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August 18, 2007

Lollapalooza August 4th-6th Chicago, IL

After attending my first at Grant Park in Chicago for its entire three-day span, let’s just say it has become my new favorite weekend of the year. My friends and I have decided that there needs to be a Lolla at least once a month. That would be amazing. The only minor downfall was that after spending three days running around in the blistering hot sun, I got pretty sick the week after and spent more time laying around than I like to. But I am still not complaining and would like to point out the fact that it was well worth it.

Jack's Mannequin

When Thursday night rolled around and I had still not heard word from Billboard about Lolla, I went to sleep assuming that I probably wasn’t going. At noon, when I finally woke up on Friday without setting an alarm, I was ecstatic to find an email from Billboard apologizing for the last minute notice, but making us aware that we have indeed received entry into Lolla. Woohoo! I hopped in the shower and then onto the el to head to Grant Park. Because I had never been to the fest before, I really didn’t know what to expect. It’s basically a huge festival on the park grounds with stages strategically centered around Buckingham fountain. I have to say between the distance and the crowds, it took a good twenty minutes to walk from one end to the next.


Because this is both a review and a blog, I don’t know whether to give my personal experience as a Billboard winner would journal it, or as the average concert goer would experience it.  So, I will do a little of both, without making it boringly long (although this could probably go on forever and really, none of my weekend was boring at all). After finally finding the media check-in tent, everything went smoothly (other than the fact that my name was for some reason listed as Jane Polak instead of Kate Polak haha). I was allowed to enter right there which led directly into the press area. Although I have been backstage, onstage, and many other VIP areas at concerts a number of times, I have never been somewhere like this. There were large tents set up for magazines like SPIN, radio stations like Q101, and awesome cabanas for MTV and other of Lolla’s sponsors. Every tent had interviews taking place, live radio being recorded, or writers busy at work. One of the coolest things I walked by was Lupe Fiasco getting interviewed on TV. At first I felt a little awkward helping myself to the free water, energy drinks, and snacks, but after a few visits to the press area, I started to feel a little more comfortable there. One day, my friend Anne and I were even hungry enough to grab a piece of the daily pizza delivery to the press area for lunch. Regardless, I didn’t spend much time there, other than walking through, grabbing a Smart Water, or saying ‘hi’ to my friend Ryan at Q101, but I did feel a sense of “wow, I wish I got to work in an environment like this” every time I went in.


I initially hurried out to catch the first act that I really wanted to see, . Of course, you already know that I am a huge Andrew McMahon fan, so I was really excited about this. It wasn’t until he went on and I walked right up front to take pictures during the first three songs that I was told a media pass was different from a photo pass, and I wasn’t allowed to go in the photo pit. After watching JM from afar and eventually weaving my way to the middle of the crowd on a 90 degree day where at least a thousand people were watching, I decided I was going to try and get that photo pass after the set (which never ended up happening). In the meantime, Andrew and JM once again put on an awesome show, playing songs off their CD Everything In Transit as well as a few less popular unreleased songs. I smiled when I realized he was wearing the same Police shirt that he had on at Summer Fest, and I thought about his lyrics “who decided that we have to wash a t-shirt after every individual use?” haha.  So incredibly enough, as Andrew had opened Summer Fest in Milwaukee with a great show, he had done the same here in Chicago for Lolla. That boy is definitely one of my biggest inspirations.






Punk rockers have been getting extremely well noticed since their recent first release on a major record label, and their live show proved them well. They are still very “punk” and have not yet completely sold out from their longtime followers to the MTV scene which is probably appreciated by many. Their show included a number of mohawks and pounding fists and “Oi!” sounding chants, which visually agreed that the crowd was very into their hour-long set.






A personal favorite of mine was the ever growing popular MySpace Records dirty rock/hip-hop boy . His show was very similar to the last time I saw him in March, minus the blonde dancer in a red bikini and add two Asian dancers in black lingerie. I have to say that much of the performance you find yourself watching them rather than the not-so-attractive Mickey, although his set does open with a loop of “Hey Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickey!” Amongst the crowd of drunk dancing twenty-something year olds, or maybe teenagers, were Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and girlfriend Ashlee Simpson. Haha… It must be an LA thing. A most exciting part of the show involved Mickey’s crew, including Simon Rex (aka ) and , coming out to partake in one of their biggest hits, “My Dick.” I have laughed at the song a number of time with my roommates, but seeing the three of them sing it live is hilarious.







was an amazing headliner for the first night of Lollapalooza. With some awesome beats and dance tunes, including their newly popular hit “Stronger,” they had a sea of people creating waves into the night. Not to mention that their light show was probably one of the coolest I’ve ever seen.



Day two on Saturday morning started with a new obsession of mine, . His unique combination of hip-hop and soul is perfected through his amazing voice. Although it was my first time hearing his songs, I found myself humming and singing along to many of his fun catchy choruses. My favorite was definitely “We All Want the Same Thing.” Not to mention after engaging in conversation with him after the show, he is a really nice, cool guy… and his floppy ‘fro is soo cute.





A second new found favorite, and quite the funny man, is along with pal James Marsden. You might know these two from Ally McBeal, or a number of other Hollywood Hits. After spending some time hanging out with their friends, we came to find out that they have never really played a show before, only drunken with friends at late night parties. They play acoustic guitar and have made up silly songs that could only be comparable to Tenacious D with titles such as “Man Crush” and “I’m Awesome.” I don’t think I stopped smiling once the whole set, and it wasn’t because they are both extremely good looking, it was because they were actually REALLY funny. Apparently they are friends with the guys who put on Lolla, which is how they got a spot on the bill.




On day three, actually put on a good show and played fun, dancy, summer music. I really appreciated her band who has a big band sound to them and fills up her songs with fun melodies. Looking skinny as a rail, she really got on stage, played her songs, made no small talk, said “thank you” at the end and walked off stage hand in hand with her man. The crowd seemed to enjoy her even with the weather as hot as it was, but it appeared that anyone only really knew the words to “Rehab” and not much else.




Another favorite of mine, , put on an awesome show, and let’s say his US crowd has become a lot larger since his last few visits to Chicago. There’s no doubt that he’s already incredibly famous in Europe, but he is just starting to gain popularity here. His voice has a unique sound, and his songs are different, but still catchy. My favorite is definitely “Jenny, Don’t Be Hasty.”






My friend Trish "licking" MTV VJ Damien haha

After an amazing ending of the weekend by Pearl Jam, my friends and I decided that there was not a minute of the entire thing that we loved.  Besides seeing a number of awesome bands, we got to meet more cool people than we had expected including artists, producers, the people who pretty much run Lolla, and even MTV vj's haha.  We got lucky enough to be given guest passes and spent some time hanging in the artist lounge, which had an open bar all weekend.  When I said I had thought the press area was cool, this was like twenty times more cool.  While we will spend the next year counting down to attend our second Lolla, the next couple weeks will be awaiting to see if our invite to the VMA's really goes through.  Cause that would be amazinggg, and you can bet that I will be blogging about that here.

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Excellent coverage and pics! So, the artist lounge?, that rocks! Kevin Michael's "We All Want the Same Thing" was a free download from itunes I picked up a while back. I didn't connect him with the song ahead of time, wish I'd of seen him perform. He and that fro rock. Wow! Amy really looked wasted away. Hope she's feeling better and back rockin' again soon.
Hey, I heard you were seen flying around on VIP golf carts in the concert area that weekend. Girl, you kill me. Love to read your blogs. You are so fun!

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