Lollapalooza Class of 2012 Superlatives
Thanks to my ex-roommate and my talent for having great friends I got to attend Lollapalooza for my last weekend in Chicago. I even got to be a corporate sellout and enjoy the V.I.P. area. The food and air conditioned bathrooms were as good as advertised. Below are some of my musings on the three-day event.
Most Laid Back – Trampled By Turtles – I’ll be the first to admit if a banjo and harmonica are involved I’m changing the station 95% of the time. But on Sunday afternoon there could not have been a more appropriate show. After two days of raucous partying there was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting on a blanket with friends and enjoying some crunchy banjo while knitting a shirt out of wheat grass.
Loudest – Big Gigantic – Curmudgeon Alert! I can vividly remember begging my mom to take me to the nearest Sam Goody to buy the Wu-Tang Forever album, and the entire car ride she read me the riot act about how rap music wasn’t music. At 28 I now feel like my mom. Don’t get me wrong I still fly my rap flag, but this new techno/bass/dubstep thing is over my head. I can’t get into this music at all, except when the bass “drops” and my aortic valve begins to vibrate. It is just noise.
Bravest – Parents Who Brought Their Kids – I hope when I’m a parent I’m as cool as the parents I saw at Lollapalooza. Given my mother’s Italian over protectiveness the odds aren’t in my future kids’ favor. I was shocked to see so many kids like the one below who we spotted at Passion Pit amongst the throngs of fans and cloud of marijuana smoke.
Biggest Slacker – Cell phone companies – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Cricket (if they still exist) get it together please. We’ve recently landed a second rover on Mars, eliminated Osama bin Laden and invented Netflix Instant, but we can’t find a way to provide cell service when there are large crowds gathered in an area. Smoke signals or two-soup-cans-tied-together would have been a more efficient form of communication at Lollapalooza. Cell providers, I promise you I will send more texts and use more data if it is available. This is in your best interest. Do something; anything to prevent the panic that is induced when you admire someone’s Lamond Murray jersey only to turn around, not see your friends and know you can’t call or text.
Weirdest Show – Florence and the Machine – Far and away the strangest show of the weekend. It also may have been the best. Here’s a list of things that went on while she performed and only one isn’t true.
1) She informed us we were all human sacrifices.
3) She asked us all to raise up our friend or, “person we bedded last night.”
4) She acted out a brief scene from The Good Wife.
Worst Show – Calvin Harris – I feel like he showed up plugged in his iPod and sat back. He played “We Found Love” and added some bass to it. I probably already sound like I’m harping on this, but after asking around this was universally said to be the most disappointing show.
Hardest Workers – The Verve Pipe – They played two out of the three days at the Kidapalooza tent. I never made it over there, but I imagine they just played “The Freshman” on repeat.
Most Likely to Succeed – Frank Ocean – Maybe a bit of a misnomer since Channel Orange is arguably the album of the summer. But either way Frank Ocean managed to captivate his entire audience while performing at the same time as the weekend’s most famous act, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the weekend’s most magnetic, Avicii, where I saw people literally sprinting across the park to get to the stage before he played “Levels”. Despite the circus around him Frank Ocean made the couple thousand people at his show feel like they were the only people in the park. It was maybe the first time I ever got emotional during a concert, because you could absolutely feel the passion coming out of his performance.
Best Dressed – Florence Welch – The flowing Moo Moo and bionic looking arm bracelets were an astounding look. If Nell and Celine Dion ever had a love child it would be Florence Welch. I was convinced at some point during her set Florence was going just lift up her Moo Moo and flash the crowd. The show was that bizarre. You had this sense that anything could happen at anytime while Florence and the Machine were performing.
Smartest – Lollapalooza Veterans – The creative lengths people took to be able to find one another was as entertaining as some of the shows. There were blow-up whales, pool noodles, inflatable genitalia, flags of all nations and my personal favorite, teddy bears shoved onto umbrella poles that shot into the sky when a group claimed their spot.
Best Party – Black Keys & Twin Shadow – Friday night could not have been more perfect. It’s as if the Black Keys were built in a lab to specifically perform at venues like Lollapalooza. Thanks to their energy and Rahm Emanuel continuing the tradition of Friday fireworks in Chicago, despite being a broke city, created an memorable ending to Friday night.
As for Twin Shadow I just loved their set and their music. The new album has this distinct 80’s vibe. You could picture almost any of the songs on the new album being featured in a Jon Hughes movie. Loving the show again reminded me I would have thrived in the 80’s. Missed my window.
Worst Dressed – Just about everyone – I saw guys wearing candy striper overalls, ear gauges with feathers hanging out and one individual even had a tattoo of what appeared to be Goofy holding a cleaver. As for the woman they ran the gamut from wearing neon Wookie boots (It was 95 degrees) to only their underwear (It was a public place).
Biggest Troublemaker – The Weather – If it wasn’t hot enough to make you think you were listening to the Afghan Wigs on Mercury than it was hurricane season. The evacuation caused us to wait out the storm at an apartment and consume massive amounts of junk food such as gummy bears and DiGiorno pizza. My stomach was eternally grateful afterwards. I have to give credit though to those running Lollapalooza. Everyone got out and back in with relative ease. Initially I was convinced it was going be a cluster fuck of John Carter proportions.
Biggest Surprise – Toro Y Moi – Knew nothing about him before his set started. Stayed just about the entire way through.
Most Annoying – The 15 to 18 year olds – I’m all for instituting a rule next year that prohibits kids this age from entering Lollapalooza. I lost count of the number of drunken children either vomiting in my path or being carted by an EMT. They were the first to dive through the mud after the Saturday monsoon, undoubtedly ruining their iPhone and Vineyard Vines shorts. I was a teenager once too and I was admittedly that same dingus that should not be allowed in now.
Top 5 Shows
1) Frank Ocean
2) Florence and the Machine
3) Twin Shadow
4) Black Keys
5) The Weeknd & M83 (I cheated. Bite me)