Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue played a characteristically great set at Lollapalooza this past Sunday. One of the highlights for me — if you feel like playing Where’s Waldo, you can find me in about the 8th row wearing a red Wisconsin hat — was this long cover of Brain Stew by Green Day.
Unfortunately, the YouTube video cuts out right as they were fading into Still Fly by the Big Tymers. If you ever have a chance to see Trombone Shorty in your city, I’d highly recommend it. He goes hard, and I’m not sure there’s so many years left where we’ll be able to see him in relatively smaller venues.
I have some mixed feelings about Lollapalooza, though I still go most years. It’s a little bit depressing how old I feel there, despite the fact that I still have a few years to go before hitting 30. Almost everybody in there is in high school or college, and it’s not that I yearn for those days — especially not high school — but it breeds sort of an odd self-consciousness about my comparative seniority that I’m not really used to yet.
It’s hard to go into Lollapalooza with a plan to see a bunch of musical acts, because the two main stages are essentially on opposite ends of Grant Park, which can make for a 45-minute walk once it hits mid-afternoon. Eventually you realize you have to pick a side and stay there, effectively cutting off half of the bands you wanted to see. That’s kind of annoying, but it’s something you know going in if you’ve been enough times.
Nevertheless, the festival does a lot of things really well. Many of the city’s best restaurants (in the greasy food division, which is my specialty) set up shop inside the grounds, and they don’t gouge you. There’s a lot of different good things to try, and because you’re active that day it feels like you can indulge without getting fat. Last week, my buddy Matt and I split a pulled pork tamale from a restaurant whose name I no longer recall, and a truffled bacon mac and cheese topped hot dog from Franks ‘n Dawgs:
I also ate a big ice cream cone all by myself.
One of the other cool parts about Lollapalooza is just wandering around and discovering new bands. Each year I go, I wind up finding something that I listen to a lot later. A few years ago, I happened upon Metric that way; this year I think I’ll end up digging some more into Gemini Club. Cage the Elephant and the Avett Brothers were pretty fun, too.
So, I’ll probably keep going to one day of Lolla per year, provided I’m in town and have won the browser lottery to get tickets before they sell out. It’s a little bit pricey for a day of entertainment, but I think generally worth it.