Monday, August 13, 2007
A Day in a Lolla
Last Saturday, me and my steady gal (Maggie) checked out Lollapalooza. We only bought the one day pass because we'll be seeing a lot of the bands at Austin City Limits (the best festival in all the land) and wanted to save some scratch. Why Saturday though? Quite simply, The Hold Steady played on Saturday; but we'll get to that later. Here's a rundown.
I'm From Barcelona played at 12:30 and we caught the end of that show, which is unfortunate. What transpired was 40-50 Swedish (not actually from Barcelona...I was confused too) folk running around on stage in brightly colored clothing, animal suits, or both. I was visibly shaken.
Pete Yorn was on at 1:30. We got their early to get close to the stage because Maggie's in love with him, which is unfortunate for me. The set was solid, but I couldn't completely enjoy it for aforementioned reasons. By the way, I'm convinced that if Pete Yorn took off his sunglasses he'd look like a weasel. That was uncalled for. Also, Lance Armstrong was on the side of the stage for the show, and Pete Yorn's keyboardist may be Elvis Costello...thought you should know. Here's the set-list (Recorded by Little Dynamite Cell Phone Method)
Pete Yorn at Lolla:
2. Already Is
3. Ask Yourself
4. Life on a Chain
5. Splendid Isolation
6. Just Another
7. The Man
10. On Your Side
12. Young Folks (Peter Bjorn and John cover...neat suprise)
13. Strange Condition
14. New Track...sorry
The Cold War Kids were next show we checked out. The show was packed. We had to sit under a tree, and we couldn't see the stage. However, the show was phenomenal. I liked every song. Bought the album when I got home. Soaring vocals (provided by Nathan Willet), strong back beats, bluesy guitars, sloppy piano for a fantastic product. Plus they're obsessed with Tom Waits, which has to be a good thing. I also heard that they had a poet open for them on tour. Myspace them. Do it.
Which brings us to The Hold Steady. They played for one hour, and in that one hour provided one of the top five shows I've ever seen. The Hold Steady is pure joy on stage. No one could ever accuse these guys of taking themselves too seriously; they are having the time of their lives up there. Keyboardist Franz Nicolay waved to the crowed and jumped up and down beaming in anticipation for the show. Frontman Craig Finn came out giddy as well, adorned in a Ron Gardenhire jersey (for those of you that are not from Minnesota like Craig Finn or Little Dynamite, Gardenhire is the Twins manager...and Finn was wearing his jersey...how cool is that). And the smiles continued throughout the show. After songs, Finn would scream jokes across stage at bassist Galen Polivka and lead guitarist Tad Kubler. Between lyrics, Finn would move to the front of the stage, away from the mic, and yell at the crowd, as if he was having a conversation with us, further explaining the lyrics to the song. As Kubler's six-string wailed out a solo, Finn would dance the type of dance you do when you think no one's watching.
The set was fantastic. They played 7 tracks from Boys and Girls in America (Stuck Between Stations, Chips Ahoy, Hot Soft Light, Party Pit, You Can Make Him Like You, South Town Girls, Massive Nights) but also dipped into their earlier catalogue, which I'm not too familiar with, but desire to become familiar with. The audience of mainly males aged 20 to 35 was jumping up and down the whole show, screaming lyrics back at Finn. The band patted each other's back, swigged Bud Selects, and laughed. At the conclusion of the show, Finn told the crowd that they started playing as an excuse to get together and drink beer once a week. He told us how much joy there was up on stage, as if we couldn't see it, and thanked us for sharing in it. It was, of course, my pleasure.
Post-script: I bought a Hold Steady t-shirt that has the first names of the band members listed down the front...and that's it.
Pictures of the show to follow.