Lollapalooza – Day 1

Posted: August 10, 2011 in Music Festivals
Tags: , , ,
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Lollapalooza, a music festival founded by Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction as a farewell tour for his band. The festival started as a tour that visited different cities across North America but over the last few years has found its home in Grant Park, Chicago. Lollapalooza draws hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the place and is a great way to spend a summer weekend. I had the privilege of attending it this year (finally!) and was not disappointed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The shows began around noon time and ranged anywhere from indie band Foster the People, to hard rockers A Perfect Circle, to pop sensation Christina Perri and back to DJs Crystal Castles. I was only able to attend in the evening and never having been to a real 3-day music festival I wasn’t sure what to expect. The layout consisted of 8 stages spread throughout the park, some big, some small but music was being played both continuously and simultaneously in an alternating manner throughout the day. No seats, only standing areas in front of the stage meaning, the earlier you get there, the better the view, though sometimes that required being there hours prior with no food, water or bathroom breaks. So much access to music, so little time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I made it just about half an hour before Coldplay hit the stage which gave me time to scan the surroundings. They were at the northern most stage right in front of a beautifully set backdrop of Chicago’s stunning skyline. The air was humid and stale, with scents of sweat, body odor and wet grass, mixed with all kinds of smoke. Sounds lovely I know. My co-goers (ie the people I went with) and I worked our way as close to the front as we could without causing a stir and though I have already seen Coldplay live, this was pretty grand. They played classics like “In My Place” and “The Scientist” and more recently “Lost”.

After a few tunes, we headed over to find Girl Talk who was playing at the same time. On our way, however, we ran into Ratatat’s show and by that I mean we thought it was Girl Talk and soon realized it wasn’t. We didn’t stay very long, but in the few minutes we were there, I was mesmerized. It was pretty dark and the stage was hidden amongst many trees, but most interesting of all, there were no vocals – simply two guys rocking out with some electronic influence. Definitely worth checking out. We hit Girl Talk’s stage and I finally realized what all the fuss was about. He’s (yes, He) a mash up DJ: takes two existing tracks by other artists and plays them over each other in an unbelievably creative way. This may not seem difficult, but there are only certain minds that can fully comprehend the way two completely different songs, sounds and productions can co-exist in harmony. The crowd was amped and dancing up a storm, jumping, singing along and awing in admiration to every spin he made; despite the obvious fatigue in their eyes. And so were we. Track after track the mash ups got better and better – we couldn’t see a thing but it didn’t matter, because it was all about the music. We made a half assed attempt to check out Muse but were just drawn right back to enjoy the end of his set. Girl Talk, I’m not worthy.

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