The Best of Lollapalooza 2013

by deej on August 8, 2013

Crazy, crazy weekend in Chicago for Lollapalooza. Man I love this town. Despite thinking the line-up was only mediocre when it was announced, my excitement grew as the festival drew near.  A few days away from work, a weekend packed with music, 4 great aftershows, it was going to be awesome. And it was.

What follows are a few thoughts I jotted down on the plane ride home…

Funniest moment: Watching some drunken teenager get berated by one of the water station attendants. Poor kid was practically comatose as his friends held him up in the water line. “Dude. It’s one o’clock. On Friday. It’s. The. First. Day. You gotta learn to pace yourself.”

Sweetest moment: Watching Baroness’ John Baizley bring his daughter out on stage to wave at the crowd during their sound check. She was about 3, maybe 4, and wearing a humongous set of ear defenders on her tiny head. Adorable to see as she laughed and waved.
Runner-up: The dude that proposed to his girlfriend mid-set of Shovels & Rope. Hope it works out for them.

Weirdest moment: @nicolecreates texting me during the Father John Misty aftershow to tell me there was a dead cat on my lawn. Whaa?

Best video: The Funeral by Band of Horses (aftershow at The Metro). Actually the only video I captured, but still thought it came out okay…

Best cover: Jake Bugg doing Hey Hey My My.
Runners-up: Mumford’s encore of I’m On Fire. Palma Violets opening with California Sun.

Best acts of audience participation: Reignwolf into the crowd. National into the crowd. Lumineers into the crowd. Palma Violets into the crowd.

Best flirtacious moment with a band member: Houndmouth’s Katie Toupin giving me a wink and the sweetest smile as I sang along to “Bad Things”. Swoon. To be fair, I saw her do this with at least a half dozen other guys, but for that fleeting second, my heart melted.
No runner-up :(

Most spontaneous moment: Reignwolf, madly playing guitar on stage in front of a row of flowers, grabbing a bunch, stuffing them in his mouth, and shaking his head violently as he furiously continued playing. That’s rock n’ roll folks.

Most awkward moment: Deap Vally’s Lindsey Troy seeing a blown-up Stanley Cup in the crowd and saying, “What’s that… a trophy? For football?” A chorus of boos ensued. She may not know her sports, but she sure knows how to rock.

Best musical discovery: Icona Pop. Caught half their set while waiting for Shovels & Rope, and the beats they were laying down had the crowd pumped to start the day. Couldn’t help but groove along. Reminded me of Grouplove’s performance two year’s ago.

Best guitarist: Let there be no doubt. Reignwolf played with an intensity I’ve never witnessed on stage before. There were moments of wizardry that I’m still not sure what I saw, but my spine is still tingling.
Runners-up: Jake Bugg. Finger-picking nonchalance that left me in awe. And Father John Misty’s guitarists unleashed a furious assault at the end of their set that was pretty incredible to see.

Best showcase of musicianship: Houndmouth. All four members taking turns singing and playing each other’s instruments. Katie on the keyboards, then on drums. The drummer playing bass. The bassist playing keys… the very definition of musical chairs. (Reminded me of Wool on Wolves to some degree.)
Runner-up: Queens of the Stone Age. The loudest set of the weekend, and oh so tight.

Best dressed: Troy van Leeuwen of QOTSA. Runner-up: The National’s Matt Berninger. Dudes wearing suits and sweating it out in the afternoon sun… don’t know how they do it.

Biggest regret: Missing Alt-J. I skipped their afternoon set at the last minute to secure a better spot to see The Vaccines. That worked out well, but planned better, I could’ve went to their aftershow instead of seeing Palma Violets twice. Still, Palma Violets crushed both their sets, so I’ll survive.

Biggest waste of time: Smith Westerns. I dig that band, but just way too mellow for a sunny mid-afternoon set.

Performer best suited to stand-up comedy if things don’t pan out in music: Father John Misty. Dude is straight-up funny. Acerbic wit as he made fun of everything and everybody. Had me doubled over laughing so many times.

Humblest performer(s): Houndmouth. Seemed genuinely surprised at the reception they received, and repeatedly thanked the crowd for coming out.

Best song: Hearing Jake Bugg do Broken acoustic. First time I’ve teared up at a show I think.
Runners-up: Walcott. Can’t help but dance and sing your face off. Mr. November. Oh that chorus…

Funnest set: The Vaccines. One humongous singalong for an hour.
Runner-up: Frightened Rabbit. One humongous singalong for an hour.

Set that made me feel the most alive: Reignwolf set #2.
Runners-up: Reignwolf set #1 and Reignwolf set #3.

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