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Lollapalooza 2006: Day Three

Take the whole day off...Three days of being outside in the heat is a long time. When I woke up Sunday morning, I was still tired and vaguely hungover, and the weatherman was telling me it was going to rain. Fun! Thoughts drifted back to Lollapalooza 2005 and how everything was squashed together in half the real estate over two days. Less walking, fewer skippable timeslots. But hey, America thrives on Growth at all costs, so stop your whining, you little commie!

Expect Lollapalooza 2012 to stretch from Soldier Field to Foster Beach and last from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Redwalls, Ben Kweller, and Death Cab will be the only three bands to have played all eight years!

So anyway, all week I’d been getting these spammish invitations to the “ck one music lounge” at the Hard Rock Hotel. There were promises of free booze, air conditioning, and a “gift suite.” I saw the episode of the Sopranos where Chrissy hangs out with Ben Kingsley, so I wanted to at least try to score a free PSP. Right?

As you might have guessed, no such luck. After waiting behind some blatantly Hot Topic-styled “Rock Stars” we got to the front of the line where the hostess took one look at me and asked, “Media?” Obviously not “Artist.” I got my pass and went to the lounge and got hassled by the bartender for my I.D. He was such a dick I initially thought he was just joking around with me. After conferring with another bartender (no shit!), he finally relented and gave me a bottle of Italian beer. Thanks a lot, jackass.

There were some hot dogs and pinball machines and video games and beanbag chairs, and an absolute lack of any schwag worth carrying. I chugged my beer, grabbed a tiny sample bottle of CK Be and a pack of Ask the Kabala oracle cards (I’m not kidding) to prove to my non-VIP pals what they were missing, and we got the hell out of there before the “Kill Hannah DJ Set” started. Oy.

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Lollapalooza 2006: Day Two

Take the whole day off...Remember how yesterday I said that Jack White offered us free ice cream? I thought he was just joking around and being silly until I got off the train Saturday afternoon and walked by an ice cream van on the way to entrance of Lollapalooza’s second day. The volunteers said it was free, so I nabbed an ice cream sandwich and a Raconteurs sticker. Thanks, Jack!

The ice cream came in handy because it was a muggy-ass day in Chicago. I started sweating the minute I walked through the gates. Day One had been sunny, but breezy. But Day Two was overcast and hotter than balls. I pounded three beers as fast as I could because I knew I’d have to switch to water to survive. And a crowded music festival is no place to be sober—just ask my pregnant wife!

It would’ve been fun to see Be Your Own Pet, Nada Surf, Feist, and the Go! Team, but when you’re trying to spread your energy out over three days, you’ve got to make some sacrifices. And sleeping in, grocery shopping, and a leisurely lunch took precedence over the early afternoon schedule. Especially when it’s muggy out.

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Lollapalooza 2006: Day One

Take the whole day off...Lollapalooza is a funny event. There’s a lot of history around it, culturally and personally. I attended the first year’s Lollapalooza 15 years ago with a car load of my college pals, and I’m proud to say I’m still in touch with all of that original posse. We’re spread out across the globe now, but thanks to the internet we know who’s living where, who’s changing careers, buying houses, all that. Lollapalooza was a crazy idea back then, a strange celebration of (some of) the music we liked and the politics we were thinking about. Or something… Anyway, it felt like our thing in all its early-90s, pre-internet, slacker glory.

I went the next year, too, this time with my girlfriend. The highlight of the second Lollapalooza, for me, was Ice Cube. Although I remember being annoyed by the abbreviated versions of songs and all the “wave your hands in the air” crap (which was a huge hip-hop cliche even way back then!), it was still exciting to see my favorite rapper in person. My girlfriend was excited about Lush and the Jesus and Mary Chain. The headliner that year was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band I didn’t care for even though Anthony Keidis is from my hometown. We both agreed they put on a good show, though, with the fire shooting out of their helmets and all.

Fast-forward fourteen years. That girlfriend is now my wife. And Lollapalooza no longer feels like our generation’s thing anymore. It’s not just that we’ve got about a decade on the age of the average attendee. There were plenty other people our age (and older, believe it or not), but there was a different vibe. Maybe it’s all the shirtless dudes. Maybe it’s the crass corporate branding on every possible surface. Who knows? It was still fun, and there were lots of great bands, and it’s cool that it takes place in my city so I can just take the El home at night. But is Lollapalooza any different than Coachella or Bonnaroo now? Does it have its own personality? Or is it just another victim of our cultural homogenization?

One other circumstance that might have affected my attitude, even when compared to last year, is that my wife is currently expecting our first child, a boy, and that seems to make you look at everything a little differently. And while I don’t necessarily want to be one of those dads who’s always deliberately pushing his own unfulfilled dreams onto his kid regardless of the kid’s interests, I’ve got to admit that since the cochlear structures of the fetal ear have developed, he’s already been exposed to several cool shows: Tom Jones and Etta James at Ravinia, the Mountain Goats, Art Brut, Mission of Burma, and Yo La Tengo at Pitchfork. The baby seemed to be pretty chill at those previous shows, but he expressed some strong opinions at Lollapalooza. For example, he hates the Dresden Dolls. And even though he let us know he didn’t appreciate Lady Sovereign’s warm-up deejay, he did enjoy Blackalicious quite a bit, particularly his freestyle.

What follows will be my take on sets I caught at Lollapalooza this year as well as the reaction expressed by another music fan in utero as measured by number of kicks…

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Patti Smith: A Beacon in the City of Lights

Photography © Sue Rynski, 2005. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.According to GloNo’s unofficial eye on the street in Paris and rock and roll photographer extraordinaire Sue Rynski (we use that adjective because (1) it sounds [and, well, essentially is] French and (2) Rynski hails from Detroit but now has her domicile [note our evident fluentness in a language we can’t speak]), while there were performances in eight cities around the globe with actors, musicians and others of a blovating nature holding forth on a subject upon which they have a tenuous grasp at best (i.e., poverty in Africa), there was an event of a different nature held in Paris: the seventh Solidays AIDS benefit. Rynski notes that the three-day event not only had music on three stages, but that in addition to the music, there were “villages” at the venue where people could learn about the subject that continues to be so devistating. Clearly, a novel concept in this age of “let’s pretend we really understand international finance before we move on to something else that catches our fancy.”

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