Lollapalooza 2006

Jessica Cassyle Carr
3 min read
The Raconteurs grace us with an extented guitar solo.
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I was once pretty sure that a present day Lollapalooza would be a total joke, but Friday I found myself texting a friend saying that I was on my way to the mega show. Her reply was “That’s stupid awesome! Are you going to see Limp Bizcuit or something?” “I wish,” was my response. (She and I are very entertained by bad concerts.)

Since last year, Lollapalooza has been held in Downtown Chicago, in beautiful, huge, lakefront Grant Park. A friend of mine happened to have free passes, thus I was invited to the Friday installment of the three-day, nine-stage event, which turned out not to be “so bad it’s good,” but just good instead.

I’ll just spare most of the small, insignificant details and cut to the chase: We arrived in the late afternoon, missing a handful of likely awesome performances, but got there in time to see Mates of State, who I’ve only seen in small bars like the Moonlight Lounge. They were just as good playing on a huge stage.

Next, while sipping on big cups of inexpensive white wine (which they poured from a chilled bottle, by the way), we saw Dallas, Texans the Secret Machines, who were amazing. Immediately thereafter we saw Jack White’s The Raconteurs, who turned out to be really good but gave themselves a bit too much guitar-solo-wank-off time, which I used to ogle the crowd around me. What I observed was a sea of cargo shorts, worn by about 75 percent of the male audience. Definitely one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Afterwards we moved to the next stage and saw the Violent Femmes (a teenage fantasy fulfilled), who played their greatest hits perfectly. Sadly this meant we missed Sleater-Kinney but had time to see the end of VHS or Beta’s bitchin’ DJ act.

As we traveled back across the park to see Ween, we fought against a current of bodies moving towards the stage where Death Cab For Cutie would play. It was as if nobody wanted to see Ween, and there were far fewer people there than I expected. (Whatever, emo suckers, Ween is so much better than Death Cab.) And they were good, but didn’t exactly translate to such a huge outdoor stage. I still stand by my decision, though we decided to leave before it was over.

All in all, the event, with its heavily advertised corporate sponsorships, was very commercial, but not as totally exploitive as it once was. Attendees were allowed to bring water bottles and fill them up inside. Food, beer and wine were also reasonably priced. It was not too hot or crowded, and getting out of the place and finding a place to stay were not difficult (all unlike a certain insanely expensive and hyped Southern California festival).

I was sad to have missed Sonic Youth the next day, and Wilco and the Shins on Sunday, but one day was probably enough. Anyway, let it be known: At this point in time Lollapalooza does not suck.

A guy in cargo shorts bumped into my wine-holdin' hand.

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