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Lollapalooza 2014 Day One: Oh Lord, Here We Go Again

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 2, 2014 6:15PM

5:57 a.m. Jesus Christ, why am I already up?! — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy (JK/T)

1:23 p.m. Everyone at the Damen 'L' stop has a Lolla wristband. Seriously. — JK/T

1:24 p.m. Annnnd now the train conductor is giving shout outs to everyone going to Lolla. And underscoring the CTA's efforts to add extra service. Nice touch. Hopefully they’ll carry through. — JK/T

1:43 p.m. Checking in at the Hard Rock for their day party. In previous years, the day party has been a decadent affair spread over two floors. This year, most of the festivities are in one huge conference room which is filled with people not going to Lolla. Whatever, the Beats by Dre recharging station came in handy, and I got to stare at Sting’s Fender bass guitar while doing so. Oh, have I mentioned the levels of corporate sponsorship festooning the festivities everywhere this weekend? Oh, I just did? — JK/T

2:29 p.m. I see the Landan twins. This party officially got lame. Time to get the hell out of here. But while I leave, let me mention this sort of thing is now part and parcel of Lollapalooza. The weekend is no longer just the fest. Grant Park is the center of gravity, but there are so many things caught in it’s orbit that—officially—almost anything you do in the Loop is now Lolla related. — JK/T

2:37 p.m. Here comes the rain. — JK/T

2:53 p.m. As I walk towards the gates I’m flashed by a girl. Who, had I kids, could probably be my daughter. It’s too goddamn early for this. — JK/T

2:55 p.m. As I continue to saunter up to the gates—whose computer systems, according to Jessica Hopper, went down a short while ago—I’m struck at how there’s no line. Oh, there’s a girl dumping out vodka into the street just before bag search though. Nice. — JK/T

"Text you later, bro. I just got to Lolla." Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
3:10 p.m. It’s raining, so I’m in the midst of the smallest crowd I’ve ever seen at Perry’s Stage. Which is sad since the act just firing up is Perry and Etty Farrell vs. Joachim Garraud. Which, as of now, appears to be a French guy playing his CD collection. — JK/T

3:17 p.m. Oh! There’s Perry and Etty! Dancing. And the crowd seems confused as Perry makes noises that he manipulates through a system of knobs and pedals. Perry is a legend—I’ve been to every Lollapalaooza, except the one Metallica played because, well, I just couldn’t—so he can do whatever he wants and I’m O.K. with it. But this really made me yearn to see him play at Riot Fest later this year, in the element he was born to dominate. — JK/T

3:30 p.m. Warpaint are doing their best, but it’s just not translating. The overcast skies perfectly match their mood, but maybe that’s why they’re not connecting. They seem like a perfectly nice bunch but their music is the aural equivalent of drywall speckled with flecks of primer. — JK/T

3:51 p.m. Time for a beer. I have to remind the nice boys at the beer stand to give me a wristband. “I know I look old enough, but if I walk away from here without one, you might get in trouble.” I realize I’m acting like a dad. What the fuck. — JK/T

3:55 p.m. Hozier fans unfurl an Irish flag and chant between songs. The soulful singer songwriter notes, “This is the largest crowd I’ve ever played for in America.” Onstage he launches into a number inspired by childhood lullabies, but there’s no subduing this group. —JM

3:58 p.m. The highlight of Warpaint’s set is the dude carrying a huge Sad Jack White face he’s waving over the crowd. Which reminds me: where are all the kids with stupid stuff on sticks? The volume was way low at Pitchfork Music Festival and, so far, I’ve only seen two instances of kids waving stupid shit over the crowd here. What is happening to our youth?!— JK/T

4:14 p.m. “I wasn’t prepared for this bass,” remarks a nearby Warpaint fan. The band’s atmospheric vocals are indeed getting lost from where I’m standing, but Warpaint chases away any lingering threat of rain.” — Jessica Mlinaric (JM)

4:13 p.m. Head back over to Perry's, which is now packed. They close the set with Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and the crowd goes crazy. For a CD. Perry seems happy all these people are here to see him though. The problem is they are not. Iggy Azalea's is next and the crowd is most definitely there to see her. — JK/T

4:17 p.m. Yup. Everyone definitely waiting for Azalea. — JK/T

Iggy Azalea fans giving her props. Photo by Jessica Mlinaric.

