July 7, 1995

A Real Lollapalooza If The First Stop Of The Sold-Out Show Is Any Indication, This Year’s Tour Will Be A Success

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent Kim Barker Contributed To Staff writer
 

Lollapalooza Tuesday, July 4, The Gorge

The media’s said this year’s Lollapalooza tour will have a difficult time finding an audience because of its totally left-of-themainstream lineup.

But if Tuesday’s sold-out maiden show at The Gorge was any indication as to what lies ahead for this traveling alternative rock tour, it’s destined, once again, for success.

Lollapalooza organizers continue to find new ways of making the alternative rock festival better.

The Film Tent, the Mean Art Tent and the Lab all debuted this year and were hits with the thousands of fans who milled the grounds. The plethora of booths, ranging from Rock for Choice to Rodeo Records, also drew crowds throughout the day.

Traditionally, Lollapalooza is about cuttingedge bands.

On Tuesday, for the most part, the bands were at their best. They were fresh. And instead of using the first Lollapalooza show as a warm-up for the rest of the tour, the acts, both on the Main Stage and on the Second Stage, dove right into their performances with waves of vigor and enthusiasm.

Perhaps, this was where fans benefitted the most.

Main Stage crowd favorites included the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sinead O’Connor, the Jesus Lizard, Hole and Cypress Hill.

Artsy noise rockers Pavement and Sonic Youth dished up challenging but worthwhile sets.

On the Second Stage the Poster Children, Coolio, Yo La Tengo and Doo Rag rocked in their own unique ways.

Main Stage highlights

Many people felt Sinead O’Connor, who played during the afternoon, stole the show.

When O’Connor took the stage, the crowd stopped stepping on shoulders. Nobody dove off the stage. Nobody surfed in the pit. Instead, the audience’s collective head fixated on the small, powerful woman with cropped black hair and a flowing silver skirt and listened to her powerful voice.

After all the heavy, pounding testosterone- and machine-driven rock, O’Connor provided a listening breather for most of the audience.

Although she kicked off with “Emperor’s New Clothes,” one of her best-known songs, O’Connor avoided most of her hits. She stuck to the script of her mostly unheard new album, “Universal Mother.”

O’Connor’s rap, “Famine,” departed from her usual strength - her voice - and seemed a little forced. But the samples were interesting, and she came through strong on “Red Football” and “In This Heart,” which brought tears to a few in the audience.

Sonic Youth headlined the day-long extravaganza.

A band that was approaching mainstream viability only a couple of years ago showed signs of heading in the opposite direction during its evening stint.

The band focused on its most-recent material, songs from “Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” and its forthcoming “Washing Machine.”

With a colorful palette of distortion, feedback, and various instrumental manipulations, the clamorous clan of musicians painted noisy soundscapes on the songs “Starfield Road,” “Saucer Lights,” “Bull in the Heather” and “Washing Machine.”

Even the most melodic songs, like “Schizophrenia,” flirted with grating edges.

But no matter how brilliant the band’s new material, it wasn’t enough to keep a tired audience captive. A lot of The Gorge crowd bailed out after Sonic Youth’s first couple of songs.

Cypress Hill’s hemp-conscious performance proved a couple of things. First, the group belongs on the Main Stage. Second, and most important, hip-hop deserves a more prominent representation at Lollapalooza.

Instantaneously, Cypress Hill connected with and energized the sweaty, dehydrated crowd.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see Coolio, but a couple of sources reported he really ignited the Second Stage.

Even when genre-bender Beck snapped out of his quasi-experimental ramblings and turned up the hip-hop, the crowd responded enormously.

The Jesus Lizard, an unfamiliar face to thousands, stung the sweltering mosh pit with the magnitude of a sonic one-two punch.

Propelled by animated front-man David Yow, who stumbled around the stage like a drunken derelict and slurred most of his vocals, the Jesus Lizard muscled out songs from “Down,” “Liar” and “Goat.” The punishing “Boilermaker,” the driving “Gladiator” and the possessing “Fly on the Wall” stood out as highlights.

The most exciting portion of the band’s early afternoon set occurred when Yow dove out into the crowd and sang most of the latter part of the song “Puss” while surfing his way through the pit. What was even more impressive was that he didn’t miss a beat.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ frenzied assault of ska, metal, hardcore, reggae and punk convincingly shouldered the opening slot with an uncompromising performance that ignited the pit. It even sparked throaty singer Dickey Barrett to gasp: “And they said we couldn’t do it.”

Second Stage surprise

Hats off to the Champaign, Ill., band Poster Children, which played the Second Stage during the afternoon.

With the force of a tractor beam, the post-punk foursome sucked in the Second Stage crowd and even pulled in hundreds of others wandering about the grounds.

Hungry and authoritative, the Poster Children rocketed the audience into a state of rock ‘n’ roll nirvana.

“Revolution Year Zero” and “King for a Day,” from the band’s most-recent album “Junior Citizen,” were among the best tunes.

The only difference between this band and the Main Stage performers is a lack of notoriety.

