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August 11, 2011

Windy City Dispatch: 2011 Lollapalooza 20th Anniversary Review

by @thoughtontracks

“People dancing, people laughing

A man selling ice cream

Singing Italian songs

Eh curare! Itza nice Ey!

Can you dig it (yes, I can)

And I’ve been waiting such a long time

For Saturday

Saturday in the park”

 Chicago, “Saturday in the Park” off their 1972 album Chicago V

My experience from Lollapalooza was just that: A Saturday in the Park but I was wishing it was Pitchfork instead of the Fourth of July.  DO NOT get me wrong.  Lollapalooza is a grand time with a myriad of bands to chose from, but the convenience of a Saturday stroll is out of the question.

The distance between the Music Unlimited and the Bud Light (two main stages) is costly. Game plans and band map out sessions need to be considered very strategically.  At Pitchfork you could see the completion of a set and do not have to worry about stressing over missing the beginning of the next.  The beast that is Lollapalooza controls you and causes you to make quick decisions based on if you are “feelin’ or not” because of location.  I have been going since the beginning of college and enjoy how big the crowds are but intimacy is cherished after a day in Grant Park.

I drove up to Chicago on Friday to catch the Local Natives / Walk the Moon set at Lincoln Hall on Friday and my only ambition was to catch Saturday at Lollapalooza and head back to Indianapolis before My Morning Jacket on Sunday.  One and done in the festival scene and believe me….I got all I needed.

Comfort and convenience aside, I had a splendid time seeing some great live bands.  Many of which I had been waiting to see for a long time which was an added bonus.

My day:

1:00 PM – J Roddy Walston and the Business – Playstation Stage

2:30 PM – Phantogram – Sony Stage

3:15 PM – Friendly Fires – Bud Light Stage

4:30 PM – Dom – Google+ Stage….side: Only saw a song or two. I saw their after show on Saturday night so it was not priority. Food and bathroom were paramount at this point

5:45 PM – Drums – Google+ Stage

6:30 PM – Local Natives – Sony Stage

8:15 PM – Lykke Li – Google+ Stage

9:45 PM – Beirut – Google+ Stage

I just realized I saw more bands than I thought after compiling this list.  Totaling out at 8 is a very good day.  I will bet my life I would not have been able to do this if I had gone on Friday.

Key notes:

  1. The crowd at Local Natives was the biggest crowd of the day that I noticed.  It brought a tear to my eye that a band I had been following since the beginning was finally it.
  2. The Friendly Fires show was a sweatbox.  They came with energy and I was thrilled they delivered.  A dance circle was created by my crew. It took off.  About 20 strangers participating in a jig fest to a band we all love – Can’t beat that
  3. Sarah Barthel from Phantogram might be the hottest Alt chick out there
  4. Beirut was not as cool as I expected
  5. Lykke Li owns me

Thank you Lollapalooza.  It was another Saturday in the park but next time I’ll be waiting for July (Pitchfork Festival 2o12)

Written and experienced by Brett McGrath

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