4:24 p.m. It’s getting packed by Perry’s stage. Insanely packed. More packed than I’ve ever seen it and that means it is SUPER FUCKING PACKED. People stream on either side of me. A girl asks me how I stand there without moving while she gets thrown around. I mention, again, I’m old and am a pro. But I’m also 6’2” and she is maybe 5’5”, so the height advantage probably has more to do with it. The point is that we are surrounded by people who want to get closer to the stage, even though there is absolutely no room. Yet they believe that, by just pushing forward, they will create space out of sheer will. I could leave but I’ve stuck it out this long. I must see Iggy. — JK/T

4:30 p.m. Before Iggy Azalea even takes the stage, I watch from the Perry’s photo pit as scores of distressed young girls signal to crowd control for assistance in being plucked out. It’s only midday, and I imagine how beat these guys will be after hours of hoisting bodies. On her way out, one girl gets in the face of another pressed up front row against the barricade. She’s hastened out but the accosted girl loses it, crying and writhing until she’s also lifted out and advised to seek medical attention. Her friends voice their concern, but there’s no way they’re losing a front row spot to accompany her. Iggy brings it, though, with energetic choreography and calculated attitude that wills all of Perry’s middle fingers in the air at her command. — JM

4:36 - 5:12 p.m. Iggy Azalea’s set consists of a lot of middle finger throwing, booty bouncing, talking about her pussy and basically goading the crowd into raising their level of moron to eleven. This is the sound of the summer? This is who’s playing the Today Show next week? Does she have a song other than “Fancy” appropriate for non-NC-17 audiences? Look, I know I’m coming off as a prude here, and I do love me some sex-ridden hip-hop (see also: Spank Rock) but this is lowest common denominator shit. But what do I know? As I said, this is the most crowded I’ve ever seen the stage so maybe she is the sound of youth today. God help us all. — JK/T

Perry's stage. Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy.

4:50 p.m. Blood Orange may have the set of the weekend, inciting a chilled out groove fest at the Grove. Funky basslines set the mood highlighted by saxophone fantastic female vocal accompaniment and deft guitar work by Dev Hynes. It’s a Prince-worthy offering of sexy, stylish, 80’s-inspired R&B. — JM

5:15 p.m. Oh thank god, it’s happy hour in the media tent. Chvrches provides a nice soundtrack from across the field while l catch up with friends. The media area at Lolla is a sanctuary, and, while we all gripe about not having access to this or that to each other, we still mutually appreciate the fact the organizers feed us and serve up booze at the hour we really need a recharge. — JK/T

6:04 p.m. AFI’s set at last year’s Riot Fest was surprisingly great. This isn’t going well though. Only 1/16 of the crowd gathered is singing along and fist pumping. The band’s sound seems about twenty-five percent quieter than all of the other acts I’ve seen today. Davey Havok’s dramatic delivery is lost on the apathetic crowd. It’s an unwinnable situation. Regardless, the four members give their all and my high school crush on Jade Puget is rekindled. A girl of 28(ish) asks me who’s playing. I respond and her boyfriend remarks, “They have a song called ‘Silver And Cold!’” I turn back around. (He will later exclaim, “This is that song!” over the opening piano notes.) — Katie Karpowicz (KK)

6:14 p.m. Just got home from work. Kinda bummed about my decision to not go to Lolla proper this year (for the first time in its ten years here!). Maybe I’ll try to find a pass to buy for Saturday or Sunday. — Michelle Meywes (MM)

6:44 p.m. I have been on the fence about Lorde. Is she a genuine talent? Or is she just a teenager whose journals match really well with her producing partner’s musical acumen. I’m still not sure where she falls in that spectrum but I can tell you Lorde's a solid, commanding presence on stage. She’s young enough to allow that “inner fairy muse thing” flow out without being too self conscious, but self aware enough to know how to employ it and give it direction. It’s her, a keyboardist, and a drummer on stage and l admit I felt myself drawn to strain and see her with my own eyes on that stage instead of watching the translation via jumbotron. There was a palpable electricity emanating from her as she herked and jerked across the stage like a broken marionette, exorcising herself of all the angst and love and dread that comes with existence. Huh, reading that over maybe I have been swayed. — JK/T

7:30 p.m. Royal Blood has just wrapped up their set and has left this small but enthusiastic crowd stunned. There is more than a handful of people leaving the BMI Stage who have found a new favorite band. With an ear-splitting guitar and some double bass drum majesty this duo makes a lot of noise. — Casey Mofitt (CM)

Dude! Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy.
7:50 p.m. Lykke Li smolders at the Lake Shore stage. The brooding chanteuse grips the mic stand and twirls onstage in equal measure, fiercely drumming on the metal stage supports. Lykke coyly asks the crowd to dance with her before launching into “Dance, Dance, Dance” and they don’t dare disappoint her. — JM

7:54 p.m. Whoever is working the soundboard for The Kooks at the Grove Stage is killing it. Everything sounds great. As for The Kooks themselves, well, they’ve got a lot of people here dancing. — CM

8:10 p.m. Lost in the pre-headliner shuffle, about ten people show up for Sander Kleinenberg’s set. Those that do make liberal use of the ample room for dancing. —JM

