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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lolla and other adventures!

As the weather starts to cool down, I am reminded that summer is nearly over. Unfortunately, I live in a part of America where the majority of the population embraces the change of scenery and temperatures. I do not. I frown upon it - as it means the summer outdoor concert season has come to a close. Boo! Can I at least think back through the last month of summer adventures?! Come with me, my dear ....

In 1991, a gentleman named Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction, Porno For Pyros, Satellite Party) decided to organize an event he named Lollapalooza. This event was aimed to be similar to Woodstock and it ran annually until 1997. In 2003, it was restarted and I believe was cancelled in 2004 (due to poor ticket sales). Suddenly, a brilliant idea was had ... "let's have it in CHICAGO"! The 'if you build it, they will come' attitude worked! In 2005, Lollapalooza set itself in Chicago's Grant Park and has used that as its destination city/venue every year since. It started out with 4 main stages over 2 days. This past year, it expanded to 9 main stages over 3 days! It was literally 3 full days, nearly 12 hours a day of constant incredible music (along with a sea of endless masses of people)! Chicago's Grant Park not only boasts amazing views of the city's skyline, but it also includes Buckingham Fountain (which should be familiar for those of you who are fans of the old tv sitcom 'Married With Children'). My favorite stage was the Myspace stage on Saturday - as it sort of reminded me of a reunion with the current trendy favorites from Minneapolis - Tapes 'N Tapes, Motion City Soundtrack, and The Hold Steady played back-to-back (Sherwood also played on that stage).

I love watching Motion City Soundtrack's live show ... those guys have so much energy and I always wonder about Jesse Johnson and his synthesizer. I worry for him, actually - it seems he might get whiplash one of these days from playing so crazy. I realistically can't talk about every single band I saw at Lollapalooza as we'd be here until next year! BUT, with that said, I will quickly mention a few more of my favorites. Starting with Saturday - I ADORE Toyko Police Club!!! I believe they are all under 19 and from Canada but you'd never know their age from watching them play. Very entertaining and their indie rock style is super catchy! Silverchair is always another favorite of mine. I still can't believe they were only 15 when they recorded 'Frogstomp'. That album is still to this day one of my favorites! They played some new stuff from their fifth album 'Young Modern' which was released in March of this year. I was bummed nothing was played from 'Frogstomp'. The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs were weird. Lead singer Karen O was sporting some wacky get-up and I was so busy trying to figure out what it was made of and how it was staying up that I think I lost track of the music! haha! Muse was the best headliner - hands down! It started pouring rain in the middle of their performance and not one person budged.

Lastly, Sunday I was most excited for performances from Paolo Nutini (he has the thickest Scottish accent I've ever heard and it's totally adorable), Kings Of Leon (by far one of most popular performances!), Peter Bjorn and John (whom lost power onstage and, after 20 minutes of waiting for them to return, the heat and crowd made me give up and move on to a different stage), and Amy Winehouse.

Now, Amy Winehouse seemed to be the concert of choice for many artists. I moved up to try and get a few great pictures during her show and I bumped into Ben Harper, Eric Applewick (Tapes 'N Tapes), Craig Finn (The Hold Steady), Eric Harvey (Spoon), and Chris Guanlao (Silversun Pickups)! I'm sure there were many more artists there to see her in the mix of the crowd.

After Lollapalooza, I spent a week in Los Angeles and luckily found myself in town during the outdoor street fair known as Sunset Junction.

It's a weekend festival on a closed-off section of Sunset Boulvard and I stopped by with some friends for Saturday afternoon's events. I saw Sea Wolf - an indie alternative pop band based in LA. It's actually a band formed around Alex Brown Church whom used to be in the LA band Irving. The concert was very entertaining but the heat and sun was sort of overwhelming at times and my friends and I ended up leaving before any other bands made it onstage. I also had the pleasure of seeing Andy Blunda's new project Eject at the Key Club AND James Grundler's project Golden State at the Viper Room that week. I first met Andy around 1998 - during his touring days with Fastball (do you remember their hit song 'The Way'?!). He soon joined James Grundler's project called Paloalto in 1999. If you've never heard of this band, please look them up (Paloalto). Honestly, Paloalto is one of my favorite bands (and sadly they are now broken up)! Their indie alternative sound paired with James' voice and song writing is unbelievable!

Ok, so enough traveling, right?! I'm back in Minneapolis now and I closed out the summer with my last week of warm temps here in the city. The Format returned to the Twin Cities (this time on a headlining tour!) and they played for over an hour I believe! Yah! This made me happy!

Their tour mates Steel Train and Limbeck ruled as well. Now a fact you may not know ... Motion City Soundtrack singer, Justin Pierre loves filmmaking and he paired with Shane Nelson to direct the Limbeck video for "Big Drag". If you've never seen it, take a peek (Big Drag) - it's a clever video shot to look like it was done in one full take (I hear it was really 2 takes but let's pretend it was one).

I also saw Damien Rice's solo acoustic show this past week. UN.REAL. I've been a Damien Rice fan for about a year or so. I think I was late on that bandwagon, but - nonetheless - I attended the show and was quite impressed. As he came out from stage right, the lights fully dimmed ... in fact, they shut off completely - and the only light came from 6 candles placed at the front of the stage. It was literally him, his acoustic guitar, and a grand piano for over 2 1/2 hours! He played his heart out (and occasionally told us funny stories between songs with his sassy Irish accent). At the end of the concert, he sat onstage heavily drinking a bottle of wine and telling the story behind the song "Cheers Darlin'" ... apparently it's about a man who bumped into a beautiful girl in front of a bar as they ran inside to get out of the pouring rain one night. They clicked right away and sat at the bar all night laughing and drinking. Suddenly, it's last call and they begin gathering their things and paying their tabs. This man is so excited about this woman and their connection. He wants to spend more time with her but, she leans over right then and whispers that she must get going as her boyfriend will be there soon to pick her up! He is shocked ... BOYFRIEND?!!! ... oh no - how disappointing ... and, that - my friends, is where the song begins. Now, go play it and listen with this story in mind. It will hurt your heart (in a good way).

* by Jen Panczenko, the "new girl" - thanks for reading!


Planet Verge said...

Wheeeeeeeee! <3333333333 jess

Anonymous said...

Nice read.