we had been warned, and i think that we thought that we were prepared, for the record-breaking heat of the weekend and of sunday, which was to reach a heat index of 115 degrees around 4:00 pm or so. we had to weigh in on the morning lineup and the inevitable heat exhaustion/dehydration/brain melting, so we decided to just show up for late afternoon and evening.
TEGAN AND SARA: sure, being lesbian twins is a great way to get people interested, and being fairly talented is important, but when it is 5938405 degrees outside, my patience for lilith fair acoustic guitar rock is at a bare minimum. we all quickly wandered away from this.
SATELLITE PARTY: when we were at tegan and sara, my friend hbs could hear strains from the southeast stage and said "this is the song that perry ferrell recorded with thievery corporation" so we wandered over and, sure enough, there he was, dressed like a gay matador, slinking around stage and dancing in some sort of mystical/snaky/freak-out shake, punctuating everything with the same "yeah!" that he yells in probably half of jane's songs. satellite party's debut performance featured tony kanal from no doubt (hot as all fuck but looked shorter than i would have thought) on bass, that guy nuno bettencourt from extreme, i have no idea who the drummer was, and some "lolla girls" in metallic skirts and go-go boots. perry had a lot of nice things to say about chicago and the rebirth of the festival, and kept lifting his hand to the crowd and exclaiming "you're dazzling!" it was both really earnest and sweet and totally bizarre. i really enjoyed seeing them play live but perhaps their material could use some more work - or the lyrics at least (apparently there is a song called "we are satellite party" and a song called "awesome" because those were the only words throughout).
BEN KWELLER: it was way too fucking hot to think about anything other than scoring some more water and getting a good spot for arcade fire. we could hear kweller play the northwest stage while we sat on a somewhat shady patch of fried grass, again eating the magical combination of black bean burger, bud light and frozen snickers, but punctuated with gallons and gallons of water that i immediately sweat out of my body. frightening fun fact: i didn't have to use the port-a-potties even once all weekend - i just sweat out every ounce of liquid that i ingensted. i got to hear "i need you back" from where we were sitting. he was wearing a red and black flannel shirt. it was about 113 degrees out. tard.
THE ARCADE FIRE: if the pixies were the reason i showed up for day one, the arcade fire was reason one (spoon reason two) for sunday. we managed to snag the exact same spot on the hill next to the southeast stage that we had for the pixies show. they were fucking awesome. perry came out to introduce them and said that the arcade fire proves that you can be innovative, critically acclaimed AND beloved by a large number of fans. i was a little confused to see the group of bikini-clad 19-year-olds in front of us at the show (clearly they were just waiting for death cab, who they heard about on the OC, right?) and even more confused to see that they were doing little hippie dances and knew all of the words. huh. either the arcade fire is really popular and i didn't know it, or the kool kids aren't very kool anymore. so the show was energetic, and they wore their victorian weirdo clothes despite the fact that everyone felt on the verge of spontaneous combustion, and they traded instruments, and performed a bunch of great songs, and i was very happy to have witnessed them. next time i hope it's in a dark and chilly club.
SPOON: i always miss them when they are in town, so it was necessary to see them. it was a strange context to see spoon, with increadible heat and a hovering sun that was directly in my eyes, but i had caught a second wind (thanks to more beers and the free water that was being passed out) and danced and sang along. i had purchased a little mister bottle at walgreen's that i filled with cold water that i was repeatedly spraying my face and neck with, and the boys i was with got some, and then strangers were approaching. now is a good time to complain that, despite what i seriously had imagined the fest to be like, there were NO HOT INDIE BOYS. none. i see more attractive men at borders, for chrissakes. i guess because i am not attracted to teenage boys or men that are married, there was not a lot for me to look at this weekend. the first time i saw a photo of britt daniels i was kinda taken aback and disappointed - that guy wrote and sang "stay don't go"? so my reaction to the crowd - um, i thought that you'd be a lot hotter - is similar to how i feel about spoon's singer. they played some good songs (i love "jonathan fisk") and i got to hear my current favorite song, "they never got you," but minus the hand claps, so it just sort of faded at the end. that song needs the hand claps. my brother annoyed me by saying that they sounded like counting crows with some supertramp thrown in, which i do not agree with.
THE DANDY WARHOLS: okay, so courtney taylor is fucking hot, but he doesn't count on the no-attractive-indie-boys-that-i-don't-already-know rant. we staked out a spot for death cab and got to watch them on the screen, playing the northeast stage. they're better recorded. they came across as entirely pretentious, because it's pretty hard to take a band seriously as it postures and poses through 45 minutes of boring mod-revival-guitar-irony in front of thousands of people that are dying of heatstroke. they didn't even play "not if you were the last junkie on earth," and, if you are not a mainstage attraction at a music festival, you're supposed to play your hit.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: zzzzzzzzzz. i was tired. i was cranky. i was done. i am mildly entertained by death cab on a good day, and i quite like the postal service, but not right then. there were a lot of kids there with their parents, and death cab is the perfect vaguely-intelligent-and-indie-yet-still-entirely-family-friendly-and-non-threatening band for the oc kids who have never been to a concert and for their parents are worried about gang violence, so they tag along. i tried to care for a while, and liked hearing "the new year," but then just sat on the nasty tablecloth i had brought as a ground covering, listlessly smoked some cigarettes, and waited for my friends to decide that it was indeed time to leave. and then we did, to the strains of "the sound of settling." i actually like that song, but i had had enough.
so, a recap: thank you, perry. thank you, friends who visited. thank you, chicago. fuck you, mother nature.