Lollapalooza day one in review
Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
British trio Animal Kingdom has been slowly creeping into the alternative pop scene with their infectious single "Strange Attractor," which capped their snappy 30-minute set. The band attempted to establish rapport with misaligned political commentary ("Get Away," which was penned about ‘The 1%’ in the States) and stilted stage banter. Whether the sugarcoated scenesters can latch onto fame and churn out more hooky singles will be a question to be answered in the post-festival haze.
Riding the wave of success from both their critically acclaimed album “Be the Void” and their raging Lollapalooza after show at the Lincoln Hall the previous night, Dr. Dog sauntered out to meet a fervent crowd. After combatting a few brief sound issues, Dr. Dog’s brand of bong-ripping psychedelic blues-rock boomed from the Red Bull Soundstage. The band delivered a well-rounded set, with longtime fan favorites like “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” along with a healthy amount of recent cuts for the newfound fans. Dr. Dog’s cheery indie ditties left the crowd grooving and satisfied.
Sharon Van Etten
Van Etten is the Jekyll and Hyde of alternative rock; there are two very distinct sides to this lyrically gifted singer-guitarist. There’s the delicate folkster spinning yarns depicting broken relationships and unshakeable insecurity on an unassuming acoustic guitar. The other is a much more emotionally assured and embittered fairy-tale reject exacting revenge on a slew of exes one power chord at a time. Lollapalooza saw both sides of Van Etten on the raging hot Friday afternoon. Breezing through her early cuts and working her way up to recent album “Tramp.” Van Etten ended with “Love More,” a tearjerker that showcased her effortlessly expressive vocals. Van Etten was in top form and left the audience both shaken and stunned by the raw power of a woman, a guitar and a story.
The Afghan Whigs
90s melancholy rockers are came barreling out, hardly containing their grungy intensity. After a long slumber, the rough-and-tumble wailers were met with a crowd of dedicated fans hungry for the Whigs' trademark tearjerkers along with some face-melting cuts. Greg Dulli's gravelly wails and Rick McCollum's clanging guitar riffs were scuzzy enough to make Soundgarden spark with envy. Fans left with ringing ears and palpitating hearts breathing in time with the steady, thumping percussion booming from the stage.
Skinny jean-wearing, organic tobacco-smoking hipster royalty The Shins made a triumphant return to the stage in support of their most recent album "Port of Morrow." Longtime fans were pleased by the mellow strummer kick-off with "Caring is Creepy." Fans, old and new alike, were left impressed by the extensive and balanced set. The only complaint: head-bobbing indie masterpiece "New Slang" wasn't unleashed until the very end of the hour-and-fifteen-minute set. But the anticipation was not in haste, hearing hundreds of fans chanting the melodic chorus of “New Slang” was one of the most organic, humbling moments of the festival.
The charmingly maladjusted love child of ambient and electronica music, M83 was one of the most theatrical acts of the day. Their expert musicianship showed that they're not all retina-searing light shows and drum loops. Each member of the six-piece fed off the crowd’s enthusiasm and maintained a tantalizing band dynamic that made peeling away from the hour-long set near impossible.
The Black Keys
The Akron, Oh., blues-rock duo have been taking full advantage of the classic rock resurgence with their 7th album, chart-topper “El Camino.” Loyal, long-time Keys champions were left craving more from a set dominated by the band’s 3 core albums (“El Camino,” “Brothers,” and “Attack & Release”) but were otherwise pleased by the electrifying 90-minute performance. The Keys stuck with their tried-and-rue theatrical tricks—a flashy marquee here, a glittering disco ball there—which created a predictable show, but one that was equally as remarkable. Fair weather fans drawn by “El Camino”-fueled hype braved the crowd for live stapes “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy,” leaving devoted fans to sing along with Dan Auerbach’s tantalizing falsetto during a stripped-down, grooved-out version of “Everlasting Light.”