1. The Black Keys, an Akron, Ohio, duo that’s been touched-no, gifted-with a sound reminiscent of dirty Mississippi blues I heard growing up and unprocessed rock ‘n roll.

2. Daft Punk! My generation’s Peter Frampton

3. The sign language volunteer for the Polyphonic Spree; most of the interpreters just sign and kind of sway, but this lady rocked out, particularly during the “yeah, yeah, yeah” part of the Spree’s cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

4. The hipster T-shirts. My favorite: A purple one with a picture of Kurt Vonnegut. It said, “Vonnegut With This?” If you have a shirt like that, then yes. Yes, I do.

5. The yupster up-dos! It’s too hot to wear your locks down, so the crowd is rocking some inspired twists, side ponytails, and Mohawks.

6. The sound, thankfully much improved from last year.

7. The tree-canopied kids stage, which, unlike the rest of this blazing and naked fest, offers more than ample shade.


1. The heat. It’s making people cranky.

2. M. I. A.’s dancing. The girl can rap. But she needs a movement coach.

3. The food. Anytime you’re down to a $5 beef sandwich from Buona, a $4 deep dish sausage slice from Connie’s, and a $7 gyro from Greek Delights, you know you’re headed for Gasapalooza. Trust me: Pack a granola bar.

4. Detroit band Electric Six and their between-song banter, something about a microwave on top of the Hancock Building and how they were going to put some “pretty ladies” in it. When they started talking about how the “pretty ladies” were going to be “impregnated,” I bailed.

5. The merch. Who spends $25 on a trucker hat? Um, judging from the crowd, lots of misguided young ‘uns.

Photography: Maria Bianco