Friday, August 28, 2015

Hair Band Friday - 8/28/15

1.  "Never Change Heart" by Great White

2.  "Bad Boys" by Whitesnake

3.  "Action" by Gorky Park

4.  "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard

5.  "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (live) by Guns N' Roses

6.  "Want Some, Need Some" by Poison

7.  "Sucker In A 3 Piece" by Van Halen

8.  "Prisoner" by Dokken

9.  "Tell The World" by Ratt

10.  "Color Me Blind" by Extreme

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Book: Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town by Scott Gorham and Harry Doherty

A few weeks ago I finished reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, which is the sequel to The Shining, released in 2013.  I purposely read The Shining right before reading Doctor Sleep because I couldn't remember the differences between the book and the movie.  I am definitely glad I did that because there were a lot of references in Doctor Sleep to little things in The Shining that I definitely wouldn't have picked up on had I not read The Shining again.  Doctor Sleep is about a grown-up Danny Torrance, who deals with "the shining" by attempting to block it out with booze and drugs.  He eventually moves to a small town in New Hampshire and goes into AA.  A girl in a nearby town with powers similar to Dan's contacts him through "the shining," and they form a bond.  They discover that there is a traveling troupe of supernatural beings that kills and feeds on people with the shining, so they band together to fight said beings.  That's all I'm going to tell you.  It was a good book, and I would definitely recommend it if you are a fan of The Shining.

A few days ago would have been Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott's 66th birthday, and that kind of prompted me to start reading Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town by Scott Gorham and Harry Doherty, a biography of Thin Lizzy penned by their longtime guitarist Scott Gorham and music journalist Harry Doherty (who was close with the band).  I had been holding off on reading it because it is rather large (about 10x8 inches), so I figured it would be cumbersome to read on the train.  It is, but I realized that if I didn't read it on the train to and from work (which is pretty much the only time I read books), I wouldn't ever read it.  The book is good thus far, and has a lot of photos, so that's cool.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Cold Shot" by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

25 years ago tomorrow, the world lost guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan at the age of 35, after the helicopter in which he was riding crashed after a concert at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin.  Vaughan, and his backing band Double Trouble, reenergized America's love affair with the blues in the mid to late '80s, blending blues, rock, and boogie woogie, while adding ridiculous guitar playing by Vaughan.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past year.  My favorite song of theirs is "Texas Flood," but there's no video for that, so I went with one of my other favorites:  "Cold Shot."  The song was on the band's second studio album, Couldn't Stand The Weather, and it's a nice bluesy number that got up to #29 on the Billboard Top Rock Track chart in 1984.  The video is a nice homage to one of Vaughan's self-admitted problems:  the fact that he loved his guitar as much as he could love any woman.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: GMYH Ten-Year Anniversary Edition

Thursday marks the tenth anniversary of GMYH.  Yes, that's right, this here blog has been around for ten years.  It all started because a man they call Wee Wee told me I should start a blog.  So I did.  What started with a post about my then-young dog shitting blood has morphed into so much more, depending on whether you consider a blog with an undying devotion to The OC, hair band music, IU, and old-school videos "so much more" than your run-of-the-mill canine anal bleeding blog.

I sincerely thank each and every one of you for reading GMYH over the past ten years.  I enjoy writing, even if I don't get the chance to do it as often as I did in the early years.  As it turns out, children are a tremendous time-suck.  But rest assured, my goal is still to get you to laugh, whether at me or with me, or at least to force you to read my opinions about music.

With that, here are a few Top Ten lists for you to peruse, since I assume you have nothing else to do on Tuesdays.

Ten GMYH Milestones
Here are ten GMYH milestones, other than my first post, of course.

1.  September 16, 2005:  The first Hair Band Friday

2.  May 18, 2006:  The first Midwestern Eavesdropping (although technically, it started nine days earlier with "Eavesdropping in Chicago")

3.  February 22, 2007:  The last episode of The OC.  I miss it.  Every god damned day.

4.  May 10, 2007 to August 7, 2007:  I listened to all of my CDs, A-Z, and told you all about it.

5.  September 2, 2008:  The first Tuesday Top Ten

6.  October 1, 2009:  The birth of Rocktober

7.  December 2009:  The birth of Daughter

8.  September 2011:  The birth of Lollipop

9.  November 30, 2011:  The first Retro Video of the Week

10.  March 2014:  The birth of Son.  Note that because he is a third child, the announcement of his birth was delayed for two months.

