To Walk 3 Miles in Grant Park
Hello lassies and ladykillers, I am officially back from the dead!
My mini-cation to Chicago for Lollapalooza was just phenomenal. The experience began Saturday night, a night as cold as all other Chicago summer nights, when across Lake Shore Drive, the words "Smeared black ink..." rang through the air. The Postal Service hammered the Magnificent Mile with deep throbs of a pulsating synth tone, playing Give Up front to back, for good reason. Ben Gibbard (also of Death Cab for Cutie, a favorite band of mine) said faintly before ending the show with an encore performance of "Such Great Heights": "Not only will this be the last song of the tour, it will also be our last song ever."
But that was all, of course, during the set of another favorite: Mumford & Sons! Their set was actually quite short, but killer. My listening experience began with "Winter Winds", the third song in their set as I later found out, and it was LOUD, even across a busy street. There were a couple numbers that surprised me with their appearance: "Timshel" (very emotional), "Thistle & Weeds", and "Dust Bowl Dance", which I heard as I walked away from their stage and onwards to hear the Postal Service's final hurrah.
The following morning, I was eager to get to the festival to hear this new band that had, surprisingly, never crossed my path: Palma Violets. The name sounded oh-so pretentious, which honestly made me curious, because sometimes pretension is fun! When I arrive in the thick of the crowd to hear them rock, however, they were nothing close to pretentious; no, they slayed it. During their last song of the gig, "14", the bassist jumped straight into the crowd, sprayed water all over the first five rows, and screamed into the mic for a solid minute. It was intense.
(And, for my next trick, I will make all the indie fans SEETHE WITH JEALOUS RAGE)
Okay, Palma Violets was awesome, so in hopes of keeping the music buzz strong, I observed Jake Bugg play some new material from the nearest stage. He served as a solid opener for the super-talented, super-bearded, EXTREMELY-LOUD Alex Clare, who ended with the most slamming rendition of "Too Close" to date. I mean, it was some serious soul-dubstep action going on. It was so slammin', in fact, that I was cool with waiting an hour for... wait for the ellipses... TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB. Yeah, they rocked. They kicked the concert off with some back-to-back hits ("Sleep Alone" and "Undercover Martyn") and just rolled along the awesome path from there. Other notable songs included "Eat That Up, It's Good For You", "Next Year", and "Something Good Can Work". But they didn't stop until, thirteen songs in, the signature B-minor chord rang out across the festival grounds. Time stopped as the crowd sang the chorus of "What You Know" before they began the proper number. THAT'S when I knew the rest of the day would be amazing.
Well, the show ended after some more bouncing, dancing, and fist-pumping, because all good things must end. But I knew I couldn't disengage festival mode; I told my dad to be aggressive and save us a spot to see the Cure, who wouldn't go on stage for another two-and-a-half hours. So we split up, him going to save spots for the Cure (while also seeing Grizzly Bear, apparently in the tenth row!) and myself staying for Vampire Weekend. After an hour of painful anticipation, Ezra Koenig finally took the stage, and the rest of the band fell into place to open with the rollicking "Cousins". They didn't even take time to say "hello" until after crowd-favorite "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", after which he duly introduced himself and the band, adding that he was excited to play songs from their excellent new album Modern Vampires of the City. This, of course, led to an ADRENALINE-PUMPING "Diane Young", which got me geek-dancing. After the newer stuff (and "Horchata", a song they didn't play frequently on the new tour), Ezra had the following to say.
Good evening Chicago! We love playing here at Lollapalooza, considering we come [to Chicago] at least once every summer. You know, we're from New York, which has a lot in common with your city: lots of big-ass buildings... lots of half-Irish, half-Italian people... but we don't have any music festivals. So we want to make our time at this festival special for everyone, so if you could all kindly dance hard to this one.
Naturally, that went straight into "A-Punk". More geek-dancing, so much more.
Though it seemed as if the band never wanted to leave, I had to meet up with my dad at the Cure's stage in a mere fifteen minutes. In this time, the band played "Ya Hey" (a new one), an early b-side ("Ladies of Cambridge"), and "Campus" from their debut. After the last of those three, I planned on maneuvering through the huge crowd and out towards Buckingham Fountain, but this synth note continued from the end of "Campus" into something. Well, that something turned out to be my favorite Vampire Weekend something: "Oxford Comma". I was content with ending my Vampire Weekend experience with that.
So, after a good fifteen minute walk from one end of the fairgrounds to the other, I arrived to meet my dad to the sounds of Beach House, who was playing nearby. Thankfully, they ended within twenty minutes, which meant the big guns were finally coming out: the Cure was going to end this show with a bang. I won't say much about them other than 1. "Friday I'm In Love" was the best song of the entire day, and 2. They ended big with "Boys Don't Cry", which got me jumping.
As I lose steam to carry on my lengthy journal, I'll conclude by saying it was an amazing experience, surreal and divine rolled into one. It was a day I'll never forget and cherish forever. Just because good things end doesn't mean they end...