For the first time in its five-year history the summer-long Lollapalooza tour will be launched in the Gorge on Tuesday.
During July and August, the hugely popular alternative rock festival caravans to 27 cities across the country.
This year, Lollapalooza, playing a few less dates this year, presents, perhaps, its most leftof-center line-up on the Main Stage, yet.
Genres such as ska, hip-hop, folk, noise, post-punk rock will all be represented by bands like the Sonic Youth, Pavement, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Cypress Hill, Sinead O’Connor, Beck and Hole.
Sonic Youth: The organizers of Lollapalooza have been trying to get post-punk noise-blazers Sonic Youth to play the festival for a few years now. Until this year, they’ve always turned down the invitation.
“I think what we’re doing is getting more and more obscure and I think we figured if we ever wanted to do it, now would be a good time to do it,” said Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Renaldo in a phone interview last week.
“I think the way they restructured it for this year was really good in a lot of ways. It’s a little smaller. It’s a little bit cheaper. It’s a little bit more whatever the word for alternative is these days,” continued Renaldo. “It’s a little bit more in line of what we’d like to see it be.”
Sonic Youth last played The Gorge as the opening act for R.E.M. in May.
The New York band devoted most of its 30-minute set to trying out new songs from its forthcoming album, which is due this fall.
With the new songs, one of which is called “Spin Cycle,” the artsy noise quartet, roundedout by vocalist/bassist Kim Gordon, guitarist/ vocalist Thurston Moore and drummer Steve Shelley, seems to be drifting from the mainstream audiences it flirted with after the release of “Goo” and “Dirty.”
Sonic Youth’s Lollapalooza performance will again feature the songs from its new album.
“We have an awful lot of new material at this point,” said Renaldo. “It’s the stuff we’re focusing on, so I think we’ll be playing a lot of new material. We’re trying to mix it up with some older stuff.”
Hole: All eyes will be poised on Courtney Love.
And why not?
The brazen rock singer, whether she intends to or not, shrouds both her public and private life with controversy. Most recently, the widow of Kurt Cobain was hospitalized, though only for a couple of hours, in June due to a reaction from her prescription medication.
And, if you dislike her band Hole it’s because of Courtney, not the music. Because it’s hard to hate Hole.
Hole funnels overwhelming amounts anger, noise, pop, chaos, distortion and angst into a pressure cooker, which blisters and combusts into a hell-raising, liberating rock sound.
Like her late husband, Love has a knack for melding dissonance and pop.
The evidence lies on Hole’s sophomore release “Live Through This.”
Cypress Hill: Though Cypress Hill is the only full-fledged hip hop group on the Main Stage, the trio doesn’t feel like they’re Lollapalooza’s token hip hop act.
“I’m disappointed that we’re the only rap on the big stage,” said B-Real in a recent phone interview. “I wouldn’t say it’s a token. It’s an experience.”
A one-time veteran of the Second Stage, Cypress Hill is looking forward taking its show to the Main Stage.
“It was always cool to do the small stage at the time, but we’ve always wondered what it would be like to do the big stage,” said B-Real.
Cypress Hill, which has released the widely successful and acclaimed albums “Cypress Hill” and “Black Sunday,” will release its third effort in the fall.
Pavement: The lazy-sounding Pavement is leading all slackers into a state of musical bliss.
On the surface, this band appears to lumber through its songs like a lethargic drunk. Any beautiful melody the band creates is typically destroyed by clumsy progression, offkey vocals and oodles of guitar noise.
It’s all by design, however.
Quite simply, its approach is nothing short of brilliant.
The band’s latest gem, “Wowee Zowee,” follows its 1994 breakthrough “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.”
Sinead O’Connor: Sinead O’Connor possesses one of the most stirring voices on the planet.
Whether her career will boom in the U.S. to the extent it did with her second album, “I Don’t Want What I Haven’t Got,” remains to be seen.
Ten months have gone by since the release of her politically-charged fourth album “Universal Mother” and it has yet to make a splash in this country. Too bad, because the album marks a tremendous progression for the gripping singer.
Beck: Rumor has it that Beck will appear on stage with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, though Beck’s label wouldn’t confirm this. Beck, who landed job offers as a Generation X spokesman with his widely successful “Mellow Gold,” recently finished recording his second effort.
