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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lollapalooza 2008

Lollapalooza 2008 was like watching a David Blaine magic trick. It was, simply and crudely put, a gigantic mindfuck. There's really nothing more surreal than walking from a seizure inducing, big beat Kanye show to a seizure inducing, big beat Nine Inch Nails show. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of my weekend in Chicago:

  • The Black Keys' set rocked out and was the best show I've seen them perform. This is sort of strange because I assumed these guys were better suited for a small venue.
  • Cat Power was disappointing.
  • Cadence Weapon, whom I'd never heard of, was a great surprise. Imagine MCing over House music.
  • The Cool Kids fucking tore it up. Their beats translate very well to the live sector, not to mention their DJ was impressive in cutting in outside music.
  • Radiohead blew me the hell away. I got a chance to see them back in May in St. Louis a couple rows back. However, this time I was much further back and got to see the light show a lot better and it added to the experience. Plus I finally got to see Dollars & Cents. I'm pretty sure I looked like I was tripping acid during this entire set.
  • Booka Shade was awesome.
  • MGMT somehow forgot that they weren't performing for Oakdale Retirement Community.
  • Explosions in the Sky maintained the most festival-like experience for me this year. My girlfriend and I just sat down and listened to an hour of relaxing post-rock. One of my top highlights this year.
  • Uffie, although late, stirred up a great dance party. She knows how to get a crowd going. I'm just sort of upset that she didn't bring the Ed Banger crew to do an after show.
  • I had heard so many great things about Broken Social Scene live, but it was forgettable. They are, though, without some of the talent that made them as good as they once were.
  • Rage Against the Machine was insane. I can't wrap my head around anyone seeing Wilco instead. Zach De La Rocha's continual requests for everyone to "take five to ten steps back" to save the poor people in the front from getting their ribs crushed is about the best way to describe what went on during their show.
  • I went to an after party at The Hideout to go see Oh Snap!!, Cadence Weapon, and The Hood Internet. I got there really early and, to my delight, got to speak with Steve and Aaron of The Hood Internet. They were very kind and put up with me being a drunken jack ass. If you haven't checked these guys out, do so. They are doing some of the best mash-ups on the planet right now.
  • Chromeo could've been so much cooler if they were on a smaller stage. Their sound just didn't translate as well on the big MySpace stage.
  • Franki Chan of iheartcomix is a fine DJ. He controls the crowd extremely well and uses that edgy French sound that has been kicking so much ass lately.
  • Saul Williams is a trip. The band sounded great and he commands the mic well. A true MC for a type of music you wouldn't normally think had MCs.
  • Girl Talk was the dance party of the weekend. Honestly, this guy puts on about as good of a show as you can for someone who only has to use a few mouse clicks an entire show. By the end of the set Gregg Gillis was crowd surfing on a raft.
  • Kanye West was supremely impressive. The lights, the sound, his MCing, everything. For anyone thinking a rap show can't be just as impressive live as it is on CD, you're wrong. His set was fresh and I especially loved his breakdown during the middle of the set when he did a little rap about his late mother.
  • The Nine Inch Nails light show was on par with Kanye's. Trent sounded great and, of the songs I saw, they put on a fantastic show. It was hard to pick between Kanye and NIN and, even though I would've loved to see more of NIN, I can't complain about my decision.
This was easily the best festival I've ever been to, and I'm wondering how or if they can top it next year. We'll see.

Stay tuned for a flickr set here today.

(Pic above courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan)


comoprozac said...

Not to show my age or anything, but I saw Rage Against the Machine the first time they played Lolla' back in 1993. Man, am I old.

betsyboo said...

NIN played lolla before too… 17 years ago.