Lollapalooza 2011 – Day 1

(Note: This review was written shortly after attending Lollapalooza 2011 but never posted due to frustrations with images and WordPress. I have decided to revisit and post this review).

My flight from Boston arrived in Chicago way too early and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to check in or at least leave my luggage at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, but they were really nice and held my bags until the room was ready. I soo love that place! So, it was off to breakfast at one of my favorites when I’m in Chicago, the Corner Bakery Cafe (the baked french toast is highly recommended).

Line to get in

The line to get into Lollapalooza

There was still a long line to get into the park because everyone had to stop and scan the RFID chip enabled wristbands. Scan in and scan out everytime you leave. I guess this was to keep people from taking the wristbands off and selling them to other people. The decision to have my wristband sent with the ticket was a good call and saved some time.

Young the Giant

Young the Giant

After finally getting through the gate, the first band I came across was Young the Giant on the Bud Light stage. I stayed for a couple of songs, which sounded good, but wanted to make sure I saw Tennis over at the Google+ stage, who were already playing.

After Tennis were done, I moved on over the Sony Stage to see The Naked and Famous. I was kind of surprised at how good they sounded live and other than “Young Blood“, they didn’t sound like Passion Pit at all!

From there, I took a swing through Perry’s Tent and saw Collie Buddz, where it was like a huge party! Then I started the 1 mile trek back to the Playstation Stage to catch the Smith Westerns, but got a bit distracted as I passed the BMI Stage and heard some weird pop music. According to the schedule, it was an adorable looking girl named Kerli.

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Kerli

Let me start out by saying that I had no idea who Kerli was and had to look her up when I got back. Apparently she makes what is called “bubblegoth“, although it sounded more like pop music to me. I stayed for most her set and was rather impressed. This was probably my biggest surprise artist all weekend (last year’s being X-Japan). That’s the great thing about festivals like this, you can always find something new and surprising.

I finally got over to see the Smith Westerns, who went on about 5 minutes late. People around me were starting to chant and wonder if the band was going to come out at all. They did eventually come out and rocked a pretty great set.

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Smith Westerns

At this point, I decided head back to the Hard Rock to charge my phone and dump the images from my camera, since it had filled up. I was kind of bummed to miss Cults though.

A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle

I got back to the park around 6:30 and saw a little bit of Bright Eyes set. I don’t know what happened with them, because they were awesome when I saw them a few years ago, but every song started sounding the same, so I tried to get to the other side of the park to see A Perfect Circle. I managed to catch the last 4 or 5 songs, then watched Crystal Castles on the opposing stage for a bit.

Afrojack

Afrojack

I decided to wander around randomly and ended up at Perry’s again, where Afrojack was doing a killer show! People were going nuts and it was definitely one of those things that you had to experience in person. After that, it was time to just wander around until the headliners went on. I made my way back to the Music Unlimited stage for a good portion of Muse‘s set. I haven’t really been into them since that song “Muscle Museum” came out way back when (the newer stuff just doesn’t do it for me), but I was actually enjoying it. Fireworks were going off in the distance, which went really well with the music.

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Muse

I wanted to see some of Coldplay‘s set, so it was back to the other end of the park. There was a massive crowd and it was really hard to get through. At one point huge balls were dropped on the audience and everyone around me was having a blast with them! A lot of people wanted to pose for pictures with them as well. Although I’m not really a Coldplay fan, they sounded pretty good, although a bit more mellow than what was happening at the other stages in the park.

