Friday, August 6, 2010

Lolla: Wrapping up day one

I'm in that post-festival day pain where I kinda want to chop off my own feet. But it was worth it for day one.

At the end of the day, I caught the Black Keys, a few songs from Jimmy Cliff, a few more from Lady Gaga and the Strokes' full headlining set. It meant a ton of walking around (hence the sore feet), but I'll live.

The Black Keys were spectacular, putting on a bluesy, fun, energetic performance with two guys that the Wavves, for one, failed to get even close to with three dudes and a lot of buzz.

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney whizzed through several songs before bringing in a bassist and keyboard player for some extra thump for new songs including "Everlasting Light" and "My Next Girl." A few songs later, the other dudes left the stage for Auerbach and Carney to finish up.

I marched over to catch Jimmy Cliff, the rock and roll hall of famer that has countless hits. Backed by an 8-piece band, the 62-year-old Cliff has more energy than most of the 20-somethings running around on other stages during the day. Clad in a white jumpsuit, Cliff pushed through a bunch of reggae tunes while he danced, jigged and kicked like a wildman.

I peaced out after a few songs (and before my favorite Cliff tune, "Many Rivers To Cross") to head to the other end of the festival to catch Lady Gaga. One crazy thing going on at Lolla is the seven or so stages, meaning that at any given time, up to four or five groups could be performing at once. It means you really have to pick and choose who you want to see.

For me, it meant skipping the rest of Cliff's set to catch a glimpse of Gaga. She's not exactly my thing, but I do enjoy her and she's really talented. The folks at the fest were all ready for Gaga, covered in spandex, paint, masks, headdresses and all sorts of other weird garb.

Her show was an interesting one for Lolla. Most headliners have a pretty straight up set, the kind of big production with lights and such you'd see at an arena. Gaga's performance was more like a theater production with tons of dancers, stages and set pieces and even a car whose hood opened up and contained a piano.

I caught about four songs, which included "Just Dance" and "I'm A Free Bitch, Baby." It was entertaining, but once again, not really my thing.

The Strokes were a complete contrast. Instead of weird speeches about being a "superfreak," Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas went on about being at Lollapalooza and how excited he was to play their first gig in the States in quite awhile.

They played the usual bouncy Strokes songs, but it was a treat for me because I had never seen them before. Even though they're supposedly making a new album, I didn't notice any new tracks. Then again, I'm not an expert on the band's catalog.

It was a good end to the day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Bands on my list tomorrow: Rogue Wave, Blues Traveler, The xx, Social Distortion, Green Day and a few others.

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I regret saying that I don't have any photos for you. I've been taking a lot of pictures (and video), but having technical difficulties getting them onto my computer from the camera.

Hopefully I can work up a solution tomorrow.

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