Lollapalooza 2006 Friday, Eels, Editors, Raconteurs, Secret Machines, Violent Femmes, Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Gibbard, Jack White

Friday: Goddamn right, it's a beautiful day

Lollapalooza 2006 Home / Music Home / Bullz-Eye Home


2:30 - Eels, Adidas-Champs stage
Bullz-Eye Reviews: Shootenanny! (2003), Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (2005)
David: I planned on covering Aqualung, but was too late to get in the pit and shoot them. By the time I arrived, there were about 50,000 people there, so I went to the southern stages to find the media area and put on some sunscreen. I accidentally wound up in some super posh VIP area. They had Vitamin Water and SoCo slushes. Sweeeet.

Eels time is approaching. This is my first time in the camera well, with my stepbrother’s camera, still trying to figure it out. The band takes the stage, with a bespectacled man on piano in the middle that looks like E. A guy dressed like a circus ringleader does some dramatic opening, and there are two girls dressed like burlesque performers vamping it up stage left (pic #1, right). This doesn’t surprise me, since the last time I saw the Eels, their opening act was a mime. Then the ringleader says, "Ladies and gentlemen, Panic! at the Disco!"

Shit. I’m at the wrong stage.

I meet up with Will, who’s just flown in, and we make the long walk up north to where the Eels actually are. Another Aqualung-sized crowd is already there, and the music we’re hearing doesn’t sound a thing like the Eels, and Will and I know their catalog pretty well. We figured there was some last minute cancellation, and after experiencing firsthand the huge trip between the stages on the North Side (Wrigley) and the South Side (US Comiskular), we decide that it’s not worth trekking back and forth and decide on one set of stages for the rest of the evening. There’s no contest: as far as Friday is concerned, the South Side bands rule. Plus, the media area is down there. Free water and snacks, writers are poor, blah blah blah.

I found out later that that was the Eels we heard. They were just being their typical perverse selves and throwing everyone for a loop. They fooled me, that’s for sure. When I came back to the South Side, I hear Panic! at the Disco currying some local favor by covering Smashing Pumpkins’ "Tonight, Tonight." Well, trying to curry favor, anyway.

3:30 - Editors, Q101 Stage
Bullz-Eye Reviews: The Back Room (2005)
David: The Echo & the Bunnymen of the new new new wave of British rock bands, Editors put on a sonically killer show, though they’re not exactly what you call a visually dynamic band. Lead singer Tom Smith was quite animated (#2), apparently on behalf of everyone else in the band. They all look like musicians except bassist Russell Leetch, who looks like a bouncer (#3). Tell him his band sucks, I dare you.

We hung out in the media area and got some much-needed water while Umphrey’s McGee played (hadn’t even heard of them until they played, wish that were still true). We see a big throng of people whipping out their cameras, walk over to see what’s up, and see Jack White getting interviewed in the Q101 tent. Directly across from them is the lovely Lesley James, DJ for my local modern rock station CD101 and my co-pilot for a Guest DJ stint I had recently done for them. She barely looks at me, such is the blinding star wattage of Jack White (more on that later), so I left her alone. But we talked again on Sunday and I got this nifty shot of the two of us. She rules.

4:30 - Umphrey’s McGee, AT&T stage
Will: For the first time, I feel a twinge of regret that I'm too exhausted to walk to the North Side to see Ryan Adams, but it's just not gonna happen; I resign myself to watching the next band that shows up on this end of the park, whoever the hell it is.

It is Umphrey’s McGee, a jam-band-styled group. They probably got the hippies’ juices flowing, but they sounded downright awful to me. The moral to this story, my sons, is that 'tis better to suffer a dozen blisters on one's feet than listen to Umphrey’s McGee. Next time, I’ll know better. The only consolation is that I later hear that Ryan Adams played three...count ‘em...three Grateful Dead covers, and examination of the rest of his set list finds absolutely no songs that would’ve found me saying, "Oh, sweet, I was totally hoping he’d play this." Basically, even though Umphrey's McGee blew, I clearly still chose wisely.

5:30 - Secret Machines, Q101 Stage
Bullz-Eye Reviews: Ten Silver Drops (2006)
David: "EAT DRUMS! EAT DRUMS!" "No, Animal, beat drums, beat drums!" "BEAT DRUMS! BEAT DRUMS!" Sweet Jesus, you have to see Secret Machines drummer Ben Curtis (#4) to believe him. Even when their band is about to disappear down some droning wankfest rabbit hole, Curtis will start bashing the shit out of his drums and give the audience the aural equivalent of an open-hand slap in the mouth. I like the songs that I’ve heard from these guys on the radio, but I couldn’t understand a single word the lead singer (Brandon Curtis, the drummer’s brother) was saying, and when they kicked us out of the camera well, I was more than ready to go. The fans ate them up, though. And as long as Ben Curtis was bashing, I could understand why.

6:30 - Raconteurs, AT&T Stage
Bullz-Eye Reviews: Broken Boy Soldiers (2006)
David: The little girls love Jack White. There were a slew of them in the front row, and they were screaming their lungs out for pasty-faced, stringy-haired Jack White (#6). Now, don’t get me wrong, I like White too, but I never realized that he could make the girls swoon. I figured that was the one thing that he could never do. But hey, Renee Zellwegger dug him, so I should have known better.

The camera pit was like a feeding frenzy. Easily the most crowded it’s been, and being a newbie, I’m afraid to get aggressive. Still, I find myself in the middle, but the damn video crew jumps into every shot. Ugh. Still, the Raconteurs kick butt, and even covered Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy" towards the end of their set, which was awesome. It would not be the best cover version of the weekend, though. That would come on Saturday, and in the unlikeliest of places.

7:30 - Violent Femmes, Q101 State
Will: I’m torn between depression and self-satisfaction when I realize that the Violent Femmes are the only artists playing at Lollapalooza about whom I can legitimately declare to the young punks in the audience, "I was listening to these guys before you were born!" Another writer sneered that the Femmes played the same set he’d seen a dozen times already, but, frankly, is it such a terrible thing to hear "Gone Daddy Gone," "Please Do Not Go," "Blister in the Sun," "American Music," and "I Held Her in My Arms" again?


Serving in approximately the same capacity that Billy Idol did for last year’s festival, the Femmes are the elder statesmen of the weekend, playing more or less a greatest-hits set that has the crowd dancing, moshing, and singing along to just about every song. Lead singer Gordon Gano’s (#9) nasal tones remain just as you remember them, and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo (#10) is still one of the most enthusiastic drummers in the business. The highlight of the Femmes set comes when the Dresden Dolls - Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione - come onstage to sing backup on "Add It Up."

And, frankly, if the Dresden Dolls can dig the Femmes, there’s no reason you can’t just throw caution to the wind, jump to your feet, and scream out the immortal question, "Why can’t I get just one fuck?"

8:30 - Death Cab for Cutie: Bud Light Stage
Bullz-Eye Reviews: Plans (2005)
David: Two shots into Death Cab’s set, my camera’s battery goes dead. D’oh! They were totally backlit for the two shots I was able to take, which is why you don’t see any shots of Death Cab in this article. The shots are nothing but black with some blueish hues that represent Ben Gibbard’s new shag ‘do. As for the set, well, it sounded a lot like their set from last year. And, like that set, I left this one early, too. We were hungry, tired, and we had two more days of this to cover. A quick shoutout to the good people at Heaven on Seven on Rush and Ohio for letting us eat there despite the fact that we surely stunk to high heaven after baking in the sun all day. Try the gumbo. Seriously.