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Coldplay

At this point, I wanted to get back, shower, and get into the Filter Magazine after party that I had RSVP’d for, which featured Elijah Wood, Cults, and Maps and Atlases at the Hard Rock. This was an extreme test of ones patience as the line was around the corner and barely moved. 2 1/2 hours later and only 8 people away from getting through the front door, the doorman said that they were at capacity and no one else would be let in. Of course, if you were in the opposite line with a VIP badge, you got right in. In fact, it seemed the VIP’s outnumbered us “normies” and there was nearly a revolt. If it weren’t for some of the very entertaining people in line around me, I have probably would have lost it as well. So, the after party was a bust, but it was time to get a little sleep before day 2 of Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza 2011 – Day 2

(Note: This review was written shortly after attending Lollapalooza 2011 but never posted due to frustrations with images and WordPress. I have decided to revisit and post this review).

Wristbands

Soo many wristbands!

After an attempt at getting *some* sleep, I got up and tried to get to the park to see Walk the Moon and An Horse, the latter who have been eluding me for a couple of years now. I *will* see them at some point, but first, I needed to get my required wristband and badges for the pre and after parties. I got a little caught up hanging out in the It’s So Miami Oasis and Express Music Lounges at the Hard Rock hotel, which included free drinks amongst other things. After doing a little mingling and realizing that it’s just not fun unless you have a VIP or Media pass (to get into the really, really cool stuff), I drank my two UV Vodka drinks and headed on down to Grant Park for day 2 of Lollapalooza.

Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires

Stand in line, check bag, scan wristband, and I was in. The first band I saw was Friendly Fires. I stayed for a couple of songs, then moved on, because Fitz and the Tantrums were about to go on at the other end of the park. Saw most of their set and was blown away! Lead singer, Michael Fitzpatrick declared that he will not take off his jacket, no matter how hot it was (and it was pretty toasty out there at 2:30pm!). They roared through a pretty energetic set, including a cover of the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” while getting the crowd involved during their big hit “Moneygrabber“. This was the second best set I saw on Saturday.

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Fitz and the Tantrums

Mayer Hawthorne was the next band on the opposing Sony stage. Not really my thing, even though I was into them at one point in time, but I needed my rum and maple flavored cheese on a stick since I was getting pretty hungry. From there, I went to see the recently reunited Death From Above 1979, who were loud and as amazing as one would hope! During the song “Romantic Rights“, drummer and singer Sebastien Grainger jumped down and was all over the lady doing the sign language, eventually telling her which hotel he was staying at, which led to huge cheers from the crowd. DFA1979 was probably the best set I saw all weekend. It was time for a frosty beverage, so hello Bud Light Lime!

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Death From Above 1979

Jim Shearer

VH1’s Jim Shearer

I wandered around for bit and saw Jim Shearer from VH1’s Top 20 Countdown filming his show. I went back to see the Deftones, who had one of the biggest crowds at a smaller stage that I saw all weekend. It was my first time seeing them and they were amazing!

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Deftones

Once they were done, it was time for another walk where I saw a bit of Ellie Goulding‘s set, but didn’t stick around for long as it wasn’t really my thing.

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

Next on my list was Ween, who I first saw in a really tiny club in Providence for a WBRU event sometime around 1993. Let’s just say one of them hasn’t aged well and they really should stick to smaller venues. That’s not to say they weren’t good, they were, but the stage just seemed way too big for them. I may or may not have gotten a contact buzz during their set.

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Ween

The next act I wanted to see was Cee Lo Green. This was the “out of curiosity” act of the weekend for sure. I got down to the Music Unlimited stage, which had a massive crowd watched about 2 songs before I had enough. Was Cee Lo wearing a dress with shoulder spikes? What the hell was that?

Cee Lo Green

Cee Lo Green

Afternoon  crowd

The afternoon crowd

At this point, there wasn’t really anyone I wanted to see, so I went back to the hotel to recharge my phone (again) as well as to empty the memory card which had filled up on my camera.

My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket

As I got back to the park, My Morning Jacket was playing on the Bud Light stage. I really tried to listen to them but I just can’t get into it. I will admit to loving that “Black Metal” song though. So it was another mile trek to the other side of the park to see Eminem.

