Ciao Lolla

Grant Park's billion-dollar skyline
Grant Park's billion-dollar skyline (Photo By Mary Sledd)

Nine jet-lag dog years from Amsterdam ain't exactly a "space cake" wake-up in one of Sin City's "coffee shops," so we flat out couldn't make Lollapalooza Friday with all the local acts (Sound Team, Ghostland Observatory, Iron & Wine, Midlake). By all accounts, Jeff Tweedy's spawn, the Blisters, and Jack White's Raconteurs stole the afternoon. The latter play the fifth Austin City Limits Music Festival next month, as will others herein indicated. – R.H.


Be Your Own Pet

How do you follow puking onstage from spazz-induced heat exhaustion while Thurston Moore rolls video tape with a shit-eating grin? Jemina Pearl performs one final whiplash. The Nashville quartet opened on "two wheels, baby" and never touched down.
The Blisters
The Blisters (Photo By Mary Sledd)


St. James

Acknowledging Sunday headliner Wilco as their biggest influence, the Austin collegiate rockers capped their BMI stage showcase with Uncle Tupelo's "Gun," frontman Austin Hartley-Leonard doing an ace Jay Farrar.


*Gnarls Barkley

Gathering the biggest tribe until the Chili Peppers' zoological weekend finale, Cee-lo Green and his musical consortium of tennis pros (back-up singers, string quartet, Danger Mouse) proved the weekend's most charismatic and charged. Nearly all of St. Elsewhere warmed up for "Crazy," as Emperor Charlie Jones surveyed the spectacle from the stage ramparts. "Gone Daddy Gone."


*What Made Milwaukee Famous

Fat drops of rain dampened none of the Austin quartet's enthusiasm nor the noontime crowd's appreciation. Frontman and lyricist Michael Kingcaid could hawk umbrellas to a duck.
The Raconteurs' Jack White
The Raconteurs' Jack White (Photo By Mary Sledd)


Patti Smith

A surprise guest at the Kidsapalooza stage early Sunday, the Chicago-born activist worked solo acoustic on Gung Ho's "Grateful," as well as a tribute to Love's Arthur Lee, and a tune born only the day before about children killed in Lebanon. "I can't promise anything," she prefaced the song ("The Dead Lay in Strange Shapes" perhaps?). "All I can promise is that I cared enough to write it."


The Frames

Proving last year's ACL Fest transcendence no fluke, the Dubliners' dense, emotional wrenching songcraft was as ruddy in the face as sunblock-challenged teens. Beatle Bob proved an impromptu choreograph highlight, while the Bible's St. Luke and "I Want My Life to Make More Sense to Me" grounded the rest of the hour. "This has been fucking great," exhaled frontman Glen Hansard at the finish. "We didn't expect this at all." The rest of us did.


*Benevento-Russo Duo

Putting on a clinic for two-man space jams, the Brooklyn duo – organ, drums, and mainframe – made more noise than NASA on launch day ("Becky") before setting back down on the DSOTM.
Perry Farrell and Matt Pinfield
Perry Farrell and Matt Pinfield (Photo By Mary Sledd)


Andrew Bird

Chicago's whistling Birdman overcame early gadgetry malfunctions and bass-drowned sound to deliver a delicately epic hour. Martin Dosh on drums completed the pair, whose "Mandarin Cups," "Fake Palindromes," and "Simple Exercises" equaled the best from urban neighbor Sufjan Stevens or even Rufus Wainwright. Fly like an eagle.


*Matisyahu

A Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, who recorded one of his dreadlocked LPs live at Stubb's? Don't knock it until his old-school reggae wafts into your wheelhouse.


Red Hot Chili Peppers

The first show of the band's North American tour was the last of Lollapalooza 2006 and not worth the clusterfuck on the field. Never loud enough, nor in band sync, only obscurity "Fortune Faded," a failed attempt at Stadium Arcadium's "Wet Sand," and John Frusciante's Jupiter moon solo on "Don't Forget Me" deviated from the group's standard script enough to keep the hoopleheaded claustrophobia on the field bearable. Ninety minutes even ubiquitous emcee Perry Farrell probably preferred back in '94.
* = playing at the 2006 Austin city limits music festival

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