Disclaimer: My mom wanted me to go. It was 7th row. I figured it was like going to see a worse version of the Beatles, in the sense that the fans would be psychotic in their adoration.

Well, now that that‘s out of the way, we can get onto the review!

Demi Lovato, Disney’s new it girl, and star of their TV-movie-of-the-summer Camp Rock, opened up for the brothers. Initially on Barney and Friends with Wizards of Waverly Place star Selena Gomez, Ms. Lovato has developed significantly since weekly tapings of that damn “I Love You” song.

On stage, she galloped around in her high heeled boots, from the baby grand to  the mic stand. Before one song, Lovato asked the crowd, mostly consisting of less than 12 year old Jonasheads, “How many of you guys have had your heart broken?” She was answered with a legion of deafening shrieks. The cynic in me had a good laugh about that one. But Lovato proved to the entire crowd that she was, in fact, the cleft chinned pale princess of heartbreak.

Her fans were eating it up. One, with neon yellow braces and raccoon eyes, as a result of a poor application of make up, demonically stared at Lovato, muttering “I wanna get back. Get back. With you.”

The music was ok; very calculated. Pop science, if you will.

But I’ve never seen PNC so crowded. So whatever Disney is creating in its labs, it seems to work.

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Spotted

August 9, 2008

Figure 1

I’m not a fan of stereotyping, but some people just bring it upon themselves.

Delicious Orchards is a wonderful place, but does one really need to take glare-tastic pictures of Orchard’s delicacies?

Zach’s Rogue Wave

August 3, 2008

Rogue Wave

 

Rogue Wave was the first band I saw at Lollapalooza. I had done my research, and knew every word to the eight songs that I had bought downloaded obtained. Unfortunately for my concert-going experience, Rogue Wave has released three albums. Seems as though there was more research to be done.

I find it kind of awkward when a band that I love plays a song I’ve never heard of, a song that everyone else around me knows. There’s an emotional disconnection that hits pretty hard as a result of this feeling, a disconnection that is counterproductive to the ideal concert experience. For me, anyway. This happened a few times throughout Rogue Wave, much to my dismay. Fortunately, the band was good enough to keep me engaged during said songs.

The most visually entertaining member of Rogue Wave was Gram LeBron, guitarist/pianist. Rocking the coveted English mustache, a news reporter hat, and an antique vest, Gram embodied the vintage style. He played three different instruments: a guitar, an M-Audio keyboard, and, a Lollapalooza staple, a Macbook. Zach Schwartz (a.k.a. Zach Rogue) completed the five piece band with his soft, ghostly voice, which was furthered by an ever-present echo. During “Chicago X 12”, guitarist Dominic East pulled out the slide guitar, adding a wonderful element to an already enchanting song.

Next, they played “California”, a song about their hatred of California. It was followed by a five-minute, atmospheric jam. I found it pretty perfect to be in the place that, according to their music, Rogue Wave, an Oakland, CA based band, loved the most.  I was able to feel their passion for the city I had also come to appreciate.

All of a sudden, 4 of the 5 band members picked up sticks and started drumming. After a few seconds, I, and a few other screaming crowd members, recognized the song. It was the one big song that the band hadn’t played yet, one of the most appropriate songs, rivaling “Homecoming” as THE most important song, that would be played throughout the entire three day festival, Lake Michigan. It was a stellar performance.

At the end of their set, I was content with the overall experience. Little did I know, another Rogue performance was coming my way.

At the Kidapalooza stage, there was a small, 15-minute slot alloted for Rogue Wave. I decided to check it out, assuming it was a record-signing.

To my surprise, it was an acoustic show. Running late, I was only able to see Lake Michigan. This was a significantly better performance than the one I had seen just a few hours earlier, if you can believe it. There’s something about the acoustic sound that “strikes a chord” with me.

Rogue waves,  are relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves that are a threat even to large ships and ocean liners.

That day, I was caught off guard by a Rogue Wave, and hit in the best way.

 

Setlist Included:

Love’s Lost Guarantee

Chicago X 12

Bird On A Wire

Publish My Love

Lake Michigan

Over the course of the festival, which is 2/3 of the way over, I’ve noticed a few things. Instead of putting them as small little quips in a few articles, I’ve decided to pile them into an article of their own

  1. Wet Wristband Syndrome- I’m sure the organizers of Lollapalooza spent plenty of time deciding on the design and fabric of the 3-day wristbands. Apparently, a bracelet made out of the same material as the part of a tie used to hold the smaller section in place, the newly dubbed “little-part holder”, was the best they could come up with. And I can understand that; it’s a very green concert, trying to save the world by skimping out on bracelets for the patrons that paid $200 a pop. But why make it out of a fabric that would stay wet? 
  2. English Mustache- There seems to be a large influx of Redcoat-mustachioed artists, from the keyboardist in Rogue Wave to the ringleader of Gogol Bordello. I love the 1890s.

 

Figure 1

Figure 1

 

3. Substances- I’ve never been around so many substances in my life. People are smoking weed, not only as though it was it’s legal, but as if it was a tax incentive. There must be 10,000 gallons of beer consumed every day. I thought cigarettes were going out of fashion, due to strict city laws with restaurants and what not. Apparently, this isn’t the case. Everyone and their mother is chainsmoking throughout the day.

