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Lolla '07: Random observations

Even with an endless supply of live music at Lolla, a few other things caught our eyes and ears. For example:


• We couldn't help being tickled by an unofficial Joey Fatone look-alike wearing a shirt with Fatone's face that read "Fat one." It goes to show that if you look like a celebrity and can't prevent the comparison, embrace it!

• For those who wanted to feel like they had a backstage pass, Q101 handed out Lollapalooza laminates at its tent. Problem was they provided no access and simply a schedule of each day. What a deal!

• Rather than ripping off a sweaty shirt mid-set, Iggy Pop skipped the strip-tease all together and started The Stooges' set topless. Of course, when he invited fans to rush the stage, he probably would've had it ripped off anyway.

• As hard as Juliette Lewis is trying to distance herself from her acting while she rocks with Juliette and the Licks, she clearly needs to work harder, as we still overheard one fan saying, "This is the actress."

• Worse, though, is that Lewis is lying to us! She may look the part as a rock 'n roll frontwoman, but she shouldn't be saying that, after playing overseas for the last year, Lolla is her band's "U.S. premiere." If it is, then what would you consider the band's opening slot for Chris Cornell at Congress Theatre a few weeks ago or their show at The Note last night?

Stay tuned for more random observations throughout the weekend.


• When one show's winding down on the Bud Light stage and another's starting on the Adidas stage, it can be hard to tell just where the crowd from one show ends and the next begins. The logical solution to this problem, of course, is to gather up 200 or so empty souvenir beer cups and form a large, plastic arch that fans can pass under to get their bearings. Perfect!

• Jackpot! Where has the AT&T Oasis been our whole lives (or yesterday)? If you can grab the faux leather chair facing out the door toward the MySpace stage you get several things:

1) One killer seat with a prime view of the stage and decent sound.
2) air conditioning (not really needed today, but good to note for the future.
3) the largest umbrella at the festival (500x700 ft)
4) A Cubs win on the flat screen to my left (whoo-hooo!)

Who needs a $30,000 cabana when we have this for free?

• From the volunteers picking up trash to the artists themselves, there are a lot of people working hard this weekend to make it all happen. But for a brief while, nobody was working harder than the sign language interpreter for The Roots, whose skills were tested in grand fashion when he had to keep pace with the frenetic lyrics of "Here I Come."

• 93.1 WXRT doesn't want to see you wet. Ponchos with the radio station's logo were a hit among concertgoers seeking relief from the rain.

• Saturday's mild temperatures didn't stop more than a handful of guys from going skins. The men proudly displayed their chests, sans shirts, to more than a few disinterested women.

• Lolla is supposed to be a green festival, yet hundreds of plastic cups and bottles littered the grassy knolls near the stages at closing time. What happened?

• During Silverchair's set, a group of Air Force guys succeeded in simultaneously pumping their fists while holding a plush chicken that was about the size of a basketball. Not only is this something we never before considered an achievement (we do now, sort of), but we found out that the chicken was actually a rival squadron's mascot that the guys stole. So noticeable was this fowl, in fact, that it even made it onto the giant video screen, sans the military men who made it a star.

• Who says you need to be in a band to have groupies? Chris McLain, 21, of Ellijay, Ga., garnered a lot of fanfare dressed as a bottle of mustard, complete with a cone-shaped hat. As McLain walked near the Bud Light stage Saturday before the Snow Patrol show, Lollagoers shouted "Mustard! Yeah!" and several girls asked to take their picture with McLain. McLain said he rode a Greyhound bus from Tennessee for 15 hours to see Iggy and the Stooges, among other bands. He said the costume is popular in his hometown, where two of his friends dress like ketchup and nachos. McLain said he didn't wear the foam costume Friday because the "heat was killer."

• U2 may not have been in the house, but some patriotic concertgoers had their Irish flags waving loud andproud throughout Snow Patrol's set--most notably a tradition for faithful of Bono and the boys. Somewhere, The Edge is smiling.

• When you're in front of a hometown audience, it's easy to be honest: After crowd surfing during a freestyle, Chicago rapper Rhymefest declared, "I need a minute. I'm down here; I need to figure out how to get back up there."

