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Lollapalooza Spotlight: The Verve Pipe

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The main knock on Lollapalooza is that the fest can sometimes seem to be stuck in a 1990s time-warp. It certainly felt that way as I walked toward the Kidzapalooza stage on Saturday afternoon. Blues Traveler was winding down its set on the Parkways Foundation stage, and every third person I passed was matching John Popper word for word on "The Hook."

Meanwhile, late-'90s chart-toppers The Verve Pipe were rockin' out for the Kidz. Granted, Brian Vander Ark and co. were doing mostly new stuff for a crowd that mostly wasn't born when "The Freshmen" hit No. 1. The band recently released "A Family Album," which is just what it sounds like -- music the whole family can enjoy. And really, that includes the teens and twentysomethings, too: it was hard not to at least tap your foot to upbeat tunes like the horn-laden "We Had To Go Home," the banjo-assisted "Suppertime!" and "Be Part of the Band," which was just cheesy enough to work. On "Complimentary Love," the band began to feel a bit like an even less threatening Barenaked Ladies.

The kids, of course, were the target audience, and they appeared to be having a good time, running around the bobbing their heads. They also weren't freaked out in the least by the two dudes who were standing quietly near the stage, dressed in full Mexican wrestling costumes.

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Uh, no, they were just fine in a music festival setting, and I saw them from probably 100-125 yards away at Coachella, also (front of mixing tent here). To compare them to a noisy, musically pointless party band like Gogol Bordello, whom I've had the misfortune to see -- and the opportunity to be buffeted about by pogoing, X-ed out, drunken 20-somethings very near the stage in 2008 -- does them and genuine music fans a tremendous disservice.

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This page contains a single entry by Ben Rubenstein published on August 7, 2010 4:40 PM.

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