Friday, August 03, 2007

Lollapalooza 2007 (Day 0)

We have arrived in Chicago, we've been to a Wrigleyville bar, and we're ready to roll for tomorrow!

I’m pretty sure I haven’t been to a concert since last year’s Lolla. Many factors at work there: sporting events and lots of discretionary purchases (new Mac, Wii) draining the spending pool, not a lot of good shows in the mid-Missouri area, et cetera. In other words, I’m going to make Lolla count this year.

Granted, there’s actually an interesting Blues & Roots Festival in Columbia in September (Taj Mahal and North Mississippi Allstars, plus Blind Boys of Alabama, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, and RL Burnside’s grandson!), not to mention Wilco coming to town, but still. There’s an unbelievable Lolla lineup this year, and plenty to write about. Call this my freelance music writing audition.

A couple weeks ago, Rolling Stone put out a list of their “20 Best Live Bands Playing Right Now”, and Lollapalooza’s got 6 of the 20.

3. Pearl Jam (performing on Sunday)
8. My Morning Jacket (Sunday)
9. The Hold Steady (Saturday)
13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Saturday)
17. Muse (Saturday)
20. LCD Soundsystem (Friday)

That’s not too shabby. Adding in The Roots (who have been in my Top 5 Best Live Bands for 5-10 years now and are criminally left off of this list), and that’s seven acts with major live reputations (and strangely enough, their performances come basically in ascending order).

And that gives me something to write about.

What makes a good live act? You can't really apply a formula to it by any means (trust me--I'm a numbers guy...I've tried). Any list that contains Metallica and Flaming Lips or Gogol Bordello and Dave Matthews Band is a list with about 26 different criteria. An overt amount of charisma (U2) or celebration (Flaming Lips) or attitude (White Stripes) or full sound (Muse) or...well, whatever it is that DMB has, can get you a spot on the list. A quick look at the list of Lolla groups above (and The Roots) reveals seven bands completely different in every way--genre, style, charisma, talent. etc. Focusing on these bands (while seeing about 79 others) should be a pretty strong conversation point.

Oh, and my buddy Walsh forgot his razor, but that's okay, he says...he's growing a Lolla Beard! On Lolla Day 0, here's where his stubble stands:

I'll keep you posted.

Add to Technorati Favorites