Day 2: Saturday, August 7, 2010
I had a very clear plan for Saturday. There’s a spot to the right side of the “PlayStation” stage (actually called the Petrillo Music Shell) that’s always been easy to worm your way into. You can get really close to the stage if you just slide right along the wall, so I had told my entire posse to meet there three songs into the XX‘s set. But once we made it inside, it was obvious this was not going to happen.
At three o’clock in the afternoon the entire north side of the park was filled to capacity. To make matters worse, the entrance from Columbus into the stage area was a parking lot of people. It should’ve been a walkway but nobody was moving. Everybody was just standing there, blocking the path, not moving. I’m assuming Against Me must not have any fans because there were at least 80,000 people crammed into the cement lot that surrounds the stage, packed tight as far back as the second set of light poles. If you’ve been to Grant Park, you know what I’m talking about, and you know how bad that must’ve sucked. It was worse.
Are that many people really interested in the XX? Really? I’ve come around to really like that album, but I would’ve thought they belonged on a sidestage at Pitchfork, not a mainstage at Lolla. And they packed it! To a completely uncomfortable level! Shows what I know.
The XX sounded good—pretty much exactly how you’d expect them to sound—and by the time we squirmed out of the north stage area, we had heard their entire set. We caught the last ten minutes of Dawes‘ set where I realized that the “Bloggie” sidestage was the best spot in the park. Lots of trees and shade. Bathrooms right there. Beer tents right across the street. Perfect. Sure, there was a dead rat flattened out ominously on the ground right next to a hippy taking a nap, but that’s nature for you! Glad I got to see a bit of Dawes. They’re a solid alt-country band, but they’re a little sleepy so a few songs was plenty. Especially when one of them was the excellent “When My Time Comes” (mp3).
We we made it over to the south side for the last 15 minutes of Gogol Bardello. Man, I can see why people love this band. Gypsy punk madness. They’re the Eastern European Pogues, but possibly even drunker and crazier. Would love to seem them again some time. Wow.
While we were there, AMP was chilling in the shade at the “Kidz” stage, waiting for Chrissie Hynde to entertain the children with her new group, the Fairground Boys.
Then it was falafel time again where we could hear Deer Tick while we sat in the shade across the street. Sounded pleasant, but I wasn’t paying attention. Plus we wanted to make back down to see the first chunk of Social Distortion before cruising to the opposite end to see Spoon and Edward Sharpe. Remember: it’s about a mile from the north stages to the south stages. The expansion made it possible to zip back and forth multiple times per day. Which is great if you want to see a bunch of different bands, but it wears you out. I figure we walked at least seven miles on Saturday.
My memories of Social D are foggy (AMP’s pics). I wasn’t into them back in the day despite the fact that they play exactly like kind of shitkicking trashy punk that I would later come to love. What can I say? I was wrong. They’re good. They opened with “Story of My Life” and that’s the only song I knew. I think they played “Ball and Chain” as we were leaving, but I might just be making that up.
We were back up north for Spoon and made it in as they were playing “The Underdog” (Jolie’s pics). We wormed our way up front, stuck around for about five songs and split to go across the street for Edward Sharpe. I really like Spoon now, but I’ve seen them a million times already and I really like that “Home” song. We stuck around for the rest of Sharpe’s set, which had a swampy vibe with big, anthemic hooks. Wait, “anthemic” sounds way too heavyhanded (and Arcade Fiery), which it’s not. It was just good. Easily one of the highlights of the weekend for me.
I would’ve like to have seen Green Day around the time of Dookie. I remember the first time I saw the video for “Longview” and being shocked—SHOCKED!—that they’d play a video by an ugly band with visibly infected pimples on MTV. They seemed like a real punk band on MTV. It was exciting. Subversive even. Looking back, that’s pretty embarrassing to admit. Clearly, they were far more ambitious than that all along. To the point where now they have the audacity (and the material) to play a 2 1/2 hour headlining set at Lollapalooza.
I haven’t paid much attention to them since those early videos, but judging from the first 20 minutes of their set I haven’t been missing much. What a bunch of self-important twaddle. Who the hell do they think they are? The Who?
A mile later, we caught Phoenix opening their set with “Lisztomania,” which I appreciated because I felt like I could go home any time after that. A few songs later, I did just that. I was tired. Looking back, I have no idea why I walked back and forth across the park seven times in the six hours that I was there. Did someone slip some crank into my Bud Light? Why didn’t I just find some shade and sit down for an hour in between Edward Sharpe and Phoenix instead of trekking the mile to watch four songs by Green Day? I honestly have no idea. Maybe just because it was possible to do so…
Photos by AMP. Lots more here.