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Eminem

I got there as Eminem was doing “Kill You“. He seemed to be blowing through the songs pretty fast, almost as if just doing one big medley of songs. Bruno Mars came out to sing the chorus of “Lighters” and was actually pretty good.

I ended up leaving during “Like Toy Soldiers” since I wanted to get into the Saturday night Filter Magazine party, which once again, I had RSVP’d for. The bands were Foster the People and Phantogram. There was already a pretty long line, so I showered and changed real fast. I got downstairs and saw the line was even longer, so I didn’t even try. I was off to find some dinner and maybe try to get more than 3 hours of sleep for the first time in days.

Up next, day 3!

Lollapalooza 2011 – Day 3

Deadmau5 fans

Deadmau5 fans

For the first time in 4 days, I got more than a few hours of sleep. Refreshed and recharged, I went down to Grant Park for the final day of Lollapalooza 2011. It kind of sucks knowing that in a mere 10 hours, it will be all over for this year. That post-Lolla depression is a bitch! Does this happen to anyone else?

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The Joy Formidable

I made my way through the gate fairly quickly and the first band I saw was The Joy Formidable. Their indie rock and slightly shoegaze sound was a great way to start off this day.

Deluka

Deluka

Next was Deluka, who I didn’t really know much about, but were kind of a cross between indie rock and electronic music. I was really liking this band.

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Fences

The very tattooed Fences, who are a 4 piece band from Seattle, were next on the Google+ stage. I stayed for most of their set and they had a decent sized crowd who seemed to be into the band and their softer indie sound.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Pains of Being Pure at Heart

I went over to the other stage to see Noah and the Whale play for a bit. I left after they did the ultra catchy “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.”, and moved on to see The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This was yet another band I was into and finally got to see live.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

With all the buzz about Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and despite the gimmicky name, they were way more fun than I expected them to be. They had a hell of a stage show that included large light boxes with their name on it and bubbles. The music was light and dancey, and the crowd seemed to be having as much fun as the band was.

The Cars

The Cars

I worked my way through the crowds to the main stage to see The Cars, who were this year’s 80’s band representatives and were kind of boring. Maybe I expected more, but they basically just stood there and played. Although they did do a lot of their hits, there was nothing really exciting about their performance other than to be able to say I finally got to see them live.

Lissie

Lissie

Lissie is one of my guilty pleasures. I loved her CD Catching a Tiger, but playing live, she sounded just like on CD. I stuck around for a few songs, including “When I’m Alone“, which isn’t normally the kind of music I like, but there’s something about her music that I’m digging.

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Cage the Elephant

The sky started getting dark in the distance during Cage the Elephant‘s set. Finally, there was a massive downpour, which kept me from going over to the Google+ stage to see Best Coast.

Storm rolling in during Cage the Elephant

Storm clouds rolling in

Me and my new friend had fun meeting and chatting with people during the rain as we all took shelter under a small tree. After the rain had stopped, we made our way back to the Hard Rock so I could dry off and change into dry clothes, while giving my phone a much needed recharge. Charging stations at Grant Park would be an awesome opportunity for someone…just saying.

We went back down to the park to grab some dinner and see the Foo Fighters. We both got Kalua pork sandwiches that were really, really good. On the other hand, the watermelon jalapeno popsicles were spicier than expected and not too bad, but curiosity got the best of me on that one.

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Foo Fighters and waiting out more rain in the wine tent.

So, it was off to see the final band of the weekend, the Foo Fighters. As we walked to the stage, the sky opened up again and it was a torrential downpour. We decided to take shelter in the wine tent along with a bunch of other people and believe it or not, it was actually kind of fun. There was a screen outside of the tent showing the Foo Fighters, but you couldn’t actually hear them over the heavy bass from the much closer Perry’s tent. When the rain let up, we attempted to get closer to the main stage, but because of the mud and huge puddles, we were limited as to how far we could make it down there. From what I caught of the Foo Fighters, they put on a great show and really are one of the best rock bands ever!

