Imagine the sweatiest event of your life. Perhaps it was during that marathon you ran in Phoenix, Arizona or possibly that 100 degree scorcher when your air-conditioning cut out…whatever the case may be, try to relive that sweat. Now, take that sweat, times it by 3 days, 80,000 music freaks, less than 3 inches between you and the drunkard next to you and you’ve got yourself a typical Lollapalooza music festival. Throw in some humidity, 6 hours worth of rain, thousands of 24 oz Bud Lights, some horse manure scented mud and you’ve got Lollapalooza 2009 down to a science. Welcome, my friends, to the most brilliant weekend of my life (and that’s no exaggeration.)
I had envisioned this post looking something like Hedi Slimane’s photo-journal after he attended Coachella back in April; something containing photos of well dressed and flawlessly styled potential models. This next statement may be a generalization and offensive to some, but through my Fashion Indie opinionated eyes, EVERYONE LOOKED LIKE SHIT. Love handles stuck out of trashy booty shorts. Cargo shorts and graphic tees comprised the male population. Ray Ban shades were in a nauseating full effect. Trust me when I say that there was not a single person worth wasting a megapixel of my Nikon D50. But in everyone’s defense, it did rain quite a bit, mud caked Grant Park and it was pushing 100 degrees on a daily basis. So, if your excuse for slacking on style was in preservation of you Alexander Wang swag, you’ve been forgiven. As for the rest of you, I’m severely disappointed.
But all fashion zeros aside, Lollapalooza 2009 will go down in Kirby history as an all-time fantastic weekend. My friend Amber and I met up with some of my NYU buds, as well as some of last year’s festival friends and some new ones, and enjoyed the sounds and sights of some of the world’s most talented music artists. Although I saw over 50 shows in total, there are the significant few that really stuck out in my mind:
Animal Collective, despite my having almost died of suffocation from moshing, was an absolutely amazing show. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to hear a 15 minute version of “Brother Sport” while watching the sun set over Lake Michigan? Crystal Castles, needless to say, was a shit-show…but in the best way possible! Lead singer Alice Glass was a classy lady chugging from her bottle of Bacardi Superior between songs, taking drags from her cigarette throughout and hawking spit in the crowd. Although I only caught a few of Passion Pit’s songs, they certainly didn’t fail to stir those butterflies I get every time I hear “Sleepyhead.” Andrew Bird relaxed the crowd with his melodic violin licks and whistles and was a perfect example of pure talent. Vampire Weekend, as always, put on a high energy set and left the crowd practically drooling over some of the new songs they whipped out. MSTRKRFT reigned as my favorite of the Lollapalooza 2009 DJ sets, completely blowing what Bassnectar, DeadMau5 and The Bloody Beetroots had to offer out of the water. Despite my former biases for Kings of Leon and The Killers, both groups (with the help of a few energetic friends and a bit of booze) rocked the house…nothing beats soaking in 80,000 bobbing heads and waving hands as I sat atop some 6’5″ stud’s shoulders (thanks Evan!) rocking out of The Killers’ “Human.”
But if one band really sealed the deal on this year’s Lollapalooza experience, the award goes to none other than the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. As one of the Saturday night headliners, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had some very big shoes to fill after they replaced The Beastie Boys’ slot (due to Adam Yauch’s cancer surgery). Many Lolla-goers had their doubts about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs headlining performance, saying that they weren’t yet popular or experienced enough to deserve a coveted main-stage concert. Well, let’s just say those nay-sayers are biting their tongues because the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stole Lollapalooza 2009. There’s not much else to say except for the fact that their performance was outstanding, complete with high energy, humble recognition of such an amazing opportunity and a fantastic sound. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, lead singer Karen O is a rockstar.
So, are you itching for next August yet so you can plan your trip to Chicago and experience the greatness that is Lollapalooza? I know I am.
This is what Grant Park looked like on Friday, August 7th.
Photos via Metromix Chicago. Check out the Lollapalooza website for photos and reviews on this year’s festival as well as information about 2010′s bash!