The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Lollapalooza 2013 Day Two: The Highs And The Lows

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 4, 2013 6:30PM

Photo Credit: Jessica Mlinaric / Chicagoist

The second day of Lollapalooza is often the weirdest as festival fatigue sets in. The ebullience of opening day has faded and while Sunday has its share of Lolla-zombies it's also buoyed by the adrenaline triggered by the need to party one last day. And Saturday is also traditionally the day tempers grow shorter as cracks in the festival infrastructure manifest, often leading to necessary quick fixes by organizers to make Sunday more enjoyable. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

[Read our recap of Day One, and prepare for Day Three]

Perry's Stage. Photo Credit: leyla_a / Creative Commons
Perry’s Stage continued to be the sonic equivalent of a single parent sitting a child in front of a television and turning it on, although even things there got off to a slow start after a riotous Friday night. Tennessee electro-pop duo Cherub took as much time finding their bearing as the crowd did entering the grounds to the stage. Which was a shame because I liked the 80s R&B and funk influences in their set. Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber have a particular fascination with early Prince and Zapp that comes through in the use of talk boxes and other vocal effects to sell the “I want to sex you up” lyrics. Cole Plante, at the tender age of 16, performed like a master as he exhorted the crowd to put their hands in the air and kept the tempo fast. A mid-evening set by Baauer fell woefully short of expectations to the hardcore in the crowd, although everyone lined up like snakes being driven from Ireland when he dropped “Harlem Shake” into his set. There were more kids being carted from the Perry’s stage grounds Saturday as the marathon dance continued into the evening. - Chuck Sudo

I started my own day offsite at the combined CK one color music Lounge and the It's So Miami Lounge, one of the free day parties allowing even non-festival attendees to get their party on at The Hard Rock Hotel. In previous years these have been mellow affairs where the public and Lollapalooza artists have mingled and coexisted peacefully, but as Lollapalooza grows, so does the attendance at these parties. The Bro factor was high and teeming hordes of barely legal girls with flowers in their hair dominated the scene, making me wonder if the crowd at Perry's Stage had just found a new place to party. On the bright side it did drive us out of the party and to the festival grounds earlier to grab some food in Chow Town. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Death Grips' booting from Lollapalooza meant shake-ups in the lineup at The Grove stage, which was good for me because I was curious to see Family of the Year and had a chance to as they were pushed back to 2:15 p.m. Family of the Year traffics in well-worn jangly folk pop with touches of country sprinkled here and there, built upon wonderful harmonies. Frontman Joseph Keefe has a plaintive tone to his voice that helps to sell the tales he sings remarkably well.

Since The Grove stage is located a short walk away from Petrillo bandshell and the Bud Light stage I was able to catch the last third of Reignwolf’s set at Petrillo and wished I made my way there sooner. Singer-guitarist Jordan Cook collapsed to the stage in a fit of shrieking slide guitar, his bandmates riding a crescendo of cymbal fills and rumbling bass.

Charles Bradley. Photo Credit: Theo Wargo / Getty Images
The final notes of Reignwolf’s set were still ringing in the air as Charles Bradley’s band took to the Bud Light stage and kicked into that time-tested soul trope of playing a warm-up song before bringing the singer to the stage. It still works, people. By the time Bradley sauntered to the stage in a royal blue suit, an unruly shock of a natural atop his head, the crowd was eating from his hand. Bradley delivered, shouting, jumping and making even the smallest moves play to the farthest reaches of the crowd.

