August 5 2013
Quotes of the Day:
“Who are we about to see?” - once at DIIV and once at Phoenix
“I need beer!” - guy who just showed up wearing neon yellow suspenders and an american flag speedo
“Where’s Lolla, I mean, Perry’s?” - drunken future frat star
I decided to change up the pace this final day of Lollapalooza by stopping over at Max’s Take Out on Adam’s St for a spicy Italian beef sandwich that definitely hit the spot. The interesting thing about that stop was that this group of ladies came in to order some hot dogs and left while the food was being prepared to grab some McDonald’s in the meantime. You got to do what you got to do to get by, I guess.
I ended up following my instincts and hitting up The Orwell’s show instead of Palma Violet’s at 1:00, and I definitely made the right decision. The first thing that struck me upon arriving at The Grove was how many chicks there were. I’m not sure if it was because it was a local band or if I’m just not living in the right part of the country, but rarely can I find a girl who is as excited about the independent garage/punk scene as I am, so that was cool. But going back the band, I have to say that they absolutely killed it. They put on a rocking set that the crowd was so pumped for. I even got sucked into a few mosh pits myself, which probably wasn’t good considering my history with concussions, especially since I’m sure I may have suffered another minor one. Frontman Mario Cuomo was going crazy onstage and looked way more comfortable than one would expect for a band fresh out of high school. At one point he kicked off his shoes with “F**K ME” written on them in red marker and took off his pants so that he could dance around in his Batman boxers. And at the end, I was witness to the first “true” encore from a band in my life. As the stagehands started to take everything down, the crowd began chanting, “One more song!” Lo and behold, they came out for one more song, finished with a toss of the mic from Cuomo into the crowd as he left the stage for a final time. I still can’t believe that they’re not headlining a tour this fall, but opening for FIDLAR. All I know is, FIDLAR’s going to have to step up their game this year if they don’t want to be outshined.
It was then time to collect material for my Question of the Day article. I’ll just mention some of the stuff I couldn’t use. I was hoping that I could get some cool stuff by talking to cops. I was obviously wrong. One pair didn’t want to talk at all, and another trio claimed “It’s been pretty calm this year so far.” Why don’t leave the secluded area of trees and actually do your job? I’m sorry, but that’s a complete falsehood. Probably the best one that I’m disappointed in not being able to include was this 21-year-old dude who claimed to have intimate relations with a stranger on the train in from Rock Island that morning. He wouldn’t give his name and wouldn’t stand for a picture, so it was practically invalid unfortunately. Lastly, I learned of the filming for a Michael Bay movie at Perry’s on Friday. I’m not sure if it’s for the new Transformers movie or possibly even the TMNT reboot, hell, it could be something else entirely. All I know is, I’m curious to see what comes of it.
I finished with enough time to see the last two songs from Wild Nothing’s set at the Red Bull Sound Select stage. They’re one of my more favorite sort of dream pop acts, and while the what I did see didn’t blow me away or anything, it didn’t detract from my appreciation of the band at all. It would’ve been cool if they had a bit more reverb like they do on the recordings, but that’s only a minor complaint. At one point some random guy who was walking past stopped and offered me a piece of Trident gum in what I’m fairly positive was Tropcal Twist flavor before continuing his journey. I kind of waited to see if he would give any to anybody else, but he didn’t which worried me a bit. But I saw him pull it out from the package and it still had a wrapper on it, plus he had a pair of girls with him, letting me know he was most likely pretty trustworthy. After smelling it to make sure it wasn’t laced with anything seriously overt, I put it in my mouth and chewed the hell out if it. I’m not sure who that guy was, or why he did what he did, but we need more people like him in the world.
