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Lollapalooza Diary: Eels Define Coolness

August 5, 2006 3:01 PM ET

>Here's what's hip at this year's festival: beards (see below), flight suits, and a bunch of unexpected cover songs. We know this because today we watched the hairy-faced Eels rock military-inspired flight suits while performing a set that included Tom Waits' "Jesus Gonna Be Here," Peaches' "Rock Show," Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" and Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" — as My Morning Jacket watched in awe from backstage.

The West Coast boys outfits' ranged from strange to stranger: lead singer E (Mark Oliver Everett) dressed as a hairy military bomber, drummer Knuckles wore, as he said backstage, a "racecar driver/rocket pilot/safety inspector kind of thing" and bassist Chet resembled Fidel Castro. But by far the most impressive onstage presence was Krazy Al, who looked like a cross between Mr. Clean and a big-ass mutton-chopped bouncer as he made karate moves and ennacted an incident involving latex gloves, whipped cream and a bit of meditation. We told you they were cool.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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