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by Dan Weiss

May 13, 2013

Lollapalooza '91 Revisited

by Dan Weiss  |  May 13, 2013

Lollapalooza wasn't just the first alternative rock festival -- it was the first touring festival period, at least for rock concerts. And even if it's settled back into a one-weekend event in recent years, Perry Farrell's brainchild was still a pioneering wonder, as typified by Ice-T using it as a platform to unveil his metal band Body Count, who actually reached Eminem levels of notoriety for their day.

The festival's inaugural 1991 lineup was where all aggressively "alternative" sounds came together: punk, funk, metal, hardcore, rap, industrial, concrete, steel. Nine Inch Nails -- with only "Head Like a Hole" to their name on the charts -- were still peers of the bloodier Ministry, who'd grace the stage next year. Fishbone's charged fusion-core on songs like the now-infamous Roots interpolation "Lyin' Ass Bitch" proved an early harbinger for the late-'90s ska wave. Siouxsie and the Banshees stormed these aggro crowds just before riot grrrl took hold. Living Colour and Butthole Surfers twisted metal in opposite directions. And Jane's Addiction, then poised to be big stars, imploded following art-rock landmarks like "Jane Says." And that was just the beginning. Here's a look back.

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