I then had a lot of time to kill before Wavves went on back at The Grove. So I met my friends over at the bean bag toss at the iHeartRadio tent and after chilling there for a bit, I went with some of them over to The Mowgli’s at the BMI stage. I was in shock at how packed it was, as we were barely able to work our way into that little alleyway and couldn’t really hear anything. My only guess is that the shade of that area of the park drew people in because I don’t think that they’re that great of a band. But nobody on the schedule was really jumping out at me, so I really didn’t know what to do. Tarik has been muttering to himself for the past week how Lianne La Havas will rue the day she cancelled her show in Milwaukee right before Lollapalooza, so I figured I might as well go ahead and amble my way over to the Lake Shore stage to see what I could of the rest of her set to try to understand why he’s been so angry. I saw her final song which was pretty good, but the thing that really caught my eye was how fine she was looking. She had on these tight spandex pants and this ornate gold necklace with a giant sparkling green eye hanging on it. I guess I would be a bit pissed too if I had planned on seeing her and she ended up dropping out. Tegan and Sara then proceeded to start up across the way at the Red Bull Sound Select stage so I stuck around a little for that. They didn’t really sway me in sincerely liking them at all and I walked away as I think Tegan was mentioning how relieved they were to be able to wear jackets this time around because the last time they were there in 2005 it was so hot that I think Sara had to leave the stage due to exhaustion. That does sound pretty awful. I ended up passing the Petrillo Music Shell on my way back to The Grove and the roaring sounds of Baroness made me pause for a bit. They were from Georgia, so I was kind of hoping that they might sound a bit like Mastodon. But as they came into the first verse, it was just stuffed with major chords and harmonizing vocals. I said to myself, “This isn’t metal. Stop pretending.” and tried to get the best spot I could for Wavves.
This crowd might have been even crazier than The Orwells one, with just as frequent moshing and way more crowd surfing. It was another great show that I was glad to have caught and had a lot of fun at. There was another solid amount of girls there though, making me wonder if I indeed did need to move somewhere else so that I could meet chicks who like lo-fi surf rock as much as I do. I was Their stage background consisted of this gallery of random photographs that included such oddities as the udders of a cow sculpture and some shrimp on ice. This gallery sadly froze though midway through the set which was a definite disappointment. The only thing I didn’t like was the slight self-indulgence of band leader Nathan Williams. He dedicated one song to himself and responded to one sign that read, “Jesus Loves You; Christ Saves” with, ”No he doesn’t, that’s a lie.” Just shut up and play, dude.
Then, while waiting around for DIIV to begin, I noticed a little terrier without a leash trotting around with what I hope was it’s owner. I didn’t think that they let dogs who were obviously not service animals into the festival, but I guess they do. And if they truly don’t, that owner is a badass. As Eric Cartman would say, “Whatever, whatever. I do what I want!” Anyway, DIIV was another cool show, carrying me into the evening with a lot of fuzz and largely indiscernible vocals. Zachary Cole Smith looked weird as ever with a long floral print dress and baggy denim vest and at one point even slipped on a silver alien mask for a spell. There was a notable shift of age in the crowd with a lot of older people filling it out. I chalked that up to possibly being a result of their appearance on Letterman last year, or maybe because of their Nirvana influences, but it was still intriguing to see nevertheless. The only bad thing about that concert was how lame the crowd was. I initially thought it might’ve been because of the increased median age, but I soon learned that it was because of the severe amount of people who were just camping out for the abomination that is 2 Chainz. Just to show how classy 2 Chainz fans are, one of them was a college football player with a huge nip of tobacco in his lip that kept complaining about his need to pee but couldn’t whenever he squatted down to go in a can. He did end up bonding with the strangers who were giving him cover though, so his embarrassment was saved by friendship. So while that definitely put a damper on things, it wasn’t all bad. One of them was a cute girl who loved my mustache so much that she wanted a picture with it, and since I’m a man of the people I of course obliged her. She was with a guy who I assumed was her boyfriend though, so I decided it was best to not pursue anything further. Plus, she was a 2 Chainz fan.
I wasn’t thrilled at all about any of the other acts set to perform for the rest of the night, but I chose to head over to the Lake Shore stage to see Beach House as I thought it would be in my best interest out of everything else. I figured there would be an abundant amount of cute girls there, which there were, not that I did anything about it. I also reckoned it would be a perfect way to pass the time as the sun lowered beneath the Chicago skyline, which it was. While they didn’t change my only casual fandom of the band (I will say that I can bump “Zebra” any day of the week and never tire of it), they played a great mellow set primed for cuddling to if I only had someone to cuddle with. I’m normally not a fan of drum machines, especially when an outfit has a drummer, but I actually really respected their use of it. It was an extremely cool accent to everything else they had going on that it didn’t sound tacky at all. I also liked how touring drummer Daniel Franz mixed and matched his inventory of sticks and mallets. It showed an impressive amount of dexterity and musical education. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand wasn’t at least a little bit dreamy.