Ten Most-Visited Posts
I attempted to keep track of page hits, but the tracker reset or stopped working a few times, so the number you see on the right sidebar is not accurate.  In June 2010, Blogger began keeping track of page hits, and it says I have had over 299,000 hits since then (which makes me believe the approximately 311,000 on the counter on the sidebar that is supposed to estimate the total visitors since the beginning is not accurate, since I had over 100,000 visitors by mid 2009).  The nice part is that Blogger also keeps track of how many hits each post gets.  According to Blogger, as of today, here are the ten most-visited posts on GMYH (since June 2010, obviously), with the date of the post and the number of hits in parentheses.

10.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Halloween Costumes (2012 Edition) (November 1, 2012; 1,837 hits)

9.  Song Dissection:  "Promises" by Eric Clapton" (April 3, 2011; 1,967 hits)

8.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Halloween Costumes (November 3, 2009; 2,190 hits)

7.  1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (September 9, 2009; 2,374 hits)

6.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Reasons IU is Better Than Purdue (November 17, 2009; 2,566 hits)

5.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Halloween Costumes (2010 Edition) (November 2, 2010; 3,343 hits)

4.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Karaoke Songs For Guys (November 11, 2008; 3,391 hits)

3.  I Hate Purdue (November 15, 2007; 4,904 hits)

2.  Mr. 6000 – Adam McClure (January 7, 2006; 5,970 hits)

1.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Songs with "Sex" in the Title (February 15, 2011; 13,612 hits)

My Ten Favorite Posts
I would be remiss if I didn't present you with my ten favorite posts.  Granted, trying to narrow over 2,800 posts down to ten is not easy, and I'm sure I missed some that I forgot, but here are my ten favorite posts that I remember, in chronological order.  Most of them are from the first few years of GMYH, since I had more time on my hands then to recap my weekend escapades.

1.  Interview Tips and Tips for Interviewees (October 25, 2005 and January 25, 2006)
Ahh, the joys of interviewing other people.

2.  Areolas and Such (November 7, 2005)
It will be tough for me to ever top this one.  Just an unbelievably funny pattern of events that led to two consenting adults repeatedly having sex on the floor of a hotel suite, mere feet from many other adults who did not consent to having to hear two consenting adults repeatedly having sex on the floor of a hotel suite.

3.  Saved By The Bell Fans, Revolt! and Hot Sense of Humor (July 15 and 18, 2006)
Remember that time I mercilessly mocked a Christian rock band named Hot Sundae because they weren't the group of the same name from Saved By The Bell, and then the lead singer emailed me and took it really well?  No?  Well, read the above-linked posts.

4.  Golden Showers of Awesomeness (October 30, 2006)
On my 29th birthday, I transformed into Ace Frehley.  Ace Frehley had one hell of a time that night.

5.  I Hate Purdue (November 15, 2007)
If you Google "fuck purdue" –- which you should do at least twice daily, and six times a day during Bucket week -- this post is one of the first results.  That makes me happy.

Anytime someone on a trip to Germany with you sleeps on a park bench and helps deliver newspapers because he got locked out of his hotel is memorable.

It wasn't a particularly hilarious post or anything, but it sticks out because of the fact that I and another married male friend ended up at some chick's apartment at 5 in the morning without any nefarious intent, and then proceeded to talk shit about Dennis Connor.

If I've taught you anything, it should be that you should always challenge parking tickets in person, not by mail.

There was a lot of beer, a lot of blood, and a couple Kardashians.

Possibly the single greatest concert experience I have ever had.

And what about you, fair reader?  What is your favorite GMYH post?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Guy ordering at fast food restaurant: "What's the difference between a bacon cheeseburger deluxe and a regular bacon cheeseburger?"
Twentysomething female worker: "The deluxe has more stuff on it."
--Burger King, Wanatah, IN
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Borderline" by Madonna

This past Sunday was Madonna's 57th birthday, and it also marked what would have been her 30th anniversary if she had stayed married to Sean Penn.  In honor of this blessed union, here is the video for "Borderline," in which Madonna is hanging out with some sort of Latino break dancing dojo, until a fancy photog come along and steals her away, showing her a glimpse of the jet set lifestyle.  Champagne in oversized glasses.  Marble columns.  The whole shebang.  Predictably, things deteriorate as a result of some overzealous tagging (graffiti, not sex), and she returns to her pool-playing, denim-clad boyfriend.  But for how long?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: First Tracks on Debut Albums

