Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 day two: Skybox, Against Me!

Skybox at Lollapalooza (photo: Windy City Rock)
With one successful day down and two days of Lollapalooza to go, I set out Saturday morning with a few bands in mind that I knew I wanted to definitely check out. The first was Chicago's own Skybox, who made the cut as one of the few locally-based acts to represent our city this year. Their recently released album, Morning After Cuts (reviewed here) is very impressive, and while I had heard many reports previously that the band gave outstanding live performances, I hadn't had the chance to see them.

The band began at 12:30 p.m. at the BMI stage, and by the time they began a good-sized crowd had already amassed, though it was unclear how many were actually familiar with the band going in and how many had wandered by purely out of curiosity. As soon as their set started, ushered in by the sparkling, exuberant title track from Morning After Cuts, I knew I would leave the performance impressed.

The joyfulness these guys deliver on record is even more prominent live. Lead singer Tim Ellis has distinctive, quirky voice that gives the band's sparkling indie pop even more personality, and he's a true showman to boot. Before closing their set with one of their best songs, the dancey, insanely upbeat "In a Dream," Ellis ran off stage and came back in a sparkly silver bra a la Lady Gaga. Had Gaga not been the buzz of the fest this year, the theatrics might have come off as trying a bit too hard (especially when the singer proceeded to remove his pants), but in light of the situation it was more less a good bit of fun.

Skybox setlist
1. Morning After Cuts
2. Buckets
3. Everyone Falls In
4. Fences
5. Plastic Cups
6. Various Kitchen Utensils
7. Light
8. Trout
9. In a Dream

A bit later in the day I decided to check out punk rock outfit Against Me!. While waiting for the band to come on the adidas MEGA stage I heard part of Blues Traveler's set from the Parkways Foundation stage across the way, which, believe it or not, included a truly bizarre reggae-fied version of Radiohead's "Creep." It was one of those things you would never, ever anticipate happening until it actually happens.

Tom Gabel of Against Me! at Lolla (photo: Windy City Rock)
In any case, Against Me! delivered a rocking set that got the crowd properly riled up. The band's socially and politically-charged punk is the style of punk I appreciate most - hard-edged but not hardcore, with some melody and tunefulness incorporated more often than not. Frontman Tom Gabel wasn't a man of many words, but that was just fine - onlookers were happy to rock out with little interruptions through the duration of the set. Plus, he ended with a bang by doing a bit of crowd surfing during the last song, "Baby I'm An Anarchist."

Against Me! setlist:
1. High Pressure Low
2. Cliche Guevara
3. Pints of Guinness
4. White Crosses
5. Up the Cuts
6. I Still Love You Julie
7. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
8. White People for Peace
9. Suffocation
10. New Wave
11. Rapid Decompression
12. Don't Lose Touch
13. Miami
14. Walking Is Still Honest
15. Baby I'm an Anarchist

More photos after the jump


Against Me!

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