Me and Emily dancing at Lollapalooza.

And introducing…Loverboy Parademic at Lollapalooza.

This is probably going to be the worst recap ever. My Lollapalooza experience has become so jumbled in my head that all the bands pretty much have become one megasuperband that I loved but don’t remember why (other than the inevitable conclusion that “the guitar player was hot”). Here goes nothing…

2008 Lollapalooza with friends.


Friday at Lollapalooza

After leaving work early, after having to go in on my day off, I met up with Em and we made our way to the Congress Hotel (right across from Grant Park) where the Champaign kids (Jeff and Lindsay) were checking in. Jeff introduced me and Emily to each other but neglected to introduce Kevin as his brother. After checking in we ditched our stuff and headed across the street to Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza 2008

We got our nifty wristbands that were made of cloth so that they didn’t cut into you like paper/plastic ones do. Which was good because we’d have to wear them straight for three days. The drawback (as I found throughout the weekend) was that the tail of them was just long enough to dip into everything I ate and get in the way, well, after going to the bathroom… But enough about my hygiene…

Here’s who we saw play at Lollapalooza…

Louis XIV

First up was Louis XIV. I told Jeff that I thought he was dead. Apparently not. I remember that I liked them. But that’s about all. I don’t think I could even see them well enough to tell you if they were hot. It was fucking crowded. And hot. It was hot. I was wearing jeans too because I hate shorts. This was like a million bands ago though. So I don’t remember them much…

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello was AWESOME! They were basically Gypsy polka punk. Picture that one. And then picture people being hired to dance and scream. Jeff got hit in the head with a banana at one point. That had nothing to do with the band though. I think it may have been a loose monkey. Not loose as in easy, loose as in out of its cage.

Gogol Bordello at Lollapalooza.

After the show we went and got Cokes, which were only $2 which is what you’d pay in Chicago outside of the concert so it was nice of them not to totally rip us off. Em got a fried Twinkie which was OK but not spectacular. I remember the Twinkie, it didn’t have a hot guitarist.

Mates of State

We made our way over to Mates of State, which was pretty mellow and good. Like the descriptive phrases I use? We didn’t stay long though.


We didn’t stay long for the Raconteurs either. I spent most of the time watching this little girl who was totally rocking out on her mom’s shoulders. By rocking out I mean she was trying to eat her mom’s hair clip. I thought she was going to choke.

Bloc Party

Bloc Party rocked and I remembered why: because they were British. I also liked their music, but of course I don’t remember how it went. But I liked it before I knew they were British. While Em and Jeff sat I danced the whole time. I had warned Jeff the two rules of Val concert going before we started: 1. I can dance to anything. 2. I pretend to know the words to every song. He had bumped my two to three and added his own 2: I will pretend that I don’t know you. So he pretended that he didn’t know me while I danced to all their songs (including what turned out to be them just tuning their guitars).


CSS (which I don’t think stand for Cascading Style Sheets) was pretty fun, but mostly because they taught you dances to go along with each song.

Me and Emily dancing at Lollapalooza.


Radiohead was the big headliner this year. They were…OK…I think they were a little too mellow for me. I like mellow music, but not at the end of the day when you’re adrenaline has been building all day and you just want to rock out. I felt like they spent entirely too much time on their light show and not enough time putting on a show. I can’t recall them even addressing the audience. There were fireworks to go along with the show though. Actually they were for Soldier Field and not Lolla, but they went along just fine.

Radiohead at Lollapalooza.

After the Show

We ditched out a little early and went to go shower off the dirt. Then we walked around forever to find food. You’d think a diner with a giant lit up sign that says EAT would be open. You’d think. We ended up at Bar Louie. I got a delicious burger with bacon and egg and cheese. Rob (different Rob than the ones you know) commented on the fact that I left a huge salad on my plate when I took off all of the vegetables. I was happy that the bar offered free refills on Cokes because I didn’t feel like drinking and bars always charge you extra.

I had a great moment of joy when I noticed that the Cubs mural in a Wrigleyville bar showed a score of visitors: 11, Cubs: 8. I was happy at their losing until the bartender pointed out blah blah blah, bases loaded, blah blah blah Sammy Sosa. I still think the crowd looked pretty dull and uninterested for it to be a pro-Cubs mural.

Sammy Sosa Cubs Mural in Bar Louie in Chicago.

After finally eating we met back up with Em at her friends bar where I didn’t drink my PBR and this Mexican and/or Asian guy kept putting his arm around me and telling me my hair was like a cats. We called it an “early” night.


Saturday at Lollapalooza

On Saturday I decided to rock shorts for the first time in probably five years because it had been so damn hot the day before. Jeff wanted Cinnabon because apparently in the massive Champaign expansion that was one thing they neglected to add. So we went and got sugary rolls and sugary coffees for breakfast. We headed over to play with the Bean, which is fun to do no matter how many times you do it. So after sugaring ourselves up and playing with big shiny things it was time to head on over to the concert…

Playing at The Bean in Chicago at Lollapalooza.

Dr. Dog

I don’t think we paid much attention to Dr. Dog. They were just kind of there. We saw part of them live and then part of them in the AT&T booth on TV. We got little motorized fans in the tent and proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend trying to kill (or at least injure) people with them.