Here I was, sitting at work this morning, practicing my kazoo, as I do every Tuesday morning, when I got an email from the House of Payne with a link to an article from Grantland entitled "'Straight Outta Compton' and the Best First Songs Ever" by Steven Hyden.  It discusses "Straight Outta Compton" and how it was a fantastic first song off of N.W.A.'s album of the same name.  Hyden then began to think of all of the great first songs on albums.  Sensing that the task of choosing the best first tracks off of any album might be a daunting one, Hyden rightly narrows his discussion to the best first tracks off of debut albums.  This is something I, myself, have been considering doing for a Tuesday Top Ten for a while, but frankly, it's a hard list to make because there are so many great options.  But, in light of Hyden's list, I suppose now is the time to waste a Tuesday night coming up with my own list.

Here are Hyden's criteria for "an excellent album opener":
1. A dramatic entrance
2. A palatable sense of rising action
3. Simple yet direct lyrics that act as a mission statement
4. A climax powerful enough to compel the listener to play the rest of the album

He also has the following limitations:
1.  "No skits, spoken-word interludes, or stand-alone instrumental passages." I take this to mean that he does not consider a song that comes after a skit, spoken-word interlude, or stand-along instrumental passage to be the first song off of the album.  
2.  "Songs from debut albums preceded by EPs don't count, either."  This excludes "Straight Outta Compton," among others.

Hyden's list is in alphabetical order by artist.  Here it is:

1.  "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce
2.  "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath
3.  "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
4.  "Can't Knock the Hustle" by Jay Z
5.  "Lucky Star" by Madonna
6.  "Personality Crisis" by New York Dolls
7.  "Rock 'N' Roll Star" by Oasis
8.  "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones
9.  "I Wanna Be Adored" by The Stone Roses
10.  "Bring da Ruckus" by Wu-Tang Clan

I'll admit that this is a pretty solid list, and several of those songs will be on my list as well.  For sake of ease, I will abide by Hyden's criteria and limitations for my list.  I am also going to add the limitation that I must actually own the album.  As I went through my collection, I found myself adding more and more songs to my "rough" list, so forgive me for having a ton of songs in my Honorable Mention category.  There are just so many first tracks that grab my attention.  Expect it to be rock-heavy (although that is more of a function of the "no skits, etc." limitation, which excludes a lot of rap and hip hop albums).  Again, this is limited to the albums I own and the conditions listed above, so calm your shit down if your favorite first track off a debut album isn't on here.  If nothing else, this is a great bar conversation to have with your friends.

Honorable mention:
"Can't Get Enough" by Bad Company
"Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys
"Twice As Hard" by The Black Crowes
"Busted" by The Black Keys
"In One Ear" by Cage The Elephant
"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by Crosby, Stills & Nash
"Pigs" by Cypress Hill
"Jacqueline" by Franz Ferdinand
"I'd Have You Anytime" by George Harrison
"Purple Haze" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Positive Jam" by The Hold Steady
"Prowler" by Iron Maiden
"Everyday I Love You Less and Less" by Kaiser Chiefs
"Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers
"Strutter" by Kiss
"Hit the Lights" by Metallica
"Faith" by George Michael
"Live Wire" by Mötley Crüe
"Once" by Pearl Jam
"Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley
"Keep Yourself Alive" by Queen
"Steady As She Goes" by The Raconteurs
"Bombtrack" by Rage Against the Machine
"Pain In My Heart" by Otis Redding
"Takin' A Ride" by The Replacements
"Out Of The Black" by Royal Blood
"Holidays in the Sun" by Sex Pistols
"Big Guns" by Skid Row
"Suspect Device" by Stiff Little Fingers
"Dead & Bloated" by Stone Temple Pilots
"1969" by The Stooges
"I Will Follow" by U2
"Sucker Train Blues" by Velvet Revolver
"My Name Is Jonas" by Weezer
"Jimmy The Exploder" by The White Stripes

10 (tie).  "This Is a Call" by Foo Fighters (Foo Fighters, 1995)
With this song, Dave Grohl announced the arrival of what would become the best hard rock band of the next 20 years.

