Lollapalooza Day 2 – Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 16, 2011

The day started with a plan to meet up with a management contact of mine at the Google+ stage at 2PM to catch Maps & Atlases, who had a decent buzz about them.  Due to a hiccup at the start of the day I found myself walking in at around 2:30PM, but lo-and-behold, right in front of me at the gate was my friend, Ryan, whom I was to meet at the show.  Turns out we were both behind schedule and it worked out beautifully.

Maps & Atlases were decent; they drew a crowd that could broadly be described as jam band fans (in spite of the fact that they played songs rather than meandering solos over long stretches of background comping…you know, practice!).  The vocalist had an unusual timbre that was somehow familiar, yet I cannot recall of whom it reminds me.

After the show I was to split off and head to the Kidz stage again to see if I could catch Shure endorser Ralph’s World before his set.  In walking and talking with Ryan I somehow ended up in the South backstage area listening to another new Shure endorser, Fitz & the Tantrums.  The next thing I knew I was being introduced to Matt Pinfield of MTV’s newly resurrected legacy show, “120 Minutes”. We chatted briefly and then he and Ryan caught up while I picked the brain of one of the C3 production crew.

I had been curious as to whether Lollapalooza had a designated radio frequency (RF) coordinator.  With nearly 141 performing acts that may or may not have wireless mics, in-ear monitors, and hundreds of crew, security, 2-way radios, and 90,000 cell phones (give or take a couple thousand), not to mention the giant antennas topping Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers pumping out HDTV it would seem a necessity.  In spite of an ever-increasing need for a designated RF Coordinator, it’s a position that is seldom filled on most large tours these days.  I had heard that even Lolla had done without one in years past.  Whether or not that is true, I couldn’t say.  However, I was told that there was an over-watch on the wireless world on site this time around.  Good to hear.

After our unplanned stop, Ryan and I parted ways.  I jumped on a golf cart (the “Fest Express”) and got let off behind the Kidzapalooza stage to see the last few numbers by Ralph’s World.  I stayed after the set awaiting to see what the next act, billed as “Special Guest” on the schedule, would be.  Blues-rock duo Little Hurricane filled that role for a fifteen minute show for the kids and parents.  I caught two, then hoofed it Northward.

Behind the stage for Little Hurricane at Kidzapalooza

I wanted to catch a bit of Death From Above 1979 at the Bud Light main stage.  I was pretty taken with You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine when it came out, but did not go see them prior to their break-up.  On the way I was able to drop by the PlayStation Stage (which faced the Bud Light stage) where longtime Shure endorsers Deftones were due up next.  They had the same idea as I – watching DFA’79 from a slightly elevated, less crowded spot.  I stopped and caught up for a few minutes with Frank Delgado, the Deftones’ DJ and keyboardist.  We chatted briefly about gear, mostly about DFA and how they were a band that caught fire in the dance music category in an unusual way, sounding like they do.

I caught Deftones from the Front Of House position for the Bud Light stage for the same reasons we were watching DFA from the PlayStation stage.  Also, I was there to visit with one of my favorite FOH mixers in all the world, my friend Hutch.  Deftones tore it up as Hutch got ready to mix Ween.  Chino Moreno, one of the more unique singers on the planet, has got his mic technique down pat.  It may frustrate engineers to no end when an artist puts a fist over the mic grille: it’s classic bad mic technique.  But in Moreno’s hands it’s hard to argue with the results.  Chino gets his Beta 58s to do what he wants.  The band sounded tight; they even had me singing along for a few tunes.

Ween from FOH/lighting position (note: dude ≠ Hutch)

About two songs in to Ween’s stellar set Hutch turned around with a huge grin on his face.  “I’m mixing WEEN!”  It was finally something he could check off his to-do list.  That level of engagement absolutely shone through the show.  After their set Hutch went to close up shop and I went off to catch a few by another artist with good buzz, Lykke Li.  She put up some solid tunes and had quite the reception for it.  The crowd was larger than what I imagine the supposed capacity would have been.  Alas, some loud mouths in front of me ended up drowning her out after a while, so I departed.

Seeking refuge from the crowds, I closed out the evening at the park behind Eminem’s stage.


UPDATE: Day 1, Day 3

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