Lollapalooza Friday Recap: Sharon Van Etten, Band of Skulls & More

This past weekend hipsters, dude-bros, sorority girls, hip-hoppers and all others came out and seemingly got drunk at the Lollapalooza music festival. Your favorite (I hope) tiny lesbian music blogger was there to witness it all and while I’m still tired and my legs are still sore from walking back and forth through Grant Park, I lived to give you a wrap-up of some of the highlights.

I came to the grounds on Friday and by the time I actually made it to the security checkpoint, I was already sweating through every article of clothing I had on. If I hadn’t soaked my shirt from sweat, my tears over missing First Aid Kit’s performance would have done the same thing, but I had to power through.

My first stop was to see the band Yellow Ostrich, whose tune, “WHALE,” has been a favorite of mine over the last year and it just so happened that they kicked off their show with it. The boys sounded great and got the weekend off to a fun start.

Sharon Van Etten

The next artist I saw was Sharon Van Etten, whose music has been winding its way through my brain and placed itself into every nook and cranny of my heart for the entirety of the past three years. At one point earlier this year, I came up with the term, “Van-Ettening myself” because I would spend entire weeks listening to nothing but the songs, “All I Can,” “Save Yourself,” “Peace Signs” and “Same Dream” and “Much More Than That.”

To say that I was enamored of her performance is putting it lightly. Hers is not the kind of music you can dance to or throw your hands up and fist pump. She was able to silence the audience with the sound of her voice and all eyes were fixed on her standing at the center of the stage holding various instruments and wearing some blue and white tie-dyed pants. I’m not sure what she’s been doing but I’m not sure she could get any more beautiful. By the end of the show, I’m fairly certain the entire crowd wanted to pledge our love to her and would have been happy to become sister wives for the opportunity to stay with her forever. Check out her heartbreaking live performance of “Save Yourself.”

(Photo courtesy of S. Drasler/Partyline Chicago)

On the other side of the musical spectrum, I was sad to miss Die Antwoord’s stage antics and grimy lyrical swag. When I met up with friends later in the night, many of them said the South African group was their favorite act of the entire day. In fact, they wouldn’t shut up about it and even got into a deep conversation about how, throughout the set, they couldn’t figure out if lead singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er was sexy or repulsive. I won’t go into detail in terms of exactly how I described her because the language I used is not suitable for this column, but suffice it to say, it’s more on the sexy side but certainly dips its toes into repulsive. Check out this video of the band performing, “Hey Sexy“.

Also, if you’re into into some weirdness, and I certainly am, you must check out this Harmony Korine-directed short film starring Ninja and Yo-Landi. It’s not for the faint of heart and if you aren’t a fan of foul language you definitely will want to pass.

Band of Skulls

My next must-see band put out one of my favorite albums of the year: Band of Skulls. I wormed my way to the front of the stage and was able to witness the trio having the audience eating out of the palms of their hands.

Their guitars were rocking hard and the bass lines were as sexy as bass lines could possibly be. When they played the first hit single from their first album, “I Know What I Am,” the crowd went wild and it’s safe to say anyone that had been sitting previously, got up off their asses and jumped around.

After catching a song or two from The Shins, my next stop was to chill out with the more mellow electronic sounds of M83. They weren’t my first choice but there were a lot of cute girls sitting on the lawn over by that stage so I decided, why not? The friend I had met up with went to the bathroom and got trapped in line for the entirety of the set but I was lucky enough to meet a nice couple who shared my hatred of the masses of mini-jorts that all the young ladies seem to be wearing these days. So, consider this a public service announcement: Friends should not let friends walk around with their ass cheeks hanging out of their shorts. There are very few people on this planet who can pull that look off and most of them were not at Lollapalooza this year.

When my friend finally made her way back to our area it was time to catch a few songs from The Black Keys, which we did but the crowd was so insane that we had to leave early so that neither of us got arrested for punching the spoiled kids who thought pushing their way through us with their arms flailing was a reasonable way to get from point A to point B. So, we started heading for the exits but came across some loud dubstep being thrown down by Bassnectar.

It’s not that we were drawn to the music exactly – we were drawn to the gigantic mass of people dancing like complete fools in the best way possible. It wasn’t only the youn’uns making their bodies move in ways I thought were only possible after being slipped five hits of acid with your morning coffee – no, it was the middle-aged ladies who probably asked some other schmos to drive the kids to soccer practice the next day because their asses were dancing so hard they weren’t going to be able to get up to slice up oranges or hand out juice boxes before 5 pm Sunday. Nicely played ladies – I salute you.

pics on Sodahead

Afterwards, we left and had some much-deserved drinks while sitting at table of food that couldn’t hop into my mouth quickly enough and then I fell face-first onto my pillow and tried to mentally prepare myself to do it all over again the next day.

Did any of you make it to the festival? If so, what did you think of Friday’s music? If not, have you seen any of these bands perform live before?