Photos: The Killers Slay; Blink-182 Gives A Flaming F At Lollapalooza Day 2
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2017 4:00PM
Predictably, every person who has ever complained that it's too hot when Lollapalooza lands each year was now lamenting the unseasonal autumnal chill that cut through the festival's second day of 2017. But that didn't stop many from attending ridiculously underdressed and unprepared. If Thursday was a mellow wind-up to the long weekend, Friday felt like the catapult beginning to swing into action, as crowds thickened and the partying appeared to kick off a few hours earlier. No matter—nothing could get in the way of the fact that Friday spun out a pretty great day, and wide variety, of music that kept us bouncing from end to end of the festival site all day long. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Blink-182 are at a curious phase: in terms of both sales and broader musical influence, the trio have shown a lasting relevancy—far more than any of their ‘90s pop-punk peers—that the critical establishment at the time never would have imagined. But without founding guitarist and co-singer Tom DeLonge, who split seemingly for good in 2015, what should play like a victory lap sadly feels more like spinning wheels. The band ran through what looks to be the same set from Thursday’s Metro show, which was admired by Blink diehards I know who were in attendance. But there were palpable lulls in crowd enthusiasm (and not just during the newish stuff) on Friday night, although powerhouse drummer Travis Barker and a slew of pyrotechnics (including—for a moment—the band's giant, flaming "F**K" sign) did a lot of heavy lifting. But there were highlights: during the early-set back-to-back of "What’s My Age Again" and "First Date," and the band’s “encore” ("All the Small Things," "Brohemian Rhapsody," "Dammit") Blink’s vintage vulnerable-core-wrapped-in-juvenilia did achieve anthemic liftoff for the packed, multi-gen crowd. Stephen Gossett
A single light up "K" and new track “The Man” announced Brandon Flowers and The Killers on the Grant Park stage. The Las Vegas lead man, not one to be modest, once said that he wanted to be the biggest band in the world and the crowd at the south end of the park would agree that they have arrived. Flowers was back in a sparkly suit coat and slicked-back hair with the glossy pop sound to match. This is The Killers at their best, now with a rich catalog to pull from, even pulling out a couple of covers with a local nod. Muse’s “Starlight” delivered on an earlier promise to make up for the previous night’s rainout; and then they played an unexpected version of Smashing Pumpkins’ '90s hit “Disarm.” The regular set closed with the ever epic “All These Things That I’ve Done,” from their meteoritic 2004 debut and those rising chants of “I got soul but I’m not a soldier.” — Michelle Meywes Kopeny
Chicago's Vic Mensa was a last minute addition to Perry's stage, fitting in a quick 15-minute set of material as the crew put together the headliner's gear behind him. Mensa performed with no visuals, almost no light illuminating him, and just a pre-recorded backing track (from what I could see there was no DJ), yet still managed to keep the crowd focused. It helped that he opened with an upbeat volley of songs, sparking the crowd into a frenzy with "U Mad," before closing with the more elegiac "We Could Be Free," which he dedicated to "all the people who lost lives in Chicago this year." — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
I;m pretty sure Jane said she was done with Sergio, not "double rainbow." Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
It's easy to be a fan of Run The Jewels' records, but the duo's magic is best experienced live, since the chemistry between Killer Mike and El-P feels like equal parts goofy sibling interplay and fiery truth preaching. These two aren't afraid to push the audience with their lyrics, and over their hourlong set they never let up the intensity. But my personal favorite moment of the show was when they brought a fan in from the crowd to perform the lead on "Legend Has It," and the kid killed it. — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
It was a harsh juxtaposition from that thunderous hip-hop duo across the field to Little Dragon on the Lakeshore stage. The Swedish electronic band settled in quickly though, with a chill dance vibe and a slowly progressive set that offered the perfect chill out and amp up before the headliners. The escalation culminated as lead singer Yukimi Nagano, decked in neon yellow frill, demanded from the audience, “make some noise if you wanna hear some bass!” before launching into “Shuffle a Dream.” — Michelle Meywes Kopeny
Old tube TV screens and images of cats littered the stage as Ryan Adams opened his set with a one-two punch. “Do You Still Love Me,” from the folk rocker’s newest album, opened the set, followed by a rough rockin' version of one of his first solo songs, "To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)." There wasn’t much in-between chatter from Adams, who was down to business until later in the set—when he introduced the song called “New York, New York” as about a girl that lives in Chicago. One lucky girl in the front also got a birthday serenade, though we never learned her name. — Michelle Meywes Kopeny
Tegan & Sara win the award more being most ridiculously fun during their late afternoon show, turning the north end of Grant Park into a huge pop dance party. The twins took the stage like two pastel-clad sonic scientists in lab coats straight out of an early '90s MTV video, then proceeded to deliver a show equal parts party and stand-up routine. Tegan needled the people in the VIP areas for the duration, at one point saying, "The VIP is older. They need a special place. But we want the people behind the VIP to know we see you. We feel you." The show leaned heavily on tracks from Heartthrob, but included a couple numbers from The Con, a seminal album for the group that's celebrating its 10th year anniversary, spurring Tegan to announce they'd be back for a Chicago show on November 4 to perform that modern classic in its entirety. — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
There's a lovely sense of perseverance that shoots through Whitney’s music. So even as drummer/singer’s Julien Ehrlich devoted much of his minimal stage banter to acknowledging how his songs were variably rooted in death, depression and drug hangovers, the band’s high-profile homecoming was a giddy one. As on record, there was nothing mannered about the sextet’s take on Americana and Laurel Canyon-esque folk rock. And when they brought out some fellow Chicagoans to help out (Joey Purp rhyming a few quick-but-nimble bars; Finally Aaron lending some gale-force pipes to the set-closing "Golden Days"), the side stage was the spot to be. Bonus points for the band’s signature brief, onstage make-out. Stephen Gossett
A tip from a friend to check out Lemon Twigs paid off early Saturday. The young Long Island band is like 1969 come alive with period attire, hair and lo-fi equipment vintage enough to make us wonder if we had transported back in time to a completely different festival. The group was shifted to a slightly later time slot on the Lakeshore stage after the cancellation of The Pretty Reckless, introducing them to a new audience (an audience who might have wanted a t-shirt. Please come back with merch!). The crew shifted around on instruments like musical chairs with the core duo of brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario trading lead vocal duties. Once Michael took the mic with his grease painted face and genuine thrashing weirdness, we were really won over. The boys had a message for the Village Voice, though, who apparently only awarded their forthcoming album a C+: “F**k them!” —Michelle Meywes Kopeny
Home field advantage? Chance the Rapper has literally three times more merch than any other headliner! Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Earlier, the day belonged to to bands that specialize in making controlled rackets. Cloud Nothings delivered a roaring collection on the northern-most stage that pulled heavily off this year's Life Without Sound—and whose drummer, incidentally, proved you can make the most minimal of drum kits still sound like four Keith Moons in a drumming face-off. Also in the ridiculously-great-cloud-of-noise camp lies PUP, who come across as the guys in high school that never wanted to get a "real" job and turned to music, then realized they had something powerful to say. It was the most life-affirming set of the day, inspirational in its drive, and rewarding in the feedback loop circling between the performers and the crowd, making the entire gathering feel like a single organism. I still can't stop singing the set closing wallop of "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will" and "DVP" to myself, even a day later.— Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Random Friday Tankboy observations:
Bonus points to Tegan & Sara for being the first to point out the ridiculous plane that's been flying overhead the last two days, trailing an ad for a condom company (and bugging the heck out of me). They lamented the pilot's plight, trying to imagine what a day that includes an assignment like that must be. But they applauded the ad's positive implied message of practicing safe, consensual sex. While still pointing out that for many people who don't happen to be heterosexual couples, "safe sex" isn't defined by using a condom.
Speaking of Tegan & Sara, I would 100% buy an album that was nothing but concert banter between the two sisters.
During Vic Mensa's performance of "We Could Be Free" the sound from Little Dragon's show kept bleeding in, marking possibly the first time in history that Perry's Stage had something interrupted by throbbing bass instead of the other way around. Ironic? Yes. But I wish it'd happened to someone other than Mensa.
During PUP's set, a shoe shot into the sky from the middle of the crowd during "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will" proving the old adage that it ain't a proper pit until someone loses a shoe.