10 (tie).  "I Feel Free" by Cream (Fresh Cream, 1966 in the UK, 1967 in the US)
This is kind of cheating, since "N.S.U." was the first track off of the UK version of Fresh Cream, but "I Feel Free" was the first song on the American release of the album, and that's good enough for me.  This song is pure energy, and it captures what it great about Cream:  taking blues and R&B influences, and turning them into frenetic rock and roll.

9.  "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles (Please Please Me, 1963)
This is a very underrated Beatles song, but I think it really sets the tone for the Please Please Me album and the musical direction in which the Beatles led the world.  It's catchy and edgy at the same time.  The opening line -- "Well she was just seventeen / And you know what I mean" -- should not be overlooked. Basically, it's a song about dancing with an underage chick, but you forget about it because of the "myiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine" and the holding each other tight and such.

8.  "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath, 1970)
The rare self-titled song off of a self-titled album, this song invented heavy metal, plain and simple.  Using the devil's triad, the band creates a creepy and heavy sound, complemented by lyrics inspired by a haunting experience bassist Geezer Butler had, where he saw a figure in black at the end of his bed in the middle of the night, and when he reached for a book about witchcraft (naturally) that had been on his nightstand, it was gone.  How metal is that?

7.  "Good Times Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin, 1969)
The opening riff coronates rock and roll's new kings.  It's a bombastic song, with a 21-year-old singing about "the days of [his] youth" and a blistering guitar solo.  If you think about what was popular in 1969, this is even more striking.

6.  "Magic Man" by Heart (Dreamboat Annie, 1975)
I'm not sure if you knew this, but females can rock too.  If there was any question, Ann and Nancy Wilson answered emphatically with Heart's 1975 debut album, Dreamboat Annie, and the first track off of that album, the inimitable "Magic Man."

5.  "Runnin' With the Devil" by Van Halen (Van Halen, 1978)
Hyden left this off of his list because it didn't have enough of a guitar solo.  I can't exclude it from my list.  Van Halen redefined hard rock and ushered in the carefree, good-times attitude of Sunset Strip rock and roll that followed VH in the early '80s.  "Runnin' With the Devil" is a great song that shows its listeners what Van Halen was all about:  heavy yet catchy songs, a bit of a naughty attitude, wailing vocals, killer backing vocals, and great guitars.

4.  "More Than a Feeling" by Boston (Boston, 1976)
Boston gets a bad rap because they get thrown in with the "corporate rock" of the mid to late '70s, but I'm not sure that's fair.  I've always liked them, and their debut album was the best-selling debut album for many years.  "More Than a Feeling" is a classic rock radio staple, and it's a song I just don't get tired of hearing.  Brad Delp's voice hits notes that most singers (male or female) could only dream of hitting.

3.  "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" by The Doors (The Doors, 1967)
I think this song (and probably The Doors in general) get taken for granted nowadays, but The Doors were pretty fucking amazing, and they were doing some things that no one else was really doing at the time, mixing influences and genres to produce some fantastic music.  After a brief Brazilian-inspired drums and organ bassline intro, we are introduced to Jim Morrison's mad man wail.  The song is two and a half minutes of energy, and its lyrics were controversial enough that, for 30 years after it's release, both on the album and on the radio, they edited out the word "high" after the repeated "she gets" in the bridge. Even when I hear the unedited version now, it seems weird.

2.  "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones (Ramones, 1976)
This song not only announced the arrival of The Ramones, but it also announced the arrival of punk rock.  If there is a greater punk anthem, I haven't heard it.  This is far from my favorite Ramones song, but in the grand scheme of punk rock and alternative rock, it's hard to oversell this one.

1.  "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses (Appetite for Destruction, 1987)
The best first song off of a debut album comes off of arguably the best debut album of all-time.  From the opening riff and howl to the last "it's gonna bring you down, huh!," this song set the tone for the album and announced that the world's baddest rock and rollers had arrived.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Thirtysomthing female:  "I am so tired of my husband wasting time and caressing my face and telling me sweet things before sex.  Just hurry up and pound me so I can get to sleep or play Words With Friends.  Jesus."
Eavesdropper:  Rockford Peach

Thirtysomething male:  "I want to start the Best Business Bureau, to take those motherfuckers down."
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Thirtysomething male, during discussion about the last days of Earth's existence:  "The rich will be the first to go because they are the least resourceful."
Eavesdropper:  Rockford Peach

