Sunday, August 8, 2010
As day two of Lolla 2010 ticked away, I made my way over to the North end of the fest to catch tried-and-true indie rockers Spoon, and then decided I would trek back to the South end to see what punk-pop mainstays Green Day had to offer.
Spoon's set was very enjoyable, and just what any fan of the band's records would most likely expect from them. If you're not a Spoon fan to begin with, they're probably not the type of band that will win you over live - their performances stay pretty true to what you hear in their studio material and front-man Britt Daniel has a rather low-key stage presence. But to those who were already fans, the band delivered with a tight sound and excellent assortment of songs. Personally, I prefer the band's more accessible side, which happily was out in full force in the form of songs such as "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," "I Summon You," "I Turn My Camera On" and "The Underdog."
In terms of Green Day's set, three words come to mind: "Over the top." Scratch that, four: "Long, over the top." The band's set was filled with such long-winded theatrics that it was nearly impossible to tell that they ever came across as a punk act marked by two-and-a-half minute songs and an indifferent attitude. Instead, their time on stage played out mostly like one of those cheesy musical productions on a cruise ship, except with a pop-punk slant and a lot of dirty words. There were explosions. Many explosions. There was endless crowd participation (if I had a dime for every time frontman Billie Joe Armstrong shouted "wave your hands in the air" or "let's get crazy" or "yeah, Chicago!", or brought fans on stage...). There were meandering songs and equally meandering song intros.
Starting off with a host of new-era Green Day songs such as "21st Century Breakdown," "Holiday" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," the set eventually moved to classics like "Longview," "She" and "When I Come Around," which the band tended to perform in a more straightforward manner, temporarily making the performance more enjoyable. Soon after, though, the meandering and theatrics returned with a vengeance and the performance went on so much longer than necessary.
Overall, one thing could be said for Green Day - their energy knew no bounds and was a thing to marvel. I can't think of many performers who would have the stamina to do what they did. But while their staged mania might have appeared shiny and exciting on the surface, I'd much rather have seen a rock and roll show than a production.