I ended up forgoing The Cure for Phoenix that night. If you're a Phoenix fan, they put on a freaking fantastic, absolutely amazing performance. If like I am, you’re really not, they had a damn impressive show, complete with flashing neon-colored backgrounds as well as grayscale, landscape ones, which made for a very sweet dichotomy. They showed them being carted to the stage followed by their approach from behind the curtains on the video boards, which I liked a lot and wished more bands would do, because it increases the suspense and anticipation tenfold. They’re literally almost about to come out, but you just can’t see them yet and you look from the screen, to the stage, and back again until they finally do, and finally all of the time spent standing and waiting is all worth it. One of the reasons I don’t like Phoenix that much is that with the way their records are mixed, the guitars, and even the drums a little bit, are so hidden beneath effects and synth rhythms that it’s all a bit too digital for my tastes. But when they’re live, the guitarist brothers Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai are wailing so much louder and the drummer Thomas Hedlund is pounding a little bit more too, that it all sounds so much better. Seriously, when he came onstage and they started playing “Entertainment” he was literally standing up and beating the hell out of those drums. I don’t understand why when a band like Phoenix has come as far as they have and is known for an awesome live show they don’t try to emulate that performance on a studio album so that people get the Phoenix that they have seen in person and come to love and don’t feel cheated. Additionally, when they play “Trying to be Cool” live, they end it with the last movement from “Drakkar Noir.” They should’ve just had it pieced together like that on Bankrupt! because the two songs sound a lot better that way. Unless it happened to be an afterthought, then I guess I can understand. The next thing I’ll say is that frontman Thomas Mars is not afraid of getting up close and personal with the crowd. He sang a whole song while standing on the front barricade and leaning into the mass of people with a security guard grabbing him by the belt as they did their best to pull him in so that they could all properly mob him. Luckily, they were unsuccessful in this, but Mars did let some people run their fingers through his sweaty hair as a consolation. The coolest part was at the end though, when Mars ran to the back of the foremost part of the crowd and jumped in, crowd surfing back to the stage as the rest of the band reprised Entertainment. Now even though they still had like 15 mins until 10:00 after they walked away from the stage, they didn’t come back for an encore, which I was kind of surprised by. The night before, Postal Service did one at the same stage, so I sincerely expected that they would too, especially considering the festival atmosphere. Looking back, I’m not sure why I stuck around for a possible encore from a band I’m not even all that crazy about. I guess that simply proves the power of their live show. Finally, I would be remiss to not to mention the middle-aged woman standing next to me for most of the show who was there with what I assume was her son. I’m pretty sure she was using the claim that we needed to work together to keep people from moving in front of us as an excuse to talk to me. Now, as most of us understand, I’m not all that proficient at reading women, so I could be wrong. But, considering she put her hands on me more than once and seemed to smile most of the times I happened to look in her direction, I don’t think I am. Why can’t it be someone my own age?
The night was wrapped up with some subway antics before heading back to Wisconsin. When one of my friends realized we wouldn’t be able to stop at a bathroom until getting back to the car in Rosemont, he decided the best course of action was to relieve himself in the corner right in front of the gate. It’s a good thing no one saw him. Then, when I tried to use the CTA transit card I got at the beginning of the weekend, I found that it was all tapped out. Because I was all out of cash, the transit card vending machines don’t take debit cards, and I wasn’t about to be screwed by any atm withdrawal fees without any summer income, there was only one thing to do: hop the gate when the monitor turned her back. I’m not proud of it, but as I stated earlier, you got to do what you got to do to get by.
I most definitely had more fun than I could have possibly expected and I hope that I can someday make it back to Lollapalooza in the future, as long as it doesn’t change it’s name to Perry’s and become a giant weekend-long rave. I probably lost like 10 pounds, only got around seven hours of sleep, and burnt my skin unbelievably, but hey, it’s all in a day’s work right?
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