Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lollapalooza Day 1 and the Arctic Monkeys after show

I took no pictures on Friday. When I was close enough to stages to take pictures it was raining and I didn't want to get my camera wet. When it wasn't raining I was too far back to get any decent pictures.

We started the day with a yummy breakfast with friends at the Bongo Room. Mmmm, pancakes.

The line to get into Grant Park on the first day was really long, and the rain started while we were in line. The first band I wanted to see was Hockey, and we missed the beginning of their set. We heard maybe one song when all of a sudden they stopped. We couldn't really see what was happening because we were sitting under planters trying to stay dry. We left to scope out the two food courts, and eventually heard part of their set while doing that.

Our initial plan was to see Manchester Orchestra over Hey Champ because Hey Champ is local so we figured it would be easier to see them. But we heard the beginning of Hey Champ's set while scoping out food options, and decided to see them instead. We really liked their music, which was very danceable. It was the first of many times throughout the weekend that I said, "I would love to see them at a small venue."

While we were at breakfast some of our friends talked about how crazy The Knux were at Coachella, so we checked out a couple of their songs next. They seemed cool, but after two or three songs were headed over to Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. My boyfriend thinks that most of the bands we end up seeing at Lolla every year sort of have the same sound, and since Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears have a bluesy sound that was different from the other bands, he was really interested in checking them out. It's a large band with awesome musicians, including a horn section. We liked them a lot. A guy behind us said that he had seen them at House of Blues a few months ago. That must have been a cool show.

We left that set a few minutes early to get a good spot for White Lies (and miss Gaslight Anthem, much to my disappointment). In many of the reviews of their set I saw, people were slamming White Lies for sounding like The Killers. And they do. But a lot of bands sound like other bands. I don't know. I liked them. I like their album. I liked their performance. So there.

By this time it was pouring rain, so we found a bench and put our tarp down to sit. From that spot we listened to both Bon Iver and Ben Folds. Bon Iver sounded nice in the rain. It seemed appropriate somehow. And Ben Folds was awesome. For some reason I never paid him much attention. I didn't dislike his music, I actually liked it, but I never focused on it I guess. That should change. He was amazing, which shouldn't have been a surprise, but I liked his set more than I expected to.

Eating and getting merch took longer than it should have, so we didn't really need to consider whether we wanted to see Fleet Foxes or Crystal Castles because we ran out of time. Our initial plan was to see Thievery Corporation instead of The Decemberists because we saw The Decemberists on Thursday. Much to my surprise, my boyfriend suggested we see The Decemberists again. He reasoned that we had seen Thievery Corporation twice, and that The Decemberists were going to perform their album The Hazards of Love. Who knows if we'd get the chance to see that again, and it would be very different from their set the night before. The great thing was I was thinking the exact same thing, so we saw The Decemberists twice in less than 24 hours. I think it was the right decision. The performance of the album was incredible, and although the performance quality was the same, it was just a very different set from the night before. Good call.

After The Decemberists we scoped out a spot for Depeche Mode. In the meantime we enjoyed Of Montreal's set. If there's anything I regret it was sitting in a spot where we couldn't really see that stage. I wish I could have seen, as well as hear, Of Montreal's set. However, we had to cut out early to get to the after show, so the spot we had was perfect.

We were pretty far back, so one of the criticisms we both had for Depeche Mode's set (and Tool's set the following night) was the amount of time the video screens showed videos instead of the performance. Unfortunately I didn't learn the new album enough to really be into those songs. And although I thought they were good, I thought they were better when I saw them a few years ago. We left early to get to Metro, and I heard the two songs I wanted to hear most ("Enjoy the Silence" and "Never Let Me Down Again" - my favorites) from outside of Grant Park.

Eventually we met up with some friends and a cab whisked us off to Metro to see the Arctic Monkeys. I had never heard of the opening act before. They were called Modey Lemon. I'm not sure what I thought of them. I think maybe if I hadn't been so tired (I got 5 hours of sleep - interrupted - the night before, then was at Lolla all day in the rain) I would have gotten into them more. My boyfriend liked them. I just don't think I was in the mood at that point.

I had never seen the Arctic Monkeys before, and I wasn't sure what to expect given that their new album is a departure from their previous ones. It has more of a stoner rock sound, which I like as well as the older stuff, even though it was different. I had heard great things about their live shows before, and I can see how people who had seen them in the past might be disappointed with their performance Friday night. However, I really liked it. Since then I've been wondering what my reaction would have been if I had seen them before, but I really just don't know. And I sort of liked their shaggy look! I do feel that I missed out by not seeing them before. I wish I had.

We left a bit early because we were so exhausted, which was probably the right choice because I ended up having more energy the following day. It's more tiring to deal with being outside, cold, in the rain all day than it was to deal with the heat. At least that was my experience.


Blogger ROCKNROLLPIMP said...

oooh sounds like you had a fun packed day/night.
to hell with what people think about how somebody sounds
you like it
or you don't
i'm just saying :)

12:04 PM  
Blogger busterp said...

That was a long day. Reading this brought back memories of who we saw (and the rain and being unprepared and under dressed for the sometimes cool weather). Once we got in and settled The Knux were the first band we saw of the day. I remember later catching part of Fleet and wanting to walk to the other end to catch a bit of Crystal. Which is what we did and then back to Decemberists. From the walk in from the train to the walk back to the train, we never sat down once. No wonder my legs were sore.

Nice picture by the way - I took a crappy camera so if it got wet I wouldn't care to much. It also took crap pictures.

4:25 PM  

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