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Lollapalooza Sat Aug 06 2011
I kicked off day one like many Chicagoans going to Lollapalooza, heading to my regular day job in business casual festival attire before trekking down to Grant Park after an early exit to jumpstart my Lolla weekend. I'll be reporting all things Lollaplooza this weekend for Gapers Block, along with contributions from writer Niki Fritz. Keep reading for more about Friday at the festival, and keep checking back all weekend for more Lollapalooza coverage from Gapers Block.
Delta Sprit rocked Lollapalooza early Friday afternoon with its classic American
rock band set (with a touch of flannel and a spurt of harmonica for flavor). Lead
singer, Matthew Vasquez, with his Bob Dylan sultry voice and dreamy eyes, gave
the band a feel of a throw back to 70s rock when music was filled with passion and
bands knew not only how to play their instruments but how to own them. Despite
their early start time, the band finished their set like headliners, smashing guitars
and letting fans know Lolla's 20th anniversary had begun. -Niki Fritz
I was able to shut down my work computer and catch a bus to Grant Park in time to catch the much buzzed about indie rock act Foster The People. Like most people in the crowd, I know this band for their one overplayed song that has catapulted them to blog/advertising/festival fame. But overall I was impressed by their breezy afternoon slot, full of light poppy indie rock. It was one of those sets that is just nice, something enjoyable to bop your head along to while you sit on a hill in the breeze. And they delighted the crowd with their wonderhit "Pumped Up Kicks," which included a slightly overzealous saxophone.
The Kills gave a performance at Lollapalloza well worth the $90 a day purchase
price. Their intensity and passion inspired the crowd to add their own spontaneous
clapping without prompting and had the north field vibrating with energy.
Lead singer, Alison Mosshart, was perfectly melodramatic, adding flair to the
performance with gyrating hips and hair tosses. She had to towel off her sweat
soaked hair several times during the set, each time adding a bit of theatrics to the
4 p.m. show. Lead guitarist, Jamie Hince, is a true rock star, composed with passion
and a voice of a man with a history. Their set was easily the best show of the day and
a perfect blend of energy, spirit and sexy. -Niki Fritz
This is my first time at Lollapalooza in two years, so I was eager to check out the additions to the festivals since my absence, most notably Perry's stage. Despite the fact you won't find me with glow sticks sweating it up in the middle of the crowd, I love a good electronic dance show. And Perry's is the perfect set-up (despite the obvious issue of the bottleneck problem trying to get in and out of the area), well equipped with fans and shade to keep the dancing crowd cool and provide enough darkness for the incredible light shows most dance acts bring with them to Lollapalooza. The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 didn't disappoint on either count, keeping the crowd body slamming and fist pumping while they churned out their brand of Italian electro house. The black and white visuals were impressive, something I'm not use to seeing at a 5pm set, but thanks to Perry's set-up, I was able to enjoy their entire production, unlike some other sets this summer (I'm looking at you Pitchfork and your DJ Shadow snafu). The Beetroots set made me want to listen to The Faint and Soulwax, the band clearly citing similar influences by fusing together punk and electro sounds.
Bright Eyes's set was a nostalgic performance dedicated to the angsty days of high
school. Their lyrics are still beautiful and deep...and cliché and over sentimental.
They remind us what emo meant. The music sounds the same as it did in 2004,
which is comforting and familiar if not a bit repetitive. -Niki Fritz
If you would have told me that A Perfect Circle would end up being one of the most impressive sets I'd see at Lolla, I would have given you an earful of a few choice words. I had no intentions of even seeing their set, since I was never able to get into them (or Tool) despite coaxing from a high school boyfriend. But after grabbing some dinner I headed back to the media area to take a rest, grab some water, and a comfortable seat. Here I thought my lobster corn dog was going to be the star of the show at that moment, but boy was I mistaken. Don't get me wrong, the lobster corn dog was still a highlight (seriously, despite it's price, I suggest you grab one while at Lolla. It's affordable Graham Elliot at his best), but the second A Perfect Circle began, I was blown away by the precision and intensity of their sound. Mind you, I never actually saw their set. I spent it sitting under a tree reclined in a lawn chair. But the sound was so intense, I couldn't stop exclaiming how good it was. Maynard's voice is still as smooth and stoic as ever, not showing even the slightest sign of age. And given the pedigree of the musicians in A Perfect Circle, it's no surprise by their articulate and detailed wall of sound. By the time they played "The Outsider" I was completely sold that this was not only going to be one of the surprise highlights of Friday, but probably one of the best sounding sets of the weekend.
While staking out a spot for Muse on the hill, I was able to catch Crystal Castles set, for better or for worse. I love Crystal Castles recorded, but I still can't get behind the band live. This is my second time seeing them, and Alice Glass's vocals leave something to be desired in a live setting. The screeches and yelps tend to sound more melodic when overproduced in a studio and less like a cat being thrown against a wall. The light show was great, the energy Glass puts forth is phenomenal, but I'd rather see this band on mute. The only song I enjoyed was "Not In Love," which had Glass's vocals mellowed through some sort of filter, and despite the fact it wasn't the version with vocals from Robert Smith (which really makes the track), it was still refreshing compared to the rest of their set.
Coldplay sounded like the radio. Their set was predictable, rehearsed, and over
produced. For life-long fans, it was a chance to jump in on the beat and sing along to long-ago memorized lyrics with other lifers. It was a good show, but nothing you couldn't
have seen on VH1. -Niki Fritz
If you feel like you've lost your faith in good rock music, that no one puts on an impressive over the top rockstar show anymore, than turn your eyes and ears toward Muse. The first time I saw this band was second row at The Riv, and it was more akin to a religious experience than just another concert. Muse has always had a flair for the dramatics, dripping glam rock, soaring guitar, and lyrics of paranoia and deep love. And their showmanship is outstanding, a band fully aware that their job is to put on an incredible show. From the lights and graphic work to Matt Bellamy's powerful vocal delivery and awe inspiring falsetto, Muse consistently provide one of the best performances around. This was my fourth time seeing them live, and it still gave me chills when the drums kicked in on "Hysteria." It was even more incredible as fireworks exploded behind the band, the energy of the moshing crowd palpable in the air. Their set included crowd favorite "Uprising" "Supermassive Black Hole" and ended the night with one of my favorite live songs in their catalog, "Knights of Cydonia." As the crowd, fist raised high in the sky, echoed along with Bellamy as he screamed the lines "No one's gonna take me alive/The time has come to make things right/You and I must fight for our rights/You and I must fight to survive" it's easy to see why this band is possibly one of the most perfect festival acts.