Best Banter: Smallpools
“Do you guys ever google yourselves? Yeah? Well we google our band name all the time, and mostly we’re the first thing that comes up, but the second most popular result is these articles against keeping killer whales in small pools. So we dedicated a song to them – this song is called killer whales.”
Best outfit: Phosphorescent
Matthew Houck had a dilemma on his hands on Saturday – he was playing Lollapalooza and he did.not.have.a.thing.to.wear. He was literally on his knees, in tears, at 2:00pm, fifteen minutes before his set was to start, with tears streaming down his face at the impropriety of having to play shirtless. Then hark! His eyes alighted upon boxes of his own swag. Hey man, where better to pub your band than at a music festival right? You were rocking that shirt Matt.
Worst set ending: Benjamin Booker
Booker played an amazing set, after which he smashed his guitar to bits on stage (I’ve never actually seen anyone do this – it was impressive but also what a waste of a guitar.) He then whipped the broken guitar out at the unsuspecting crowd, and managed to hit a girl in the face. He then proceeded to walk off stage like it was any other day of the week while she dripped blood from her hairline. Maybe give a heads up if you’re planning on maiming your fans.
Band with a the single that does them the least justice: Kongos
These guys blew me away. I showed up early on Sunday and figured I’d check Kongos out because I always hear ‘Come With Me Now’ on the top 40 stations, and it’s okay, so I figured why not? I don’t know who decided that was going to be their single – ‘I’m Only Joking’ is 1,000 times better and it’s 1,000 times better live than recorded which is saying something (for those of you keeping track at home, that comes to a total of ‘I’m Only Joking’ live being 1,000,000 times better than the recorded version of ‘Come With Me Now.’) See these guys live if you have the chance.
Most expectations met and exceeded: Bleachers
Jack Antonoff is:
A) Enthusiastic to the max
C) Catchy as hell
D) All of the above
It’s hard to overstate how high my expectations were for Bleachers. Two years ago I bought my ticket to Lollapalooza almost entirely for the benefit of seeing Fun. That was the year a thunderstorm shut down the festival for a couple of hours, and long story short I ended up falling asleep in a bathtub, Lolla reopened their gates and I missed Fun. So essentially all of my expectations for Fun. from two years of waiting were resting on Jack Antonoff.
On top of that, it decided to pour down rain thirty minutes before their set. As I was waiting in the pouring rain waiting for the Bleachers set to start I was thinking to myself ‘this guy’d better be the equivalent of rainbows and butterflies and chocolate cake and justice combined to make this worth it.’ He is. Jack Antonoff started out with a whoop and ended with a stage rush. In between he had the crowd’s hands in the air the entire time as he played ‘Rollercoaster’, ‘Wild Heart’, ‘Reckless Love’, and of course ‘I Wanna Get Better’. I actually just went ahead and ended the fest with his set at 1:30 on Sunday because I knew it couldn’t get any better than that.
Winner of Lollapalooza: Jon Batiste and Stay Human
Nothing’s better than those couple of hours in the morning between 1pm and 3pm at Lolla when you can actually move freely in the fest and get close to the stage. I was waiting for PAPA to start their set at Palladia around noon when I heard the strains of joy, peace, harmony, love and a badass tambourine coming from the Grove stage. Nobody in the world can resist those sounds – I literally sprinted over to the stage and came upon a rainbow of six men wielding a saxophone, a pianica (essentially a mouth keyboard), a banjo, a tambourine, and a tuba and looking like they were having the time of their lives. Jon Batiste and Stay Human were by far the most fun set of Lolla. Playing to a very small group of us, they killed it with their single “Express Yourself” and a fantastic rendition of “Killing Me Softly,” and finished by climbing off the stage into the crowd (and into my heart) for a samba line finish. Nicely done gentlemen.