“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
While this iconic line is best known for opening Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities, few people realize that he originally used the phrase to describe his three-day drinking and drugs binge at the 19th-century Britain version of Lollapalooza, which I assume was headlined by Fleetwood Mac.
So here I sit miserably at my 9-to-5 job, wrecked after spending the last three days taking in everything my first music festival had to offer (except Steve Aoki, because fuck Steve Aoki). I got up at 6:30 this morning to get to work, and I have a residual hangover that could slay a large family of oxen. Looking back, would I do anything differently?
Yes. I made horrible, horrible decisions this weekend.
Lolla was a blast, of course. But wow, that place could not be more heinous. So I guess it’s only fitting to reflect on this weekend by looking at both the positives and negatives of spending this weekend with my favorite 60,000 boisterous high school lax bros.
And other noises that are apparently supposed to be music
Okay, the music is obviously the festival’s biggest draw, and I can understand why. This weekend left me with some of the best shows I have ever seen. Here were some of the highlights:
- The Killers: These guys killed it. LOL PUNZ no but seriously they were fucking incredible. I’m biased, of course, because they’re one of my favorite bands, but any performance that I love despite somehow being hungover at 9:30pm gets all the accolades.
- Mumford and Sons: I came into this weekend probably more excited about Mumford than anyone else. Unfortunately, when I went to their show, I was probably four and a half miles away from the stage, and also far too obliterated to listen to wholesome, folksy music. Of course, they were still awesome, I just wasn’t in the right place to get really into it.
- Vampire Weekend: Leaving a Vampire Weekend concert completely sober helped me gain valuable insight into what Napoleon felt as he fled Russia after a failed invasion. I’m afraid to say that, while I think Vampire Weekend is a talented and fun band, I’m not the most avid fan of their music. They had great stage presence, but their music is awkwardly not super dance-y and I didn’t really know what to do with my hands. There was also an 11-year-old standing right in front of me, and any time I tried to dance I was basically grinding up on a minor, which isn’t really my thing unless it’s a friend’s younger sister because then it’s funny. Overall, glad I saw Vampire Weekend but wouldn’t say I had a blast.
- Ellie Goulding: At this point, I was more faded than a 15-year-old pair of overalls from Baby Gap. Drunkenly stumbling up and down trees like an uncoordinated spider monkey may have inhibited my ability to truly enjoy Ellie’s performance, but I do remember loving the music during this hazy period of time, even when it was occasionally drowned out by screams of “someone get that drunk moron out of that tree.”
- Icona Pop: Icona Pop was really fun. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they actually have an entire repertoire of songs, not just “I Love It.”
- HAIM: These girls rock. Great show. Can’t give you a lot of details, but they were definitely awesome.
- Crystal Castles: In 20 years, they will use footage of this concert as anti-drugs propaganda. The lead singer was tweaking out so hard that all she could do on stage was wrap the microphone cord around her neck and pretend to hang herself while she shouted things at the audience. It was fun, everyone had a great time.
- Imagine Dragons: Their lead singer has a curly mullet, so sadly, I had to leave this show immediately.
FOOD AND DRINKS
And Mescaline from a 60-year-old man’s breast pocket
I’ll just level with you here: I think Bud Light tastes like watered-down and fermented ratpiss, and Budweiser tastes like slightly less watered-down but equally fermented ratpiss. Did that stop me from paying $8 for Tall Boy cans of it? No, and I admit this with a heavy heart. And I am equally ashamed to admit that I did pay $25 for a sport bottle full of red wine that actually rivals Franzia in how shitty it is. These were all poor choices I made.
Naturally, I didn’t make the same mistake on Saturday. I pregamed aggressively on Saturday morning and brought a flask full of warm vodka as well as a few joints, to make sure that there was no possible way I could be sober. This is one part of the weekend that I’m proud to say I did quite successfully. It would have just been a lot easier if they had sold hard liquor and marijuana at Lollapalooza. I feel like that’s not much to ask, but welcome to Obama’s America I guess.
There was food, too. They had Lou Malnati’s, which is always great, but they also had Connie’s Deep Dish, which is like Lou Malnati’s except it’s completely awful and you should never put it anywhere near your mouth. ALSO EDZO’S UGH THEY HAD EDZO’S IT WAS GREAT.
Oh, and I did actually get offered mescaline by a 60-year-old man. As much as I would have loved to have woken up Sunday morning in a bunker in Vietnam, I chose to decline.
20,000 Crop Tops Under the Sea
On Thursday night, there was a memo sent out to every douchebag/ho-bag between the ages of 16 and 20, containing a strict dress code for Lollapalooza. For guys, a tank top and/or pinnie (bonus points if it says [Name of Catholic high school] Lax on the front), a pair of Seer Suckers, and a snapback. For girls, a pair of tight jean shorts (must show at least 2” of ass) and some kind of top that could only cover a maximum of 55% of your torso.
You think I’m kidding. No, literally there were tens of thousands of people just wearing this. But on the bright side, when I get to Hell in a few years I won’t have to ask around to know the dress code.
Planes, Trains and Too Many Fucking People
I enjoyed the exciting (read: life-ruining) experience of taking both the El and the Metra into Chicago this weekend. I assumed that the El would be more heinous, because, ya know, it’s the El. Oh how wrong I was. On the Metra to Lolla, boisterous high schoolers equipped with cubes of Keystone Light storm the aisles like fratty zombies, carrying absolutely no regard for the people on the train who aren’t drunk assholes. This was hands down the worst part of the weekend. If you haven’t picked up on this by now, I fucking hate drunk high schoolers more than anything in the world, besides maybe Steve Aoki.
In conclusion, here’s my advice for all future Lolla-goers:
- Don’t take the Metra
- Drink tons, but preferably beforehand so you aren’t broke and dissatisfied
- Don’t take Mescaline from Cat Stevens lookalikes
- DON’T BRING YOUR KIDS WHY DID PEOPLE BRING THEIR KIDS
Most importantly, don’t have a job. Jesus, I’m fucking miserable.