August 8th, 2009
09:44 PM ET
Lollapalooza can be summed up in one word: overwhelming. The festival, held in Chicago, Illinois, since 2005, has more than 130 bands playing throughout the weekend, including headliners Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, Ben Harper, The Killers, Tool and Lolla founder Perry Farrell's recently reunited band, Jane's Addiction. Rain made an unwelcome guest appearance all day Friday, but that didn't stop the sold out crowd's enthusiasm. At one point while walking the huge grounds at Grant Park, we watched a couple of guys wrestling in a giant mud puddle.
Festival goers enjoy one of the performances on the first day of Lollapalooza 2009.
Early Friday afternoon, we checked out a hot hip hop group called The Knux. Fronted by brothers Krispy Kreme and Rah Al Millio, the self-proclaimed “party starters” cranked up the crowd. Krispy and Al told us later that they really get energized by the crowd's enthusiasm. They vary their set lists for every performance and for Friday highlights included "Bang Bang" and did a very cool rendition of "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks. They got the crowd hopping with the classic “Jump Around” by House of Pain to close the set.
The Virgins were another crowd favorite, playing later on the same stage as The Knux. They rocked out the crowd with familiar hits such as “Rich Girls.” Thievery Corporation was a big draw, too, on one of the main stages later in the afternoon. We checked out Perry Farrell and surprise special guest LeAnn Rimes at the Kidzapalooza venue. They rocked the young crowd with renditions of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" and The Beatles’ "Here Comes the Sun." Kidzapalooza is a great area for music-loving parents to bring their kids. They get in free if under 10 and the area offers fun activities like hip hop lessons and a “petting zoo,'” where kids can play real instruments. They also can get a punk haircut at a “salon.” I wish they had stuff like this when I was a kid.
Later in the day, strategizing about which bands to see became more challenging. The evening schedule pitted old-school favorite Depeche Mode against new rockers Kings of Leon. My original plan was to check out part of KOL and then make my way over to Depeche Mode's stage. Only problem with that plan was that Grant Park is enormous and the evening crowds were so enormous there was no room to move. Once we marked our spot at Kings of Leon, we had to stay. They did not disappoint! KOL opened with “Be Somebody” off their latest CD. They had at least two sign language interpreters on stage, which was cool. They rocked hard; lead singer Caleb Followill shouted to the crowd that Chicago was one of his favorite cities in the world. They played most of their big hits, including “Sex on Fire” and an intense "Closer." We were thankful the rain finally stopped before the evening headliners started and it was an awesome night.
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