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Lollapalooza Day 2 Review

lollapalooza_2009with the sun shining and temperatures heating up, day 2 was a stark contrast of day 1 at lollapalooza. one of the benefits of following lollapalooza on twitter is getting secret information. for instance, early friday morning, lollapalooza tweeted that perry farrell would perform with leann rimes at the kids stage. today was no different.

shortly after lunch, lollapalooza tweeted that buddy guy would be performing at the kids stage, so that’s where i went. performing a song with quinn sullivan, the large crowd at the kids stage got to experience not only a guitar star in the making, but a guitar legend jamming with him. even though it was only one song, it was a great surprise. and with the end of that surprise comes another surprise, band of horses came a day early and will be performing at the kids stage in a few hours.

next came the roaming part, as i had a few hours to kill until band of horses and the arctic monkeys. i caught a few songs from ida maria, who showed a ton of energy and spunk while the sun beat down on her. then it was onto animal collective’s dj set. passing the dj stage a few times, i saw a crazy energy for a lot of the acts. but not animal collective, which was really puzzling to me. maybe it was the weather, but a lot of people were just standing around during their set. and i was actually there for a good 40 minutes, and there wasn’t much going on.

then it was back to the kids stage to see band of horses. i knew i wasn’t going to see them on day 3 because i was going to see silversun pickups, so this was a great chance to see them. a nice 3 song set for an even bigger crowd than the buddy guy crowd. they sounded great, considering that the kids stage has second rate equipment compared to the other stages.

next was the arctic monkeys. the arctic monkeys are currently touring in support of their new album “humbug,” which isn’t even out yet. previous setlists were heavy on new material. so it was intriguing to see how the crowd would react. seeing them at their after show at the metro earlier in the evening/morning, i knew what to expect: some fantastic new (and darker) songs, some new arrangements on old hits like “florescent adolescent” and some driving classics like “i bet you look good on the dancefloor.” the crowd seemed to dig the new material, including new single “crying lightning.” it’s easy to see josh homme’s influence on the new material, as the queens of the stone age frontman helped produce the album. matt helders may be the best kept secret in rock right now, drumming away with precision for the entire set. they even closed with fan favorite “505,” which they didn’t even play live on their last trek through the states. to close with it is pretty ballsy, but it was a fantastic way to end their set.

next was tv on the radio, who 2 years prior, had the unenviable position of being the 45 minute opener for headliners pearl jam. that year, my morning jacket performed a special set with the chicago kids symphony orchestra that went long, so tv on the radio’s set went from 45 minutes to approximately 37 minutes. so they had a chance this year to really show what they were made of, and they did. blasting through songs spanning their entirely catalog, the band showed why they are on of indie music’s best acts. tv on the radio has the type of sound that could be hit or miss live, and they were a hit today, and the large crowd ate it all up.

waiting for the yeah yeah yeahs, we were able to see ben harper and relentless7’s performance. if ben harper has shown anything with his new band, it’s his return to absolutely shredding. on slide guitar, on regular guitar, you can’t deny his talent. it’s more rock driven, less jam band, and his skills were on display opening for the yeah yeah yeahs.

replacing the beastie boys is no easy job. especially considering you were tapped to replace them about 3 weeks ago. this is the type of performance that can take you from big indie band to mainstream rock. that is, if you don’t blow it. while definitely upset that the beastie boys pulled out because of MCA’s illness, i knew enough of the yeah yeah yeah’s catalog to decide to stick with them instead of tool.

karen o. has an extremely powerful voice that seems to be even more powerful live. they played homage to the beastie boys with a riff from “whatcha want” when they played “phenomena.” they too played songs spanning their entire catalog, with a nice acoustic version of “maps” that would’ve been the perfect get out your lighter, sing-a-long moment, had karen o. not forgotten the lyrics. but that didn’t really make things worse, as it was a fantastic version of the song and a good pace changer for an extremely loud set. i was extremely surprised as to how many yeah yeah yeah fans were present. i knew they had a following, but didnt know there would be so many fans singing along to every single song. they definitely have some dedicated fans. so to reference a previous point, no, they didn’t blow it, and it may be time for other festivals to stop booking the yeah yeah yeahs for early evening slots and really consider them for headlining slots.

for the second straight day, the top indie acts in music absolutely dominated the north side of the park. as a big indie music fan, i was thrilled that my favorite bands were showcasing their talents for most likely the largest audiences they’ve played to in the united states. although this might mean i’ll have to pay a bit more to see them next time in chicago, and probably see them at a bigger venue, which i don’t have a problem with at all.

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