Dierks Bentley

Before heading over to Dierks Bentley, Em and I got a sports bottle of wine to share. Really, how can you not get a sports bottle full of wine if it’s available? We sipped our wine while listening. They were kind of country but really good. I need to find a word that is better than good. Maybe I should go to college for writing and get a Masters or something. Maybe then I’d know more words.

Steel Train

Steel Train rocked. And I swear not just because they were hot. They had a great sound and I can’t wait to get some of their albums so I can remember what that sound was 🙂 (Seriously, this is the stupidest recap ever.)

Steel Train at Lollapalooza.

MGMT or Booka Shade

We saw one of these people next. Or both. Then I got chicken fingers. They were tasty.

Brand New

OK, so for some reason I don’t remember them either. Jeff describes their sound as “ummm brand new was at the far south end, we were there with Kevin.” I’ll go with that as a description.

Lupe Fiasco

Eh, not my style.


Again I don’t really remember, but I think we mostly listed to them from afar as we staked out spots for Rage…Oh, there was a song they played that Jeff and Lindz insisted that I would know “from the radio.” I did not know it.

Rage Against the Machine

Rage was awesome but dumb at the same time. The music was fun but then the front man spent half the set telling people to calm down and take five steps back and then busted out a spiel threatening to burn down Obama’s house. I stayed with Jeff and Kevin for a bit longer than Em, Lindz, and Rob, but we bailed a little early. The first song they played though did mark the first song I recognized the entire concert.

Rage Against the Machine at Lollapalooza.

After the Show

We ditched out a little early and went to go shower off the dirt. Then we walked around forever to find food. Jeff wanted to trek to the Portillo’s because apparently in the massive Champaign expansion that was one thing they neglected to add. We got our hot dog fix then cabbed it back to the hotel bar and called it an “early” night.


Sunday at Lollapalooza

Jeff took off early to resolve some phone problems. The rest of us packed up and checked out of the hotel and grabbed some Dunkin Donuts before heading to Lolla…

Wild Sweet Orange

This was our first stop of the day. We chilled in the grass and compared scars. We found out that none of us were alone in the world: we all had a dark mark on us somewhere from stabbing ourselves (or getting stabbed) with pencils in our youth. Rob said he thought he was the only one and it’s funny ’cause I always thought the same thing. Why does that damn pencil mark never go away? Oh, I liked this band too.

Wild Sweet Orange at Lollapalooza.

Dell Dome

The Dell Dome was not a band, it was a dome. You got to go in there and they made a custom button for you. I ripped out a page of the Lolla schedule with Steel Train in the middle since I liked them the best thus far. Even if I don’t remember what they sounded like.

Tally Hall

If I had made a button after Tally Hall, I probably would have made a button of them. They rocked and I DO remember what they sounded like. But too bad I wasn’t a writing major because then maybe I could describe it. They are kind of like They Might Be Giants in that they are more humorous. They might be my new new favorite band.

Tally Hall at Lollapalooza.

Break Time

We spent some time chillaxing in the Lederhosen Beer Garden and watching people play Guitar Hero and Sing Star then took a break from the fest to walk down Michigan Ave.

Flogging Molly

Forget what I said (OK I didn’t say here) about being happy that this was a festival that I’d relax at because I didn’t really have any preconceived cares about who I saw. Because when the ONE band of the entire festival that I knew and loved was about to take stage and I wasn’t there yet, I was kind of pissed. But once I got there and we met back up with Jeff I was fine. Flogging Molly was awesome as always and my list of songs I know was multiplied by ten or so.

Girl Talk

Girl Talk ended up being pretty AMAZING. It’s a DJ who does crazy cool mashups. I quite enjoyed the sound because it wasn’t all pretentious my taste in music is better than yours crap and (t)(s)he(y) used a bunch of random songs. It was awesome and everyone was dancing up a storm. Even the one-legged girl in the tree.

Girl Talk at Lollapalooza.

Mark Ronson

We sat around listening to Mark Ronson while we chilled. He did his song called Valerie (that’s normally done with Amy Winehouse) that they had been playing all over Amsterdam. Or at least over and over in one bar in Amsterdam. There was a girl lying in the grass the entire time who wasn’t moving. Jeff kept yelling “poke the dead chick…five dollars!” Although I swear he was yelling “hump the dead chick” but he denied it and called me sick.

Kanye West

No one really wanted to see Kanye, but rumors swelled all weekend that Obama was going to introduce him. Rumors were just rumors and we fled after one song.

Nine Inch Nails

We booked it to the other side of the park to catch Nine Inch Nails. After about ten minutes my first comment was “Doesn’t this band…sing?” They were doing some weird experimental stuff where it was all odd music lights and such. After a while of this finally it turned into a Nine Inch Nails concert. Not that I know what Nine Inch Nails does but that seemed more them and less, umm, Peter Frampton or something. That part was pretty awesome. Oh, and the chicks in front of me kept inching further and further up, leaving their backpack further and further behind. I was tempted to steal it, for the sole fact that people who leave their bags in the middle of a concert deserve to have it stolen. But I’m not that kind of person.

Nine Inch Nails at Lollapalooza.

So that was Lollapalooza in a nutshell. OK, maybe not a nutshell. More like a more-than-slightly deformed world’s largest watermelon shell. But I guess that’s more of a rind than a shell. But let’s go with that.


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • becka
    September 18, 2008at12:10 pm

    i went to see dierks and his band too! i thought they were awesome!!! its official, i’m a huge fan!!!

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