REVIEW: Lollapalooza 2012
Posted on August 8, 2012 by ChuckTaylor
Once again, Lolla had almost EVERYTHING this year and once again, it was special.
I don’t know where to start. So I’ll start at the beginning, occasionally fast forwarding to later in the story and then coming back and going off track… or something. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.
I’m not gonna lie, I actually wasn’t super pumped for Lolla this year. Last year was AMAZING. I know I over-use that word but it really was. There was over a dozen bands I REALLY wanted to see and it was my first time and I was with a massive group of friends and we drunkenly sang Foo Fighters’ My Hero in the pissing down rain for my fondest festival memory of all time. It was the perfect storm or awesomeness. This year? I wasn’t as into the lineup, my Chicagoan buddies were in Europe and D, my partner in crime was stuck in L.A. working for the man. I was thinking about not even reviewing the damn thing. I gave up on it before it started.
But you know what? Lolla pulled it off man. Chicago fuckin pulled it off, man.
FRIDAY – Day 1. Beer 1. That beer took as long to down as it did to write the word Friday. Chicago summers are HOT. Sometimes, it’s like God is urinating in your eye. This weekend was no different. The second I entered Grant Park’s historic grounds and laid eyes on the Married With Children fountain, I was like a kid in a candy store but it had to be beer first, The White Panda at Perry’s stage second. Perry’s stage is awesome by the way, if you’re a dance-music type outfit (and not headlining) you are probably playing there and for the festival goer that has ants in his pants, you can dance your blues away for 30 hours during Lolla. So I started there and The White Panda, at 1pm on a Friday, had this massive crowd losing it to their insanely well done mash-ups so before I even joined the crowd that second beer was done and I was struggling to dance because I had turned into Chris Kattan’s character in A Night At The Roxbury “what’s up?”-ing all the girls.
Soon after that I found a mate and her friends in time for Zedd, Madeon and Die Antwood for more dancing non-sense (shout out to T-Mobile for actually sending my messages this year. AT&T you were gay last year bro). There was a guy in the crowd jamming out wearing a horse’s head. He must’ve died in that thing. After losing those guys and finding a couple other mates, M83 and The Shins were all a bit of a blur as the copious amounts of alcohol, skirt chasing and general buffoonery had me rolling around in the grass for them. Besides, I had bigger problems, Black Sabbath and The Black Keys were clashing at the two main stages. The thing about Grant Park is that it’s HUGE and the main stages are quite a long way from each other. Never the less, I HAD to hear Ozzy and I HAD to hear Lonely Boy. So we checked out Sabbath in all their glory, got all obnoxious and in peoples faces during Iron Man then sped off to catch The Black Keys deliver Lonely Boy (which hits a little too close to home for me). But seriously, Black Sabbath, re-united, were awesome, they really rocked and despite their advancing age they owned the stage and I’m really glad I saw them before Ozzy becomes a hologram.
SATURDAY – Day 2. Repeat bit about fast beer drinking. My friend decided upon entry that her ass was a little too visible so she went to find less exciting clothes while I shared a dollar with Aloe Blacc. God I love that guy. Seriously. He makes me so happy. He always puts on such a great show. After re-uniting with B1 and B2 we started walking somewhere and one of them remarked “I can’t hear any music, that’s weird” but we shrugged it off. Then the notification from the Lolla app came down “Severe weather warning for Chicago area. Evacuate Grant Park IMMEDIATELY”. No. Fucking. Way. We tried to fight it. We hit the wine tent in search of shelter from the storm but they were pulling wine bottles off the shelves like the Mayans were right or something. I was devastated. We were about to watch B.o.B. the only artist I REALLY wanted to see that I hadn’t see live already. What we got instead was actually pretty cool. 100,000 half or fully drunk Lollapaloozans marching around the streets of downtown Chicago looking for their next fix. It was sick. Shout out to the Roosevelt Auditorium Theatre for opening their usually-closed-on-saturday-afternoon doors and filling us with Beer, Vodka and $2 mystery shots. That’s where we met Hans, Jerry who spells her name like a dude and Cass, who all ended up sticking with us for the following day and a half. Isn’t that awesome? Our own little Lolla family. The storm came. It rained dogs and cats, idiots tempted fate running the streets, the storm cleared and by 6 we were good to return. Re-entering grant park felt like Christmas morning. You could feel the excitement just oozing out of everyone. First up we caught Fun. I was still a little pissy for missing B.o.B. so I wasn’t really getting into it and most of the crowd was just standing around too. It was pretty clear we all came to hear “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” because when they jammed those out everyone went nuts. It was official. Lollapalooza had re-started.
Then it was Franz Ferdinand on the main stage who were the surprise packet of the weekend as I hadn’t seen them for 8 years and I was kind of sleeping on them. They set me straight and took me out alright. A quick pop over to Perry’s to bounce to Calvin Harris and then off to see the Chili Peppers. Now, these are THE Chili Peppers so they did what they do. They took care of business. Festival moment of the weekend had to be raging in post-storm mud, hands in the sky, singing along to one of the top 20 songs of all time, “Under The Bridge”. Sensational. Thank you Chili Willies… But my appetite for happiness was insatiable so Jerry and I bolted over to catch the end of Avicii and wouldn’t you know it, we got to hear him remix Levels with that Gotye song. Perfect. What a day.
SUNDAY – Day 3. We’re doing this again. God damn I was feeling my age by this point. Our Lolla family opted for the chilled out start jamming to some sick blues by Gary Clark Jr. then The Sheepdogs at the awesome little BMI stage under a bunch of heavenly trees and then Of Monsters and Men. Unfortunately we didn’t hear Little Talks, neither did lots of other people as tonnes bailed to go see Florence and her machine on the main stage. She was really good, but I think at this point it’s like, of course she was. She was at that level. Shake it off seemed to be a crowd favourite which they messed around with at the end and turned it all into Florence meets Avicii which was really cool and a nice little segway into the upcoming Justice set who headlined at the same time as Jack White. I cannot go a day without listening to Newlands so Justice it was… Awesome, it was. WE. ARE. YOUR. FRIENDS.
But… you see, it’s not just the Music. It never is with these things. It’s rocking up to Chicago thinking I don’t even fuckin know anyone going to this thing. Then finding out your friend’s friends are going and they’re really cool. It’s meeting 600 new strangers throughout the weekend. It’s about weird conversations and interactions. It’s about meeting a chick with a tattoo of BARBARA STREISAND on her arm. It’s about storms that almost ruin your day and instead you meet some more legends that you spend the rest of your weekend with. It’s about new friends. It’s about the food, oh fuck is the food amazing. It’s about boneless ribs and pulled pork sandwiches and honey chicken tenders and deep dish pizza and Italian Beef. It’s about seeing 3,000 NBA jerseys but not one Heat jersey. It’s about losing everyone during the last gig, them getting on the train at Jackson, you at Monroe and then hearing someone call your name because it’s them, on the same fucking train carriage. It’s about seeing that Lolla wristband on every second person in Chicago when you’re getting breakfast before heading down. It’s about a full weekend of love and happiness hanging with some of the biggest musicians in the world, the funnest people in Chicago, your favourite songs and the most amazing city skyline in the world as the back drop to this amazing experience. Thank you Chicago. Thank you Lollapalooza.
August 2-4 2013. You know what to do.
All images from Lolla flickr site