Monday, September 03, 2007

Lollapalooza Day 1 (finished) - Black Keys through Daft Punk

The Lollapalooza Eyeball light.

Hipsters, Hippies, Fratboys, those somewhere in the middle, a sad sprinkling of Dave Matthews fans continued to fill the expanse of Grant Park for this Three day musical experience continued. It wasn't the greatest collection of musical artists ever assembled but a quality roster in a beautiful spot that exemplified some of the Chicago cityscape had to offer. A spot that seems to perfectly merge the best aspects of Chicago that I took away from the trip, the Loop city view, and the expansive and beautiful parks. Whoever set up this area should really be commended for mapping everything in its right place. Walking throughout he park musicians bled together like a surrounding music nirvana even if you weren't into what you were hearing. The tones and beats and riffs and raps attack you at all angles and as one beings to fade away, tow more come at you on each side.

The food and drinks were decently priced for this kind of thing. A bit above the norm with two dollar bottles of water, $7 for a vegetarian plate of noodles and over sized but under flavored egg roll.
The place was packed but there was room for everyone to enjoy everything the festival had to offer. There was plenty of stage space but also a spot underneath a tree for one to hide from the 90 plus degree temperatures and killer humidity. People who attended Lollapalooza seemed for the most part amenable, active, and excited to be enjoying themselves for the day or the weekend. There are certain festival pet peeves that can't be avoided but they were minimized. The main stages were expectedly overcrowded but you can hear and see any show from the distance either way.

Black Keys' Frontman shot off the screen.

Continuing on Day One, I saw part of the two man Akron band Black Keys with their seventies garage riffs and hometown crowd-ish appeal. Even though they were only two men they delighted the crowd with their set. I had saw them a bit closer up and with more anticipation about a year ago when they opened up for Radiohead at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden but their thumping sound, that some would compare to another power duo (The White Stripes) was entertaining and reverberating.

After a lemonade and some fires, I watched a few songs by Satellite Party, festival organizer and Jane's Addiction Frontman Perry Farrel's new band, from a distance. Much of the crowd was not much interested in the set but enjoyed sing-a-long along to "Jane Says" as Perry pranced around on stage with his strippers and the rest of his shtick. But the reason to head over early was to get a decent spot for LCD Soundsystem. But that was not even really possible.
People seemed to have beaten me to this idea and the Myspace Stage was pretty packed form side to side a good 20 minutes before the Satellite Party was scheduled to end.

LCD was another band I had seen up close before as openers for the Pixes a few years back but this was quite a step up and this seemed to be the highlight for many people till this point. The band was off for the first few songs sadly which included their most well known song "Daft Punk is Playing at My House." Daft Punk also happened to be the band they were currently playing soem shows with and who would follow them on the main stage after they were done.

LCD Sounsystem's James Murphy doing his thing.

By the fourth song, LCD got going and people who don't normally seem to be the tail shaking type and dancing up a storm. The crowd was at their height when Mr. Murphy and his cohorts whipped out "North American Scum," "All My Friends" and "Us vs Them." Even Andy Candy, who attended the fest with me, was impressed after a few smuggled swigs of disgustingly warm SoCo.
Andy Candy Report: " I danced my butt off at LCD." And there he is...

And then I turned to my side and saw it. The first true vision of the headliner crowd wall, The wall of people coming through the steps toward the AT&T stage. It was thousands of people just pouring in to join the tens of thousands anxiously awaiting the spaceship landing. At the end of their set, James pointed across the way and said, "Go over there," shooing us away for our own good

Herb focused on Life Savers.

As the night crept in, the highly touted stage show of Daft Punk began. Two people in space suits, elevated in the upper third of black pyramid shape moving around, apparently pressing some buttons or some laptops or something. The secrets of the Daft Punk kitchen seemed to be kept under lock and key. It doesn't really matter if they were doing anything. The light show was instantly one of the five best I've ever seen and the set was filled with mashed up.

Another crowd member capturing Daft Punk's opening

Daft Punk is more of experience than a concert. It is a throwback to the raving turn of the century where people just wanted to dance to songs they knew. And that they did. "Around the World", "One More Time," "Robot Rock" "Aerodynamic."

The best Daft Punk photo I got. Not too good.

It is awe inspiring that an artist set up something so well that they wouldn't even have to attend their own shows. The spacemen did a little grooving and shook their heads. It kind of looked like those little Indy Car Drivers that they show on Sportscenter.
Andy Candy left Daft Punk mid show to get a half Ben Harper experience, which he secretly would include a glimpse of one Pearl Jam lead singer. That explained the Dave Matthews shirts I guess.

My video of part of Daft Punk's "Technologic."

Andy Candy's Ben Harper Report: "Eddie came on stage and they sang 'Mothers of War' " Then he cried and couldn't hush his Pearl Jam excitement.

Then we took our 30 minute bus ride to the South side took a little nap and turned right back around to star again on Saturday.

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