Lollapalooza 2008 Day 1: Make your own fun
I maintain that a festival like Lollapalooza is not the place to see a lot of bands over an entire weekend. It's generally impossible due to the utter hugeness of it, the heat and the physical toll it would place on your body. Not to mention that good sightlines are hard to come by in most cases. I know this makes me sound like a snobby music critic and blah blah fucking blah, but what's most important to me is seeing and hearing and experiencing music. But at Lollapalooza, it all gets filtered through the spectacle.
But I've already found myself enjoying the DJ tent - despite the fact that I'm more pub than club - so perhaps I'm approaching Lolla from the wrong angle. Lolla is like an amusement park of music, a Disney World of music that is no more intended to be a direct line to the art of a band than the It's A Small World ride is a direct line into Asian cultures. Like a dinner full of small plates, you sample a little of everything in order to feel full, resolving to visit the restaurant again for a full entree.
If you can punch through all that metaphor, here's what I'm saying: Tomorrow, I'm resolving to approach Lollapalooza as I would any other street fest, where the music is secondary to food, booze, hanging out and soaking up the sun. I'll search out the "experience" that the organizers trumpet each year.
Finding a solid music experience does take a little work. For The Raconteurs, it involved me climbing a tree so I could see over the teeming hordes. I noticed I was about as far back as the Lolla Lounge, just without the wine. The Raconteurs are the new Humble Pie, everyone knows that, right? A stew of dirty blues licks, downhome tales of female witchcraft and the occasional Eddie Van Halen hammer, the band transcends the "side project" slur.
After their appearance at Lollapalooza 2006, it would have been easy for them to go gentle into the night and for all concerned to head back to their day jobs with the White Stripes and The Greenhornes (singer/guitarist Brendan Benson is the only one who can lay claim to the journeyman tag). But their current album - recorded in Nashville - actually improves on its predecessor, and their set today showed no signs of them slowing down.