Hey there SuperGoodMusic fans. My name is RCA and I had the pleasure of covering the 2009 Lollapalooza Music Festival for all of you.
As someone who has had the opportunity of attending the festival every year since its inception in 2005, I feel that I can honestly say that this year stands above the rest. I knew that I was in for an interesting weekend when I woke up early Friday morning to rain, but after lunch and a couple of cocktails, I rallied my troops and we made our way downtown to get the festivities started. The usual business of Lollapalooza made getting down to Grant Park a hassle o the first band that we were able to take in was Crystal Castles. Luckily enough, I was able to catch the band perform at the Coachella Arts and Music Festival, and I have to say that I didn’t find them to be as enjoyable at Lollapalooza. Though the set was very similar I didn’t feel like the duo from Toronto had the same chaotic vibe that we've come to expect from their live shows. Sometimes, I think that some bands lose a certain element when taken out of the small venue and placed in a large viewing arena.
After leaving the set early and headingtothe closest bar, we hit the Chicago 2016 stage to see Thievery Corporation. Having seen them at a few of the festivals this year, I knew that I wanted to make it there before they started in order to catch the entire show. Being a part of SuperGoodMusic team definitely has its perks, as I was bestowed with a backstage pass. I put the pass to good use at Thievery Corporation, and enjoyed the show right next to the band as they played. The rain didn’t stop the crowd from grooving along, as they provided one of the best shows that I saw all weekend.
After Thievery, my crew and I hopped on a golf cart and made our way over to the Budweiser Stage to make sure that we had the perfect viewing spot for Kings of Leon. They started with the songs “Be Somebody,” “Taper Jean Girl,” and “My Party” but it really wasn’t until the song “Sex on Fire” that they really had the crowd in the palm of their hands, and once “Use Somebody” started the deafening roars began. The beauty of the band, in my eyes, is that they are just now beginning to experience success in the U.S. on a massive scale. Even the band themselves couldn’t believe the crowd that was there to watch them bring the first night of Lollapalooza to a close.
In my opinion, the band gave a knockout performance. Caleb Followill’s voice is unparalleled when it comes to other current rock bands on the scene today, and it sounds just as good in person as it does on the record. I was surprised when many of the reviews I have read did not agree with me and claimed that the bands performance was neither terrible or memorable. I couldn’t disagree more.
I started to make my exit 25 minutes before their set ended, but decided that I couldn’t finish my first day of Lollapalooza without experiencing the festivals newest stage addition, Perry’s, where Kid Cudi was performing. I got there just as the Kanye West protégé was playing his hit song “Day N’ Nite.” Before I even got there I could feel the energy of the crowd at Perry’s radiate towards me. I maneuvered my way upfront and took in the last 10 minutes of the first day with 600 seconds of dancing.
Friday and Saturday couldnot have been more opposite in terms of weather. What had been a dreary and rain filled city soon transformed into a humid and hot mess. The minute you stepped outside you could feel the perspiration on your body. In my eyes, oppressive heat makes a festival better.
The high temperature lead us to the decision that we should start late in the day so as not to get burnt (pun intended) out early watching bands that we knew, but could pass on. We got to the park around 3:30 and made it in time to see the Arctic Monkeys play the Budweiser stage at 4:30. It was my first time seeing the band from the U.K. and they definitely got me grooving with songs like “505” “Fluorescent Adolescent” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”
Luckily, Santigold, the next act I caught, started 15 minutes late at the Playstation stage (which was kiddie corner to Budweiser), giving me an ample amount of time to make my way over to hear the Brooklyn native perform an amazing set. I’ve seen her many times before, but the energy of the big crowd at her performance made songs like “Lights Out” “Brooklyn (Go Hard)” and “Creator” really something special. She had with her two of the flyest backup dancers that I’ve ever seen, making the show a true spectacle.
Following Santigold was the always-incredible Lykke Li, who was playing at the much smaller Citi Stage. She brought her fantastic style and great live show to Lollapalooza and did not disappoint the thousands of fans that were waiting in the blistering sun. Though many peg her and her sound as odd (I am not one of them), songs such as “Dance, Dance, Dance” “I’m Good, I’m Gone” and “Complaint Department” are so fantastic, that I challenge any hater to attend a show and not fall in love.
