|PHOTO BY JASON GONULSEN|
Alright, people, I have a lot of things to say about this year's Lollapalooza, which was once again held at historic Grant Park in Chicago. And I'm gonna make this easy to read, so we're talking a big ol' listicle for your brains. But before I begin, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who controlled a soundboard, put up a fence, served me free water, Connie's Pizza, the seagulls flying over Buckingham Fountain, C3 and Fresh and Clean Media, Ryn Weaver (more on that later), and...dammit...let's just get to the listicle.
1. Even though these memories are not in any order, let me start by saying how amazing Paul McCartney was on Friday evening. You might say that's a given, but I'm not so sure about that -- I've seen Sir Paul twice before, and while those shows were very good, they were simply too long. That is probably nit picking, but it's best that he ditches the flat version of "The Long and Winding Road" and edits his future sets to mimic his 2 hour and 15 minute Lollapalooza set. I mean, what a difference! No, he doesn't need to play every freaking Beatles song. We just need moments like when he invited Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard on stage for "Get Back." The pyro during "Live and Let Die" remained, and that is always welcome. Also, Paul was funny: normally he only gives canned dialogue, but he did reference the booming EDM stage as "that shit over there." It was a once-in-a-lifetime set by one of the greatest. Thank you, Sir Paul.
2. Mandy Lee of MisterWives will be a star. There is not a doubt in my mind that what I saw on the Sprint Stage was one of the best sets of Lollapalooza, and it was all because of the female-led power of Miss Mandy Lee. I couldn't tell you one song title of theirs, but that will change in the next few weeks, as I'm now ready to explore.
3. Stockholm's Tove Lo, I'm guessing, is already a star, and for good reason. Her performance of "Not on Drugs" was downright, how should I say this, revealing. This kind of sultry behavior continued during "My Gun," where she kept singing "do it gently...gently...gently...gently...gently..." I might have blushed.
4. Let's just keep talking about sex-related things, shall we? Okay, Ryn Weaver, as if I didn't before, I love you now. In the interest of full disclosure, she sort of walked up to me and put her, uh, "female parts" right up in my Nikon lens. I'm pretty sure this was during "Pierre," but I sort of lost track of time and all reality in those few seconds, so you'll have to forgive me. I missed "Traveling Song" because I had to hustle to another stage, but if you haven't heard that one, listen now. And watch the video; seriously: you will cry. "And I know what you'd say, you'd say on with the show...so on we go."
5. Catfish and the Bottlemen know how to command the biggest stage at Lolla at 12:45pm. They blasted off with one of their best songs, "Kathleen," and didn't let up until they were done with "Cocoon." Lead singer Van McCann isn't fazed by the big time, and I loved how he pronounced Bottlemen as "bah-uhl-mun." Cheers to you, Van.
6. Charli XCX is some kind of firecracker. She fake-played a blow-up air guitar, air-humped the back of a camera man, flipped off the crowd during "Sucker," and totally owned "I Love It," which as you might know, she wrote in the first place. It's time she gets some glory she deserves.
7. Sam Smith had young women hyperventilating behind me. He choose a ballad -- "Leave Your Lover" -- for his third song, and his voice was absolutely stunning. Also: no one looked happier to be at Lolla than Sam Smith. Dude has a perma-smile, and it came off as genuine.
8. Before the weather evacuation on Sunday, there was the hometown Twin Peaks destroying the Sprint Stage. Lead singer Cadien Lake James flew around the stage, mostly while his eyes were rolled to the back of his head. I totally overlooked their Wild Onion album from last year, so do yourself a favor and give it a spin.
9. Twenty One Pilots. I don't know how they do it, but their sound is absolutely unique, and I hate writing that word. But two songs in and it was obvious: what they're doing couldn't possibly be replicated by another to produce the same (or even similar) effect.
10. Florence + the Machine, as you probably know, had their set shortened due to lightning, but what I saw, which included "Ship To Wreck" and "Shake It Out" was absolutely terrific. I'll even say it was one of the best concert moments I've seen this year. Go see Florence Welch sing, and you won't be the same.