August 7, 2010

One Last Lolla

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So it’s Day Two now at Lollapalooza. My plan had been to update last night, but some equally press credentialed fool walked off with my phone charger, so we’re down a day. What can I say? It’s a photographer-eat-writer world out here in the media tent.

I’ll give a full run down of Thursday night (Perez Hilton’s “One Night in Chicago”), and yesterday’s shows. This year, the people at BMF media have been good to yours truly, so there’ll be some “coverage” (read: gratitude over getting some free food and air conditioning at the Hard Rock Hotel) of the Music Lounge, as well.

At the moment, however, I need to go track down the chair another uppity journalist just retrieved because, “Like, you can’t save seats, dude,” find Warpaint, and go catch some Grizzly Bear. If you care at all, stay tuned. If not, well … enjoy your Saturday.

PS: Happy belated, Mr. President.

Saturday, So Far

Being, as I’ve said, both a lazy festival hack and a lover of all free things, we started the day at The Music Lounge — a gathering of artists and VIPs and ballsy former college journalists. Bands play (Gaga was there back in the days when she was still Stephanie Germanotta), folks feed, drink, and be merry, this year with some sweet pampering. IE: Manicures, MANicures, facials, “rockstar” hair styles, and free jeans and sneakers for those of the attendees who are actually musicians and not just riding out the press pass. (Note: The other aspect of being a fan of free things is slightly compromising one’s journalistic integrity and kindly thanking the lovely givers and hosts of free things. Thus: Thank you to Express Rocks!, The Hard Rock Hotel, BMI, smartwater, which I like better than StupidAqua but not as much as GeniusH20, Cafe Bustello, popchips, and well… everyone else who is chilling in my goody bag. There are a lot of you; I tried.) Erin Martin performed while we snacked. Like a lot of soul singers, she started out strong but her tone and lyrics shifted in her next few songs.

Myself: She sounds a little Natalie Imbruglia-esque, no?

Oliver Dudman: Actually, she sounds a … wee … bit, like Miley Cyrus.

Off we went, to chat with some of the folks with Fuze Beverages and smartwater, and then hopped on the smartwater VIP bus. If anyone is reading this, we should take bets on just how cushy my concert-going experience has become. Although nowhere near as cushy as those with actually VIP/Cabana passes. More on that later.

At Lollapalooza itself, just in case you thought I forgot what I was here for, or I forgot what I was here for … we went to check out Warpaint. ( Warpaint, also discovered by sir Oliver Dudman a few weeks back at some Los Angelesian food festival, is … well, they’re pretty tough to explain. Most call them pretty Cat Power-like, and I can see the resemblance, but I’d say they’re more Cat Power meets Flaming Lips’ “Life on Mars” + grrl rock band X .02%Pipettes’ sass — Sia/Adele crooning. Or in other words, I have no idea how to describe them, so you should check them out for yourself.

Back in the Media Tent, I discover my naivety in thinking that I could leave my phone charger unattended and that the old purse-on-chair trick did not signify “this is my chair.”

“Umm, excuse me? I think you just took my chair. Could I get it back when you’re done uploading your photos?”

Dude turns to me. Draws himself up to full 5′ of height.

“I didn’t realize that you could SAVE chairs.” His hand shakes a bit.

“Well, my bag was on it. You can use it for a sec, but …”

“Is your name on it?”

“Actually, yeah — there’s a taped piece of paper that says The Cornell Sun.”

He looks, it registers, then he lifts it in his hands. Given that I’d rather retrieve a new chair than have a folding-chair-wielding photog as an enemy, I quickly mumble some excuse about Grizzly Bear and run off …

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear has great music, but is one of those bands who unfortunately is just better as a listen.

Now you can do Lolla in one of two ways. One: You can become overwhelmed by the list of All The Amazing Bands You Know Must See Cuz You Know One of Their Songs, plus That One Band Your Friend Loves, you decide to run around between all of them. I have done that, believe me, and have been rewarded with a red face, sunburnt body, dehydration and the realization that I only saw about 10 minutes of everything. This year, I’m going for way numero dos, or rather, “The Weary World Traveler.” You know, those people who choose a few choice shows, and then plant themselves there all day to wait for the headliner, only to get into fights with The Shovers (the girls who, friends hand firmly gripped behind them, shove their way through the bodies apologizing because “they have a friend to get to”) because “they’ve been here all day.” So I’m listening to a bit of Social Distortion, who I just realized is featured in Reality Bites, and then it’s time to be both Shover and Weary World Traveler at Pheonix. So if you see a frizzy haired and frazzled, red faced girl yelling names at the top of her lungs and trying not to step on anyone, please do me a favor and don’t punch me in the face. Or if you absolutely must punch me in the face, do it during “Lisztomania”: I always thought that would be a good background to a 6,000 person, outdoor brawl.

After 6 p.m. (IE: Spoon, the distant sound of Cut Copy, and a fairly moderate shove-athon to the front of Pheonix)

So my hypocrisy in all of this is that I, for instance, only actually know a few of Spoon’s songs. But I like them enough that catching their full show at the Budweiser stage and then staying there to have a good spot for Pheonix, seemed worth it. Oliver and JP were off listening to bands I hadn’t heard of and had no energy for, or drinking, or something. A lot of roundabout text messages established they’d “meet me later.” This “meet me later” proclamation quickly became a false promise, I realized. Although nothing compared to the Gaga-fan/bitches who would actually step on you if you tried to make your way to the front, people rolled their eyes, and only friendly-like. (That’s a fairly laid back way of dealing with “cutters” in Chicago, I must say.) I made friends with a group of girls, tried to get in touch with my friends…

Where are you?

Towards the front?

Where in the front? Side or left or what?

The part with the guy in the hat.

There are like, 80 guys in hats.

… made new friends, and tried not to kill the group of teeny bopper girls who, low and behold (do I call them, or what?) grabbed hands like a chain and pulled themselves forward, only to talk their way through the show. Dear everyone who knew me when I was 14, I apologize.

And, then, finally, Phoenix. I’d write more but my eyes are closing and nonsense is starting to come forth. More tomorrow, my darling captive audience. More tomorrow.

Original Author: Julie Block