Fantastic first day at Lolla. I crashed just as the gates opened, the weather was ideal, there were too many good bands to see and I didn’t end up regretting any of the conflict choices. It’s rare to get all of those things. Lady Gaga was a massive disappointment, but that was the big wildcard. Here’s a quick rundown of the best, worst, most fun and surprising of day one of Lollapalooza 2010:
Best Show: The Strokes- Now I know why they’re called the Strokes. Julian Casablancas is a strong front man, but the way these boys stroke those axes is truly something special. They’re a top flight rock band. It’s time they start touring and releasing albums that remind us of this. They brought it from the opening note of “New York City Cops” and reminded us why we made such a big fuss about them when they were still producing. 9.3/10
Biggest Surprise: DEVO- They are not human. They are Devo! I always found “Whip it!” annoying when I was younger and it was all I knew by them. I’ve come to learn what a genius Mark Mothersbaugh is and what exciting performers they still are. Their costumes seemed purposeful and there was a concept that all made sense. Unlike a certain Lady. “Whip it” wasn’t even the highlight. “Girl U Want” was a dance explosion and made for the most fun set of the afternoon. By a lot. 9/10
Biggest Disappointment: Lady Gaga- “It was some of what I hoped she’d be and everything I feared she’d be. I was ready for a big spectacle full of bizarre costume changes, massive sets, gaudy production and irresistible pop. I was ready to get caught up in it all. I wanted to. I didn’t. At all. It was shock for the sake of shock and it all came together to form a vapid performance. It was a self-indulgent Kanye-glow-in-the-dark-tour-esque production, full of eye-rolling cheesy one-liners, unimpressive dancing, an embarassing plot and a lot of fluff. Oddly sexual, confusing, uninspiring pop. It all lead to a constant feeling of waiting for a moment to take my breath away that never came and then feeling an immediate urge to leave.” 5/10
Most fun: Chromeo- Ohhhh eeee ohhhh Chromeeeeo. See them any time you have the chance. Dance and smile. Enjoy the fancy footwork. They got in their groove as the sun went down. Would have been a little better all in the dark but a great time. 8.8/10
Fun afternoon sets: Los Amigos Invisbles and Matt and Kim- Endless energy. Green man. Dancing. Naked talk. Fuzz rock. Piano rock. OK most of that was Matt and Kim, but Los Amigos were a fun rowdy bunch.
Better in their own venue, but still quite good: Dirty Projectors, Big Pink, My Dear Disco, Jamie Lidell- I wanted more time and more attention for all of these, but they all brought it. I was especially enamored with Jamie Lidell. I started recording video and didn’t stop for 8 minutes. He’s really something special on stage.
Best of the Rest: Mavis Staples was superb on her own, especially covering “The Weight,” and it was a treat seeing Jeff tweedy join her for a couple songs. The Black keys rocked quite hard as always. Sad I didn’t see more.