Indie Soundcheck Lollapalooza Review – Day 1

Hey everybody…it’s Ryan from Indie Soundcheck.  And here’s the first of three long-winded Lollapalooza recaps.

I’ll just get the weather report out of the way first — It rained a lot on Friday, and I had the toughest time buying a pancho.  You’d think they would have been prepared for the rush, since we had known it was going to rain on Friday for most of the week (and by that argument, you could also say I should have been more prepared myself).  But they were sold out of their first batch of panchos by 12:30.  Unacceptable.

(All photos except one are credited to the Lollapalooza wesbite….Lollapaloozafest photostream, and photographers are listed.  One photo credited to Pitchfork.  All photographers did some fantastic work over the weekend and they all deserve a raise.)


Manchester Orchestra — Caught half of one song….but it was great!  (Photo credit:  Dave Mead)

White Lies — Very impressed with them.  They’re kind of a hybrid between Franz Ferdinand,  The Editors, and Interpol.  Probably the wettest set of the day.  We played a song of theirs on Indie Soundcheck called “Farewell To The Fairground”, which wasn’t the single the record promoter was pushing…but it was the best song on the CD.  They played it early in the set, but still kept my attention the rest of the hour.  Would definitely recommend seeing them if they ever made their way to Milwaukee.  (photo credit:  Dave Mead)

Bon Iver — Only caught the very beginning as I had an interview with the Decemberists that I needed to get to….but I hear that Justin played everything that he was supposed to play, and the crowd was great.  We’ll be hearing his name a lot in the second half of 2009.  (photo credit:  Cambria Harkey)

Crystal Castles.  I was very excited to see them, and I think my expectations were a little too high as I walked away very much let down.  While the singer girl was fun to watch as she bounced around on stage, I couldn’t understand a single word she was saying.  That may have been the point and been what they were trying to do, but it made for a weird show.  They seem like the kind of band that would have benefited from playing a room instead of outdoors.  I imagine their light show would be pretty sweet.  (Photo Credit:  Matthew Taplinger)

The dependable Decemberists.  After the Crystal Castles let-down, they were the perfect way to get my spirits back up.  They performed The Hazards Of Love rock opera in its entirety, with Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Becky Stark (Lavender Diamonds) reprising their roles from the CD.  As she did in Milwaukee, Worden once again stole the show with her songs…but we’re talking about a band that totally has their act together.  Great great show.  (Photo Credit:  Dave Mead)

Andrew Bird.  I’ve been a fan of his since my college radio days, when his project was called “Andrew Bird’s Bowl Of Fire” (if you get a chance, check out their album “The Swimming Hour”, which remains one of my all-time favorites).  Nice to see him get such a great timeslot, as there were plenty of people there to hear him.  We caught the first half of his set, and then departed to get a spot for the start of Depeche Mode…the set-times did not align properly….Bird went until 8:15, DM went on at 8 on the other side of the grounds.  He had a full band with him for this show, and they all brought something unique to the table.  Dosh continues to be an asset.  There was even a sax, which I don’t ever remember seeing at an Andrew Bird show.  (photo credit: Dave Mead)

Depeche Mode.  Wow.  Never seen them before, and walked away very impressed.  They had that headliner swagger that lots of other headliners don’t seem to display.  The sound was great, the visual aids were diverse…some of them didn’t make sense, but most of them were pretty interesting.  As far as the setlist goes, they pretty much played everything they were supposed to, except maybe “People Are People”.  They played jammed-out outros for “Enjoy The Silence” and “Never Let Me Down Again”, which were very welcome — not just because they’re my two favorite DM songs, but because I really appreciate when bands give the audience a little something more than a carbon copy of the album version.  They were one of my top 3 highlights of the festival.

(photo credit:  Kirstey Shanley from Pitchfork)

    • jeffrey b
    • August 10th, 2009


    Bon Iver in 2nd place.

      • theblogthatmademilwaukeefamous
      • August 11th, 2009

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. I can’t agree with you though. Color me unimpressed. I expected to be blown away and I wasn’t. Glad you liked it though.

      Bon Iver show at the Riverside was announced yesterday. Make sure you’re there for that.


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