Hair Band Friday - 8/14/15

1.  "Patience" by Guns N' Roses

2.  "Open Fire" by Y&T

3.  "Still of the Night" by Whitesnake

4.  "Let's Make It" by AC/DC

5.  "Sing Me Away" by Night Ranger

6.  "Hot Rod" by Junkyard

7.  "Bang Your Head" by Quiet Riot

8.  "Our Father" by Extreme

9.  "#1 Bad Boy" by Poison

10.  "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)" by Van Halen

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Let Me Ride" by Dr. Dre

With this Friday's release of the Straight Outta Compton biopic -- which, by the way, I am more excited to see than any movie in a long time -- I had to go with a song from one of N.W.A.'s members for this week's Retro Video of the Week.  In my opinion, Dr. Dre's The Chronic is the best of the N.W.A. alumni solo albums.  My favorite song off of The Chronic is "Let Me Ride," which was the third single released off of the album.  It topped out at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Dre for Best Rap Solo Performance. And the video features the $20 Sack Pyramid, which is pretty awesome.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite College Beers

This past weekend, Jester and I had what I would consider the best idea for a party of the 20th Century.  We had a '90s college party.  No frills (and more, importantly, no kids).  Just shitty beer, Jell-O shots, super strong punch, flip cup, beer pong, asshole, Papa John's, and a kickass playlist.  It was a blast.  

Having had some Red Dog, Icehouse, Natty Light, Beast Light, and Keystone Light Saturday night, I got to thinking about what were my favorite college beers.  By that, I don't necessarily mean my favorite beers when I was in college.  Otherwise, I'd probably go with Newcastle.  I'm talking about my favorite "college beers" -- beers that I drank on a regular basis in college because they were all that I could afford.

Dishonorable mention (i.e., college beers that I would try to avoid):  Miller Lite; Milwaukee's Best; Milwaukee's Best Ice; Natural Ice; PBR (hipsters didn't exist yet)

10.  Milwaukee's Best Light
The Beast Light was a staple at fraternity parties.  A step down from your Nattys and your Keystones, Beast Light was never the first choice, but certainly never the last.

9.  Red Dog
This would be higher, but it kind of disappeared not too long after I went to college.

8.  Olympia
"It's the water!"  That's Olympia's slogan, which should tell you all you need to know.  This was a relatively rare find in Bloomington, but I managed to acquire a few cases over the years.

7.  Busch Light
This wasn't as popular at IU as some of the other lower-tier light beers, but it wasn't bad.

6.  Killian's Irish Red
This was kind of on the cusp of affordability.  I would rarely buy it at a store, but bars seemed to have good specials.  It made you feel like you were drinking a fancy beer, even though you weren't.  I now despise this, as Coors used it as a reason to stop importing Caffrey's.

5.  Icehouse
"Six feels like nine."  That's what I told my roommate freshman year when we were at an apartment party in late October that had a keg of Icehouse.  It proved to be prescient, as I puked for the first time in college that night.

4.  Coors Light
You didn't see as much Coors Light back then as you do now, but the Silver Bullet was always a good choice.  Always.

3.  Bud Light
At bars, Bud Light was my preferred beer, whether it was playing Sink the Bismarck or buying 48-ounce pitchers for $3.75.  "How many cups do you need with that pitcher?"  "None."

2.  Natural Light
Natty Light was probably the beer I drank most in college.  A lot of people weren't fans.  I was.  Still am, as it turns out.

1.  Keystone Light
The "never bitter beer" was my go-to beer in college.  It was cheap, it came in 30-packs, and it tasted like water.  Keystone Light is the kind of beer that you can drink 26 of in one night when you're 19, try to drink 30 of in 8 hours when you're 27, or shotgun with your nanny in your backyard when you're 37.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Hair Band Friday - 8/7/15

Yesterday, I read a fantastic article about the legendary '80s Hollywood club, The Cathouse.  Co-owner Riki Rachtman (who you may know as the host of MTV's Headbanger's Ball) recounted some great stories about the club, the fantastic bands that played there, and some of the debauchery that went down (including Axl Rose chasing David Bowie down the street yelling "I'm gonna kill you, Tin Man!" after Bowie apparently hit on Rose's ladyfriend).  

Needless to say, it's a good Hair Band Friday read, and in honor of The Cathouse, today's Hair Band Friday will start off with a song by Faster Pussycat -- whose lead singer Taime Downe co-owned The Cathouse with Rachtman -- and will only feature songs by LA-based or Sunset Strip bands (which, admittedly, is most of them).