8:21 p.m. I run across the grounds to the south end of the park to catch the end of a delightfully witchy Lykke Li. She’s like Stevie Nick’s evil twin sister and it’s awesome. I also curse Lolla for scheduling her across from Lorde. And while I’m glad I caught Lorde to give me more context into why she is connecting with so many I suspect Li’s set was probably even more powerful. Dammit. — JK/T

8:29 p.m. Eminem is starting. With a video that outlines how persecuted he is. Yawn. — JK/T

8:35 p.m. This is already terrible. Look, I respect that Eminem is one of the last standing solo artists that can still move massive units of his music but this shit is boring, yo. — JK/T

8:50 p.m. Arctic Monkey’s are entertaining although they seem to have drawn sartorial inspiration for their clothing from Sha Na Na. Also, the lead singer is Eddie Munster, apparently? They put on an energetic set to a crowd that seems primarily comprised of dads and moms dancing with their kids on blankets. How is a band this young already dad-rock?! On the plus side it’s fun watching them play because the rhythm section always feels like its just rushing ahead of the guitars and vocals, taunting them, inviting them to fill impossibly brief pockets of opportunity, teetering on the edge, but it never falls apart. Thrilling. But I still leave their set early because, thrilling though the aural acrobatics are, there’s no heart in there. — JK/T

Way to sneak in some corporate branding without paying fest organizers, BCBSIL. So sneaky! Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy.

8:52 p.m. Did that dude just hit the deck because he’s messed up or is it because of Zedd’s aggressive light show up there on Perry’s Stage? He seemed O.K. just a minute ago, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell. He’s back on his feet with some help and making his way to a quieter area. He’ll be all right. But the intense strobes and shifting colorful patterns are getting to be a bit much with these raucous beats. The crowd is really into it, though, and they’re dancing like maniacs. As mesmerizing as the orange, green and purple flames are, I’d better get out of here before I have a seizure. Or worse yet, get beaned with another roll of toilet paper. Or even worse, pelted with more glow sticks. Sweet Lord, these glow sticks! — CM

9:07 p.m. Royce da 5’9” has just walked off Eminem’s stage after the pair burned through “Fast Lane.”. Rhianna has just stepped onto it and this huge crowd is going bananas. She’s accompanying Eminem on “Love the Way You Lie,” “The Monster” and “Stan.” Eminem is pretty good at working this crowd and he’s got them eating out the palm of his hand. He’s not Paul Stanley good, but who is, really? Wait a minute. Is that a live band back there on that stage? It sure is. That’s a cool surprise. — CM

10:31 p.m. At this point, I’m hungry and tired enough to shovel down whatever shady street food vendor I see first sells me, so a hosted Hennessy party at Shepard Fairey’s curated The Provocateurs gallery, complete with chicken tamale bites and spiked punch, sounds fantastic. This was already one of the sidesteps of this year’s festival Chicagoist recommended but seeing it fully operational (with new, mind blowingly intricate pieces from Skullphone not on display during my first visit) really brings to light the unique experience. I see a server carrying a tray full of coconut shrimp and I’m off. — KK

12:24 a.m. The Empty Bottle crowd finally erupts as Parquet Courts launches into “Master of My Craft.” After a heated opening by local psych-punks Running, the main event drags in its downtempo spurts. Maybe it’s the late hour or the mixed crowd, but I’m hoping Parquet Courts was simply saving themselves for a feverish festival set early Saturday. — JM

1:31 a.m. It’s late. Too late. But Nas was tonight’s guest performer at the Art Alliance exhibit at Block 37 (a no-brainer given his longtime love of Hennessy and affiliation with the brand) and I’m giddy off of his show. In just 30 minutes, he dropped a better set than any artist I saw earlier at the proper festival. With accompaniment from perhaps equally legendary New York DJ Green Lantern, the MC burst through Illmatic tracks “NY State Of Mind,” “Life’s A Bitch,” “The World Is Yours” and “One Love” before wrapping up his extremely intimate set with a 1-2-3 punch of “Hate Me Now,” “Made You Look” and “One Mic.” Sorry, Iggy Azalea, this writer just remembered what real hip hop is all about. — KK

Spoon playing to a packed Metro crowd. Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

1:36 a.m. Spoon’s set at Metro was awesome. An hour and a half of hits and some stuff from the new album (which is great live). The only thing that could have made it better was “Car Radio.” I heard it was an alternate on the setlist… — MM

3:54 a.m. What the fuck. Why am I still up? Time to get some sleep and do this all over again tomorrow. — JK/T

For more Lollapalooza coverage, check out what happened to Blood Orange after he got off stage, and check out our Lollapalooza-themed weekend playlist as well!

You can also read our recaps of Saturday and Sunday as well if you missed them.