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Annual alterna-fest impressive

By Pete Nowak

Lollapalooza isn’t cool anymore. What it is, or was this year, is what it’s supposed to be. 

In four short years the annual music festival had come to be known as The Music Event of the Summer. Every year saw Lolla catapult “Alternative” acts into the mainstream, and the superstardom which follows. The event had become so opposed to it’s original intention that many bands refused invitations to play. This year’s lineup was specifically geared to avoiding that inevitable, oh-so unavoidable trend. 

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones started things off. They played a set that you couldn’t help but love. But, if you loved it, it’s probably because you’re in a deep unending coma. 

Next up was Jesus Lizard. They made for excellent background music while watching the fucked-up Yoko Ono-esque foreign films in the Cinema Tent. One of the gems featured in the Tent was a ten-minute Russian film about a baby carriage careening down a staircase. That’s it. Nothing like the monotonous guitar of Jesus Lizard to raise your spirits while you watch the product of someone’s dementia.

Beck, the self-proclaimed Loser, livened things up once he took the stage. Exactly what his song are about is still a mystery (I’m a nickel, baby…so why don’t you kill me?), but he brought some much-needed relief to the grave-like silence induced on the crowd by the first two acts.

Then…Elastica. The one-hit wonders from England lucked out when Sinead O’Conner’s pregnancy opened up a slot for them on the bill. And, as always, the fans suffered for it. In their half-hour set, the foursome did not move. Not once. They just stood there. Okay, so that’s how most bands play in England. But for forty Canadian dollars, fans expect to see the band lighting themselves on fire, or circumsizing themselves. You know, cool stuff. Somehow, we found, no connection was made.

Highlights from the infamous second stage came from rising Rap stars The Pharcyde, who were phat and all that. There was more energy and more crowd-interplay than anything on the main stage.

That was until a fifteen foot marijuana-smoking Buddha statue was hauled on stage in preparation for Cypress Hill. The boyz from Seattle performed their one-track mind songs admirably. Halfway through their show, B-Real carted in a huge, six-foot bong, which he fondled and caressed. 

They sure are a great band, but man, could they use some hobbies. 

Courtney Love, bitch-queen of the universe, made her long awaited appearance just before dusk. Which was good, because she couldn’t see certain members of the press throwing rocks at her. But enough editorializing. Hole gave the crowd what they came for: good, down-home, Satan-spawned aggression. 

Sonic Youth blew everyone’s minds with their Desert Storm-like assault. Like Iraq, the crowd never stood a chance. Thurston Moore did things with, and to, his guitar that had not been thought possible. You could almost see the bell-bottoms and afro on him as he wailed, and wailed, and wailed. All to the backdrop of the freakiest light show this side of Pink Floyd. Sonic Youth made for an unbelievable finale to a solid day, jam-packed with good clean fun.

Hopefully Lollapalooza ‘95 is the shape of Paloozas to come. Hopefully the organizers will keep in mind what made the festival so big: the fans. If they keep putting togethers shows like this one, they’ll keep coming back.

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