~Meniscus Archives~
Summer/Fall 2005
Issue #8

Issue #8 Home


Lollapalooza 2005: Revival of the Fittest
Chrystie Hopkins
To Lollapalooza mastermind Perry Ferrell, Lollapalooza is his way of staying in love with the world. This year the city of Chicago provided the ideal backdrop for the 2-day festival featuring high-energy bands from all across the spectrum.

Movie Review:
A Glimpse Through Sci-Fi's Past
Chrystie Hopkins
Predicting and describing the future is no easy task, and eerily, some of the early science fiction writers have hit pretty close to the mark. For a possible glimpse into your future, check out the Meniscus picks for best Science Fiction movies.

CD Reviews:
DJ Williams ProjektProjekt Management
New MonsoonThe Sound
Hypnotic ClambakeMayonnaise


Published 9/18/05
Photography by Jon Heinrich

The theme from Star Wars roared across Grant Park in Chicago as thousands of music fans entered the festival grounds of Lollapalooza 2005. The choice of music to signal the start of Lollapalooza was more than a little fun by the sound engineers, it was an ominous signal of the epoch event about to take place.

To Lollapalooza mastermind Perry Ferrell, Lollapalooza is his way of staying in love with the world. This year he wanted to embrace the mainstream more than in past years. Ferrell’s unwavering dedication to Lollapalooza and getting the event back on its feet is inspiring. But, many of the young revelers didn’t know of Ferrell, never listened to Jane’s Addiction or Porno For Pyros and had certainly never been to a Lollapalooza before. So this was a clean slate, a fresh canvas for Ferrell and concert organizers SBC Communications, to paint the future of music festivals and create a positive, brilliant music experience.

The city of Chicago provided the ideal backdrop for the 2-day festival held July 23-24. The city employees, medical workers, volunteers and police all proved to be more than hospitable and truly helped bring a community vibe to the big event.

For almost 11 hours a day, music fans were entertained non-stop by up-and-coming rock bands, world-renowned DJs, radio favorites and Lolla alumni.

Hometown boys, The Redwalls and Swedish rockers, The International Noise Conspiracy, kicked off the weekend. Both of these relatively unknown bands helped to set the high-energy tone for the weekend.

The Redwalls proved that it is never too hot to wear retro leather.

On the East stage The International Noise Conspiracy, between roaring politically-driven tunes, discussed how early is too early to drink beer, gave new meaning to choreographed head banging and editorialized about President Bush and what a “fucker” he is.

The venue consisted of 5 stages. Four stages were located on the main concert field and would alternate between East and West. If you stood in the middle you could hear both bands simultaneously. Not quite a mash-up set from performer DJ Muggs, but not a huge distraction from the overall music, either.

Where else could you hear Billy Idol for three songs, bounce over to Blonde Redhead, then wander back across the field just in time for Primus? Of course, some performers couldn’t help but comment on the overlap. Cake frontman John McCrea requested that his sound engineer turn their volume down as a goodwill gesture toward The Bravery who were playing on the opposite stage.

Saturday’s highlights from the main stages included …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Dashboard Confessional, Billy Idol, Pixies, Liz Phair, Cake, Primus and Weezer.

The two smaller stages showcased less known acts that often overshadowed their big stage rivals. The Brian Jonestown Massacre blew out Dashboard Confessional, Blonde Redhead rivaled Billy Idol and the Digable Planets reunited to bring incredible energy and hip-hop to Lolla providing a necessary reprieve from the routine rock bands that lined the Saturday schedule.

The Planet Stage, the fifth and most remote stage, was the diamond in the rough of Lollapalooza 2005. Those that ventured across Columbus Ave. to The Planet Stage were rewarded for their extra efforts. Clean Port-a-Johns, no beer or water lines, the amazing art/music installation Eye Candy and some of the more progressive and unique music of the festival.

Saturday’s line-up at the Planet Stage opened with Hard-Fi, The Dead 60s, VHS or Beta and then turned into a dance party with the remainder of the day dedicated to the DJ. DJ sets from former Cypress Hill DJ, DJ Muggs , Z-Trip and Mushroom Jazz compilation architect Mark Farina finished out the night. With about 3% of the festival-goers at this stage, every performance was intimate, making it feel like it’s own festival.


Sunday at The Planet State was a Mecca for music fans trying to steer clear of bands featured on the O.C. or men wearing make-up. The Los Amigos Invisibles, a disco-Latin-funk band from Venezuela added even more heat to the already scorching afternoon. Their music was so danceable that even in 104-degree heat, the small crowd kept moving.


Next to hit the Planet Stage was Soulive. This jazz/funk trio is a must-see headliner at most jazz or jamband festivals, but people were either melting, stuck in the cooling buses provided by the city, passed out in the medical tent or checking out Perry Ferrell’s new band Satellite Party. Drummer Alan Evans started off the set with a mild complaint about the weather then proceeded to lead Soulive in an amazing set. If the heat was affecting their performance, the crowd did not care.

The 5:30-6:30 PM time-slot was the most jam-packed with “must see” bands. G. Love & Special Sauce, The Arcade Fire and Sound Tribe Sector 9 did not have to compete much for an audience because the few shade spots and city cooling busses with air conditioning were drawing the biggest crowds. Although this was a shame for the bands, those that braved the heat were given performances not to be forgotten.

Sound Tribe Sector 9 represented the livetronica scene at Lolla by harnessing the energy of the city and the event. Their positive vibrations and intentional ambient grooves filled the event with the communal jamming found at many festivals that was missing from Lolla thus far. The heat seemed to dissapate for the 75 minutes STS9 were on stage. There were smiles all-around as the crowd grooved with the music.

Across the street at the SBC East stage, the Arcade Fire was also doing their part to increase the energy of the fest and revive the heat-beaten crowd. In a moment of choreographed violence, a fight broke out on stage contrasting the serious peacefulness that permeated their heartfelt sagas.

With the temperatures still over 100 degrees the evening shows started with southern jam rockers Widespread Panic. Most fans braved the weather to come out to hear the first set from WSP. Different from the usual WSP show, fans were treated to The Killers during set break. The Dandy Warhols also played between sets and drew quite a crowd of loyal fans. Unfortunately, local DJ Derrick Carter, performing on the Planet Stage, did not see the crowds. The draw to the other stages and wear of the heat stopped most revelers from attending his 90 minute set. The few that made it were not disappointed, had plenty of room to dance and could even play Frisbee in all the space.

Lollapalooza 2005 ended with an hour-long set from Death Cab for Cutie and a 90-minute, high intensity set from Widespread Panic who put the finishing touches on a unique and amazing weekend.

Singing, laughing and dancing could be seen and heard from all the fans flowing out of Grant Park after the last notes of Lolla 05 ended. Musicians and fans proved that above all, music could bring the masses together. Some were there to party, some to dance, some to see bands they were curious about, still other were not sure what they would find. Critics will talk, accountants will punch numbers, city councilors will complain, but there is no doubt that the experiment that was Lollapalooza 2005 was a tremendous success that should be duplicated year after year.

Chrystie Hopkins


To see more of Jon's Lollapalooza photos, visit the gallery...


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