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Bloc Party Trade Their Dance Rhythms For Stadium Anthems

August 2, 2008 12:05 AM ET

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke looked like he was ready for a very political game of basketball. Dressed in brightly colored shorts, vintage Nikes and a Barack Obama T-shirt with the word "Progress" written on it, Okereke and his band managed to overcome some technical glitches and the absence of bassist Gordon Moakes (he's at home with a new baby) to deliver a set of inspired stadium-sized dance riffs as the Chicago sun set. The band really clicked the new single "Mercury" (where Okereke sampled his own voice) and on the set-closing "Helicopter" (which was greeted as a true anthem). During some down time, Okereke even teased the opening riff of Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box," which was a knowing nod to Lollapalooza's early-'90s roots.

More Lollapalooza Coverage: Rock 'N' Roll Diary

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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