3a. Drunk People- There are two types of people: Kind spirited people, just around to have a good time, and Angry People, who think the world is out to get them, so they are out to get the world. This sectioning of people translates to those under the influence of alcohol. There are nice drunk people and then there are fucking assholes. And there are PLENTY of both at Lollapalooza. For an example of both, during Kanye West, I stood next to a bandana-wearing Cincinnatian. He was absolutely gone, but loved Kanye West and was really in the moment. Him during Gold Digger:

18 years, 18 yeah…
Shes one…..18 years
I know somebody playing child for for one of his kids

For him, it was an A for Effort situation.

Sometime during the middle of the show, a trucker-hat wearing, Pirate Steve look-a-like came through.

Sorry dude, I don’t mean no bullshit. I’m just trying to get to the front.

Really? Cause we’re not. For him, it was an A for Asshole situation.

Chicago: Day 1 Wrapup

August 1, 2008

The concert was pretty awesome, due to a mixture of spontaneous concert-going and the fact that I hadn’t heard any of the bands, but as I said before, the volume was SO loud. Admittedly, I’m not an experienced concert-goer, which is definitely part of my auditory complaints. I’m going to have to purchase some earplugs if I’m going to come out of this weekend with the hearing I came in with. I’m pretty psyched.

The Kills

The Kills

With an opening effects pedal that sounded like the rat-a-tat of a vintage machine gun, The Kills absolutely started off with a bang. Even though they were just a two-piece band, The Kills had no problem filling up the stage. Ascot-wearing Jamie “Hotel” Hince and Alison “VV” Mosshart, a scarecrow version of what Meg White wished she looked like, had no problem sending violent soundwaves through the rooms of the Apple Store. Although Hince was the backbone of the band, Mosshart really shone through. With her haunting vocals and jet black hair in her face, the feisty singer aimlessly strutted around the stage, just so you knew it was her territory. Even through her tufts of hair, her cold blue eyes were ever-present, so that when she said “there’s only so much you can hide,” you’re damn right I believed her.

Band of Foals

August 1, 2008

Foals

Foals

Foals are an Indie rock band from Oxford, England. In the US, they are signed with Sub Pop, home to Fleet Foxes and The Shins. Their performance was pretty memorable, with wonderful chemistry. The bassist especially caught my attention for he was the most energized bassist I’ve ever seen, constantly writing like a serpent. So much so that when he sat down towards the end, I wasn’t offended in the slightest bit; he’d earned it.

The chemistry between Foals became so strong that, for a few songs, the lead singer Yannis Philippakis actually faced the guitarist the majority of the time, and not the audience. eek.

The thing I’ve noticed about live shows is that the drums are always significantly louder than anything else, which, in turn, causes the sound technicians to blast all of the other instruments, leading to apparent hearing damage to anyone even close to the speaker. Shouldn’t have to be so fucking loud.

It was about this time that I became aware, in the Apple store, mind you, of the fact that four people around me all had their iPhones out and, wouldn’t you know, I was taking notes on mine for this article. You’re good Steve, you’re good.

Before the second to last song, guitarist Jimmy Smith threw his guitar off stage in a fit of “Fuck you, I’m going to Lolla, I do what I want”. It was quickly replaced with another guitar, which was patched with duct tape. Seems as though this wasn’t a one time thing. It was a nice, anarchic touch though.

Lead vocalist Yannis, put down his guitar for the last song and picked up some drumsticks. As soon as the song began, his right drumstick shattered, and, due to its master’s unflinching determination,

it continued to disintegrate until it was a quarter of its original size. Philippakis angrily picked up a new set of drumsticks, forgetting to put down the still-intact one from the original pair, air drummed his way to the sound booth, and, in an itsmyblogg exclusive,said “(word unclear) is a piece of shit.” He then cooly resumed, with three drumsticks in hand.

Throughout this assault on the senses, one image really stuck in my mind. Behind the drummer, an unforgettable Jack Bevan,  was a purposely crude stencil of the word live, Apple’s logo for its live shows. Live. Boy, was it ever.

Chicago: Day 1

August 1, 2008

 

Millennium Park
Millennium Park

 

It had been a long day. I flew into O’Hare with my two best friends from grade school, Sachin and Ashton. It was my first time in the Windy City, and I liked what I saw. One time change and three meals (breakfast, pre-lunch, and lunch) later, we had finally started to settle down to prepare for a nice ten hour sleep before the first day of Lollapalooza, the main reason for our pilgrimage. Passing by the Apple Store, a huge cluster of tangerine Apple shirts on top of the 2nd floor caught my eye. A sign on the door, coupled with the sound of thunderous indie-rock, told me that The Black Keys, Foals, and The Kills were playing at the North Michigan Ave “venue”.

We had gotten there too late. The Black Keys had already played their set, and by the time we got there, Foals had started. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I had never heard any of the aforementioned bands, so, good or bad, I was in for a completely new surprise. Due to a combination of my lateness and my national average height of 5’9″, this would be an aural show, for the sea of scene haircuts formed a wall between Foals and my eager eyes. Or so I thought.

Putting some of those Gale instincts to work, I managed to slither my way into a corner, just 10 feet from the stage, complete with a mildly attractive and gratuitously pierced Apple employee by my side. I was in.