Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bell of the Governor's Ball

I recently returned from governors Ball in New York City. In this article I would like to compare that particular concert festival with lollapalooza. At this festival the focus was on Music not electronic music. Not to say lollapalooza does not have its share of regular in the rock folk music but increasingly lollapalooza has become a haven for all the DJs in the entire world. One of the first things that struck me during the music festival was the fact that you were in fucking New York City. The location was on an island which made it 10 times cooler then lollapalooza has grown to be. It was not as huge as lollapalooza, but that could turn out to be a blessing. You did not have as many miles and I mean miles to walk to see one headlining band versus another headlining band. Yet, as the crowds got larger over the weekend, that fact it was a smaller venue did come back to bite you. There seemed to be less and less space available as the days went by and on Sunday at night you could barely even move. Maybe I am biased,  but there was a stronger emphasis on indie music which some of this EDM stuff actually is, but you are not overwhelmed by it as at lollapalooza. You got the sense that the crowd was a little bit more intellectual and savvy towards music as well. Lollapalooza in contrast has become a place for these bratty douche bag tools who are into DJs that are 14 years old and annoying as fucking possible. Another thing that I liked was the fact that this festival brought a couple of hometown acts back, Interpol and the Strokes. This made for an awesome show because the crowds were going nuts while in contrast lollapalooza has never catered to the Chicago music scene. They are so inconsistent as to who plays and when and on what day. VH1 might as well put on lollapalooza and you would never think that perry Farrell is the promoter of lollapalooza. I will talk about the Strokes at this festival in another post because it pretty much deserves it's own post. Yet, I will ask over and over again the question why doesn't lollapalooza try to bring in some of these hometown heroes. where are the smashing pumpkins? where is Kanye West?where is Wilco?. Now you get a slightly lesser amount of bands to go see at Governor's Ball but you do not get the sense that it is one huge cash grab like lollapalooza is. The tickets are cheaper and they do allow for a payment plan while lollapalooza tickets or at least $75-$80 more and you have to pay it all at once. So is lollapalooza still worth going to? Yes I think it is still worth going to simply because it is the only festival in America where you are not completely isolated from the city. Even at this music festival you were on an island and had to take a bus to get off the island. You get on the bus back into the city, then you're in the middle of not a very nice part of Manhattan. New York City can be very problematic because the damn town is so fucking spread out. The other bonus for lollapalooza is the fact that they have after shows all over the city. Hypothetically you could skip all the festival and still have a great experience going to three different clubs or bars every night. Yet in the end what I think it came down to was when I looked at the New York festival lineup I said to myself holy shit that is probably one of the best lineups I have ever seen. In contrast,  lollapalooza lineups almost every year seem to disappoint even worse than the year before. There just has not been one must see experience at lollapalooza since probably 2010 maybe. And finally one of the things that I noticed about the New York festival was the fact that the bands and musicians that I had no idea who they were seemed completely awesome. At the airport I was on iTunes downloading 4 to 5 new artists which has never really happened at lollapalooza. Lolla will give you maybe 1 to 2 new artists that you would be interested in but for the most part I was amazed at how good the people on the under cards were. Yet that's just my opinion and somebody probably out there thinks I'm wrong.

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