COMING HOME VIA CHICAGO & LOLLAPALOOZA

Words by SuperDee | Photos by Adam George & Dave Vann


Chicago by Adam George
Lollapalooza 2006 was this summer's premier rock festival destination. Modeled after the major rock festivals of Europe, Lollapalooza offered a wide variety of genres from bands of all shapes and sizes. Mega-star headliners Kanye West and Red Hot Chili Peppers were complemented by indie dreamers Built to Spill, Feist and Stars, jam-friendlies Particle and The Disco Biscuits, cult-classics Ween and Sleater-Kinney, and hip hop sensations Lady Sovereign and Lyrics Born. There was a kid's stage for the little ones with lots of fun acts, including a "peace out" conga line by the KidTribe, The Blisters which featured Jeff Tweedy's son, as well as a surprise appearance by Patti Smith. Being in an urban setting, its second year at Chicago's Grant Park, there was a much different feel than our "sleep-over" festivals. Instead of being surrounded by nature and tents, you are surrounded by skyscrapers, lending sophistication to the overall experience. You might sacrifice some of the spontaneity that comes from being out in the wild, but the magic remains. With the Sears Tower looking down on you all day long, you never forget that you are in the heart of Chicago, a city as classy as they come.


AT& T Stage by Dave Vann
The corporate sponsorships were clearly visible, but they were not obnoxious - they all seemed to be somewhat functional. Playstation brought game tents where people could compete against each other in "Guitar Hero," AT&T brought the webcast capabilities so that the festival could be shared with everyone all around the world; and Bud Light…, well who doesn't like a cold beer in the hot summer sun?

The music was plentiful and powerful. Big bands, little bands, and everyone in between (130 bands in total) shared the bill, creating a varied quilt of musical choices for three straight days on eight stages. Besides the main stage headliners, each band got just one hour to do their thing, so they deliberately packed in a power-punch set to show the people what they've got. Many of these modern rock bands that have that 80's retro synth-rock thing happening sounded the same to my jam-smeared ears, but there was a number of stand outs which I will share with you now.


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