Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday at Lollas

Here we go again!
Friday at Lollapalooza
This year reiterated the fact that I am a music festival kind of person. After staying out much to late on Thursday night, I did all of Friday completely sober. Like, ACL pre-21 style. And had just as much fun as I would have otherwise. I just love it all.

Like last year, I did most of the fest solo.  Unlike last year, I met up with a few friends sporadically. Jennie and Nate were 3-day virgins, and I had a blast meeting up with them on Friday and Sunday.  They were Lolla champs, going strong from noon to 11pm all 3 days.

San Fermin
The first band I saw on Friday. The guy's voice reminded me of The National.
I'd been anticipating these guys.  Very 1960s sounding.
One of my favorite spots
This little hill on the southeast side of Grant Park is where I spent most of the festival.
The crowds and view from Bombay Bicycle Club
That skyline is one of the biggest differences between Lollas and ACL.
 Not pictured: Portugal the Man.


Lorde from afar

Zoom in on the Video Monitor

Realizing how much older I feel this year
Not in the dance pit.  Instead I'm standing by the flowers.
Sander Klinenberg

Arctic Monkeys from WAY far away
Yep, once the headliners started on Friday I peaced out.  My bike was parked immediately outside the festival gates, giving me a quick little 5 miler to make it home by 9pm.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Life sure is something...

The DAY I drafted the previous post I got into a bike accident. Apparently 1/2 marathon training isn't really what I needed this time around.

The whole story:
Saturday I had met Charlotte at a nearby bike festival. It was a small fest, but we caught up, got a hotdog, and some free schwag- including a Revolution beer. After parting ways, I biked on to meet some guy at the Randolph Street Fest a few miles south.  We had our date (one of the worst on record) and I escaped back on my bike, planning to meet some friends back up north at the Wells Street Art Fest.  My favorite local band, Tripping Billies was playing that night. My friends were being flakey/unresponsive (per usual) so mid-ride I decided that rather than biking directly to Wells, I'd go home for a bit and wait until I knew what time my friends would ready for Wells Fest.

The lessons in this story sure are coming to light.

I'm on my bike, at about Halsted and Armitage and suddenly crash into the pavement. First reaction is to get out of the street, as I'm clearly in the right lane of traffic. Once I'm on the sidewalk, I survey the situation.  I can breath, am not gushing blood anywhere and nothing feels broken. A nearby car pulls over, asking, "Are you okay? Do you live nearby?"  Yes, yes. A gay couple in their mid 40s walks over and stands with me for awhile.  They readjust my tangled front wheel and slightly askew helmet.  I'm pretty shaken up at this point, my knees ares trembling.  The couple asks me, "what happened?" I have no idea...One of the guys looks around the street and spots a pretty sizable pot hole at the corner I'd just passed.  "Huh," I think. I hadn't seen it.

I reaffirm to the couple that I'm fine, but would like to walk for a bit, since I'm not far from home. Both of my knees are bleeding slightly, but are mostly just full of street.  My chin hurts, and my palms are a little scrapped up. But that's the jist of it. I keep thinking how much worse it could have been- I could have hit a car. I could have  flown over the handlebars. My bike could have been run over. For a first bike accident after a year of urban-riding... it could have been so much worse.

After a few minutes of walking, I get back on and pedal back to my apartment. I open the door and collapse onto the floor. Immediately thereafter, Lisa calls me, wondering why I hadn't responded to her texts about Wells Fest. Poor Lisa, because I answer the phone and completely lose it. "I'm fine but could have died!" I cry. "So um yah... not going to Wells Fest."

I spend the rest of my Saturday night on the couch watching Orange is the New Black (so good, right?). At some point that night, I realize my left knee won't bend past 90 degrees.  Well, dang.
same day scrapes and bruises
After a few days, my palms heal, my chin-bruise goes away, scabs form on my knee caps, but the pain behind my left knee remains. Fortunately, I already have a bone and joint doctor (the benefits of a recently broken foot). The X-Ray and MRI  results indicate that it's a strained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Treatment is non-surgical, just physical therapy. Double-fortunately, I already have a fantastic PT.  I meet with Jenn again, who tells me it'll be about a month until I'm running again.  Thus, no half marathon for me.
anatomy is fascinating

Lessons learned:

  • The only thing I can control is myself. The decisions I make. How I handle the people and events around me. If I want to go see Tripping Billies, I'm will go see Tripping Billies.
  • Good friends shouldn't be so flakey. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

we come running

I was stressing out for silly reasons.
Stressing out about things that were out of my control.
I'm continually reminded of how hard it is to know what other people are thinking or what they're going to do.
Somethings really should not be as difficult as they are.

So it seemed like a good idea for me to commit to something.  To commit to myself.  To have control over something.  To focus on something that's 100% me and not for anybody else.

Another half marathon...

Two months later, training has been going pretty well.