What most people don’t know is that Beck’s music reaches far beyond the folk/hip-hop collision “Loser,” the song MTV viewers identify Beck by.
What people also don’t know about the musician is that he has two other albums out on independent labels, “Telepathetic Astro-Manure” and “One Foot in the Grave.”
Song to yell for: “MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack.”
Jesus Lizard: Chicago’s Jesus Lizard, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s best and brightest bands, could be on the verge of national stardom, something fans never thought the band would pursue.
According to Lizard king David Yow, the band’s fearless lead singer who often sings like he’s either swallowed the mike or has a mouthful of food, the Jesus Lizard is considering offers from two major labels. This, no doubt, comes as a surprise, because wasn’t it the Jesus Lizard that said the band will not sign to a major unless the label offered them a one-album deal and a million dollars to do it?
“That was a running joke we had about four years ago,” said Yow in a recent phone interview. “Atlantic was the first label to start sniffing around. We told them ‘OK, now give us our million bucks.”’
The band, content with the job indie label Touch and Go had done for it, meant it as a joke, but really didn’t consider signing until now.
Yow said the quartet will sign “mostly for financial security.”
“We’re all getting up there in age,” said the singer. Our drummer (Mac McNeilly) has two kids; my wife and I want to have kids.”
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: It would not be wise to arrive at Lollapalooza late and miss the opening set by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The mosh pit is likely to be a lot more fun than any other time of the day.
Why? The Boston band sports a contagious hybrid of ska, hardcore and metal through eight dynamically talented players.
What makes this band such an attraction is the fact like no one else they make it a priority to get the crowd involved as if no barriers existed between fans and the stage.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is at its best when the pit swarms like a raging beehive.
“I think it would be in the show’s best interest to keep the Bosstones away from the Second Stage,” laughed the band’s raspy front-man Dicky Barrett during a phone interview this week. “I will definitely make a nuisance out of myself. If the opportunity lends itself, I will have no problem.”
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Plan ahead for a better time To make your adventure at Lollapalooza smooth and carefree, here are some things to keep in mind: What to bring Sun-block, hat and sunglasses. Except for the tents, shade is hard to come by at The Gorge. A sweatshirt or light jacket. It may be a scorcher during the day, but temperatures dip at dusk. Money. And plenty of it. The foods and drinks available are on the pricey side. And, the cost of T-shirts is even higher (25 buckeroos and up). Plus, if there’s a band that you really like, you’ll be able to buy one of its CDs, records or tapes on the site at Rodeo Records. If you want to save money, bring a sack lunch. Water. Again, Lollapalooza will be handing out free water. Take advantage of this. Heatstroke is no fun. Mist tents. Places where fans can cool off with a fine spray of cold mist. Bring a beach towel or blanket. There aren’t any seats. Enough said. A backpack. It’s the easiest way to lug everything around. What not to bring Leave the coolers, alcohol, cans, bottles or plastic containers at home. Bathrooms Yes, hundreds of lime-green PortaPotties are strategically placed all over. And as you probably already know, few of them have sinks, and they get progressively unpleasant as the day and night wear on. Consider bringing a roll of toilet paper (keep it in your bag, of course) and some packaged towelettes for your hands. Parking The parking lot opens at 10 a.m. Unlike past years, the lot is well lit, so locating your car shouldn’t be too difficult. But try to associate a landmark in close proximity of your car, just in case. For the physically handicapped, there will be a shuttle from the parking lot. When to get there The gates open at noon. And, Lollapalooza starts at 1 p.m. However, Doo Rag, the first band scheduled to perform on the second stage, starts playing at 12:40 p.m. When to leave People are going to want to beat the traffic and zip out during Sonic Youth’s set. It’s your call. I sure won’t be leaving. Camping Those interested in the camping before or after Lollapalooza at The Gorge Base Camp, northeast of the venue, must make reservations now. Call (509) 785-2267. The cost to camp is $20 per vehicle, which is paid on arrival. The campsite opens one day prior to Lollapalooza - Monday at noon - and closes on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Showers, a basketball court and a volleyball court are also on the site. Joe Ehrbar
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