Dirty Projectors + The Black Keys + Lady Gaga at Lollapalooza 2010: Live review
New Pornographer Carl Newman suggested that when his band finished playing, the crowd could just turn around and watch Dirty Projectors on the PlayStation stage. While some simply stayed put at the Budweiser Stage in order to claim spots for the Black Keys, I followed Newman’s suggestion and was quite pleased with my decision. I knew very little about Dirty Projectors before today, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard from them. Front man Dave Longstrength wowed the audience with his wonderfully odd style, sprinkling in sporadic guitar riffs and solos over a remarkable mix of heavy drums and emphatic vocals. But, for me, the back-up singing was the highlight of the show. Like the rest of the band’s musical elements, these vocals were strange, yet beautiful, in a Thom Yorke sort of way.
The Black Keys were much less surprising because they easily lived up to their reputation as blues-rock innovators. Lead singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach didn’t say much during the show other than short bits like, “Thanks for hanging out.” Instead, he let his dirty, distorted guitar and his powerful, yet smooth, vocals do the talking for him. The Black Keys are who we thought they were. In a good way.
Finally, out of sheer curiosity, I made the difficult decision to skip the Strokes and see what the talk of the festival, Lady Gaga, had in store for her Chicago fans. And the show certainly was a spectacle. It began with Gaga’s silhouette striking poses behind a huge, translucent screen; she literally had the audience hanging on her every move. And really, throughout the entire night, Gaga could do no wrong in the eyes of her fans. Even when the dialogue of her overdramatic skits stretched out way too long (“word…[long pause]…word…[long pause]…word…[long pause]…scream something about Lollapalooza or Chicago!!!), or when she oddly screamed things like, “I have a big dick!” (Um…WTF?), the audience simply ate it up. But it’s important to recognize that Gaga’s greatest achievement, far beyond her music and showmanship, is that she’s been able to attract a vastly diverse group of fans, in terms of age, race, gender, and sexual orientation. That kind of diversity is rare for a fan base these days. Now, I’m not so sure that the Monster Ball “set me free,” as Gaga declared it would. But, judging by the excitement that erupted when she played “Bad Romance,” “Poker Face,” and “Alejandro,” the show definitely had a significant impact on her loyal monsters.