  • Finishing a 3 mile run in under 30 minutes BEFORE WORK.
  • Running 7 miles then biking to work = I am awesome.
  • Biking to work along the lake is the perfect start to a day.
  • On Friday I did 9.2 miles in 1.5 hours and got to work from home.  It was a great day.
Chicago in the summer is unlike anything else ever.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

one year later

new city, new friends, new job.

new cat.

our first night together.  May 22, 2013

 aprox 5-6 weeks old

in our new city.  August, 2013

Growing into his ears.  September, 2013

same city, new apartment.  January, 2013

poor fat cat cannot go outside.  May, 2014

same bike.

the best thing about Chicago.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lolla Sunday in Photos

1:00pm - The Orwells.
Did not particularly like.  Heavy Rock/Punkish
1:45pm - Jake Bugg
2:30pm - Alex Clare (from afar)

3:00pm - Lianne La Havas 
 She was great.  Her humility reminded me of Regina Spector at ACL a few years back.  She is great.

3:20pm - The Mowglis
 it was so crowded.

 too many people for a small stage.

 Oh, but they were fantastic.  Colin Dieden and friends, your music sure is happy.

MSMR real quick

5:00pm - Alt-J
 my favorite photo of the weekend.  While waiting in the crowds for Alt-J.  I was quite packed in at this point.
 Couldn't take the Alt-J crowds for very long.  So I escaped to a relaxing hillside to listen from afar.

6:30pm - Vampire Weekend
They've gown up a little bit.

8:30pm - Phoenix
I stayed for at least one song.  But definitely made it home by 9:30pm.  And fell asleep with the balcony  door open while listening to the music a few blocks away.  Such a cool experience.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lolla Saturday

I started Day Two with one of Austin’s best, the Wheeler Brothers.  I love these guys, and it’s unfortunate they got such an early timeslot.  

But, due to my crazy work schedule and newly developing social life, I’m used to going to bed at 9:30pm and waking up at 7:00am.  So getting to the park by noon was a nonissue.  After a great show, and a free koozie, I set out for a very busy day of walking back and forth around the park.  Friday’s recap was extremely detailed, so I’ll make this one much shorter.

Shovels & Rope – I heard most of their set, walking from Wheeler Bros, and back for Little Green Cars.

Pujol – eh, didn’t love.

Planet Hemp – not a fan at all.

Little Green Cars – Unfortunately, the main female singer lost her voice, so this might have been a really bad example of what they typically sound like.  I watched most of their set from a seated spot on the hillside (so pleasant) and caught a few songs front and center.

Ben Howard – so great.  I managed to get fairly close, and should have stayed for the whole thing, as the few songs I heard were really great.

Family of the Year – There was scheduling issue on The Grove stage, as I thought I’d be hearing St. Lucia when I got over there.  And was a little sad, as I should have stayed at Ben Howard.  Regardless, Family of the Year was incredibly gracious to the crowd, and they also sounded pretty good.  They sing the song, “Hero,” which is getting some radio play in Austin.

Charles Bradley- I wandered over to grab a beer and heard some of Charles Bradley from afar.

St. Lucia – I returned to the Grove stage to catch St. Lucia, which did not dissapoint.  Interestingly, they sounded a bit like Matt & Kim, which I left to go see.  However, the Matt & Kim crowd was ridiculous, and I could hardly hear.  So… I tried to go back to St. Lucia, but they were already finished.  Biggest fail of the day, by far.

Annoyed that I messed things up, I hurried to the other end of the park to salvage the remainder of the 3:00 hour.  I’ve seen Local Natives before, and enjoyed them a lot this time as well.

The Dunwellls were one of the bands I had wanted to catch at ACL last year, but they played at too early of a time for my group to get there.  I’m glad I saw them this time, on a stage that wasn’t very crowded and in the shade.

Ellie Goulding – Ericka recommended, “lights” to me for the 2012 NYE video, so since then I’ve associated Ellie with her. Also since then, she has released a few similarly fun pop songs, so I wanted to catch her live.  She was great!  I was waaay in the back, and it was still a solid dance party.  Thanks Ericka, Ellie’s show was one of my festival favs.

Foals – I couldn’t remember why I had bookmarked Foals, and made my way closer to the front to hear/see them.  It was pretty chill, and nothing special, so I caught a few songs and headed south to get up close for The Lumineers.

Missing the Lumineers show at ACL 2012 was one of my biggest fails EVER, so even though I don’t like them as much now as I did then, I wanted to make up for that failure.  Arriving what I thought was 15 minutes early, I started txted Jaime as to feel less alone.  Then realizing I was one hour and 15 minutes early, I took a seat with the few other die-hard fans, and made festival friends.  We chatted for the next 45 minutes, then had to stand our ground to prevent all the “push oursvles to the front" type of people.  This may be a good time to bring up another one of the biggest pro-Lolla points yet, they don’t allow chairs.  At first I thought this was a sad idea, until I realized that without chairs,  so many more people can get up close.  There are still plenty of sitters (blankets!) but without chairs it doesn’t create as big of a bottleneck.  The chairline always seemed to cause so many traffic problems, so without it, more people can stand at an appropriate distance to still see the front.

