Lollapalooza Day 3 and Wrap Up

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DAY 3 and Wrap Up

Day 3 was a tough one as acts were completely spread out and hard to get to and an early evening Noahesque type flood complicated seeing several acts but what was heard was good and what’s a little mud…well a lot of mud…OK it was a mudbowl but it was still good and FUN so here are a few highlights and a wrap-up.

THE JOY FOMIDABLE– This day kicked off with what is now one of my favorite new bands after hearing them here and at Coachella. They are a power alt trio that makes a lot of noise (in a good way) for three people with no electronics going on. Led by female singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan (and this is no strum long and sing sitch) this band from Wales brings great raw energy, great songs and a high energy stage show. The drive and power of this group truly comes from Ritzy. Her forceful guitar playing and strong vocals create energy and drive uncommon in many new bands. Imagine if Courtney Love were really coherent, less foul mouthed and played really good guitar. It’s all about the music with these Welsh rockers and I recommend you dig the new record and see them if you can.

THE CARS– It was as if some one opened a musical time capsule and out came Ric Ocasek and the boys as if they had never left. THE CARS were never a band that changed music but they were fun, quirky and unique. They never pretended to be anything they weren’t and did what they did unapolegetically. For me, a flood of memories of my senior year in high school and Daytona Beach and…well that’s another story but these memories started with the familiar guitar riff of Let The Good Times Roll (their opener). THE CARS were a major part of the soundtrack to that trip and much of my musical youth. They were an 80s band that didn’t quite fit the mold of an 80s band but certainly helped shape the face of the “New Wave” music genre. When you hear music that is a definitive part of your past whether you liked it or not, there is still something that gives you pause when you hear it. I did like THE CARS and yesterday, some 30 years after they burst on the scene they might as well have been playing the record or 8-track or cassette as we probably listened to them on back then. The guitar riffs, the sing-along analog synth melodies and vocals with lyrics so familiar you didn’t even know you knew every word, sounded exactly the same. And maybe I was a bit back in the crowd but even on the jumbotron, Ric Ocasek looked the same. I guess spending a number of years married to a super model will do that to you. THE CARS have a new record that is being well received and those tunes sounded good yesterday as well but it was Ric telling me about…”my best friend’s girl” and how to “brush your rock and roll hair” that made this a great set for me.

THE ARCTIC MONKEYS– I have been waiting to see these guys for quite some time (and I had to wait a ½ hour longer than was planned due to deluge #1) and I must say they did not disappoint. In actuality they were probably the perfect act to have play as people were cheering the sun poking back thru the Chi-town skyline and some of the massive crowd coming out from under cover. For me…these guys ROCKED! They are a HUGE act across the pond in their native England and have been showered with awards and massive record sales. That of course, does not come without it’s criticism and The Monkeys have had their share. The new album Suck It and See is a bit of a departure from their past sounds…maybe because they cut in LA instead of England…maybe because they cut live in the studio as opposed to overdubbing but I was hooked from the first notes of the new album as I have been with their other records and as I certainly was yesterday with their great sounding, energetic set. A band that the internet help build, I predict their success will continue especially if live shows continue to be as good as this one.

THE FOO FIGHTERS– Their set at The Sasquatch Festival completely blew me away and my one sentence review…”this is why we go to rock concerts” would, I’m sure have been the same here at Lollapalooza 2011 had I not been blown away by deluge #2 that finally sent most folks running just a bit into the set. BUT, the weather held on for a bit and we stuck it out long enough to hear a few songs and even in that short time, Dave Grohl and company proved that they are truly a force to be reckoned with in the Rock world. Great songs performed with an energy that beats you in the face in that great rock and roll way. Led by a true musical icon, I don’t see THE FOO FIGHTERS leaving us anytime soon. Check out their latest GREAT record and see them live at near any cost!


