Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 25

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Friday Quick Links Review: Devo and Dirty Projectors @ The Congress, 8/5 »

Lollapalooza Sat Aug 07 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 Recap: Friday, August 6th

I realized yesterday that Lollapalooza as it exists now is basically a three-day pop up musical city. And I like it. I still reminisce of the first year that it was reincarnated as a destination festival and only took up the south half of Butler Field. I watched and cringed as it grew year after year. But Friday, something hit me. A musical city is what you make of it, just as Chicago itself is. It offers a little something for everyone. You can't do it all. But that is not what the intention is.

Ask any attendee and they will have their own, different Lollapalooza experience. Some may stay at one stage the entire day. Some may come strictly for the headliner. Some may spend the afternoon in Hammock Heaven. Some may run from end to end to actually see their "custom schedule." Some may attempt to sample all the fare at Chow Town. And then there are some who may not eat at all and instead live solely on Bud Light for three days.

Here is my day in the city...with a little help from fellow Transmission writer, James Ziegenfus.

I wanted to get to the fest in time to catch some of the early bands that I had never seen before, but I only arrived just in time to catch the tail end of Wavvves' set on the north end. They were belligerent, but not in a "cool" way, more a disrespectful way. "Play a fuckin' song!" I heard from one audience member yell as band members talked back and forth saying that they have to know what song they were playing before they could play a song. Oh, and burping into the microphone. They finally played "Rainbow Everywhere", but by that time, most anyone who had any interest had left.

Ettes drummer Poni Silver (photo by Kate Gardiner/PBS NewsHour)

Next, I saw The Ettes on one of the smaller side stages. I just love this band's '60s girl punk band sound. The female drummer is the most entertaining part of the band and should probably be moved to the front of the stage set up, but lead singer Coco's voice is rightfully front and center.

It wasn't very surprising to hear Raphael Saadiq smoke through an hour-long set that drew heavily from his latest solo record The Way I See It. Even though Saadiq does sometimes drop in an old Tony! Toni! Toné! hit or that one Lucy Pearl jawn, he appears most comfortable with his own material. Straight out of the gate with a blazing "100-Yard Dash" he and his band were in top gear. The backup singers had their dancing down pat, the musicians were tight as a drum and Saadiq's only obstacle was the heat. (His black jacket and shirt were gone 2/3rds into the set, to the delight of a couple ladies standing near me.) Where Saadiq wins over audiences is in his devotion to the craft and authenticity. It's easy to toss him in with those who're striving to replicate a Motown feel in modern R&B, but he's not looking to recreate the wheel. He's simply pulling inspiration from history and performing the hell out of his own spin on it. With anchors like an amped "Sure Hope You Mean It", "Staying in Love" and "Get Involved" (No Q-Tip, unfortunately) driving the afternoon crowd wild, it was no surprise that people walked away from that set thinking, "Why is this guy on in the middle of the afternoon???"
-James Ziegenfus

Staples - Gardiner.jpg

Mavis Staples (photo by Kate Gardiner/PBS NewsHour)

Chicago native Mavis Staples was an honor to see perform on the main stage. She began with an a capella song backed by a three-person chorus. My friend and I thought we had spotted Jeff Tweedy (who produced her new album) in the wings, and then he joined Staples on stage for the title song from the album You Are Not Alone.

Strokes - Gardiner.jpg
Strokes' guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr with his new beard (photo by Kate Gardiner/PBS NewsHour)

I have to admit I missed the first few songs of The Strokes while catching 2ManyDJs, so I can't account for anything before "Hard to Explain." But there was so much else to glean from the Strokes' first U.S. show since late 2006. First of all, they're basically the same Strokes you've always known — cocky, brash, disinterested and loaded with talent. Guitarists Nic Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr (sporting a new beard to throw a wrench in the band's aesthetic) were on their game, riffing and soloing like they hadn't missed any time. The rhythm section didn't skip a beat and Julian Casablancas' rough voice was in fine shape as they plowed through a greatest hits set. Secondly, it was complete domination. Feeding off a growing sentiment on Butler Field that rock music festivals should be about rock bands, the Strokes fed into it with gigantic rock'n'roll songs (highlighted by "You Only Live Once" and "Last Nite") that drew boisterous cheers and had fans singing along, air guitaring and pogoing to get a better view of five dudes who basically stood around coolly not giving a fuck. "CHICAGOPALOOZA" and a classic arcade game backdrop were nice touches, but the Strokes really just need a spotlight and their instruments to put on a great show. After Friday, it's tough to see how they ever couldn't.
-James Ziegenfus

Strokes2 - Gardiner.jpg
The Strokes' Julian Casablancas (photo by Kate Gardiner/PBS NewsHour)

I was disappointed to not catch more of Chromeo's spectacle. I more heard than watched their set as I got into position for Lady Gaga who was in a word, ridiculous. A rumored 150 thousand dollar stage set up began with a heavy black velvet curtain that came down several times throughout concealing costume and set changes. She is a talent, in songwriting, vocals as well as a performer. Some people are born for the stage, and she is one. Her show was spectacle and shock, at one point she was covered in fake blood asking "Do you think I'm sexy?" It's exciting to see a performer who has excited masses in a way that no one has done since Madonna.

GB store

Rich / August 10, 2010 1:30 PM

I think you forgot to mention the cultural revival and elegance Lady Gaga has reignited in today's tasteless and brash pop culture music scene.

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15