 The Lumineers show was well worth the wait.  They are so happy!  What was a little ridiculous, at one point, two of the guys walked through the crowd to play two songs from a new perspective.   The main singer sat on top of a chair just behind me, and the accordion player stood on top of the sound booth.

Mumford & Sons – I just saw Mumford at The Circuit of the Americas, so I wasn’t in dire need to see them again.  However, I was pretty thankful that I got to see them twice, while much of the US missed their concert.

I left MAS a bit early, and caught a tiny amount of The Postal Service as I made my 10 minute trek home.

Lolla Friday

One of the first bands I wanted to see was Robert DeLong, however his set was at 12:30pm on Friday, and I knew I wouldn't be ready to leave the office that early.  But, I packed my backpack and planned to walk right from work to the fest, as soon as I could.  That time ended up being about 2pm.

The security was a little tougher than ACL, but not nearly as tight as The Gorge. The first band I wanted to see was Band of Horses at 4:15pm, so I had some time to walk around and get oriented to the sheer space of Grant Park.  I might be wrong, but it seems like lolla is a lot bigger, both in terms of space, and people attending.  Grant Park is way different than Zilker.  Rather than being a huge green space, Grant has streets and mini-parks within it.  For the most part, the festival layout prevents it from feeling as crowded as ACL or creating as many bottlenecks of traffic.  I definitely appreciated this, as I did a lot of wandering on Friday.

I entered the fest on the north side, so caught part of Ghost BC’s set as I got oriented to the park.  Ghost BC is a metal band.  They sounded great, and were hilarious to watch but metal’s not my thing.  Once I made it all the way south, I caught most of the Smith Westerns.  They are originally from to Chicago, and it was funny that they accidentally did a shout-out to Coachella.  They sounded alright- but I felt super old watching them, surrounded by a lot of under-21 year/olds.  

Then I wandered back north, stopping by the EDM stage, Perry’s.  Five stars to lolla for having a stage devoted to one type of music.  I’m pretty sure lots of people spend their entire day dancing to the DJs at Perrys.  I enjoyed part of Monsta’s set from afar.  As I headed back north to catch Band of Horses at 4:15pm I walked through the food stands.  They do the same thing as ACL, having local restaurants setup stands rather than typical concert-venue food.  Similarly, there is also an artist market and farmers market on the west side of the park.  Ah- which reminds me, the craft beer situation.  Ha, I scoff because it’s juuust like ACL’s and serves Bud products only.  However, Chicago’s craft beer includes Goose Island’s 312 wheat and green lime pale ale ($8 each).  On the west side of the park is also The Grove stage, which is surrounded by trees, and can get very crowded.  As it was for Atlas Genius, which I couldn’t get close enough to see, but sounded great.  Will have to check them out further. Like ACL, Lolla has two larger stages facing one and another, at both ends of the park.  BOH was at the largest one north, and as I made my way closer to the front and center,  heard Jessie Hare playing.  Her voice was nice, but it’s country.

Band of Horses was incredible.  The best I’ve ever heard them (also my third time seeing them live).  I met fellow BOH dude friends, and together we enjoyed how great they sounded and how thankful we were for the clouds overhead.  Thievery Corporation started playing immediately thereafter, which I heard while finding the uncrowded (but not Honey Bucket) port-a-potty and purchasing my second $8 beer of the day.  I heard that one song of theirs I know (from Garden State).  It’s a bit of a trek between the far north and south stages, but I wanted to try to hear Imagine Dragons for a little.  That was an impossible feat, as the Lakeshore stage was sooo crowded.  I did a quick walk-by and thought they also sounded okay.  Back north- again, to check out HeyMarseilles, which I just heard of in my Lolla-prep.  Highly recommend these guys for anybody who likes my taste in music.  The lead singer sounds oddly The Decemberists, and these 20-something guys can play a mean fiddle.  
similar to Colin Meloy from
Sometime during their set I found myself next to another band, in the audience.  Somebody else recognized them, and after further research I think it was Lianne La Havas and her backup dudes.  I’m not sure if I’ll catch Lianne on Sunday, due to scheduling conflicts, but it was pretty neat to see her among the masses.

After passing by dancey Disclosure and catching a few songs I knew from Queens of the Stone Age, I swung by the Samsung Galaxy booth for a free battery swap and a free pizza voucher. 
The line for deep-dish was unfortunately long, but you all know I’m never one to turn down free shwag.  I patiently waited for my dinner, and took it to eat at the Grove Stage, waiting for Scottish band, Frightened Rabbit, to start.  These guys were very Mumford-sounding, and even though I was fairly front and center, the show wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped.  

As they finished, I made my way south to find a spot to hear some of the Killers before walking back north, and home for the night.

I heard a few Killers songs, which were great, then caught part of Steve Aoki’s set at Perry’s (insane!), swung by Lana Del Rey at the Grove (meeeh) and finished with some Nine Inch Nails.  It didn’t seem like the video monitors were working for NIN, however the guy’s voice is great.  It was a great show to finish up on, as I could hear them for most of my walk home (all of 10 minutes, might I add).