To get in my fill of Perry’s for the day, I cut through the crowd and made my way over to see Diplo spin. I’ve never seen the musical maestro perform, but have always been a fan of both his productions and remixes. Anytime I was either at Perry’s or around Perry’s, the crowd was crazy….but at Diplo’s set, everyone was insane. I’ve never seen a DJ have such control over a crowd.
Once we filled up our dance card at Perry’s, we made our way back to the Budweiser stage to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs close out Saturday night. The band from Brooklyn were highly debated among festival-goers due to the big shoes they had to fill since they replaced the Beasties Boys after they dropped out to due to Adam’s battle with cancer. One thing is certain - Karen O is a rock goddess, a true original for our generation to take in and call our own. The second song that they played, “Phenomena”, was especially special because during the middle of it they included a short cover of Beastie Boys “So What’cha Want” which made the crowd go crazy.
Day two of Lollapalooza was amazing, but since my crew and all agreed that we would be there at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, I knew Sunday would be the best.
Even though the crew and I were up way past our bedtime we set our minds on being at Grant Park at 11:30 a.m. and there we were. The first band that I was eager to see was Ra Ra Riot at 12:30 at the Chicago 2016 stage. I’ve been a fan of them for quite some time and have never seen them live, so I was interested to see what I was in for. Let me just say this, if they are ever playing in a town near you, make it a priority to see them.
I love all of their songs, but was very happy when I heard my favorite of theirs “Suspended in Gaffa” (a cover of the fantastic Kate Bush song). They played everything that I wanted to hear and their set was extremely energetic. It was the perfect way to start the final day of Lollapalooza.
After Ra Ra Riot I headed over to the Citi stage to see Cage the Elephant perform. A good friend of mine works for their label and had been hyping the band heavily so I was eager to see what they were all about. They have one of the craziest lead singers I have ever witnessed. He was running up and down the stage and gave the crowd a lot of energy.
After Cage it was time to head over to the BMI stage to see the incredible Ke$ha perform. SuperGoodMusic fans will be familiar with her from one of last week’s posts about her set at Cinespace. For those unfamiliar with the soon to be pop star – you better familiarize yourself fast because this girl is about to blow up. She is a true performer who brings a crazy stage show filled with catchy tunes, kick ass band members, and a glitter canon to ensure the audience is as sparkly as she is. Prepare yourselves for her first single “Tick Tock,” with P. Diddy breathing on the track, because it is going to be unavoidable.
I got the chance to hang out with her and she told me that the second single “Backstabber” is going to have a tranny filled music video to go along with it, so be on the lookout for that. After Ke$ha, I hopped on a golf cart and made my way over to the Citi stage to see one of this years most buzzed about bands, Passion Pit.
With all the buzz about Passion Pit on the internet and in magazines, you always have to wonder if they can give a good show. What I will say is that the band sounds amazing live and the vocals of lead singer Michael Angelakos are anything but. I assumed that he sang normal and then altered his vocals through a computer, but instead he just sings at a very high-pitched level and he doesn’t really have the strength to pull it off for an entire show. However, the actual band made up for his lacking vocal ability on songs like “Make Light” “The Reeling” and “Sleepyhead.”
The next band that we saw also happened to be the last band we saw, The Killers. I’m a fan of the band, but I’ve got to be honest in my review of them. In my opinion, I don’t think The Killers are still relevant or big enough as a band to be one of two bands to close a major U.S. festival (Jane’s Addiction being the other). They just don’t warrant that type of notoriety and I felt a little disappointed in them being the last band of the festival. The one thing great about the band is that their sets are filled with songs that are fun to dance to. However, the bad part was that the sound was too quiet and truly terrible. When you go to a festival you want to feel like the music, and unfortunately for the boys from Las Vegas, it just wasn’t happening.
Another Lollapalooza has come and gone. With it came heavy rain, intense heat, amazing performances, so-so performances and as always, a lot of very good times. Not to mention hangover and readjustment to society, which explains this recap being available later than anticipated…..but hey when in Rome.