Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lolla Friday

One of the first bands I wanted to see was Robert DeLong, however his set was at 12:30pm on Friday, and I knew I wouldn't be ready to leave the office that early.  But, I packed my backpack and planned to walk right from work to the fest, as soon as I could.  That time ended up being about 2pm.

The security was a little tougher than ACL, but not nearly as tight as The Gorge. The first band I wanted to see was Band of Horses at 4:15pm, so I had some time to walk around and get oriented to the sheer space of Grant Park.  I might be wrong, but it seems like lolla is a lot bigger, both in terms of space, and people attending.  Grant Park is way different than Zilker.  Rather than being a huge green space, Grant has streets and mini-parks within it.  For the most part, the festival layout prevents it from feeling as crowded as ACL or creating as many bottlenecks of traffic.  I definitely appreciated this, as I did a lot of wandering on Friday.

I entered the fest on the north side, so caught part of Ghost BC’s set as I got oriented to the park.  Ghost BC is a metal band.  They sounded great, and were hilarious to watch but metal’s not my thing.  Once I made it all the way south, I caught most of the Smith Westerns.  They are originally from to Chicago, and it was funny that they accidentally did a shout-out to Coachella.  They sounded alright- but I felt super old watching them, surrounded by a lot of under-21 year/olds.  

Then I wandered back north, stopping by the EDM stage, Perry’s.  Five stars to lolla for having a stage devoted to one type of music.  I’m pretty sure lots of people spend their entire day dancing to the DJs at Perrys.  I enjoyed part of Monsta’s set from afar.  As I headed back north to catch Band of Horses at 4:15pm I walked through the food stands.  They do the same thing as ACL, having local restaurants setup stands rather than typical concert-venue food.  Similarly, there is also an artist market and farmers market on the west side of the park.  Ah- which reminds me, the craft beer situation.  Ha, I scoff because it’s juuust like ACL’s and serves Bud products only.  However, Chicago’s craft beer includes Goose Island’s 312 wheat and green lime pale ale ($8 each).  On the west side of the park is also The Grove stage, which is surrounded by trees, and can get very crowded.  As it was for Atlas Genius, which I couldn’t get close enough to see, but sounded great.  Will have to check them out further. Like ACL, Lolla has two larger stages facing one and another, at both ends of the park.  BOH was at the largest one north, and as I made my way closer to the front and center,  heard Jessie Hare playing.  Her voice was nice, but it’s country.

Band of Horses was incredible.  The best I’ve ever heard them (also my third time seeing them live).  I met fellow BOH dude friends, and together we enjoyed how great they sounded and how thankful we were for the clouds overhead.  Thievery Corporation started playing immediately thereafter, which I heard while finding the uncrowded (but not Honey Bucket) port-a-potty and purchasing my second $8 beer of the day.  I heard that one song of theirs I know (from Garden State).  It’s a bit of a trek between the far north and south stages, but I wanted to try to hear Imagine Dragons for a little.  That was an impossible feat, as the Lakeshore stage was sooo crowded.  I did a quick walk-by and thought they also sounded okay.  Back north- again, to check out HeyMarseilles, which I just heard of in my Lolla-prep.  Highly recommend these guys for anybody who likes my taste in music.  The lead singer sounds oddly The Decemberists, and these 20-something guys can play a mean fiddle.  
Sometime during their set I found myself next to another band, in the audience.  Somebody else recognized them, and after further research I think it was Lianne La Havas and her backup dudes.  I’m not sure if I’ll catch Lianne on Sunday, due to scheduling conflicts, but it was pretty neat to see her among the masses.

After passing by dancey Disclosure and catching a few songs I knew from Queens of the Stone Age, I swung by the Samsung Galaxy booth for a free battery swap and a free pizza voucher. 
The line for deep-dish was unfortunately long, but you all know I’m never one to turn down free swag.  I patiently waited for my dinner, and took it to eat at the Grove Stage, waiting for Scottish band, Frightened Rabbit, to start.  These guys were very Mumford-sounding, and even though I was fairly front and center, the show wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped.  

As they finished, I made my way south to find a spot to hear some of the Killers before walking back north, and home for the night.

I heard a few Killers songs, which were great, then caught part of Steve Aoki’s set at Perry’s (insane!), swung by Lana Del Rey at the Grove (meeeh) and finished with some Nine Inch Nails.  It didn’t seem like the video monitors were working for NIN, however the guy’s voice is great.  It was a great show to finish up on, as I could hear them for most of my walk home (all of 10 minutes, might I add).

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