Friday, August 16, 2013


When I decided that I couldn't do Coachella in Indio, the consolation prize was Lollapalooza in Chicago.  But it was no consolation prize when I saw the bands that were scheduled to perform in Chicago: The Killers, Baroness, The Lumineers, The Cure, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, New Order, Imagine Dragons, and many more that I wanted to see.  Not only are the more well known bands a draw to Lolla, the opportunity to see many others that I was unfamiliar with is what I like about music festivals, an opportunity to be exposed to new music.

The only problem was the cost of attending the three day festival: travel, hotel and the entry tickets.  I added it all up and was about to say it was too much when a friend of a friend offered me their reserved parking space in a secure parking lot in a nice neighborhood. That was all I needed to hear, this offer sparing me the expense of a hotel in Chicago, choosing instead to sleep in comfort in the back of the truck.  I immediately bought my tickets, which sold out within 10 minutes of becoming available online.  A hundred thousand people and I were going to Lollapalooza!

I left work Wednesday night and immediately hit the road heading east.  I went to sleep that night in a park just on the other side of Omaha in Iowa, more than halfway there.  The following day I got up early and was meeting Julie at about 2:30 in the afternoon, the truck parked for the remainder of the time I was in Chicago.  I thank Julie for her hospitality, especially since I was a stranger to her.  After she gave me a tour of the neighborhood (the train station, grocery store, all night 7-11, restaurants and Dollops Cafe where I would be eating my breakfasts), Julie wished me a fun and safe stay in Chicago.  I them grabbed a few things from the truck and walked to the nearby public beach where I spent the remainder of the afternoon, wading in the warm water of Lake Michigan (they did not allow people to go into water deeper than ones waist).  The early evening was spent on the water front overlooking Chicago, watching the boats that came and went, the lengthening shadows as the sun set and having a cigar.  A dinner of pizza and a second trip to the marina for a night time view of the city and a second cigar.  The police eventually came through to announce the park was closed.  It was past midnight by the time I was sleeping peacefully in the back of the truck.

On the morning of day 1 I had breakfast and then took the Red Line train into downtown Chicago, getting off at the station near the Chicago Institute of Art.  I considered going in but since I would have had a very short time to tour the contemporary art wing before Grant Park opened up for the music festival, I passed up the chance of visiting the museum, especially considering the entry fee was $23.  I also considered visiting the Contemporay Museum of Art but passed on that for similar reasons.  I was here for Lollapalooza and nothing else.

The gates to Lolla opened up at 11, and the music began at noon.  I took the time to get organized and buy some beverages.  In preperation for the festival, I used YouTube to check out all the bands, identifying those I wanted to see.  But with eight stages and bands performing all the time, I had to make the hard decision of who to see and who I'd have to pass up.  So each morning I had a good idea of who I wanted to see, what stages I had to be at and by what time.  It needed to be well planned considering it took about 20 minutes of fast walking to get from one end of the park to the other.


The first show on the first day, feeling the excitement, so it had particular significance to me.  I made the right choice with The Neighborhood.

"Genre-crossing outfit the Neighbourhood mix atmospheric indie rock, electronica, and hip-hop beats with melodic R&B-inflected vocals. Formed in Los Angeles in 2011, the band centers around lead singer Jesse Rutherford, guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Mikey Margott, and drummer Bryan Sammis. In 2012, the Neighbourhood released the EP I'm Sorry..., featuring such singles as "Sweater Weather" and "Female Robbery." In 2013, they delivered the two-song EP Thank You as a prelude to their debut album I Love You, which was released that same year."

Although I didn't know them by name, I had heard their music on the radio back home.  Loved their sound.  This is a band I plan on following, who are sheduled to perform in Denver in October.  I'm going!

Download the 320 kbps mp3 of the show here:


The second show on a different stage was with Deap Vally, a band consisting of two very attractive women who rocked the crowd.  Never heard of them before.  I was impressed with how much sound two people were able to make by themselves.  They were a hit with the people who chose to spend the 1-2 PM time slot this afternoon.  Another band I'll follow to see where they go.

"Deap Vally mix bashing hard rock and greasy blues riffs, much like the White Stripes and the Black Keys, into their primal sound. The female indie duo formed in Los Angeles, after guitarist/howler Lindsey Troy took a crocheting class taught in a San Fernando shop by drummer Julie Edwards. The two swapped CDs from their respective projects, and soon decided to jam together. Deciding on an image based around halter tops and short jean shorts, they played their first show at Silverlake Lounge and, within a year (before they had even released an album), their raucous on-stage presence earned them some big spots with major British acts like Muse and the Vaccines. The self-professed Valley Girls released a four-song EP, Get Deap!, produced by Lars Stalfors, in the spring of 2013, in advance of a full-length debut, Sistrionix, also produced by Stalfors."

Download the 320 kbps mp3 of the show here:

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