In CNN.com's coverage today of Lollapalooza I'm struck by how dull the festival sounds -- a factor, I suspect, of a neutered reporter and the oatmeal-flavored tone of most mainstream music coverage. I shit you not, the last line of the piece is, "We were thankful the rain finally stopped before the evening headliners started and it was an awesome night." Then we toddled back home and drank a tepid glass of 2-percent before tucking ourselves in by 10:30 sharp. Rock and roll.
Here's a story I wrote on Lolla last year for the Arkansas Times. (Representative quote: "To attend was to pay $190 to volunteer as an extra in a disaster movie set in a Hieronymus Bosch painting infested with Vice magazine DON'Ts.") Snowplowing my way into the epicenter of a Rage Against the Machine mosh pit counts among my most intense concert experiences ever: shoving past layer after layer of tightly packed humans, this heaving, pulsing colony of flesh and sweat and feet and elbows. The front was a sauna of stale breath and August humidity, everyone heaving to "People of the Sun." It's the one great part about the overcrowding of festivals, that when you try to engage a band as visceral as Rage, there are tens of thousands of other people there to conduct the music with you. What's the word for it? Oh, right: it was a mind-fuckingly awesome night.