While certainly a great festival experience, Lollapalooza is not without its frustrations and this year the selling of 270,000 tickets (a significant increase from years past) proved problematic. The actual area of festival grounds was increased as well and that’s fine if you are walking around but the stage sizes and the area around them are the same and if the whole crowd decides to head to one act…well it’s just too crowded to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with being in a big sweaty, massive crowd to see a rock show, in fact it’s part of the charm for me but when it takes you 10 minutes to escape a crowd, if you need to, that goes on forever that’s a bit much for me. I suppose that is why the programmers at Lollapalooza make us face so many choices…COLDPLAY vs. MUSE, MY MORNING JACKET vs. EMINEM, PRETTY LIGHTS vs. BEIRUT and on and on. But that for me is another frustration. I wish they could take the Bonnaroo approach and stagger the start times at least a bit as opposed to starting great acts at EXACTLY the same time. There is also just no escaping the fact that the 2 big stages are literally 1 mile apart but that’s Lollapalooza and at the end of the day I still love it and am sure I’ll be right back here next year.

BEST ACTMUSE– This I’m sure is no surprise but there is also just no question about it. EVERY element of this show was sheer perfection in execution and musical bliss. The talent on stage cannot be denied. I truly believe that anyone who thinks they don’t like MUSE from listening to their records, will be converted if they dig them at a festival. I’ll put it this way…2 of the top 10 concerts of my life are MUSE concerts. Spin and I disagree with them giving the “best set” honor to Deadmou5. They even mentioned that he beat out acts like MUSE…well we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

BAND TO WATCH OUT FORFOSTER THE PEOPLE– I like this act a lot…I’m not ape about them but I like ‘em. And they are everywhere these days. Their set was solid on Day 1 and drew massive numbers. Reports from their post festival concert were that they were even better. It seems the record company knows what they have here (a group of young good looking guys with catchy well played tunes) and will quite probably slam it down our throats a la Vampire Weekend. Like it or not, I predict you better get used to it.

NEW BANDS TO WATCH OUT FORSMITH WESTERNS and PHANTOGRAM– While it may be a slower ascent than FOSTER THE PEOPLE, these are 2 really good bands that are young, energetic and I predict will stick around and eventually bust out with big critically and publically acclaimed albums. I saw SMITH WESTERNS at Bonnaroo and they just continue to grow on me and PHANTOGRAM’s late nite party set got raves.

BEST BAND YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OFTHE CHAIN GANG OF 1974– aren’t we all looking for a good dose of synth based, 80s new wave influenced alt/pop? Well I say check out these guys’ new release Wayward Fire whether it’s what you think you are after or not. Tears for Fears, The Thompson Twins, LCD Soundsystem…it’s all in there and it’s good.

BIGGEST DISSAPPOINTMENTCEE LO– Brotha my Brotha…you’re a well-respected modern R and B artist with a great pedigree. You are a really good singer/songwriter and your solo work along with your work with Gnarls Barkley is great stuff. But your fans deserve a better show. This is not the first I have heard about trouble with CEE LO’S shows. Hopefully he will address whatever the problem is (for my money it’s a lame backing band) and bust out with the great modern R and B show fans deserve.

BAND YOU WOULD MOST WANT TOPLAY YOUR PARTYFITZ AND THE TANTRUMS– This blue-eyed neo soul act is mucho fun and have a nice amount of soul for a group of mostly white folks. They always get a crowd going and while maybe not changing the shape of music, their tunes are solid, well performed and just fun to listen to. To me that’s a huge part of what live music is all about!





CHAIN GANG OF 1974- Wayward Fire

PHANTOGRAM- Eyelid Movies


FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS- Pickin’ Up The Pieces

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Clem emerged from the underbelly of NashVegas where he began his love of ALL things musical. College found him in the commercial music program at the University of Miami where he actually learned what the hell he was doing. New York was next and whether he “made it there” is still up for debate. From playing in the honky-tonks of Nashville and the dance clubs of Miami to Broadway and theatrical stages around the country, to Carnegie Hall (while practicing one day somebody told him how to get there) and the recording studios of New York and L.A., Clem’s variety of musical experience has transcended the boundaries of genre. He owns a production company, lectures on music in colleges across the country and is on the visiting faculty of Elon Univ. He has a port-o-johns named after him at Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza.