The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Thursday, August 10, 2006
TUL's Take: Lollapalooza - Day Two

We kicked off our second day in Grant Park by heading over to the AMD stage to check out Cold War Kids. Jeremy recently saw them open for Tapes 'N Tapes in LA and convinced us to see their set. We were not disappointed. These guys put on a terrific live show for the sweltering crowd (arguably the hottest hour of the entire weekend took place during their performance). TUL is still shaking his head for completely missing their Black Cat backstage show a few weeks ago.

After Cold War Kids' amazing set, it was off to the Q101 stage for The Go! Team. I personally felt that the first half of their set really didn't translate well for the live crowd with all the new songs they threw in. The crowd obviously wasn't familiar with them and kind of just stood there. Also, when you add Ninja's vocals to a song from the album that was originally an instrumental, you don't know how to react. The tail end of their show was much more enjoyable when they played "Huddle Formation" and "Everyone's a VIP to Someone."

We trekked over to the other side of the park for Built to Spill to catch another one of their dependable live shows. Their setlist was a little on the slower side of things but sounded great nonetheless.

After BTS it was time for one the biggest attractions of the day, Gnarls Barkley. Sonic Youth would've been a much better choice and I still regret not seeing them instead. Gnarls were an utter disappointment and really failed to get my attention during their hour-long set. What made it even more annoying was that 95% of the audience was there just to hear "Crazy", and if you're curious, it wasn't that good live. One of the biggest letdowns of the festival.

The Flaming Lips, on the other hand, were able to turn TUL's frown upside down and make me forget about Gnarls with their amazing spectacle of a live show. The Lips went balls out during their set, bringing out female aliens, a Santa Claus troupe (one of which was the guitarist from Stars), streamer cannons, tons of balloons, and of course, the Wayne Coyne bubble. TUL was having the time of his life during their set until Wayne had to open his big mouth midway through the show and slam Israel for bombing Lebanon. What made it even worse was that the majority of the crowd actually cheered for all of this. My friend Keith said it best when he shouted "Yeah, Hezbollah!" After Wayne's unnecessary political rant, we left in disgust. It was for the better since we wanted to secure ourselves a good standing position for The New Pornographers anyway.

The New Pornographers were great as always but I still have yet to see them with Neko Case and Dan Bejar. Carl Newman's niece had a voice this time around so it was a vast improvement from the last time we saw them back when they opened for Belle & Sebastian. Newman seemed to be a little annoyed by the fact that they were placed between Common and Kanye, saying "since we're so much alike" which garnered a chuckle from the crowd. Definitely the better of the two times I've seen them live.

It's always great to go to a show with low expectations then suddenly be blown away with how good the artist actually is live. Case in point, Kanye West. Chicago's own had one hell of a homecoming with a 90 minute performance at the AT&T stage Saturday night. At first, his set was plagued with sound problems and a few miscues, but Kanye was able to bounce back and deliver a riveting live show complete with a string section, backing vocals, and DJ A-Trak. Protégé Lupe Fiasco welcomed himself to the Grant Park audience with skateboard and all during his song "Kick, Push" while Common joined Kanye for "Get 'Em High." Fellow Chicago native Twista also made a cameo appearance for the well-known "Slow Jamz" and "Over Night Celeb". Overall, Kanye West and Co. put on a memorable show and was one of the highlights thus far at Lollapalooza '06.

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