1.  "House of Pain" by Faster Pussycat

2.  "Way Cool, Jr." by Ratt

3.  "Estranged" (live) by Guns N' Roses

4.  "So This Is Love?" by Van Halen

5.  "Too Young To Fall In Love" by Mötley Crüe

6.  "All Night Long" by Warrant

7.  "Don't Give Up An Inch" by Poison

8.  "Hands Off" by Junkyard

9.  "Malaria" by L.A. Guns

10.  "Heaven Sent" by Dokken

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Midwestern Eavesdropping: Lollapalooza Edition

These were overheard this past weekend at Lolla.

Intoxicated late teens or early twentysomething female, far too loud, to friend, after nearly stumbling into stranger around 2 p.m. on the first day of Lollapalooza:  "Hey, do you have super tampons?"
--Chicago, Buckingham Fountain
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Twentysomething female to friends, walking through field:  "Have you guys ever even heard of that beer?  Blue Moon?"
--Chicago, Grant Park
Eavesdropper:  Jesterio the Magnificent

Jessica Hernandez (of Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas), in between songs:  "This next song is dedicated to all your Lollapalooza shenanigans.  It's called 'Carny Threesome.'"
--Chicago, Grant Park
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Teenage girl in long line at food stand, to friends:  "I'm so hungry, but I don't want food."
--Chicago, Columbus & Congress
Eavesdropper:  DDT

Drunk guy, to anyone listening, before Metallica started playing, talking about Cliff Burton's 1986 death in a bus crash:  "It should have been Lars, man.  It should have been Lars."
--Chicago, Grant Park
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Lollapalooza 2015

This past weekend was the annual weekend of music, fun, and teenagers unable to handle their Molly that we call Lollapalooza.  It was my 11th edition of Lolla, and just like the last ten, it was a grand time.  I went all three days, along with a small pack of rovers, wanderers, nomads, vagabonds.  Call them what you will.

For the first time in a few years, the sun decided to exert its will on the people.  Temperatures were in the 90s most of the weekend, which meant that my water consumption would make a Californian vomit.  Literally.  At this point, their bodies can't handle as much water as I consumed.  We're talking 7-8 liters a day.  I peed a lot this weekend.

Friday, I got there right around noon.  We had a bigger group that day, as Jester and some others had one-day passes for Friday, essentially to see Paul McCartney.  I continued my drinking strategy of tons of water for most of the day, with a few beers thrown in, and then once the sun goes down, I switch to the sport bottles of white wine.  That way, I don't have to pee as often as I would with beer.

Saturday, our group had dwindled to four of us who had 3-day passes, but that didn't stop our fervor.  I got there at noon again.  At one point, I saw North America's biggest fugitive.
And then he was just gone.  Meanwhile, my buddy Daniel witnessed a teenage girl sprint about 400 yards to get a selfie with one of the guys from One Direction that happened to be roaming the grounds.  My question to him was:  how do you know what the guys from One Direction look like?  He had no acceptable answer.

A new addition to Lolla this year is what I call the Idiot Dome, next to the beer garden.  It's an approximately 15-foot tall adult-size jungle gym, with hammocks hanging from various rungs at various heights.  All in all, it's a terrible idea when you're dealing with a population of people who are mostly drinking or on drugs, trying to climb into a very unstable resting mechanism 10-15 feet above the ground.  I guess they got the message (or someone got injured) because by Sunday, they had "no climbing" signs on the Idiot Dome.  Oh, and fuck hammocks.

We decided to switch to wine a little early Saturday, in anticipation of wanting to be hitting our peak during Metallica.
Because nothing says metal like pinot grigio (and french fries).  It worked, however, and we were well-prepared for the much-anticipated sonic onslaught that rained over us.

Sunday was a little more sluggish than the previous two days.  I didn't get down there until 12:45ish.  At 2:30, the entire festival was evacuated, due to some golf ball-sized hail and 60-mph winds that appeared to be heading straight towards Grant Park.  It turned out to be much ado about nothing, as it rained for about 10 minutes, and not very hard.  We went to Hackney's in Printers Row for a beer and some food -- a nice respite from the mild rain outside.
The park opened back up at 3:30, and the bands resumed at 4.  Unlike a few years ago, when some acts had to be cut due to an evacuation, they didn't cancel any acts this time around, but rather just readjusted the schedules.  We managed to hang around most of the rest of the day, long enough to take this picture with a nice skyline shot during TV On The Radio.
Florence + The Machine were headlining Sunday night, and you could see lightning to the north.  We left a little early to beat the impending downpour, and apparently they ended up cutting Florence's set short due to the weather.  Our decision was a wise one, as the thunderstorms started not long after I got home.  Here is what my weather app was showing at that time.
Aside from the evacuation, it was another fantastic Lolla.