Lowlight

Lollapalooza can sure do without Hole singer Courtney Love. Her display on Tuesday was nothing short of atrocious and adolescent.

From the time she walked out on stage until the time she left, she did nothing but wreak havoc.

Love, dressed like a tattered rag doll, blasted the audience with a slew of obscenities.

During one of her between-song rants, she scolded male moshers for beating up the females, which was utterly surprising since Courtney dove into the pit herself and ought to know how brutal a pit can be.

That didn’t stop her from helping about 30 girls onto the stage, where they sat, along with the dozens of toy baby dolls, for the duration of Hole’s set.

Even Love’s vocal performance was a disaster. Most of her singing sounded like vocal temper tantrums.

What’s more, Love pleaded with a girl in the audience to remover her bikini top saying: “If this were Rush, you’d take that off.” The girl didn’t remove it but a couple of males did, flinging the top into the air. Nice going, Courtney.

After Hole finished its set, Love threw two mikes into the crowd and was then forced off the stage by the stage crew.

Her antics might be her way of connecting with the audience, but they sure have gotten tired. Whatever happened to playing music?

MEMO: These sidebars appeared with the story: 1. A WHO’S WHO OF REPORTERS SHOWED AT THE GORGE Because the Lollapalooza national tour kicked-off at The Gorge on Tuesday, hordes of national media types swarmed to Grant County, eager to catch the first glimpse of the summerlong traveling festival. The list of media included reporters and photographers, whose glossy Lollapalooza press laminants were said to blind a few, from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, E! and, yes, MTV. In fact, MTV personality extraordinaire Allison Stewart spent the entire day getting people’s opinion of the fifth-year festival. After gaining the inside scoop from moshers between Hole’s and Sonic Youth’s performance, Stewart entered the press area (located on the ground level by the sound board) with her entourage. During Sonic Youth’s set, in an effort to draw attention to themselves, the ever-phony Stewart and a female friend took snap-shots of each other and danced atop chairs. What was truly hilarious - and ironic - was that, while the two women were heavy in their “we’re-partying-at-Lollapalooza” schtick, Thurston Moore was singing: “You party all the time/ because its you, you, you/ everyday/ Self-obsessed and sexy/ all the way.” After about four songs, the women, who let on that they were the biggest Sonic Youth fans on the planet, left The Gorge. Joe Ehrbar

2. OTHER VIEWS OF LOLLAPALOOZA Jon Pareles/New York Times: Lollapalooza is a chance for an urban and college-town culture to visit the suburbs, while alternative-rock fans can show off a new hair color or navel ring to their semi-alienated, ticket-buying peers. Robert Hilburn/Los Angeles Times: Lollapalooza ‘95 may feature a cast of hundreds, but it’s chiefly a two-woman affair. Despite a wide range of performers, the focus was on Courtney Love and Sinead O’Connor. Both singers responded with winning, even magnetic performances - O’Connor charming the audience with grace and command, and Love challenging it with typical brashness and force.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Joe Ehrbar Correspondent Staff writer Kim Barker contributed to this report.

These sidebars appeared with the story: 1. A WHO’S WHO OF REPORTERS SHOWED AT THE GORGE Because the Lollapalooza national tour kicked-off at The Gorge on Tuesday, hordes of national media types swarmed to Grant County, eager to catch the first glimpse of the summerlong traveling festival. The list of media included reporters and photographers, whose glossy Lollapalooza press laminants were said to blind a few, from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, E! and, yes, MTV. In fact, MTV personality extraordinaire Allison Stewart spent the entire day getting people’s opinion of the fifth-year festival. After gaining the inside scoop from moshers between Hole’s and Sonic Youth’s performance, Stewart entered the press area (located on the ground level by the sound board) with her entourage. During Sonic Youth’s set, in an effort to draw attention to themselves, the ever-phony Stewart and a female friend took snap-shots of each other and danced atop chairs. What was truly hilarious - and ironic - was that, while the two women were heavy in their “we’re-partying-at-Lollapalooza” schtick, Thurston Moore was singing: “You party all the time/ because its you, you, you/ everyday/ Self-obsessed and sexy/ all the way.” After about four songs, the women, who let on that they were the biggest Sonic Youth fans on the planet, left The Gorge. Joe Ehrbar

2. OTHER VIEWS OF LOLLAPALOOZA Jon Pareles/New York Times: Lollapalooza is a chance for an urban and college-town culture to visit the suburbs, while alternative-rock fans can show off a new hair color or navel ring to their semi-alienated, ticket-buying peers. Robert Hilburn/Los Angeles Times: Lollapalooza ‘95 may feature a cast of hundreds, but it’s chiefly a two-woman affair. Despite a wide range of performers, the focus was on Courtney Love and Sinead O’Connor. Both singers responded with winning, even magnetic performances - O’Connor charming the audience with grace and command, and Love challenging it with typical brashness and force.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Joe Ehrbar Correspondent Staff writer Kim Barker contributed to this report.


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