Hipster Paradise

It’s been a busy week as I gather back together all the parts of my life that exploded last weekend with the culmination of so many months of planning and anticipating and mix taping. Lollapalooza ’08. It was yet another weekend of living inside my iPod, body surrounded by music at every corner of Grant Park.

The overwhelming feeling that comes with trying to see 130 bands over 3 days was curbed by the accompaniment of my two rock and roll tour guides; Boutit (for a complete band-by-band run down of who we saw, please enjoy Boutit’s blog.) and my alter ego/sister Andrea. Between the three of us, we had a full schedule to tackle over the 3 days. An added challenge was staying cool. Because Mother Nature has a sense of humor, Aug 1-3 happened to be the 3 hottest days of the summer. The sun and sweat was relentless. Hours under the cloudless sky and weaving in and out of the largest crowd to ever hit the park (225,000 people total for the weekend) made for a very uncomfortable few days. Unfortunately, this personally put a damper on the weekend. Constantly whipping the sweat off my face and making sure I always had some cold water to drink, trying to stick together as we made our way from one end of the park to the other along with a hurricane of people moving in all directions and reading the schedule at the same time took away from some of the magic of the festival.

But I’m no Debbie Downer when it comes to music so aside from being a baby wah wah about the weather and crowd conditions it was a weekend of discovering new bands, people watching, and jump jump jumping around jump around. The crowds were the most entertaining part of the weekend for me. The shear number of people that swarmed the city for the music was enough to give me chills even in the heatwave. The carpet of people that covered the mile long park was a picture of a culture of escapism, getting lost in the wave of the music, wanting for even just a weekend to forget the everyday life of responsiblity and boredom. Everyone filled their days with music from every corner of the world and every genre, simple tasks of bathing, eating, and dressing back burnered in exchange for squirt guns and hula hoops. It was hipster mecca with robes of skinny jeans and crowns of sweat bands, neon green and pink sunglasses protecting from the glare of the desert sun over Lake Michigan. The one image that formed in my mind that, even though I never got to fly overhead and see, will always sum up the spectrum of music that was played was an aerial view of the park at 8:30 Sunday night when Kanye West was putting on a flashing lights show at the south end of the park while Nine Inch Nails got closer to god at the north end.

Other high points in the weekend included:

-CSS and their neon costumes

-The crowd cheering during Black Keys when the sun went behind the only cloud in the sky

-Lupe Fiasco’s Rocky-esque entrance, including a back flip on stage.

-Discovering 3 new bands to download and love: Mates of State, Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s, and What Made Milwaukee Famous

-Seeing a star being born when MGMT introduced themselves as Radiohead, and believing them by the size of the turnout for their show.

-Living a fantasy watching DJ Momjeans (more commonly known as Hyde from That 70’s Show). Learning that in order to be in his entourage you must wear a fedora.

-Placing bets on when the lead singer of Steel Train would fall off the stage during his schizophrenic guitar solos.

-Trying not to look away when confronted with the hairy chested P-Thugg of Chromeo

-Turning the stage into an irish pub when Flogging Molly took the stage.

-Seeing Girl Talk for the 3rd time (one, two, three) this year. GT having to stop the party to let everyone know they had to get off the stage because they were bending it. Seeing my sister crowd surf over my head. GT rafting across the audience at the end of his set.

-Missing the memo that Lollapalooza was a memorial concert for Jounrey. Girl Talk, Gnarls Barkley, and Kayne all paid homage to the band.

-Tearing up when Kanye sang “Homecoming” to the city we all love.

There were a lot of stark contrasts between this festival and Rothbury (the audience, the pace, the heat, the groove, the Sherwood forest), but both left me satisfied and smiling (that’s what she said)


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