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The muddy aftermath!

After their set ended, lots of very muddy people emerged from where the stage was. As me and my new friend parted ways outside the gates, I realized that I was going to be sad to leave Chicago. The excitement of a festival is unmatched, with all of the people and bands…it’s a whirlwind weekend that ends all too soon. I will definitely be back next year!

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That’s it! The end of Lollapalooza 2011.

So it was back to my hotel to pack and get a couple of hours of sleep before departing back home to Boston. Thanks for everything Chicago, I loved every second I was there!

Review: G. Gordon Gritty, Atlantic Thrills, Nice Guys, The Barbazons at the Middle East Upstairs 7-01-15

Sign

After a very quick drive to Alewife, I was on the T heading to the Middle East Up in Central Square for the Kids Like You And Me 6th anniversary show! I ordered a Hoponius Union and waited for G. Gordon Gritty to go on.

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G. Gordon Gritty


I wasn’t familiar with G. Gordon Gritty, but this ended up being my favorite band of the night!! Playing most of a pretty rocking set down on the floor amongst the crowd, then band even let other people in the crowd sing. Tambourine guy danced through the crowd and shook it like nobody’s business. Tambourine guy…you fucking rule! It was time for another drink, so I ordered a Harpoon UFO White and waited for the Atlantic Thrills to go on.

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Atlantic Thrills

Providence’s Atlantic Thrills play surf rock with a psych edge to it. The constant spitting of beer into the crowd by one of the members got old real fast though, especially when some of it got into mine. Not cool. That being said, I have seen these guys a few times and they always put on a fun show!

Nice guys were up next.

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Nice Guys

This was my first time seeing the Nice Guys, who played a set of dirty garage rock with a punk edge that whipped the crowd up into a dancing frenzy. At one point, the drummer left his spot behind the drums and sang one of the songs, which was really awesome. These guys were a lot of fun! One more Hoponius Union to replace my tainted drink as one of my favorite local bands, The Barbazons were setting up.

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The Barbazons

My god, I loves me some Barbazons! Really, what more can I say about this band after having seen them so many times? They rocked an all request set with the usual fun energy. I had to leave before they finished because it was a weeknight and the T doesn’t run all that late.

I saw some fun bands, drank some good beers, and had a great time! Thanks to Kids Like Me And You for putting this show on, it was a blast!

Review: Bedroom Eyes, Guerilla Toss, No Joy at the Middle East Upstairs 6-26-2015

I had just missed the red line train by seconds, so I had a bit of a long wait at Alewife, but I was finally on my way to the Middle East for what was a pretty good lineup. Making my way through a very busy Central Square, and subsequently a very busy Middle East restaurant (which if you don’t already know, you have to cut through in order to get to the Upstairs), I paid and walked into a packed room, where Bedroom Eyes were already on.

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Bedroom Eyes

Bedroom Eyes have been around for a couple of years now, but this was the first time I have seen them. They were full of the kind of shoegazey goodness that I haven’t heard in quite a while and I was loving it! I will definitely have to see them again.

It was time for my first beer of the night, which was a Hoponius Union from Jack’s Abby and went down way too fast, making me think that I probably should have eaten dinner before heading out. Guerrilla Toss were up next.

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Guerilla Toss

Guerilla Toss are a band that I’ve read a lot about but have never seen live until tonight. Playing a pretty wild set of experimental noise rock, the crowd was dancing and going nuts during every song. It’s very easy to compare them to Arab on Radar, but it was a really fun set that was full of energy from both the band and the crowd.

It got really hot after their set, so I ordered a Harpoon UFO White and waited for No Joy to go on for the last show of their current tour.

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No Joy

It took a little while for Canada’s No Joy to set up their equipment, but once everything was good to go, they launched right into the music. Singer Jasamine White-Gluz’s vocals were barely audible over all of the distortion from the guitars. It should be noted that they were loud, *very* loud, so I’d highly recommend wearing earplugs if you’re going to see them live (and you should, because they were awesome!).

