Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Between Two Rocks Kiss Convention and Lollapalooza Shake Heat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Between Two Rocks Kiss Convention and Lollapalooza Shake Heat

Article excerpt

On Tuesday, if you listened carefully, you could feel the pounding in the hearts of rock fans young and old as two wildly different rock events rolled into St. Louis.

If you were anywhere near the Airport Hilton in north St. Louis County or the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, you didn't have to listen too carefully. These were the sites where a touring KISS convention and the touring alternative carnival, Lollapalooza, landed.

While both events featured music, that's where the similarities ended. The biggest difference was air conditioning: the KISS convention had it, Lollapalooza didn't.

Many of the 15,000 or so who came to Riverport for seven hours of alternative music, art exhibits, political booths and vendors selling everything from hemp jewelry to vintage clothing were too young to drink, if not to vote. Jellies, old school sneakers and cut-offs were the norm; in the 95-degree heat, not many other items of clothing stayed on anyway.

Mist tents dotted the inside periphery, offering shots of cool spray. Other people wrapped cloths filled with ice around their necks. At least eight people were taken to hospitals, mostly for heat-related injuries.

The 12-hour KISS convention, which cost $100 a ticket, featured life-size wax KISS figurines, original stage plans from KISS concerts and patents on Gene Simmons' face going for $300. Many of the 1,000 or so in the KISS crowd were men in their late 20s wearing reflective sunglasses, Wrangler jeans, air-brushed KISS T-shirts and KISS tattoos. But sprinkled throughout were those sporting full KISS regalia - makeup, boots and fake blood.

"I think I owe it to them for coming out like this," said Dan Kempen, 26, of St. Louis, whose wife painted his face and facial hair with black and white. "It's a tribute."

KISS convention-goers armed with video cameras and notebooks filed through exhibits of KISS merchandise, marveling at the sights. They competed over KISS trivia such as the name of Gene Simmons' dog. Excitement also was high for the performance of Strutter, a local KISS tribute band.

Back at Riverport, Lollapaloozers had mixed reactions to the Mean Art Tent, a traveling exhibit from a Santa Monica, Calif. …

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