shaded tree area back? It was my lifesaver last year and I was surprised to see the space used instead for porta potties. Speaking of….

Logistical failure: Porta pottie placement – A few years ago Lollapalooza re-purposed Columbus drive solely for food vendors, foot traffic, and porta potties. My offer of erecting a statue in honor of whomever made that decision still stands because it did WONDERS for ending the people traffic jam that made crossing Grant Park such a pain in the ass in years prior. This year while the food vendors and foot traffic were still the main focus of Columbus (although i still don’t understand the point in dividing up Chow Town. All it did was take two crowded areas and turn it into four crowded areas. And was it just me or were the food options just not that great this year?) but the porta potties were scattered off in random areas and it felt like there weren’t as many (although in the end there were probably more). I know this is a weird thing to be nitpicky about but when you’ve gone to this thing as many times as I have, you develop little tricks. Like knowing which porta potties are going to the least used. These things are important.

Best Way to To End Lollapalooza: Festival Fatigue and The Cure – No, Festival Fatigue isn’t some painfully hispter band you haven’t heard of yet, Festival Fatigue is that feeling that sets in among the attendees. You see them in their three-day wristbands which seemed like the keys to the castle a few days ago, but are now just dirty and irritating, sporting an assortment of odd tan lines, that look of pure exhaustion in their eyes. But FF isn’t all bad because come Day 3 of Lollapalooza a new feeling of camaraderie sets in. Where Saturday at Lolla is usually pretty aggressive (don’t ask me to explain why, it’s just a vibe), and Friday doesn’t really count,  Sunday Lolla is way more relaxed. Everyone is nicer. There is an air of “by God we made it through this shit” that dictates the vibe. Everyone wants to squeeze out as much party as they can, but yo man, we’ve got work tomorrow so lets not get too crazy. Sensible Shoe Lollapalooza, which has been pacing itself all weekend, decides to let its hair down and finally have a beer (or a whole water bottle full of wine) BEFORE sundown. And what better place to do that than The Cure’s Sunday night headlining set? And yes, Robert Smith LOOKED a mess (a friend, upon seeing closeup pictures of him from the night remarked that we must have been farther away than we thought because he didn’t look that messy on the screen) but he sounded AMAZING. The Cure’s set was a well paced, excellently plotted bobby feel good time. Even I, who had flopped to the ground clutching my tall boy of Bud Light and a burrito (turn down for what!?) couldn’t help but get up and dance around. Its kinda easy to forget that bands like The Cure just have SO.MANY hits. They easily filled a two-hour set and definitely had could have filled more time if allotted.

The Most High Honors to: The Weather – IT. WAS. PERFECT. Mother Nature did Lolla the mega solid. Friday was a little rainy but that cleared up pretty early on in the afternoon and made way for the most perfect festival weather. Saturday and Sunday were clear, sunny, just warm enough, with perfect breezes coming in from the lake. Bravo.

Dishonorable Mentions To: The Drunk Suburban Teenagers of Lollapalooza – and this asshole who got popped for yelling out “who wants Molly?” within earshot of a cop. Get these jerks out of the gene pool. I already touched on the rampant drug use by the spoiled, ass cheek showing/throwback jersey wearing teens of the greater Chicagoland area so I won’t go to deep into that again except to say…WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS!?

All in all, another successful Lollapalooza in the books. I think I’ve said it all.

Lolla13_4x3_2014

Indeed

 

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