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Saturday @ Lollapalooza: Cee Lo Green, Local Natives

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Cee Lo Green performs Saturday during Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park. (AP)


BY THOMAS CONNER Pop Music Critic

I had tweeted earlier in the day Saturday that I'd like to hear less "thank you" and more "f--- you" at Lollapalooza. So many bands had been taking to the stages and voicing their unbounded gratitude -- thanking everyone for being there and thanking Lollapalooza for having them, profusely -- that it started to feel like rock was really dead, after all. Where's the sneer, the challenge, the middle finger?

Cee Lo Green has something to say about that, literally. Appearing on stage wearing football shoulder pads bearing long chrome spikes and hanging chains, Green juiced the crowd by demanding that we shout "f--- yeah!" It was an opening salvo in a long tease leading up to the one song the massive crowd in Hutchinson Field wanted to hear. In the meantime, however, we listened to Green shout and growl -- for most songs, his trademark smooth husk was gone, even intentionally distorted (and he's a judge on "The Voice," no less) -- through a speedy set of his rock-soul songs and a few unexpected covers, from the Violent Femmes to Billy Idol. Green seemed to suffer from technical issues, as well, stopping and starting songs, such as his "Crazy" hit with Gnarls Barkley, haphazardly.

One of his early records was "Cee Lo Green Is a Soul Machine," but Saturday night's hard riffs and black leather meant to portray a rock machine. And nothing says rock and roll like "F--- You," which Green finally got around to at the end of his hourlong set. The crowd delighted in singing along with every line, then Green sauntered off victorious, complete with his own exit music: a crowd-assisted abbreviation of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

Preceding Mr. Green was one of those fawning, thankful bands. Orange County's Local Natives were clearly thrilled to have graduated from last year's Pitchfork Music Festival to this year's Lollapalooza. "This is the biggest crowd we've played to by far," said singer Kelcey Ayer. "This is insane!" It was a joyous, not fearful, exclamation, fitting with the band's sweet temperament. All tight SoCal harmonies and heaving, unaffected guitars, Local Natives moved through a set of rhythmic charmers from their own "Shape Shifter," built on piano chord crescendos, and a cover of the Talking Heads' "Warning Sign." The Sony stage seemed like it might be too big for them, but they held it. Fleet and foxy.

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9 Comments

A no-talent soon tobe has been "performing" in fromt of a bunch of slack jawed lemmings.

You're kidding right? This was the worst performance I've ever seen from any musician. Did you ever think maybe there were actual Cee Lo fans in the crowd that wanted to hear more than just five of his songs.

Yes, five. You neglected to mention he literally only played five of his own songs, and two, maybe three covers. Thats seven to eight songs in 45 minutes. Notice I said forty five because your pandering article neglects to mention that he only played for 45 minutes. It's a little ironic you wrote an article that focused on bands pandering to the crowd, and then sit and blindly praise this awful performance wihtout pointing out things that are easy to key in on as bad... regardless of opinion. Cee Lo has had a long career, and more than enough material to play for one hour.

Not enough mention of the fact that Cee Lo's set was a complete disaster. Half of the show was a DJ playing 15 second snippets of songs (from record) or things like Guns 'n' Roses "Paradise City" among several others. For no apparent reason. And that he had to start at least two songs over after chewing out his guitarist. You also didn't mention that half the crowd was openly booing and mocking him for the mess that he put on stage last night.

Really? I found his set horrible and ended up leaving before it was done. Nothing worse to me than a band stopping in the middle of a song, which I believe he did at least 2 times. Second he overdid the pump up the crowd "I can't hear you" bit. Festivals are generally not as loud as most indoor arenas and I believe this sometimes throws off acts who don't get as much "love" from the crowd. Overall if CeeLo was a contestant on his show we would all expect him to be in the bottom during this weeks voting.

You were obviously at a different performance than I was Saturday. Everyone I talked to at the performance was completely underwhelmed. His act came off as a cover band, and his whining about not getting enough energy, "Come on, Chicago", seemed petty. His "hour long" performance was roughly 45 minutes, before he wished the audience would enjoy Eminem's performance. Both the Foo Fighters and Eminem had the growl. Cee Lo whimpered, and hoped his shoulderpads would convince the audience that we were listening to an artist.

Okay so being thankful means rock is dead? Did you see the Black Lips? They were thankful AND went nuts as did the crowd. Why does the band have to be a bunch of dicks that tell the crowd to fuck off for it to be rock? Since when was this ever the case? Cee Lo put on a HORRIBLE performance, and the only reason I stayed was for Eminem.

Wow, what a horrible review. Were you even there? As Governayle said, it was like a cover band. Considering the fact that "The Ladykiller Theme" is an instrumental and an intro, he only performed 3 of his own songs out of the abbreviated 9 song set. Even worse, he ended with a cover. Even worse, he didn't even sing it--he just let his band play it as he walked off the stage.

The crowd was hardly delighted or juiced. I was about halfway between the soundboard and the stage and I saw a lot of thumbs-down gestures and heard a lot of boos. He tried too hard to get us pumped up by overdoing it as Chris said, and it failed. Sure "F--- you" was fun to sing along to and fun to put the middle finger in the air to, but like me I'm pretty sure most of the crowd was singing "F--- you" *at* him rather than *with* him.

And I don't know why you're complaining about grateful bands while praising Cee-lo. I'd rather have a band put on an incredible performance and say "Thank you" (like Foster the People did) rather than have a disaster on stage with an attitude (like Cee-lo).

wow, you've got an attitude! bitching about bands being grateful for playing at the greatest festival on earth? cee lo was pitiful, a joke... embarrassing, there are dozens of bar bands in chicago who could do better covers. it was an insult, and i guarantee perry will not invite him back. f-you cee-lo!

has anybody but me noticed that cee lo or what ever he calls himself sounds like conplete dog shart. God i thought it was me but every time i hear him it's like wow does he reallly miss every note or what. So un-impressive, he must have sold drugs to the right people to even get recorded. Bottom line is, listen to him live, he can't hit a note to save his life. WOW he is why popular music really sucks today. I could mention a few others (cough lil wayne, p slippy, jelly, 20 cent.)

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on August 6, 2011 7:43 PM.

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