Friday, August 5, 2011

ruminations- lollapalooza 2011

announcement surprising no one- i am not going to lollapalooza this year. as a matter of fact i've never been in the festival's entire history. the closest i came was in 1994 when they had one of the more bonkers lineups- smashing pumpkins, the beastie boys, nick cave, the breeders, the verve (pre-'bittersweet symphony' mind you), etc. why didn't i go? i was 15. had i made proper plans i would've saved for the $30 cost of a ticket (which to me was a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a concert at the time- ah, nostalgia). instead i stayed home and dyed my hair red.
for the first time ever, though, there is not a solitary act on the bill that i wish i could see. any of the acts i have any interest in i've already seen and/or are playing too early in the day and therefore will not pay upwards of $90 a day to see. the most money i've ever spent on concert tickets was $50 to see the cure in 2000, and i suppose that's how much it ended up costing to catch pitchfork on sunday. but every year i've wistfully wished i could go to catch at least a handful of acts- 2009 had deerhunter and neko case, for example. 2005 had the warlocks and the brian jonestown massacre. 2008 had radiohead. but this year i've barely heard of most of the headliners/big name acts. it does tickle me that bright eyes is holding the second highest spot tonight, though. i've seen him play three times in vastly different spaces- the upstairs of a tiny pub in chalk farm in london, the aladdin and the roseland in portland. but other than that i just find myself confounded that anyone would want to spend the day in the BLISTERING heat amongst an inconceivably huge and douchey throng dumping endless amounts of money on crappy food, overpriced water and the conflicting logistics of how many, eight stages? on top of that to PAY to do so. i'd spent a lot of time grumbling about how pitchfork was well on its way to becoming exactly like lollapalooza until i actually went this year and realised that at least the extra ticket money was going somewhere (i.e. the vastly improved sound over previous years) and the corporate sponsorship money was going to charity. what's more i've never seen a higher quality festival lineup in my entire life for that sunday show. normally scrambling to catch a bunch of bands at an outdoor festival ends up feeling incredibly lackluster, but i left feeling like i'd crammed more quality live music into that four hours than i normally do in a month or two (hey, it's hard to get me out of the house these days).
i suppose my point here is that i almost feel like pitchfork is proving to be what lollapalooza used to be. go through any of the original lollapalooza lineups from the first lineup to 1995's amazing lineup and tell me you don't agree. seeing bands of that caliber and at that level in an amphitheater setting was something no one had thought to do at the time. it could've only happened in the 90s, too. it's just ironic to me that twenty years on i've gone from thinking that to writing this entry.

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