I left Bradley to work the Bud Light stage crowd to catch the final half of Court Yard Hounds’ set at the Lakefront stage. Emily Robison and Martie McGuire were always the dressed-down, traditional counterweight to Natalie Maines’ vibrancy in the Dixie Chicks and it showed in this set, which was rife with by-the-numbers performances that left little in the way for spontaneity and personality. If this is what Robison and McGuire have in store for their post-Dixie Chicks musical career, they better keep Maines’ number handy. —Chuck Sudo

The Blisters' set at Kidzapalooza was one I greatly anticipated but also slightly feared. I am a big fan of their debut album but admit minor trepidation seeing them live since there's always the chance that the studio allows a group to correct mistakes that might manifest live. This was certainly not the case and their all too brief set left me wanting more and ensured I'd be there again today when they play for a second time at 4:05 p.m. hat means you have a second chance to see them too if you missed them yesterday! - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Of course many folks were initially drawn to The Blisters since Jeff Tweedy’s son Spencer is on the drums, but these teenagers hold their own when it comes to making music. The group had actually played the Kids stage four years ago, with the announcer pointing out that they’re all a little taller with hair on their faces now, but then he suggested that perhaps their third appearance at the fest will be on one of the main stages. Lollapalooza may be more like a university of rock these days where artists move up to larger stages and later time slots as opposed to showcasing unknown talent, but the Blisters introduced us to 16-year-old singer songwriter Alaina Stacey, bringing her out to play one of her own songs. The last song in their 30 minute set did seem to borrow a lot from Dad’s style, with a whispery beginning that built into a crescendo of raucous noise, but the rest of their songs had their own voice, a gentile, tight rock that just might be ready to graduate to a larger stage.

Perry Farrell performs at the Kidzapalooza stage. Photo Credit: Theo Wargo / Getty Images

I stuck around the Kidzapalooza area for a while longer. Had to get my Perry Farrell sighting in! A little kid introduced the founder of Lollapalooza, who in turn introduced special guests Bad Things. In true Perry fashion (just creepy enough that you’re not sure if you should take your kids and run away or encourage them to take in his words of wisdom), he said, “They’re gonna teach you what not to do and how to do it in the best way!” After some schedule shifting, Shaun White’s (yes THAT Shaun White) band took the stage about 20 minutes later than intended, so I was only able to stick around for one song, but they had a pretty good rock sound, and you’d never know that White’s main job is destroying a half-pipe and taking home precious metals.

Over in the Grove, there was a sparse crowd in the sunny middle in front of the stage, and I walked up just in time for Unknown Mortal Orchestra to play “an old song,” “How Can You Love Me,” which is the very song that turned me on to this fuzzy psych group. After a few songs from their newer album, II, they closed with the popular “FFunny FFriends,” but their jams between songs were a little long and distracting. This gave me time to continue my tally of things-on-sticks in the crowd, you know, the ones that make it easy to find your friends in the crowd, and just be all around funny. I had already seen a blow up doll, some guy’s face on a giant poster, several traffic signs, Nicholas Cage’s head and a giant British flag at New Order. Here lead singer Ruban Nielson pointed out the “baby face” that turned out to be a giant cut-out of Honey Boo Boo. —Michelle Meywes

Singer Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards. Photo Credit: Chuck Sudo / Chicagoist
I said in our preview of Saturday’s line-up my toughest decision would be a 6 p.m. choice between Heartless Bastards at The Grove or The National at the Red Bull Sound Select stage. I chose The Heartless Bastards and wasn’t disappointed by a solid set that mined the intersections of garage rock and Americana for all it was worth. Singer Erika Wennerstrom was in fine voice throughout, the rhythm section of bassist Jesse Ebaugh and drummer Dave Colvin hit hard and tight and guitarist Mark Nathan provided tasteful flourishes of melody and color while fleshing out the band’s sound. —Chuck Sudo

I spent the remainder of the daylight hours wandering the grounds, sampling sets by Matt & Kim, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foals and The National—two acts I've heard much buzz about yet never seen live bookended by two acts I'm extremely familiar with—but all four fell flat for me. Matt & Kim's set was marred by the fact that if you weren't right in front of the stage the volume was just too thin to pump up their party vibe. Uknown Mortal orchestra and Foals just seemed to lack any direction and grew too noodle-y for my tastes, and The National is The National; they either snag that intensity that draws you in at the beginning or they don't, and this time around they didn't. My travels also gave me a chance to experience firsthand the fact that wherever you went—and I explored the whole grounds to make certain this was true—lines for beer and the bathroom were incredibly long. One would think logically one should wane as the other crests, right? —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Photo Credit: Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons

