All photos © 2009 Lollapalooza or Bullz-Eye.com, all rights reserved
Ah, life in Chicago. The city's reputation for having two seasons every year is true – we felt the temperature drop 15 degrees in ten seconds once – but it usually doesn't happen in August. Friday's rain may have been a pain, but the temperatures weren't. Sadly, we lost both on Saturday, and just for kicks, Mother Nature decided to swarm us with flies that pack the bite of a pit bull. Party on, Wayne.
Band of Skulls, BMI stage
David: Those Lolla schedulers are crafty bastards. (They're also flat-out bastards, but we'll get to that later.) Yes, we know you're all tired and likely still wet from the previous day's events, but you're not going to miss the buzz-worthy Band of Skulls open the show, are you? The answer, of course, is no. They attracted the biggest crowd at either "side" stage that we saw (we're sure Peter Bjorn and John drew a big crowd too, but we missed them), and despite being ungodly early for bands to play, they sounded quite good. And thankfully they weren't stingy with their radio hit "I Know What I Like" and played it in the first five songs, because I was being eaten alive by flies. The trees were my friend on Friday, protecting me from the rain. Today, they were trying to kill me.
thenewno2, Citi stage
David: Dhani Harrison is an official FOB (Friend of Bullz-Eye), having done an interview with Will Harris in March of this year, so I wanted to like his set. Plus, his father is a fucking Beatle, and only a few people in the world can make that claim. However, while Harrison and his band of merry mates – a fitting description, considering Dhani took the stage wearing a pirate hat – plowed into their songs, clearly having a great time, the tunes themselves just didn't do anything for me. (Think a happier Radiohead, only not as awesome.) I met Dhani in the media area, and he couldn't have been nicer – he told me his friend Liam "United States of Whatever" Lynch hasn't left his house in over a year, yikes – which only made me feel worse about not liking his band. Still, he gets my undying respect for fighting to get the "Beatles Rock Band" game into production, since that will surely be the coolest thing ever. He was also wearing fabulous shoes.
Speaking of Dhani and the media area, the place was positively swarming with bands in the early afternoon. Coheed and Cambria were back there, as were Band of Skulls, and I chatted with the lead singer of Glasvegas, who told me the story of playing "Fuck You It's Over" for the label for the first time (he was convinced he butchered it). Their drummer, a girl named Caroline, was carrying a purse that had Blondie's Parallel Lines on the side. Coolest, purse, ever.
Miike Snow, Vitamin Water stage
James: One of three Swedish pop acts to take the stage at this year's festival (the other two being Peter Bjorn & John and Lykke Li), Miike Snow probably was the weirdest of the bunch, donning matching white masks and black leather outfits for the first few songs of their set. They looked like a gang out of the 1979 cult classic "The Warriors." All we needed was some of the Furies to show up and we'd have been set for an awesome gang war. That didn't happen, however they did perform quite well despite the scorching heat from the sun that was blaring right into their eyes for most of their set.
Atmosphere, Chicago 2016 stage
James: Yes, they have the best album title of all time (When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold), Slug is a great MC and they supposedly have a great live show...but it was pushing 100 degrees when they started (late). Not only that, I was surrounded by lethargic Tool fans who were camping out for their set, which didn't start for another six hours. I checked out two songs and headed for the shade, I was practically melting at this point.
Perry Farrell, Perry's DJ stage
David: I had time to kill before the Arctic Monkeys, and Leyla was dying to check out Perry's DJ set because for God knows what reason, she thinks he's dead sexy. I had never been there, so I said sure, why not. We arrive just as previous DJ Prophit is blasting a Rage Against the Machine song, so that bodes well. Then Perry proceeds to break Lolla's punctuality rule and takes the stage a good 15 minutes late, but when he shows up, the place, of course, goes nuts. Perry doesn't DJ, though: he sings to beat-heavy dance tracks, and has a percussionist backing him up. He even brought his smoking-hot wife on stage with him. It was worth going for her alone. I'm definitely hitting this stage at least one more time before I go.
Arctic Monkeys, Budweiser stage
Bullz-Eye reviews: Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)
David: Despite playing for the largest daytime crowd I have ever seen at Lolla, I have to say that the Arctic Monkeys let me down. And the thing is, I'm not exactly sure what it was that left me so nonplussed. The performances themselves were fine. Maybe it was their lack of interaction with the crowd. Maybe it was the fact that their songs are the antithesis of your typical festival sing-along songs. (Anyone trying to sing and dance at the same time to "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" will either pull a muscle or swallow their tongue.) Whatever the reason, I grew bored with them rather quickly, and the fact that I had dinner plans and was eager to take a shower didn't help.
What's that, you say? Dinner plans? Yes. Saturday was my birthday, and once the Beastie Boys bowed out, I took a look at the rest of the evening schedule (Ben Harper, Tool, Animal Collective) and said, "I am not spending my birthday here on their account." Instead, I decided to meet up for dinner and drinks with some old friends of mine – not to mention my wife and daughter, who came up to stay with me for two days and I had barely seen either of them – and to meet the two kids they had since we moved away. I regret nothing, though I apparently missed two of the weekend's better shows…
Santigold, Playstation stage
James: She's been on the road for over two years now, and this was the last stop for Santigold before she headed back to the studio, and she looked noticeably relieved for it all to be over. Her smile never left her face as she played through the highlights of her self-titled debut and a cover of the Cure's "Killing an Arab" (which confused the hell out of the younger set in the crowd). In what is becoming a tradition at Lollapalooza, she let the crowd up to dance with her near the end of her set, and even posed for pictures with one particularly happy fan. It was a great party atmosphere that helped get the stink of the Arctic Monkeys' set out of everyone's hair.
It has to be said that Santigold has the coolest backup dancers in the world, even though they don't really dance. They just kind of stand there in gold jackets and look hardcore while occasionally kicking and playing the tambourine. It's like the urban equivalent of the Solid Gold dancers.
Lykke Li, Citi stage
Leyla: I decided it would be a good idea to go all the way back to the south end of the park and get another beer from the media tent and use the cleaner Porta Potty there. Not a good idea – it takes up to 45 minutes to get from midpoint of the park to one end and back. I finally made it back and watched about 20 minutes of Lykke Li. My friends and I agreed that she was pretty good, but not a great stage performance. My friend Adam said, "I would have been just as happy listening to that in my house." I agree.
James: Okay, I'm comfortable enough with my sexuality to say this: Diplo is one hot son of a bitch. I've been to my fair share of DJ shows, and the DJ usually looks like something that crawled out from underneath his crate of records, but Diplo, with his perfect haircut, pearly white smile and three-piece suit, has all the ladies in the house saying "yeah." Sure, guitar players get all the chicks, but DJs get all the chicks who do Ecstasy. Anyway, for what I stick around to hear, Diplo plays a pretty solid set that includes some obscure dance and house tracks, but I want to get a good spot for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, so I duck out after about 30 minutes.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Budweiser stage
Bullz-Eye reviews: It's Blitz! (2009)
James: The last-minute replacement for the cancer-stricken Beastie Boys managed to draw a decent-sized crowd. A fact made even more surprising considering that they were playing opposite Tool. Karen O. came out in a bizarre Technicolor Indian headdress and rocked the house as the band went back and forth between the harder-edged post-punk of their first two albums, and the dance-infused pop of their instant classic It's Blitz! When they get to "Zero" I lose my mind for the second time that weekend (the first being all of Depeche Mode's awesome set – did I mention it was awesome?), gyrating and hopping in ways that frighten and amuse those around me. But I don't care what they think. I do, however, almost pass out from exhaustion, so I take it easy for the remainder of the set. They weren't as good as Depeche Mode, but then again, who is?