Lollapalooza 2008

Another year of Lollapalooza is over, and what fun we had. Here’s my somewhat brief and mostly non-chronological recap, starting with the band of the year, the decade, the best band there’s been in a long while, Radiohead. I managed to snake up pretty close on the left side, but could not manage any good pix, except for these screen shots. Here’s a ghostly Thom, in double:

And a band shot, kind of:

Umm, this giant spacepod building? Where did that come from? That was not there last year.

The Flaming Lips screened their movie Christmas on Mars, but who wants to watch a movie when you’re at a music festival? Well, we couldn’t get in anyway. We tried to get some special Eat Your Own Spaceship popcorn, but that was a no go as well. It looked, and smelled, quite delicious.

I had no idea what was going on over at the RATM show, as I had decided to see Wilco instead. Sounds like there were some meatheads on parade, although I would have liked to hear the Rage. But I missed Wilco last time they played Lolla and I had hopes of an Obama appearance, which, alas, never happened. A pretty good show anyway by Jeff Tweedy and his smartly dressed band.

The cops kept a watch over Grant Park in this nifty surveillance contraption. Frightening. Put wings on this thing and we’re all in big trouble. I’m surprised the Rageheads didn’t take this thing down, or at least pelt it with trash and beer. Maybe they did?

The Congress Hotel was a madhouse as usual, it was fantastic. On both Friday and Saturday nights the bar and lobby were completely overrun by the inmates. The place is right out of a Hunter Thompson book.

I had no idea Janet from Sleater-Kinney was playing drums with Stephen Malkmus, so that was a nice surprise. The next day I was walking to Grant Park and passed her on Jackson. Brush with greatness. I was up close at the show, but couldn’t get a good shot of her from my angle, so, the screenshot:

Greg Dulli, Mark Lanegan…The Gutter Twins! They were great, even in the sunlight. One of the best of the weekend. The deaf/signer person (what would she be called?) was really into it, and I was captivated for a while by her general bizarreness.

I have no idea where I ran into this kind sir, but it was somewhere in or around Grant Park:

I thought this girl was a bit cheeky:

Nine Inch Nails closed it out on Sunday night. I started over at Kanye and caught a few before trekking all the way to the other end for NIN. Good show, if a little gloomy. “Hurt” is a great song.

I don’t have any (good) pictures of them, but Explosions in the Sky were majestically awesome, it was one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Also, Devotchka, who I last saw at The Hideout a few years ago, was pretty good, and MGMT had the biggest crowd for a non-headliner, it was nutty. Gogol Bordello was weird and good, Gnarls Barkley didn’t hold my attention for long, except for the great Radiohead cover of “Reckoner” and Girl Talk threw a great party. Iron and Wine is still kind of a snoozer to me live, although I still like their records. Cat Power too.

Who’d I miss? Love and Rockets. The National. I would have liked to have caught them both. Overall, the lineup was more about curiosities than must-sees for me, so I did a lot of wandering. It was easily the weakest lineup of Lolla in Chicago yet, and we had a much smaller gang this year, but I’ll take it. Proud of my city, once again.

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