THAT dude you see with the dreads down the front there seriously frothing out on someone else’s shoulders is my mate Stubsy. We spent last weekend in Santiago, Chile at its first-ever Lollapalooza Festival. We saw some really good bands, got drunk and almost got stomped by some giant police horses. All up, a pretty rad weekend.
The Flaming Lips. I’ve wanted to see these trippers from Oklahoma for a while now, and they didn’t disappoint. They probably only played five or so songs because they admittedly get a bit carried away with time but the ballons, costumes and Wayne Coyne’s signature man-sized bubble which he walks around the crowd with, certainly made up for it. Q Magazine named them as “one of the 50 bands to see before you die“.
Jane’s Addiction. My friend Bowlin was so frothing on these guys he ripped his undies off and threw them onstage at Dave Navarro. They were really that good. The undies didn’t put Dave off either, he was absolutely shredding on the guitar, it was a sight to see.
- The rest. Sublime sounded really good but still didn’t feel completely authentic because of new singer Rome Ramirez. The Drums, a skinny indie band (aren’t they all skinny) from Brooklyn, NY were pretty good too, especially the singer’s out-there dance moves. Kanye West was tight, but his bravado wore me down by the end and I bailed before his set finished. Ben Harper was perfect for the late afternoon, sun-setting time slot and Brazilian band CSS was super fun.
You couldn’t buy alcohol at the festival. I’m serious. Apparently it’s the same at all other Chilean music events and common at others across South America. It was a giant spanner in the works for a bunch of boys from the land of the boozy summer festival. First day I did a sober mission, which was good for a change but I ran out of steam by the end and was pretty flat during headliner Fatboy Slim when I should’ve been frothing. Second day we all taped bottles of Pisco (Chile’s national drink, a grape brandy of sorts) to our inner thighs and most of us managed to get through despite being patted down by the cops at the entrance.
First-year hiccups. Most festivals seem to fuck at least a few things up on their first year, it’s a given. First day we arrived to the festival semi-early in time to see classic reggae band Steel Pulse, with our ticket confirmation emails in hand. Problem was, thousands of other punters did the same so we were forced into a line to pick up our tickets from a tiny booth with just four or five people working in it. What resulted was a four-hour wait (even when we got to the front of the line they managed to lose one of our seven tickets = an extra hour). It meant we missed Steel Pulse, a bunch of cool Chilean acts and were forced to hear the distant muffled raps of Cypress Hill from a dusty footpath next to a tall steel fence.
The Tech Stage. Add this to the first-year hiccup point. One of the indoor stages was stupidly small, despite a number of decent international acts playing on it. Before each band played on it, the cops would lock the gates, creating a big line-up. When the gates opened, the crowd – knowing their was limited space inside – would rush the gates, stampede-style. When this happened during The Drums, my mate Pottsy, Laura – a friend we made from Costa Rica -and I were pushed straight into three police horses. The scene was so intense the startled horses began showing their teeth about 30cm from our faces and kicking up dust while a few of the cops at the gate got shit-scared and ran the other way. Scary stuff.