Monday, August 04, 2008

Lollapalooza | Day Three

And the beat goes on with TK...


Sun., Aug. 3

We arrived just in time for the start of Iron And Wine's 4:15 set at one of the big stages. Considering we did this two weekends ago and this is the third straight day, it's starting to take a toll on us. We felt relieved to sleep in and do a huge breakfast before we left. Just as it was the case with Explosions in the Sky the day before, Iron And Wine was the chill-out time slot. Great band to just lay on the grass and relax to. The overcast weather keeps things cool and makes life easier for everyone. Hearing Woman King and staring at the sky was bliss.

Let's say Iron And Wine is the neighbor that calls ahead and then rings the doorbell. Then Flogging Molly is the type that just walks in and kicks your ass off the couch. Their introduction from a local DJ bordered on an overslurp but they were an absolute blast. Irish music on amphetamines. Lead singer Dave King cracked us up by saying Irish football is so bad right now they had to hire a fucking Italian coach. He later dedicated a song to himself and completely energized the crowd. Some bands take breaks between songs; Flogging Molly's bassist uses that time to slam a beer. It was that point I think I really came to admire them. We realized the only problem with their set was that our blood-alcohol content was way too low. One of the joys of Pitchfork is having unfamiliar bands freight-train us and Flogging Molly provided that joy.

Either my memory fails me or I don't recall Love and Rockets being this ....heavy. Despite a food and beverage break, we stayed within earshot. I can't recall a truly disappointing band from the final two days. Love and Rockets kept the roll going.

It was nice to hear Love and Rockets clearly because we were focused on getting up close for The National. At some point, you reach a saturation level with a band because you've listened to them so much. The National only makes me enjoy their music even more. Like Radiohead, they have an uncanny ability to sound isolated and intimate at the same time. Fans insisted on clapping early but quickly realized if they stopped, they'd fully appreciated The National's wonderfully layered sound. About the only time it worked against them was Mistaken For Strangers, when the murky, menacing rhythm section unfortunately ceeded to everything else. Otherwise, fantastic. Matt Berninger can be your lonely crooner or your fanatical outburst on tracks like Squalor Victoria and Abel. They capped the set with Mr. November, introduced as follows: "This song is not meant for John McCain. We're sure he's a nice guy and everything, but it's not for him." The joke here is that The National is selling shirts with Obama's mug and Mr. November written below it. If you haven't hit a National show and screamed the chorus of Mr. November at the top of your lungs, consider yourself cheated.

Finally, it was Nine Inch Nails, who I'm fine with but I'm not a big fan, either. They sounded great when they weren't wanking with their electronic toys and we got to hear a flushed-out version of Terrible Lie, one of my fave NIN tunes, before we had to catch our train.

All things considered, we had a great weekend and got our money's worth. I'm probably hesitant about coming back because the crowds were ridiculous, but part of that is like Coachella in 2003, I'd hate to taint a great experience with a lousy one. Get another great lineup and they can talk me into it.

photo courtesy of Robert Loerzel

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