Better late than never, right? This past weekend marked a moment in history. I, a song hoarder/concert lover/music blogger, finally experienced my first Lollapalooza. I know, I’m on the fast track to fame. First, this post. Next, a music publicist position followed by a million dollar book deal.
Slight exaggeration. All joking aside, being able to experience a weekend full of music in the heart of Chicago made me realize one thing. It’s time to get back on this bandwagon and keep up with the musical world. How to start? A legitimate and (kind of) timely recap of the musical happenings of the weekend.
The first day of any new experience comes with a flurry of different emotions. In the case of Lollapalooza, excitement, nervousness, the inability to sit still and ecstasy come to mind. The day technically began at noon, but because I have a fear of using vacation days, Lollapalooza didn’t get started until around 4:00pm.
First up – Two Door Cinema Club. This was an obvious first choice as the lead singer has red hair. The group put on a solid show and had good interactions with the crowd. Since I didn’t come to the event with a grasp on their discography, I used part of their set to look around, get accustomed and people watch. I did, however, walk away thinking that I needed to research the group a bit once the weekend was done.
Tinie Tempah: Sound familiar? British rapper Tinie Tempah blew up in the U.S. when his song Written in the Stars hit radio waves. (He might also sound familiar since he was featured on HauteThought in March.) A two time BRIT award winner and proud member of the Billboard Top 100, Tinie Tempah understood how to get the crowd involved and play to their excitement. With multiple shoutouts and compliments to the city and people of Chicago, it’s no wonder those at the Google+ stage had their hands up and heads moving throughout the entirety of his set.
Muse: Generally speaking, a truly entertaining musician has the ability to perform while interacting with the audience just enough to keep it interested in not only the music, but also in the performer himself. In other cases, the music speaks for itself. Muse happens to fall under the latter group of stage dwellers. Matthew Bellamy’s haunting voice filled the entirety of Grant Park on Friday night and certainly didn’t disappoint. Within the first few notes of the opening song, the audience was captivated – something that takes many artists an entire set to do.
Super Mash Bros.: DJing is rapidly sneaking its way into mainstream music. Thousands of people line up to see these technicians distort sounds, create mixes, operate turn tables and amp up the energy level in any room. Super Mash Bros was no exception. Creating mixes that included songs from Justin Bieber to Journey to Darude’s Sandstorm, this show was the best way to dance off the calories consumed earlier in the day and relive high school dance days, complete with dancing teenagers, of course.
Death From Above 1979: During the walk to the Bud Light stage, the group I was with ranted and raved about Death From Above 1979. I hadn’t included them on my “must see” list, so I was anxious to see what I was missing. Truthfully, I could have skipped this act and been fine. Our group decided to use the hour for photo shoots, catching up, and re-living the past day, resulting in having a live band as not much more than background music.
Patrick Stump: Lead singer of Fallout Boy Patrick Stump has gone solo. Hailing from a suburb of Chicago, Ill., Stump enchanted the audience with This City, an anthem to the city he’s from with a sample from Chicago native Lupe Fiasco. While Lupe didn’t make an appearance for Stump’s set, he was able to get the audience to sing along in the anthem to Lollapalooza’s home. Stump’s set was performed on the BMI stage, a more intimate setting with Buckingham Fountain and the skyline as a backdrop.
Cee-Lo Green: Ever since the line up was released, I became beyond excited to see Cee-Lo’s performance. I, along with the rest of the country, had an obvious obsession with F*ck You. I have since discovered some of his more soulful pieces and couldn’t wait to hear them live. Cee-Lo is an artist with a truly different voice for this generation of music. His R&B vibe and sassy stage presence were sure to team up for an unbeatable set. How did I feel after the last note was sung? Let down. Cee-Lo performed on the stage Eminem would be visiting next and the area was already starting to fill up with spot claimers. Defeated by the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd, Cee-Lo performed his set without much oompf…but he didn’t miss a note.
Eminem: Quite possibly the most anticipated act of Lollapalooza 2011, Eminem took on the stage without a shadow of doubt. He started a bit slow, with limited interaction with the audience resulting in a more mellow camaraderie. Screams from the audience were greeted with an enunciated “Chi-caaa-GO” from Eminem. Once he began interacting with the audience and truly putting on a show, all bets were off and the environment amped up immediately. Talk of his sobriety stood as the turning point, as Eminem claimed that he wanted to drink with Chicago, grabbed a handle of vodka and took a swig. Streams of “vodka” began pouring out of his jacket as he vowed to continue to stay sober, and started introducing older songs from a time before his sobriety. The audience went wild and in that instance, Eminem gained complete command of the stage.
Sunday – “Mudapalooza”
It is important to note that on Sunday, Lolla go-ers transformed from music lovers to drowned rats. Two separate rain showers pelted down on the scene, drenching anything that stood in its way. The result? An extremely muddy environment where only the most dedicated survived – and an amazing day, overall.
City and Colour: Looking at my initial schedule now, I see that I marked City and Colour and highlighted a couple of their songs. However, after 2 days of concerts and a limited amount of sleep, parts of my schedule escaped my mind a bit. We wandered to City and Colour on a whim and all became enthralled. Congratulations, you have 3 new fans. Lead singer Dallas Green’s raspy yet raw and beautiful voice easily stands as one of the most impressive parts of the weekend. The group’s dedication to music in general became clear when they asked the crowd to put away all cameras and cell phones during a more emotional song and told them to simply experience the moment. What an organic way to start a day reminiscent of rainy, muddy Woodstock.
Sam Adams: In absolutely no offense to Sam Adams and his set, the biggest thing I remember about his performance is mud, rain, mud, mud and more mud. Trains of mud monsters as well as crowd surfing mud-caked concert goers were constant passersby during this set. While the environment and weather stand as the most exciting part of the Sam Adams show, it was an unforgettable experience and I would gladly do it again if I could.
Thank you, Lollapalooza, for reuniting me with my love for music and reminding me why I started this blog in the first place.