Court of the Ginger King: Lolla Rant for Your Eye’s Pleasure

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    Yeah, you’re reading right, readers! The Ginger King, aka Russell Michniak, was at Lollapalooza this year, and boy does he have a lot to say. One has to wonder what goes through his mind at times. Well, here’s your chance. There’s not much to argue, but some out of towner’s might be a lil’ miffed that he considers Chicago the best place for a music festival. We’ll leave it to you to tell him otherwise.

    -Michael Roffman, Editor in Chief

    “Black lesbian chicks love Nine Inch Nails”

    I heard this while waiting for Love and Rockets to perform, hours before Nine Inch Nails played. And after first laughing, I thought about it and then realized I have met black lesbian chicks who did in fact love Nine Inch Nails. So, I laughed again. Looking back, this little quote seems to sum up how great Lollapalooza 2008 was. Furthermore, all the negatives and positives of this year’s multi-colored sunglass extravaganza really exemplified why Lollapalooza stands out amongst all the summer music marketing stunts.

    As someone born and bred in the actual city of Chicago and as someone who’s spent quality time in both the Midwest and California, I couldn’t be prouder.  At other big music fests, there is no 50-yr old mustachioed guy selling cigars, there’s much less sports apparel around, and regular fests don’t have anti-White Sox or anti-Cubs fans showing and speaking their hatred, even at a music festival. To summarize, Lollapalooza has officially become the “Chicago” music fest.


    But Chicago is a tough city. It’s the city of gangsters, Mike Ditka, and political riots. We aren’t fucking around, which is why there was violence. Of course, Rage Against the Machine provided the head kicking tunes on Saturday, but I personally was observant of a fight about 20 rows back for NIN. After seeing a man clad in black knock the fuck out of a guy, the bloodlust of the crowd took over, with cheering and clapping for the KO. But wait! The band just took the stage, so now everyone is cheering. That’s right, I saw clapping for violence turn into cheering the band without any pause. Thank You, Sunday night.

    Dear Future Festival-goers,

    Don’t be scared of Lollapalooza. It’s the best selection of music that brings people together, with a band list that’s always extremely eclectic, more so than other fests. Moreover, the setting is beautiful, where people are having fun all day and night, and even bad performances seem to have great stage shows or something distracting going on.

    That being said, don’t be a fucking amateur, don’t fuck with the city, don’t treat the city poorly, leave the black pants and jeans at home-August in Chicago is shorts weather-we are still the Midwest, we don’t believe in the words uncomfortable or tacky-, don’t worry about sneaking drugs or anything into the fest-the security checks are South Siders, they most likely have drugs or alcohol on them anyway-, and most importantly, don’t suck down a water jug of wine at 1 in the afternoon in the hot sun (bad idea, I should know).


    Speaking of drugs and drinking, I personally enjoyed the pot in the air during Spank Rock and Battles. After about smelling 25 or so different strains of cannabis during the three days, I feel I can accurately judge. Also, if you do intend to bring drugs into Lolla 2009, be sure to share. If everyone shares, everyone will be repaid with drug karma. I wish I could go more in depth on the liquor available, but the craft beers were a little out of my budget (Hmm, I’m looking at you CoS readers and possible advertisers! Donate to the site and I can bring you the finest drunken Lolla coverage next year!). I also didn’t drink any Bud or Bud Light, considering their stage was kind of lackluster this year.

    But there are gripes…

    Holy shit, I just got a text message from my friend, he wants to meet up at Bloc Party over at the ATT stage.

    Easily one of the negatives over the weekend was the incapability of AT&T, one of the sponsors for Christ’s sake, to provide any sort of coverage at the fest. Numerous people suffered text message delays of over an hour, including no service and long lines at the ATT Digital Oasis. I am an ATT user, but get your shit together. Move the fucking satellites over Grant Park. It’s a smack in the face as I stare at your stage’s logo, while I’m waiting for my own phone to work.

    Surprisingly, my phone did work by the bushes near the portable bathrooms. After much fear, a crowd of men on Saturday, writer included, collectively said, “Fuck this line, I’m a dude, I don’t wait in lines for bathrooms” and watered the nearby bushes. I actually received a non-delayed text at this exact moment.


    Speaking of men things, I know there was a lot of younger ladies at Lolla, but what happened to big-chested, hot music fans? I mean, c’mon! I love a woman of any shape or size, but when I’m wasted and people watching, I do want to see some cleavage. It’s summer in the Midwest. It’s a God given right to see some way-too-small tops and blouses. Hippie chicks, I love ya. Keep dancing for all the shows! You are still hot, but come on now, I want all the beautiful big chested girls who like good music to come out, too. I also think you should go to all the more electronica, hard rock, or underground rap performances and then camp yourself by the tall, red haired bearded guy. Ginger, actually.

    Don’t forget Lollapalooza was green! I hope everyone grabbed some free, delicious, and organic tortilla chips (I actually preferred the whole grain ones) or cookies. I enjoyed them in the CTA buses, which ran all day and everyday, providing gas-guzzling AC to anyone wanting to enter. No idea how this happened. Maybe the CTA bought carbon credits to offset the emissions, but I saw a Penn and Teller Bullshit episode on carbon credits, so I hope not.

    And I keep going, don’t I?

    I will also be the first person to say FYE sucks. Virgin ran the store in 2006 and it was much better with a large selection of harder to find albums, vinyls and better prices. As for prices, the shirts were, of course, ridiculously priced. Thank God for the T-Shirt Deli though. With a somewhat small selection, they would make custom shirts for anyone willing to throw down a whole 15 bucks for a shirt. The staff was also extremely accommodating, willing to adjust any logo or text.


    One of the more popular clothing choices was the inevitable Obama apparel. I’m thinking Obama should just add Ed Hardy as a running mate, and corner the t-shirt market. With rumored appearances at Wilco or Kanye West, Obama never did show up, but you can’t blame him. He already has the suburban white girl, who likes folk inspired music, demographic (now they just need to be old enough to vote), so he needs to gain new supporters.

    Okay, back to the city…

    Chicago is one of the more diverse cities in the world. The crowd at Lolla applauds diversity in their music, friends, and sandal style. This is a perfect match, except the majority of people at Lolla seem to be living in the dark ages when it comes to food. Featuring a great selection of Chicago restaurants and foods that included mustard fried catfish, Reuben rolls, Italian beef sandwiches and Thai noodles, I am disgusted in the Lolla crowd. For a crowd that could jump from jam band to DJ duo, rapper to instrumental act, the most common food eaten was a hamburger or a slice of cheese pizza. Pathetic. Live a little! You explore all this new exciting music, but you get the most boring food?

    I know, I know… “Let’s wrap this up, Russ.”

    Overall, the fest had crazy weather, eclectic people, great music and food, marketing messages and drug and alcohol use. It had fights, violence, dancing, attractive people, unattractive people, international flavor and very little pretentiousness. It featured cool trends, people who make crazy statements, discussions about politics, white people overpaying for things, black people laughing behind white people’s backs for overpaying, Wilco, Kanye West, and a memorable time that makes people want to come back.


    So basically, just like Chicago. Welcome to the best place to have a music fest.

    w/ additional photo support by Art Pena.

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