Lollapalooza 2007

United States United States | by Faith-Ann Young | 09 August 2007

Thus, this year, skyscrapers reverberate with sound and lights blink and glimmer to the live acts of Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, SilverChair, M.I.A, Iggy & the Stooges, Ben Harper, Interpol and My Morning Jacket.

As the event starts the crowds pack in to watch Ghostland Observatory, The Polyphonic Spree, Sparklehorse and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Midday, the Sri-Lankan-raised Brit rapper M.I.A. spews her off-the-cuff, Ragga Electronic rap from a weary throat. Meanwhile, Silversun Pickups’ drill out their dream-like LA-spun distorted guitar sounds.  They may not be of the ‘brand-spankin-new’ or ‘repeat all-day every day thank you’ genus but their live show induced the audience into meditative head-bobbing and brow-furrowed introspection.

Always a charmer, G. Love and Special Sauce delivers favourites like ‘Cold Beverage’ and ‘Baby’s Got Sauce’ to a chanting audience. Perry Farrell, who founded Lollapalooza back in 1991 while still a member of Jane’s Addiction, rocks out divinely with his band Satellite Party (though several complain that the Jane’s Addiction covers are distracting). Electronic king James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem bounds around onstage with a thumping dance punk performance even in daylight.

As the first day draws to a close, the always pleasant, Ben Harper appeals to the crowds with soothing, sweet acoustic lulls. Predictably, the highlight of the day is the electro pop robot demons Daft Punk and their chaotic, synthesized beats. I have to pinch my arm to convince myself, no, I’m not tripping, despite the cult-like undulating crowd and space-ship semblance of the set. 

As the second day unravels Satin Peaches, Pete Yorn, and Tapes n Tapes all play early sets. The other hung-over souls and I arrive just in time to relish an electrifying, rock-out-like-its-1995 performance by the Australian band Silverchair. Lead singer, Daniel Johns, is in the Spin Tent after the show and he says he was happy to be back on tour after a hiatus. Judging from the crowd, so are his manifold fans.

Even the cool kids with their blu-blockers end up ruining their kicks in the rain to see the young sovereign princes of new wave rock, Cold War Kids. The boys seem to enjoy playing as much as their audience enjoys watching. Guitarist Jonnie Russell and bassist Matt Maust riff together like young chums while Nathan Willet hops from microphone to piano to guitar with ease while belting hits like ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’.

Karen O saunters on the stage appropriately geared as Dracula’s bride for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs set. The performance, as always live, is an adrenaline-enraged high-speed ride. As the sun sets the rain deters many from fully trooping through mud to Interpol. But thousands get lost in Muse’s wonderland of arpeggiated guitar and ethereal compilations.

Exhaustion pervades most attendees’ paces and faces as day three kicks in. Regardless, Lupe Fiasco manages to get his Chicago fans in uproar on the AT & T stage, where he unleashes three new including ‘Superstardom’ as he shares the stage with rapper Gemini. Does anyone else appreciate the irony of Amy Winehouse singing ‘Rehab’ while she is wading in a size 0 dress? I love the girl and her ability to bring us back to the 1960s with or without a beehive - but she needs to eat. I would like to see her perform for years to come.

The Adidas stage is again bad luck for some performers as Paolo Nutini struggles as much as Regina Spektor had the day before to capture the audience. Thankfully, Ben Harper leaps onto the tiny Kidapalooza stage to play a surprise show with kids’ tiny little hands waving in the air as he strummed. Priceless.

A shirtless Iggy Pop allows floods of guests onstage, as he does every show - swell. The new Australian-New York Band MINK, currently touring with Satellite Party, are a surprise Sunday delight, with a hard rock edge and catchy hooks. Dynamic frontman Neal Carlson leaps wails, and winks at the audience, as bubbles float through the air. His band mates’ riff on electric guitars and rumble on bass as blood-covered circus performers’ frisk on stage to drummer Stella’s infectious beats. At day end, fireworks fill the sky as Pearl Jam roar on the AT & T Stage with Eddie Vedder adlibbing to Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick on the Wall’.

By definition, Lollapalooza means “an impressive or wonderful person or thing.”  That being said, I think that wiry filament of energy, Perry Farrell should pat himself on his back right now. Asides from some no-shows (CSS we missed you!), the August heat-wave mixed wonderfully with the sporadic showers and the ludicrous distance between one end of the festival to another (next year, I am petitioning for a golf cart or free beer mile marks); Lolla fulfilled its goal of showcasing impressive, wonderful people and things.

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Photographer: Faith-Ann Young

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