Royal Bangs + AFI + Slightly Stoopid at Lollapalooza 2010: Live review
Royal Bangs made some noise at the BMI Stage. But it was hard to put my finger on exactly what kind of noise the Tennessee band was going for. The three-piece band--a guitarist, drummer, and a synth player/vocalist—went nuts in front of the mid-size crowd, opening songs with fun, poppy hooks before wailing on their instruments for minutes at a time. It was surprising that they were able to maintain any rhythm through all the chaos, and it sounded like the screaming vocalist might lose control of his voice at any moment. The audience seemed a bit more interested in enjoying the cool, shady setting around the BMI Stage than in watching the band on stage.
AFI dedicated "Miss Murder" to what lead singer Davey Havoc called "the amazing fucking powerhouse" that is Green Day. Unfortunately, that powerhouse of a song was sometimes all that the alternative punkish metal band had going for them—although it did work the stage in a bigger way than many of the day's acts often did not. The diehard fan base, of course, was buying it all bigtime, but the rest of the songs in the band's set were just lesser versions of "Miss Murder," AFI's most successful song to date. On the plus side, I had a rare Mohawk sighting. On the confusing side, I also saw people grinding on each other. Did they know what they were listening to? Maybe they stopped paying attention after the only song people seemed to care about ended.
For reasons that need not be explained here, it's a pretty big risk to name your band Slightly Stoopid. The sizable band made reggae hip enough for Lolla goers to enjoy but not enough to really matter. Their cover of John Denver's/Peter, Paul and Mary's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" seemed to please the crowd more than any of the band's original work. And despite the band's emphatic request for legalization of marijuana, the musicians passed a joint around the stage quite openly, proving how oh-so-strict these inconvenient marijuana laws are. A protest of nothing. That's stupid...with a 'u'.