Friday’s start to the festival saw early crowds, while Saturday’s attendance gradually built until it reached packed capacity by late-afternoon, and the lines for everything—water refilling stations, food and beverage lines, merchandise and porta potties—were at least 10 to 15 deep. In addition to the aforementioned passed out fans at Perry’s stage, festival attendees were taxing medical stations throughout the festival grounds and organizers may have a budding underage drinking problem on their hands. I watched in awe as a mass of kids attempted to buy beer with fake IDs at one tent on Columbus. The manager of that tent confiscated 6 to 8 bogus identification cards and said he snagged close to another two dozen Friday. In addition, I counted at least 10 to 12 festival attendees with cans of beer in hand and no wristbands indicating they were of legal drinking age, a sign of cracks in even the tightest protocols. —Chuck Sudo

Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis of Postal Service. Photo Credit: Lollapalooza
From the opening strains of “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” those of us watching The Postal Service’s headlining set were transferred into a 2003 wormhole. Give Up is one of those albums solidly fixed in a musical moment in time and people’s consciousness, and between reciting every lyric fans around me shared stories along the lines of, “I broke someone’s heart to this song in college.” Ben Gibbard announced that the band’s Lolla set and Sunday aftershow at Metro would be their “very last” and The Postal Service delivered accordingly. Gibbard looked like he was having more fun than I’d ever seen him previously, grinning and hopping between guitar and drums throughout. Jimmy Tamborello’s beats kept everyone’s feet moving, while Jenny Lewis radiated, countering Gibbard’s goofball energy with quiet cool. The performance was everything you wanted it to be, with a light playful feel that recalled The Postal Service’s roots — just some friends trading music for the fun of it. “You waited a long time to see us Chicago,” Gibbard thanked his fans. By the way the crowd waved back to the band en masse during the chorus of “Such Great Heights,” it looks like Chicago would be willing to wait all over again. —Jessica Mlinaric

The things I do to try and understand people's popular tastes in music: I sat through part of Mumford & Sons' set. It was just as bland and pedestrian as I'd imagined and I was amused by the fact that the longer they played the thinner the crowd got. I stopped a few fans with questions to try and figure out the reason behind the mass exodus and answers ranged from "It's too much. I heard everything I wanted to hear," to "They played their two biggest songs and got kind of boring so we're gonna go dance. They sound really good though!" There you have it! The kids like the hits but you better have more than two and you better not front-load your set with them! Apparently. So I decided I had suffered enough and headed to the north side of the park to catch a snippet of The Postal Service's set, but since I'm seeing them perform again tonight at the aftershow at the Metro I decided to stay away. It also gave me a head start on my late evening plans which included an amazing last-minute live performance by Salt-N-Pepa at the free to the public #ASOSRocks party at the Hard Rock Hotel (which was pleasantly devoid of the Bro crowd). In a day where all of us experienced some pretty mixed feelings about the festival overall, it was a great high note to end the day on. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Kendrick Lamar performs at the Aragon. Photo Credit: Jessica Mlinaric / Chicagoist
Kendrick Lamar is the most lyrical rapper of my generation,” I overheard a young man of approximately 15 years assert. Maybe. It was Kendrick’s energy, however, that revived the fading crowd of near Lolla zombies Saturday night at his Aragon Ballroom after show. Bauuer’s opening set was a fun warm up, but with flower crowns drooping and glowsticks losing their luster we could have taken or left it. Lamar took the stage around 1 a.m. and dominated the room start to finish. He made his local roots a theme of the performance, proclaiming throughout the set “Chicago is my second home.” OG Kendrick fans appreciated throwbacks to his early mixtapes, and the rapper was thrown for a loop when they called for “Michael Jordan,” busting into laughter before accommodating. Most of the evening was spent spitting hits from last year’s good kid, m.A.A.d city and the crowd was right there with him, neither missing a verse. —Jessica Mlinaric

Lollapalooza's video recap: