August 8 2011
It's Monday, the day after the longest three day stretch of walking I've done since a cash-strapped trip I took to Europe in 2002, and I'm wearing black and lamenting the loss of my youth. Not like I'm old or anything, it's just that after a weekend of Lollapalooza, I was reminded of how young the scene always was. Actually, it was as invigorating as it was young, this year's Lollapalooza in Grant Park in the heart of downtown Chicago featured a lot of artists, many of whom we feature on 88Nine. This year, I got to go down there and cover some of them and came back with the proof.
And boy was I busy, so busy that a couple of posts I intended to write got put off till today and pictures didn't hit facebook till yesterday. Today, in true Monday form, is my moment to catch up here with you all and share some of what happened with me down at Chicago... But first check out the slide-show...
Got in to Chicago late Thursday, and was up early on Friday for the media check-in and for the opening round of interviews. Plus, I was simply pumped. Lollapalooza, now in its 20th year is one of the biggest, most respected music festivals in the country and this was actually the very first time I've ever been. Matter of fact, apart from Summerfest and one summer in Hookaville, I'd never been to a festival on this scale before.
Getting in to Lolla early on Friday was no problem, it was the night before that was as nerve-wracking as being ten years-old on Christmas eve. I couldn't sleep but didn't want to stay up so late that I'd be tired. Glad that I did, though sleep is what I got little of, daydreaming about all the great music that was going to be there all weekend. Bands that we play here on 88Nine like City And Colour, Reptar, Fitz & The Tantrums, Ximena Sarinana, My Morning Jacket, Coldplay and more. Plus, artists that I've only dreamed of seeing that I play on Sound Travels like Los Bunkers, Damian Marley, Iration, Collie Buddz, Chico Trujillo and Ana Tijoux. Then there were intriguing bands that I knew only on reputation or not at all, like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, MUSE, Pretty Lights, Deluka and Manchester Orchestra.
After taking a tour of the grounds and checking out some of the opening acts for the day (notably Narcisse, who was DJ-ing at Perry's Tent and let everybody know how excited he was to be there, by telling us all exactly how high he could jump (pretty high I guess)), I was on to the media tent for an opening round of interviews that was set to start with Collie Buddz in the afternoon.
The media area is a like a muddy catwalk where artists are heralded by media even as they are ushered to-and-fro by management and label reps eager to introduce their artists to everyone. Photographers and journalists everywhere, and me...trying to fit in. It would take a bit, but by the end of the weekend, this whole thing would seem far less daunting. I waited and waited, but no Collie Buddz-- my first blow-off. Disheartened but not defeated, I literally walked towards the exit only to run into a band I'd seen a little earier in the day that we also play here at 88Nine, Reptar. Reptar is a band I could easily envision having come from Riverwest. Young, fun and dressed in bright colors and interesting haberdashery, here's what they had to say to me...
Almost on the heels of my very first interview, I caught a glimpse of some cats doing a sit-down interview with a station I can no longer recall. After inquiring, I realized I had Ireland's Two Door Cinema Club in front of me. A couple of inquiries later I was talking and walking with the lead singer as they made their way to the stage for their performance. Now I was feeling like a reported sorting through the story. Though they had very little time for an actual conversation, I did get them to talk a bit about the tour and how they were adapting to being so far from home and about how hot it was (pushing 90 degrees I believe) and how rough that is on a ginger like himself...
Two Door Cinema Club
My last interview of the first day, was my favorite. Ana Tijoux, a Chilean rapper who has been making some serious moves lately, touring with just about all the hottest Latin acts around, was doing her thing at the festival and I'd already seen her devastate a crowd of kids who probly didn't know her or the Spanish she was rapping in, with verse after verse of charged language that almost needs no translation for the swagger she performs it with and beats impeccably boom-bappin like a lost hip hop classic from far south of our borders.
She was beautiful, and the only person I talked with all weekend that really seemed like someone I would hang out with (go figure she was one of the more famous). And we rapped for what seemed like a long time, talking about music and other cosmic ideas. Switching into French, then back to Spanish and on to what this life thing is about; we were like wizards trading spells of knowledge and power. Fabulous stuff...until I realized the recorder had run out of batteries and by the time I got the spares in there, she only had time to say this to me...
The second day seemed to grow hotter than even the first, but the crowds will forever be there, as long as it's a Lollapalooza and there's something hotter to see. This day was amazing as well and I had a chance to connect with Fitz & The Tantrums after a high-energy show on a stage that easily rivaled our biggest stages at Summerfest. They too were remarkably nice and I hung out with the bassist for a long time till Fitz showed up and we got to talking about, their album, Summerfest and their upcoming appearance at Rock The Green this September...
Fitz & The Tantrums
Only two interviews on Saturday, and the second with Mexican actress-turned-singer Ximena Sarinana proved to be a pleasant surprise. A very sweet girl who is at least as sharp of wit as she is charming. We talked a bit about about the this-and-that of her career thus far and even a bit about her why she dicided to get into music in the middle of a successful acting career...
Sunday, the last day of this epic festival, was a day of contrasts. At times blessedly cool while at others as hot as the previous two days. The skies would open a couple of times during the day and douse the city, and the second time it came down, I was lucky; mainly because I'd gotten an opportunity to interview Dallas Green of City And Colour about the new album and about writing songs...
Dallas Green of City And Colour