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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Snoop Doggy Dogg
George Sakkestad

Call and Response: Snoop Doggy Dogg fell back on clichés to ignite the crowd at Lollapalooza.

A Better Tomorrow:
Lollapalooza returns to its original vision

A GRAND MOMENT occurred in front of me at Lollapalooza last Saturday at Shoreline. An apparent Tool fan, middle fingers aloft, flashed his double-digit salute as Snoop Doggy Dogg took the stage. The fingers were erect for one whole song before the guy stomped off to refresh his beer. Ladies and gentlemen, Lollapalooza is back. After bellyaching before, during and after last year's metal-heavy Lolla-pathetic marathon, an ample supply of musical diversity was this Lollapalooza tour's drawing card--and what better indication of it than the smattering of empty seats? The fact that Lollapalooza was willing to risk alienating some potential ticket buyers was proof that the fledgling tour is doing something right.

The highest praise was due the most uncertain subjects. Take James, for instance. What I assumed to be a passing fancy turned in the best set of the day. Strapped in a neck brace, normally ebullient lead singer Tim Booth swayed and mingled with fans, spending more than half his time in the aisles and in the upper reaches of the amphitheater grass. Tracks from Whiplash were intermingled with proven hits: "Say Something," "Laid" and "Sit Down." The show's closer, "Come Home," resulted in a stage rush with more than enough lucky fans (and one kook wearing a Bush T-shirt) dancing up a storm.

Tricky and Tool had folks bugging off their intense stage presence. Tricky could have used Booth's neck brace. The Tricky kid growled and gushed into the microphone, occasionally turning his back to the audience to check his email. Vocal foil Martine swayed and uttered sweet sounds on "Christiansands" and added sophisticated raps to "Lyrics of Fury" and "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos." As darkness and late arrivals swept into the amphitheater, Tool took the stage. The band was an enigma--conjuring up memories of Black Sabbath and Ministry. Clad in bra and jockstrap and painted half black and red, lead singer Maynard Keenan was a hermaphrodite gone satanic. Chilling.

The low points were few. Agnes Gooch and Failure played cookie-cutter alt.music.disposable that fell short and seemed long. Snoop Doggy Dogg was awful. When the Long Beach rapper falls back on played-out call-and-responses like "ohla-ohla-ohla," "fuck the police," "bee-atch" and even "the roof," time to put this dog to sleep. With two backup singers and a DJ (where the hell was the Gap Band?!), Snoop belonged back on the Paradise Beach stage. I had high hopes for Snoop's show, but they were all deflated by his cornball, clichéd performance. Maybe that Tool fan was onto something. I kicked out before the Orb to catch No Use for a Name and Crack at the Cactus Club.

While critics gave Lollapalooza a Mir's chance of returning to form, the pioneering spirit made it back alive. If Jon Spencer Blue Explosion and Korn were still on the bill, wow. Add some women's acts like Sleater-Kinney or Tribe 8, and this traveling festival might warrant a two-day stand again. To relive the events of Lollapalooza '97, check out exclusive pictures and a special interview with second stagers the Pugs.

Just So You Know

BAM's "South Bay Fever" column recently switched writers. Palo Alto Weekly music writer Jim Harrington takes the spot from Kip "Rowdy" Baldwin. I've seen Jim around a lot, and lucky for us, he's a cool guy with a good ear and no ties to band publicity. Welcome to the beat, Jim ... Lesbionic rockers Team Dresch perform at the Santa Cruz Vets Hall (846 Front St.) on Thursday (Aug. 21). The 7:30pm, all-ages show also stars Rattlecake, the Gashers and the Satyrs with spoken word.

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From the August 21-27, 1997 issue of Metro.

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