Bri Blahg… Giant Heat Stroked Lollapalooza Wrap Up

10 08 2009

by Brian Phillips (@BrianBlahg)


And that’s it. Lollapalooza 2009 is history. We saw a little of everything this weekend. I swear it was down right chilly Friday. It was raining I know that. Saturday and Sunday were different stories. We got a good lather going by the end of the weekend. Lollapalooza adjusted though. Yesterday the Chicago Fire Department brought in a truck with a giant fan on top to spray mist. This ain’t a bad town if the fire department has a damn misting truck. I’m going to roll through some highlights here. I’m one man though and there’s so much I missed. I saw quite a lot too.


I raced to the BMI stage just in time to catch a wisp of April Smith. She’s somethin’, and a mean dresser too. Smith was kind enough to take us on a tour of the site seeing as how we just got there and all. April received as much as she gave in the form of Lobster Corn Dogs.

After watching nine year old Yuto Miyazawa play “Paranoid” by Sabbath on the Kidzapalooza stage a late Portland, Oregon band Hockey tried to make it work on The Playstation Stage. Unfortunately the power went out and they couldn’t get through their first number. The men were good sports in the media area later and told us about how Bruce Springsteen doesn’t pay attention when you meet him.

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Bri Blahg… Bonnaroo Morning Day 3… Receding Hairlines and Never Made Tampon Commercials

13 06 2009

 Day three… Morning…. Sunshine! We are ever alert for nasty weather though. Last night a storm was looking to make a direct hit on the ‘Roo before inexplicably turning ever so slightly southward. Who says God hates hippies. The Good Lord should have smited (or is that smooted, smitted, or smothered, diced and covered) Crystal Castles instead. We’ll get to that later. (Oh Ecstasy you are a powerful drug. You can make a tent filled with 4,000 19 year olds believe a band is good)

Spent a few minutes with Portugal The Man front man John Gourley. I figured he was tired of talking about growing up in an Alaskan Cabin, his dad running the Iditorod, and having Sarah Palin as his mayor. Turns out the band’s next album is all about his wilderness boy upbringing. Gourley says the record will certainly shock fans for it’s poppier direction. I’d trust them though, they’re a band on the rise. What I couldn’t get out of young John was why he chose to call the record “The Satanic Satanists.” Perhaps they’re looking for a lifetime ban from Palin’s Alaska. Near as I could tell it’s just a bit of fun. (True story Portugal The Man and Slayer share publicists… hmmmmm) Video coming to most of these stations soon.

Speaking of bands with new albums coming, Alberta Cross have finished theirs. We talked for just a few minutes as I did not want to be the asshole that kept them from seeing The Reverend Al Green. (I was the asshole who kept myself from seeing Al Green as it turns out.) Front man Petter Stakee admitted that his material is a bit downcast. It’s also quite beautiful and he has nothing to apologize for. Big things are happening for Alberta Cross. They’re signed to ATO, opened shows for Oasis earlier this year at Noel Gallagher’s personal request, and are playing Hyde Park in London with Neil Young in a few weeks. Not bad work if you can get it.

A busy interview afternoon behind me, I picked up the camera. We have a bit of live Ani DiFranco video. Ani seemed in good spirits even though she used the “F” word a lot. She’s just never struck me as an “F” word person, but there you go. Byrne’s band was of course tight and he had white clad dancers ripped straight from a 1985 workout video. They looked like extras from a never made feminine hygiene product commercial. I’m sure someone wanted to have one with dancers, but there’s no way that gets off the drawing board in 1985.

Of course The ‘Roo has been abuzz about The Phish shows. The first of two was last night on the main stage and together with Thunder Dan Hoffman we captured video and stills. The rule for video here is the first 60 seconds of the first two songs, and still photos for the first three songs only. For Phish that could be an hour. They kicked off the show with…. ok I’ll come clean, the only Phish song I like “Chalk Dust Torture” (I also love “Truckin'” by The Dead… yeah I’m one of those.) Hey the people were pleased, the band was pleased, and it isn’t all about me. In 2009 there are ways for fellas like Phish to ward off the obvious effects of aging. They have chosen none of those, and presented themselves in all their paunchy, balding glory. The drummer I think was even wearing a mu mu. I have tremendous respect for Phish and mean no disrespect. It seems more like Bonnaroo to have them here.

Racing to That Tent (or was it This Tent) I was just in time to snap some stills of rock’s second all time greatest band from France, Phoenix. Number one of course were Sub Pop recording artists Les Thugs. After Phoenix it’s a short list. Lots of energy from the alt pop sensations. The spirit of Bonnaroo is so positive that even a band of French guys can put aside their haughty contempt and feel the love. Kisses in the air.

Crystal Castles was my next assignment though none of my photos turned out. They were using a seizure inducing strobe light, hoping no doubt to kill their fans. Sorry kids I don’t get what all the stink is about. And I’m guessing that once you come around from all the Ecstasy you ate last night you’ll feel the same.

No more time for negativity though. I have Elvis Perkins, Robyn Hitchcock and more to shoot this afternoon.