The rain came and washed them all away…
by Rock ‘n Roll Ghost
After leaving Lollapalooza on Saturday I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back on Sunday. Between the lack of personal space the day before, the rain already hitting the festival’s grounds and threat of more to come in the early evening, I didn’t think it would be worth the hassle.
However, a little while later, as if lightning went through me, I decided emphatically to go and enjoy myself. And, surprisingly, I did. Sunday was easily the best day of the weekend, with the best performances as well. There was room to breathe, even when areas of the festival were packed. The rain was a literal cleanser, mellowing things (there wasn’t much in the way of amped up testosterone bullshit to be found, despite the hip-hop/hard rock quotient being significantly higher than days past) and giving everyone pause, presumably, about going that day. The heat and humidity also seemed to slow people down instead of making them angry.
Walking in, I was able to hear the finale of Mumford & Sons‘ set. Amiable rock was had and it was definitely a relaxing way to start things off. I was there to see Yeasayer, however. It was only recently that I began liking this Brooklyn, NY band of experimental/psychedelic music. But luckily I “heard” them in time. Their set was magnificent – rhythmic and disjointed melodies with beautiful singing – all perfect for a festival setting. I was there for 3/4ths of their set but had to get to the other side of the field for Erykah Badu.
But on my way there I nabbed the final ten minutes of something extraordinary on the BMI stage. Violent Soho, from Australia, were rocking hard and the sound made me stop in my tracks, turn, and walk toward their stage. Bringing to mind the best sounds of alternative rock from the early 90s (not that Eve 6 shit), the band weren’t an homage or a novelty, but truly inspired by the era. The guitars shot through, the bass was real dirty, and everything was fast, fast, fast. The tune, “Jesus Stole My Girlfriend” was a particular highlight – invoking everything that would have made it a hit at the height of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains-era alt-rock. The song has got a pop hook, but with some real sharp teeth and a hard edge. I’m sold on these guys.
At first, it seemed as if perhaps Badu didn’t show as the stage’s sound system only played hip-hop tracks. But, fifteen minutes late, Badu came to the stage to provide a relaxing, mellow vibe to the hot, sticky day. Badu, in a stunningly colorful dress, hair golden and mohawked out, made everything alright – like the spiritual earth mother she is.
Managing to get real close to the Parkways stage for Wolfmother, I was rewarded with a smoking hot set of psychedelic hard rock from these Australian rockers. As I sat in the grass, rock just pouring over me, I drummed out every beat for every song I witnessed with my hands (you’d think my legs would be bruised from the intensity that I was hitting them).
The urge to finally eat hit me full force. Stopping first at Blue 13‘s booth, I grabbed the Asian Pork Belly Sliders with Kimchi-Cilantro Scallion Salad, Asian BBQ & Wasabi Cream. Aside from a couple of small issues, the sliders were full of flavor and it didn’t take long to wolf all three down. It was my first time eating Kimchi and Chef Chris Curren’s take on it was very bright in taste and something I’d love to try again. The pork belly was moist and tasty. I wish I could figure out how to cook mine like Curren’s.
I was still hungry, however (a sensation I hadn’t had much of Lollapalooza weekend surprisingly), so I grabbed a pork belly tostada (pork belly was used by a lot of the restaurants in Chow Town) at Big Star. The tostada was extraordinary in flavor. I started with a fork, grabbing some of the cilantro sprig on top, queso fresco cheese, pork belly chunk and refried beans – my mouth is watering just remembering it. After scraping everything off of the tostada, I folded it in half and enjoyed its crispness. Chef de cuisine Justin Large was manning the grill and the tostada was every bit as good as every item I’ve eaten at his restaurant before.
Not long after eating I popped in to the media area to see if anything was going on (sometimes there is, most times not) and managed to witness my first Perry Farrell sighting. After he checked out some clothes in Spin magazine’s tent, I found the nerve to say hello to the man. Finally!
As I ate, Cypress Hill came onstage and performed a bong-packed set of weed songs and weed talk. Definitely a lot of fun to hear, but anymore than an hour of weed songs would get tiring (especially to a non-weed smoker). I ate my food near the fence of Chow Town South and caught Chef Graham Elliot enjoying Cypress Hill‘s set with his booth’s volunteers/employees.
Finally it was time for Soundgarden. Fourteen years after the release of their last album, 1996′s Down On the Upside, this was one band that you could never be sure would ever reunite. But no rock band
stays broken up these days and here they were hitting the stage with a strong version of “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”. Drummer Matt Cameron, bassist Ben Shepherd and guitarist Kim Thayil laid down the heavy while Chris Cornell caterwauled over them. Though Cornell’s voice began showing signs of strain about forty-five minutes later, the band still thundered throughout the festival’s grounds, able to be heard all the way up to the north side where Arcade Fire were playing.
I was good after hearing classic Soundgarden tracks “Spoonman”, “Blow Up the Outside World”, “Rusty Cage” and “Fell On Black Days”, so I made my way over to Perry’s for one last shot of techno in the park before walking by Arcade Fire performing some of the more downbeat new material from The Suburbs, the band’s latest release. I didn’t mind not seeing Arcade Fire‘s set, despite hearing a lot of strong praise for it, as I’ve seen them twice before and would rather see them perform in a theater setting, anyways.
Goodbye Lollapalooza. I think I will come back next year after all. I’ll just make a point to remember how I put my head in the proper space on this last day.