The Killers, Snoop Dogg, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Glasvegas and loads more rock Chicago’s Lollapalooza

James Allen - Lead singer of Scotland\'s Glasvegas -

By Tim Salhany, staff writer

Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago Fulfills Its Promise of Great Music and Good Times

Chicago, IL (RPRN) 8/10/2009–“Best crowd ever,” proclaimed Karen O, lead singer of New York City band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, not two-thirds of the way through their Saturday night set. She, of course, was referring to the masses of people watching her group perform in beautiful Chicago this past weekend at the Lollapalooza music festival. A late addition to the festival, Yeah Yeah Yeahs were added to the bill after the Beastie Boys dropped out due to the unfortunate news that founder Adam Yauch (MCA) was suffering from cancer. “Yeah Yeah Yeahs are never going to forget this night, we’re not even supposed to be here,” said a grateful O, who gave a magnificent performance, despite a minor glitch where she forgot the words to her band’s biggest song “Maps” – that’s right, I said minor.

Yet, it must be said that the atmosphere throughout the three days of this festival never ceased to be upbeat and full of thrills, even with Friday’s downpour and Sunday’s 95 degree heat wave. According to Lollapalooza founder and Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell, the show was virtually sold out, with roughly 80,000 fans witnessing the loads of performances each day. Still, this should come as no surprise, considering the huge success the festival has had in recent years. Lollapalooza remains one of the biggest and most fan-worthy music festivals out there, and since 1991, minus a few years in between, it has satisfied music enthusiasts with live performances of their much-loved bands, groups and troupes. The festival has used Chicago’s impressive Grant Park as its site since 2005, and will reportedly continue to do so until 2018.

Headlining this year was Depeche Mode, whose Friday night performance reassured fans that the band is still going strong, despite recent news of lead singer David Gahan’s struggling health condition. “We’ll see you next time,” Gahan proclaimed, after his band’s crowd-pleasing two hour set, opening and closing with favourites “Wrong” and “Personal Jesus,” respectively.

Snoop Dogg and The Killers performed back to back, with a one hour break in between, closing the festival on Sunday night at one of the main stages. Snoop Dogg received a colossal turnout, especially considering that he was virtually the only rapper in a festival catering mainly to rock music fans; “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” saw what appeared to be a sea of hands waving in an endless crowd. While the Killers performed some songs off their new album, they succeeded in appealing to mainstream fans by playing more or less all of their chart toppers, including “Somebody Told Me,” “Mr. Brightside,” and “Read My Mind.” A highlight of their performance occurred during “All These Things That I’ve Done,” when the crowd sang along to what is almost certainly their most famous lyric, “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.”

Still though, for this festivalgoer, the pre-eminent show of the gala was Scotland’s Glasvegas, whose sound and visual style are reminiscent of a brand of expressive pop-rock that bridges the 50s and the 80s. The group perfectly executed songs from their self-titled introductory album, with vocal lead James Allen chanting up to par, if not better than his resonance on the record. Performing their smash “Daddy’s Gone” at the very end, fans sang along satisfied, knowing that this band is going nowhere but up; they’ll surely be back next year should they keep on keeping on.

Other highlights of 2009’s Lollapalooza include performances by Chicago’s own Neko Case, England’s Gomez, Sweden’s Lykke Li and the always original, fantastically creative Of Montreal, out of Athens, Georgia.

One last note – each and every performance on the main stages was beautifully filmed, not only permitting proper viewing for all on big screens, but actually evoking an artistic sense that seemed to contribute to the band’s overall performing style; Depeche Mode for example were filmed in black and white, and the Killers, at various moments, in shades of bright blue and red. One thing’s sure, if a DVD ever comes out with this footage, and I’m sure it will, Farrell could make, yet again, a pretty penny.

Photo: Tim Salhany Saturday, August 8th, 2009