Here are the bands or artists for which I saw at least two songs:

Friday:  Mighty Oaks, Coasts, Kyle Thornton & The Company, Black Pistol Fire, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Cold War Kids, MS MR, Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark, Jr., Paul McCartney

Saturday:  Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Catfish & The Bottlemen, COIN, Django Django, Sturgill Simpson, Toro Y Moi, Death From Above 1979, Delta Spirit, Elle King, Tame Impala, Brand New, Metallica

Sunday:  Circa Waves, Twin Peaks, Strand of Oaks, Skylar Spence, Albert Hammond, Jr., Gogol Bordello, Bully, Of Monsters and Men, TV On The Radio, Florence + The Machine

Here are my ten favorite performances from the weekend:

Honorable mention:  Circa Waves, Death From Above 1979, Delta Spirit, Django Django, Albert Hammond, Jr., TV On The Radio

10 (tie).  Strand of Oaks
The first group to play after the evacuation was over was Strand of Oaks, from the Mennonite stronghold of Goshen, Indiana.  They rocked, and you could tell they were honestly glad to be there (and that they didn't get cut because of the weather).  This picture is the result of an attempt to take a picture looking into the sun with sunglasses on, but I promise Strand of Oaks is in there somewhere.

10 (tie).  Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes got cut back in 2012 when Lolla was evacuated, and I was pissed because I really wanted to see them.  I've seen them since then, but they always put on a good show.  I love me some soul.

9.  Elle King
In addition to a fantastic cover of The Beatles' "Oh Darling," Elle King's set was full of girl group garage gusto.

8.  Catfish & The Bottlemen
A quirky name, catchy tunes, and a sexually suggestive backdrop.  Tough to go wrong with that combination.  Seriously, though, the next time these guys come back to Lolla, I have a feeling it won't be in a 1:30 slot.

7.  Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas kicked off Saturday with a bang.  Hernandez had great stage presence, and reminded me of a more rocking Amy Winehouse -- and less of a disaster.  It's tought to categorize their sound, but I suppose it would be garage rock, with some '60s pop, rockabilly, and Latin influences.  Good stuff.

6.  Twin Peaks
Chicago's own Twin Peaks played a great, energetic set, just before the evacuation.  It was healthy combination of rock, punk, and garage rock -- three things I love.  I watched this one sitting down, since it was hot as balls, and I could actually see the show while sitting.

5.  Gogol Bordello
They call it "gypsy punk."  I call it a hell of a show.  If you see Gogol Bordello on the schedule at a festival, go see them.  You don't even need to know any of the songs to have a good time.

4.  St. Paul & The Broken Bones
If you haven't heard these guys, check them out.  It's a soul and rock experience, with a lead singer who is a close to Otis Redding as a slightly overweight white guy wearing hipster suit and glasses could possibly be.

3.  Black Pistol Fire
This Austin-based duo played a blistering set Friday afternoon.  It was balls-out rock and roll, and it was too bad it was only 40 minutes.  They started with a slide guitar instrumental that set the right tone, and then they kept up the energy with originals, mixed in with covers or parts of covers, like Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well," Howlin' Wolf's (among others) "Killing Floor," CSNY's "Ohio," and -- perhaps best of all -- Salt 'N' Pepa's "Shoop."

2.  Metallica
Saturday night's headliner didn't disappoint.  Sure, they might have some more gray hairs than the last time I saw them, but they haven't slowed down musically.  Their two-hour set was peppered with songs that you would expect, as well as some songs that they don't usually play, like their cover of Think Lizzy's "Whiskey In the Jar" and Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?"  Had there not been a Beatle, this would have been my favorite show of the weekend.  Here's a shot of the stage during the first song, and then a slightly more blurry shot of our group during a later song.

1.  Paul McCartney
He's a Beatle.  You simply can't top that.  There is nothing quite like hearing 60,000+ people singing "nah nah nah nah-nah-nah nah" during "Hey Jude."