• We're happy to get another chance to see Matt and Kim--playing in CSS' slot after the Brazilian outfit canceled--but pretty bummed at missing the opportunity to catch a group whose acronym stands for "Cansei de Ser Sexy." (Translation: "Tired of being sexy.") Good thing Matt and Kim are cheerful enough to pick up everyone's spirits!

• Gotta love the rambling way that Matt Johnson of Matt and Kim addressed the audience as the pair walked out on stage: "I can't believe there are this many people here. Who's hungover? And I can't believe I'm drinking already."

• Does it seem fair to open the gates 15 minutes late (11:15 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.) and still ask the first act of the day, Dear and the Headlights at 11:15 a.m., to still start on time while people are still trickling in? We say no!

• Fest organizers should hire a proofreader for traffic signs. Who knows how many drivers were confused by curb-parking only electronic sign that actually read, "No parking; drop off at the crub only."


• Chalk this up to the first time we've ever heard Barry White blasting from the corner of Columbus and Jackson at 9:30 a.m.

• Not only is there great stuff in the area devoted to art from students and alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but you can ponder a deep existential question when walking under the "Who art thou?" arch. For all the people go to a loud, three-day rock festival for serious self-reflection.

• Does anyone else think Ted Leo's heavily bearded drummer looks like Steve Carell in "Evan Almighty"?

• For the first four hours of the fest on Friday, we couldn't help but notice fans opting to listen to bands from shaded, tree-lined areas and even from the inside of the the AT&T Digital Oasis. Is this Lollapalooza or Lazy-Palooza?

• Must-see spot: The gigantic, inflatable eyeball near the MySpace and AT&T stages. Though Halloweenish in appearance, the giant orb is housed on a platform that mists out water on hot fans. Not only is this a cool piece to observe as it floats from on high, but it's offering refreshment as well. What's not to love?

• Just south, and a little bit west, of Buckingham Fountain, Lolla has dedicated an area to all things green. While there weren't exactly swarms of fans seeking environmental enlightenment, there was at least modest interest. What really drew attention was a Chicago police car repurposed into a planter and surrounded by cycling apparatu, and we saw at least one fan jump on the cycle and pedal so hard he lost a flip flop.

• For a must-eat, we've got four words for you: chicken on a stick. Fest food can be pricey and you might want to slip outside the festival grounds for a snack, but you owe yourself at least one try of this grilled treat. (You can find it at Lee's Concessions on both sides of the festival and it's $9, but that's a steal for a hefty helping of carmelized, slightly sweet chicken atop a bed of rice or noodles. Finish it off with a smoothie and you. are. done.)

• Even with all the talk about saving the environment by taking the eco-pledge at Lollapalooza, the people behind the festival still feel the need to put on a light show behind artists who play their sets in broad daylight. Hmm ...

• Seen after The Polyphonic Spree set: a tattooed man not only dressed in a tank top, suspenders, black pants and a bowl hat but also wearing a gargoyle mask and carrying a blue balloon. Beside him, a man in a yellow dress, fake beard, and blond wig.

• One overly excited fan of The Rapture tried to use her feminine wiles on a security guard, dancing with him and holding hands in an effort to get close to the stage. He was all smiles...until the surging crowd got too much and then he became stern and told her to back off. Better luck next time.

• The FYE tent sold CDs at exorbitant prices, sometimes tipping the scales of $18 for a single disc. (Could the chain follow suit with the now non-existent Tower and semi-defunct Virgin Megastore?) But the bargain ofthe day was autographed Silverchair CDs at a mere $10--beat that, Best Buy!

• Most random band shirt of the day: Powerspace's guitarist Tom Schleiter sported the most well-known Frankie Goes to Hollywood catchphrase: "Relax."

• Who would've thought moshing would ever happen at a Daft Punk show? Maybe not in club contexts, but itsclosing set was loaded with crowd surfing craziness.

• In case you needed another reason to love My Morning Jacket: We're not going to name any names, but someone wearing a My Morning Jacket artist bracelet loaded up on drinks in the VIP area (and by "loaded up," we mean "filled an entire cardboard box with cups") and proceeded to distribute them to parched friends and strangers in the crowd during Friday's Polyphonic Spree set.

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