Stranded In Stereo: SiS At Lollapalooza - Day One

Sunday, August 5, 2007

SiS At Lollapalooza - Day One

Sorry for the delay, folks. Not all blogs can be like all the cool ones that can get daily updates in. I'm just too good and busy for that.

For the third year now, the annual edition of Lollapalooza has been held at Grant Park in Chicago. I've been to Chicago, and this park is just a sight to see. Well over a mile long, and anchored in the middle by the famed Buckingham Fountain, it's the perfect location for a three day festival. Looking down at the north end of the park to your left, you get the entire Chicago skyline in the background; and when you would look to the right, you would see the nice breeze was coming from Lake Michigan, right across the street.

Friday found me getting my Lollapalooza kicked off, as expected, with the magical Elvis Perkins In Dearland. This being my third time seeing Perkins, and since Ash Wednesday is one of the best debuts to come out in the past few years, it was nice to be among other fans of Perkins. Live, Perkins is much better, playing the songs that make Wednesday what it is (the solo opener "It's Only Me," the crowd pleasing favorite "While You Were Sleeping,") and the songs that he plays live that haven't been commited to tape ("Hey," and, honored by my request, "Dooms Day.") The band were told at 12:15 they were done, and it looked that the people that came to see Perkins and Co. were going to have a not-so-happy start to their Lolla 07 experience, Perkins then apologized to the crowd for the terrible misunderstanding and finished up the last 15 minutes. Donning a hat, suit, and what was a torn-sleeved button down shirt, I yelled asking if he was hot up there? His answer: "No, I've got air conditioning."

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists were given a near homecoming welcome, since they do reside on the Chicago based Touch & Go label. Barreling through new classics to be off of Living With The Living, they also gave rousing performances of "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" and "Me And Mia." True to his participation in festivals, Leo did not let down and had fallen during the opening number "Sons of Cain." Leo addressed the crowd about this, and let us know he had cut his hand. Not as bad as the head in to the microphone incident at last year's Pitchfork Festival.

Later in the afternoon, G Snatch and I separated: he headed south to catch Jack's Mannequin, while I stayed north at the Bud Light stage to see The Polyphonic Spree. A few of my co-workers caught when they had came through Boston, and I regret not joining them. Tim DeLaughter and his Fragile Army of 20 strong commanded the audience and had their undivided attention for their hour set. "The Championship" showed them declaring victory, before the costume change from their black fatigues to their classic white robes. They then paraded (in front of me) right through the crowd, hand in hand, making me think that DeLaughter is just as much of a showman as Wayne Coyne. And then, they lead the crowd through an amazing rendition of Nirvana's "Lithium," capping off my vote for best performance for Friday.

One of the band's that got rave reviews and a good bit of attention was the Citi Stage presence of Silversun Pickups. G Snatch had been waiting for this moment all of his life, and it did feel quite right as bassist Nikki Monninger (who is quite the attractive female bassist -- take that, D'Arcy says G Snatch) used her harmonies to compliment lead singer Brian Aubert and his grand showmanship. The set mostly covered last year's Carnavas, with the crowding going wild during "Lazy Eye" and "Rusted Wheel."

We saw the last few songs of the set by Blonde Redheaed - I thought I had heard all the bad music that comes out of that whole scene in Brooklyn when I saw Gang Gang Dance, but this might've taken the cake. The crowd seemed entranced by their moody, hypnotic grooves that were coming out of the trio. And then, as we plotted ourselves a good for LCD Soundsystem, we endured the lack of a party that was Satellite Party. I don't think it can be that great when the founder of this wonderful festival uses his new band as a vehicle to relive the past (see the four Jane's Addiction songs played, including the underwhelming opening of "Stop!" and the very lackluster "Jane Says" that ended the set. Rusty and G Snatch say - quit your day job.)

James Murphy then took command of the MySpace stage and the dirt baseball field turned in to a club floor and, dare I say it was a mosh pit(?) Definitely was not like that when I saw them in May, but they still take the cake for one of the best live shows I've seen all year. I knew it would be said, and Murphy made festivalgoers well aware of the irony that as they started "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" that Daft Punk would be playing right across from them when they finished their set. As LCD closed their set with a stunning version of "Yeah," Murphy instructed the crowd to 'Go, go see Daft Punk. Go right now.' And we did, and we saw two guys in robots suits and a bunch of lights. And lots of drunk, sweaty people dancing for 90 minutes. Pretty good way to end the first day.

Saturday, and lots, er, loads of pictures coming soon.

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