Aug 7, 2007

Top Ten Performances at Lollapalooza 2007

Another humid weekend of music in Grant Park has come and gone, leaving us only fond memories of gigantic dragonflies and Dennis Rodman. Today I give you my personal favorites from the weekend, in descending order of awesomeness.

01. Pearl Jam (AT+T Stage, August 5th)
It won't quite compare to the legendary 1995 Soldier Field show, but as far I'm concerned this was the second best outdoor mega-Jam show I've ever seen. I knew things were going to be good when Eddie and the boys ripped into "Why Go" to start the show, and from there it only got better. Fireworks exploded over the stage as they tore through an extended "Even Flow". Then they pulled out "Crazy Mary" and a brand new anti-war jam during the two encores. But ending the weekend on the image of Eddie flashing peace signs atop the shoulders of Dennis Rodman was pure what the fuck genius.

02. Daft Punk (AT+T Stage, August 3rd)
Holy. Shit. Those are the only two words I could utter after this insane set assaulted my eyes and ears for an hour and a half. Really it was just two dudes in robot helmets pushing buttons in a pyramid surrounded by flashing lights... but come on, IT WAS TWO DUDES IN ROBOT HELMETS PUSHING BUTTONS IN A PYRAMID SURROUNDED BY FLASHING LIGHTS!!! The mashed-up approach really kept things exciting and the light show was brilliantly mesmerizing. Hell, they even managed to make the weak-ass Human After All songs sound good. If I wasn't going on my 17th year of rabid Pearl Jam fandom, this easily would have ruled the weekend for me.

03. LCD Soundsystem (MySpace Stage, August 3rd)
I've been digging on James Murphy jams for a couple years now, but I had no idea how well they would translate in the open air of Grant Park. Turns out that I didn't need to worry, they sounded fantastic. I've never seen so many white people dancing so awkwardly in my life before, but it was clear that the crowd was digging it. I was expecting them to close with "Daft Punk is Playing at My House", but "Yeah" was a much better choice - it simply killed.
04. The Hold Steady (MySpace Stage, August 4th)
This was my third time seeing these guys and I've still yet to witness a moment that was less than exhilarating. Craig Finn's pure joy and manic energy was catchy like bird flu and he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands the entire set.

05. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (AT+T Stage, August 4th)
Karen O is a rock and roll goddess that will seduce you, drain you, kill you, and eat your soul. All in the span of a three minute rock song. The entire band was on fire, but it was Karen who channeled the spirit of icons past and spit them back into the adoring crowd.

06. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (MySpace Stage, August 3rd)
Ted Leo is one of the hardest working musicians going right now, putting himself through a grueling tour schedule that has him bouncing all over the country seemingly without end. But you wouldn't have known that by his energetic set Saturday, he was as fresh and inspired as you could have ever expected him to be.

07. Iggy Pop and the Stooges (Bud Light Stage, August 5th)
To tell the truth, I only managed to catch the last twenty minutes or so of this set, but I think that was all I needed. To see Iggy writhing through the crowd and screaming his head off at age 60 (yeah, 60!) was a thrill. And inviting the crowd onstage to become his impromptu "Lollapalooza dancers" was probably the closest thing this entire festival got to being truly punk fucking rock.

08. Against Me! (Citi Stage, August 3rd)
Speaking of punks, these Floridians proved that the spark of punk rock rebellion hasn't been completely extinguished just yet. They tore through a fiery set and showed the doubters that punk rock is alive and well.

09. Interpol (Bud Light Stage, August 4th)
This was a sparsely attended set, at least compared with the veritable masses gathered at the other end of the park to witness Muse's headlining set (I swear to God, I never knew they had such a sizable Stateside following). Too bad for them, they missed a quality set by this NYC foursome. The set was merely "pretty good" for the first hour, but made a quick turn to "fantastic" as soon as they launched into the songs from their classic debut album.

10. Tapes N Tapes (MySpace Stage, August 4th)
The Minnesota bands were well represented on Saturday, but Tapes N Tapes weren't going to let the Hold Steady steal all the glory for their home state. Their set immediately had the early afternoon crowd moving along to the top moments from last year's The Loon, but it was the new material that really energized things and left fans wanting more.

Other worthy shout-outs: Yo La Tengo, Cold War Kids, Tokyo Police Club, My Morning Jacket, The Roots, TV on the Radio, The Rapture

Disappointments: M.I.A. (you know things are bad when your hype-woman has more stage presence than you do), Modest Mouse (not really the band's fault, but this was the shittiest sounding set of the weekend), Satellite Party (except the part when they played "Pets"), Silverchair (really I should have expected that one to kinda suck)