Bri Blahg… Lolla Day 2 Early Afternoon. Rock Stars, Skronk Stars, and More Little Kids With Guitars

8 08 2009

by Brian Phillips (@BrianBlahg)

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Living Things' Lillian Berlin, Lollapalooza 2009

Knocked out an interview with Chairlift at noon today. Nice people. We talked about wearing dresses in the desert because you routed your own tour, remixes, and public school health class and how it might or might not relate to Brave New World. Check out the interview here.

After that, I had a nice rock sized hole in my interview schedule and two choices – sit in a shaded tent and drink beer or go hear some bloody loud music. I’m glad I did…. go listen to bloody loud music.

First up were Living Things. Even though bass player Eve Berlin (The three brothers in the band all have girl names. Oh come on you never look askance at Alice Cooper do you? No you don’t.) blew me off for an interview, my gentle hand of forgiveness was soon pumping fist-like in the air. They even had three female background singers. I feel bad for Living Things because they truly are rock stars without a country. Their gestures are big, and songs like “Bom Bom” and “Oxygen” have those monster festival hooks to match. They have yet to break through and spend much of their time squeezing big ideas onto small stages. Today was their day to shine led by front man Lillian (Lillian?) Berlin. He’s filed away some Jagger, Tyler, and Johansen swagger for just such an occasion.

Canada’s Constantines are a band I didn’t know well. Something was telling me I needed to change that. Whichever one of my voices that one was, I’ll have to take heed more often. You don’t dance to Constantines, you sort of jerk your body back and forth. This is form of movement at which I excel. The Guelph, Ontario five piece have taken the best parts of Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Yo La Tengo, Spoon, Aussie blues psych punks The Drones and Band Of Susans making some sort of genetically engineered perfect Bri Blahg band. They also had one number that made me think of Lucero and The Replacements. All this slobbering on my part is not to in any way suggest that Constantines are ripping off any of the above, I’m just trying and failing to come up with a way to explain how stinking great they are. I’ve never grown tired of the feeling you get from an artist instantly winning you over and making you a fan. They did and I am.

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Quinn Sullivan and Buddy Guy, Lollapalooza 2009

From there I heard some good ole Chicago blues guitar and thought of, what else, the Kidzapalooza stage. Do you remember “Mmmmm Bop” by Hanson? Not the song per se but the way that Hanson kid sang it. His prepubescent, bubble gum delivery is what I’m getting at. Ten year old prodigy Quinn Sullivan has that same voice, only he’s singing the blues and playing some flashy Buddy Guy inspired guitar. Guy is actually Sullivan’s manager from what I understand. The Kidz Stage was packed with many more grown-ups than kids, all standing slack jawed drooling as this kid tore it the hell up. The set finished with a tune called “Me And Buddy Guy” with Mr. Guy joining this impish little man in some Me And The Devil lick trading. Impressive stuff. I just hope he isn’t turned into a circus freak show. Sullivan is obviously a very talented young man. They just need to let him play his guitar and be a kid too and it’ll all work out I’m sure.

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10 08 2009
Bri Blahg… Giant Heat Stroked Lollapalooza Wrap Up « 2009 Festival Season

[…] After Chairlift and Living Things voices told me I needed to see Canada’s Constantines. By God they were great as I outlined here. […]

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