Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lolla 2006 in Review

As you may already know, the Lollapalooza 2007 lineup is due to be released today. We know that Pearl Jam is headlining and yours truly broke a scoop on another act, but beyond that we’ll have to see what they give us. While I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful list, I thought I’d quickly review the bands I was fortunate enough to take in at last year’s fest. These rankings were compiled the day after the festival ended (and based on M.E. – my enjoyment), so I’m resolute in my belief that they are accurate. The blurbs written for each one, however, were created today. So we’re relying a bit on memory.

Those that were either flat, boring, or lousy
29) Cursive – I actually did write a blurb for these guys: “The only band that made me say, ‘I gotta get the hell out of here’.” Just abrasively dissonant, but not in a creative kind of way.
28) Ben Kweller – He was just very boring. His music offered very little in the way of entertainment.
27) Assassins – I probably only caught about three songs by them – let’s just call them flat.
26) The Shins – I’m not really into the band, and people that are into them said that the sound mixing was off for their set (a consistent problem on the stage where they played). So it’s not like they were offensive or anything.
25) Husky Rescue – Flat as Sandra Bernhard. But they seemed nice.

Good to Great
24) Jeremy Enigk –He sat there and played. The songs were good, but not very engaging. I originally blamed the hot weather and festival setting. But then I saw him again at the Double Door last fall and had the same reaction. Sunny Day Real Estate, where have you gone?
23) Queens of the Stone Age – I didn’t expect to like these guys, particularly because the field was overly crowded when they played. But they brought it. Nice and freakin’ loud, and the crowd was into them. I was really far away – I’m sure up close it was rather crazy.
22) The Hold Steady – I did not expect to enjoy their set, but they really played well, sounding like a chubbier Bruce Springsteen. Take that to mean whatever you like.
21) Red Hot Chili Peppers – Waaaaay too much new stuff for my tastes, but then you remember that BSSM came out 15 years before this concert, and you have to give them a break. I’m not hanging out at my junior high anymore. There was a rousing rendition of “Me and My Friends," however.
20) My Morning Jacket – I was really far away from these guys, but they played well. Things were a little boring on the whole, and if I recall correctly, they didn’t play enough of their more upbeat songs.
19) Deadboy & Elephantment – They kicked off the whole shebang and played well. Crowd was just arriving, so that’s a tough slot to fill.
18) Gnarls Barkley – I was taking a breather at the far end of Hutchinson field, so I wasn’t that engaged in their set. But they sounded quite good from where I was loafing.
17) Peeping Tom – I only caught three songs as there were other bands I had to get to, and they had major technical problems at their stage. Once they got things ironed out, they got a good groove going. I wish I could’ve stayed.
16) Rainer Maria – Good, solid rock. The music was nothing unique, but they played well.
15) The Smoking Popes – This band has never rocked hard enough for me. But they played a tight set covering a lot of their hits. It helped that the crowd was peppered with their die-hard fans.
14) Built to Spill – I’m surprised I listed them this high because I felt like I came away disappointed. On the stage with the severe technical problems, they played well enough, but were just kind of standing there playing. Their new album is so good and full of so much energy, I was hoping for more.
13) The Go! Team – Peppy set that won the crowd over immediately. They played all the right tunes from their album.
12) Cameron McGill & What Army – Cameron hopped around from guitar to keys and back again. Hardly anyone was watching this set, but it was a solid one anyway.
11) Living Things – Super entertaining. People jumping into the crowd and getting them to sing along. I totally forgot about this band, but they were fun as hell.
10) Andrew Bird – In a word, impressive. He’s a musical wizard – and I don’t mean that in a dungeons and dragons kind of way. Definitely going to see him at the Riveria as long as I don’t have to pay exorbitant fees to do so.

Great to Phenomenal
9) Mates of State – I had their album and it just hadn’t grabbed me. But they definitely did when they played live. Way tighter than I expected and I’ve been a big fan since I saw this performance.
8) Sparta – Playing a very early set on the last day, they came out really freakin’ loud. A hot performance despite a low-key audience.
7) Death Cab for Cutie – I’d seen this band a ton in the few years leading up their Lolla set. They played as well as I’ve seen them, even though they were headlining the first night. The high school kids sung along to every word, and the band played some older ones (including Movie Script Ending and President of What?).
6) Eels – What a fun time this was. They had a security guard named Krazy Al who was actually part of the show, interacting with the crowd and the band and occasionally playing guitar. Featured I believe four covers including Tom Waits, Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Peaches.
5) Sleater-Kinney – Probably the band I was most excited to see since they had made it known that it would be their second-to-last show. They rawked hard as hell, putting as much into their hour set as they possibly could. Superb set.
4) The Flaming Lips – They pulled out all the stops. It was gimmicky as hell, but also a blast. Wayne Coyne walked and tumbled across the crowd in an inflated bubble, gigantic blue balloons came bouncing across everyone’s heads, santa clauses and alien chicks filled the stage, streamers fired up into the air, you name it. They closed with a singalong Do You Realize.
3) Wolfmother – Just fast and hard and loud as all getout. When they finished playing Joker and the Thief to end their set, the dude in front of me just kept screaming, “They stole the show! They stole the show!” And he was right. At that point
2) Reverend Horton Heat - I’ve been dying to see this band forever. No one ever seems to want to go when they play here, including their most recent stop at Metro. After a rousing introduction by Beatle Bob, they kicked it off with Big Sky and going right into Baddest of the Bad. They proceeded to play all the hits, at one point just dropping the setlist altogether and asking for request. The crowd was going nuts, moshing on pavement. You could tell that an hour was hardly enough for this band. I seriously thought dudes were going to pass out from the all weather and the amount they were jumping into each other.
1) Broken Social Scene - They were absolutely shimmering at times having 17 people onstage, playing their hearts out. The entire audience was blown away. Unfortunately, every critic reviewing the show had nothing to say about this amazing performance because they were on immediately before the Chili Peppers and were only allotted 45 minutes. That was a travesty, but the band more than filled the time. I've never seen a crowd and audience give so much to one another. I still can't believe this actually happened, especially at a festival. It was such a shame they couldn't play more. A brilliant show. Check out how it ended and LISTEN to that crowd.

My wish list for ’07? In no particular order: Kings of Leon (missing their Riv show, dammit), Stooges, Peter Bjorn & John, Explosions in the Sky, Arcade Fire (best band from ’05 without question), the triumphant return of Broken Social Scene (you owe it to them and us Lolla-lords). We’ll see what they give us!

1 comment:

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