As some of you may have noticed, it’s been a while since there has been a post here at Mister Managers’ Marvelous Music Mblog.  The reason for this is that I have been otherwise occupied attending the wonderful Lollapalooza festival this past weekend.  Overall, the festival was amazingly well run, took place at an amazing venue (Grant Park in downtown Chicago), and had great weather throughout.  Over the course of three days, I managed to catch 15 acts, with the following highlights:

Chromeo

I found myself at Chromeo’s Friday evening set partially because of convenience (I had just seen Hot Chip at an adjacent stage), and partially due to a friend’s recommendation.  Beyond seeing half of an opening set of theirs about 3 years ago, I didn’t know any of their material, but found myself dancing, whooping, and hollering along with the rest of the crowd for their entire set.  The self-proclaimed “only successful Arab/Jewish collaboration since the beginning of time” sure know how to please an audience and give everyone a fun time.  I think the recipe is something like 2 parts infectious beats, 1 part audience participation, a dash of absurdly synthy auto-tuned vocals, and for dessert, an unbelievably fun cover of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” (“I Want My Chro-me-ooo”).  Needless to say, I’m just one of the new fans that Chromeo inevitably has after Friday’s great set.

[mp3] Chromeo – Fancy Footwork

Metric

Emily Haines and company had a huge crowd present for their Saturday evening set, and used it to their full advantage, with both the audience and the band feeding off of each other’s energy.  The crowd was a bit of a mix of newer fans and the Canadian faithful, but the band managed to play to both groups in turn, with exhilarating performances of “Help I’m Alive” early on in the set and “Gold Guns Girls” later on for newer fans, and some special treats for long-time fans like “Dead Disco” and an intimate acoustic version of “Combat Baby” to close off the set.  The latter was particularly enthralling and intimate.  Well, as intimate as you can get when playing to a crowd of 40,000…

[mp3] Metric – Dead Disco

Green Day

Chalk up another surprise Lollapalooza highlight.  I originally wasn’t even planning on going to this show due to conflicts with Cut Copy and Phoenix in the Saturday headlining spot, but my inner adolescent from 10-15 years ago won out and boy, am I glad that it did.  Green Day’s marathon 150 minute set was just pure rock-n-roll – it was blissfully obvious that when it comes to riling up audiences, Green Day has learned a thing or two in the last 16 years.  From an over/under count of ~200 on saying the word “Chicago”, to bringing fans up on stage for stage diving and Longview singing, to gratuitous pyrotechnics, to classic rock medleys, to the double-encore, it was all there.  The combination of an extra long set and relatively short songs allowed Billy Joe and friends to power through an amazing 30 songs, leaving no favourite left unplayed.  At the end of the night, it was clear to all who attended that this was no “mail-it-in” performance that so often occurs when older legacy bands headline a big festival show.  Despite having nothing to prove, Green Day decided to go out and prove something anyways.

Picture of fan stage-diving:

Image from You Ain’t No Picasso

Arcade Fire

Prior to their Lollapalooza show, I had already seen Arcade Fire on three separate occasions, so suffice it to say, I already had sky-high expectations that this would be my festival highlight.  Staking out a good spot in front of the stage required standing around from 4PM onwards without any bathroom or food breaks and missing the sets of Frightened Rabbit and The National, but in the end it was all worth it.  The crowd, and in particular the fans who staked out spots near the stage, were fantastic, and the material from the just-released album “The Suburbs” sounded great live.  Of particular note was the thundering “Rococo” and the dark, danceable, disco-esque “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” which featured a powerful vocal performance from Regine.  Other highlights were 50,000 hands waving in the air during “Crown of Love”, and Win’s spoken intro hoping that the crowd had saved some energy before shouting out the count into the “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)”/”Rebellion (Lies)” one-two punch.  Speaking of Win, despite having a seemingly distant and aloof persona, he appeared to be genuinely touched at one point in the show when he spoke of how intimidating it is to go out in front of a massive crowd with brand new material, but also how amazing it was to have a crowd sing along to every song, new and old.  All in all, it was truly a memorable night, and a fitting coming out party for the new album.

[mp3] Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

And some early footage of the show…

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