Although the show ended kind of early, I had a really fun time seeing some great bands. After a quick stop in Harvard Square for some much needed food at Tasty Burger, I was on my way back home, happy and satisfied.

Review: Littlefoot, Doug Tuttle, Calvin Love, Jacco Gardner at the Middle East Upstairs 6-13-15

After several delays on my way to Cambridge, including construction on 95 and very long times between red line trains at Alewife, I was finally at the Middle East upstairs for a show that I had been looking forward to all week. Littlefoot were already playing as I made my way through the crowd for a better view.

Littlefoot 1

Littlefoot

I first saw Littlefoot at AS220’s Foo Fest in Providence a couple of years ago and instantly liked them. With a hazy throwback to 60’s pop music, they played a really catchy set! It was a good way to start the night.

I ordered a Harpoon UFO, of course, then made my way back through the packed crowd to get closer to the stage for Doug Tuttle.

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Doug Tuttle

Every time I see Doug Tuttle, I end up liking them more and more. After adjusting some projectors that seemed to be blinding the band, they played an awesome set of psych rock. They ended with a frenzy of guitar and bass distortion, which was really cool.

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Calvin Love

Calvin Love was up next. Admittedly, I wasn’t familiar at all with this band, who are from Edmonton, Canada, but ended becoming a fan a few songs in. They had an 80’s synth pop sound, with Love splitting duties between guitar and synthesizer. This was my favorite band of the night.

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Jacco Gardner

Jacco Gardner, yet another band I have seen at Austin Psych Fest, took a little while to get set up, but once they did, the band went right into their mellow sounding psychedelia. Jacco Gardner seemed kind of shy on stage, and from what I managed to catch of it, they played a pretty good set. I ended up having to leave a few songs in, because it was a Sunday night and the T doesn’t run late, even though the show did.

This whole night had a bit of a retro vibe to it and I ended up buying Calvin Love’s new CD “Super Future”, which I’m really enjoying. A few tracks can be streamed on his Bandcamp page if you’re curious. It was a rough Monday morning at work, but soo worth it to see some great bands!

Review: Holly Hunt, Mono at the Middle East Downstairs 6-13-2015

Sign

I took the T on this fairly warm night into Central Square for a rare (at least for me) show at Middle East downstairs. It’s always kind of weird to be there since most of the shows I go to are at the upstairs. Once I got inside, Holly Hunt had just started, so I ordered a Harpoon UFO White and found a spot to watch the band.

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Holly Hunt

Miami’s Holly Hunt are Beatriz Monteavaro on drums and Gavin Perry on guitar and the two of them make a lot of very loud noise. With a heaviness that builds up into a slow wall of guitar and drums without any lyrics, they never stopped between songs. This band was intense!

After their set, I ended up getting a Sam Adams Lager, after the bartender, who was really cool, suggested I might not care for the Harpoon Dark (which I’ve had before, but couldn’t remember if I liked it). He gave me a sample and was right. At this point, a most of the crowd made their way to the front of the stage as Mono were getting set up.

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Mono

I first saw Mono, who are on tour from Japan, at Austin Psych Fest last year and really liked them. As the band came out to a cheering crowd, they took their places and began to play. Starting out slowly and building up to at times, a frenzy of sound, there was a very cinematic feel to the music. In fact, the air vent above me, combined with some of the more ethereal tinged music, helped to set the mood for the night. I don’t think there was a single person that wasn’t fully mesmerized by the music.

After Mono finished, there was a really long line at the merch table in the back. Since the night ended pretty early, I made a pit stop in Harvard Square for some of my beloved Tasty Burger (I highly recommend the Big Tasty with bacon) for some food. This was an amazing night of really cool music and Holly Hunt and Mono are both amazing live bands that I would definitely recommend seeing if you have the chance.


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