With Day 1 of Lollapalooza 2012 in the books, let me give a very brief rundown of all the bands I saw today, and my on-the-spot reactions to their sets. I’ll have photo sets for you and some longer collected thoughts once the weekend officially wraps up. Until then, my Twitter account is the best way to keep up with all the happenings in Grant Park, though my reception has been spotty at best. I may have social media blackouts for a few hours as a result. I’ll do my best to keep you all updated as possible though.
I only saw the last half of their set. They were dealing with sound issues and to me came off as lackluster and not the best way to start my day.
The War on Drugs
This is where I should have started my day. The band also had some sound issues, but got them cleared up quickly and put on a very rousing set anyways. Better than I anticipated it to be, too.
Sharon Van Etten
I’ve seen Sharon Van Etten twice before, and this third time was probably my favorite. Her band seemed tighter than ever, and her vocals were seeped in emotion. She didn’t even need to use words. Her tone said it all.
Big crowd for these guys, who I really like on record. Turns out they’re just pretty good live. Maybe it’s more that their psychedelic songs aren’t as friendly when you’re outside in 90 degree heat.
The Afghan Whigs
Dressed in all black, the band hit every necessary note in their amazing catalogue. They played like they hadn’t lost a beat, and Greg Dulli wailed like a man possessed. Tragic that so many went to see Metric instead of this classic band. Oh, and lest I forget, their cover of Frank Ocean’s “Lovecrimes” is one of my early weekend highlights.
Here’s my other weekend highlight. I wouldn’t consider myself a Die Antwoord fan, and I don’t really listen to their records often, but they surprised me in a big way with their live show. They’re super energetic and weird (in a good way). They worked hard enough to make their set very memorable, and for that I give them full credit.
With the reported mental health issues frontman Michael Angelakos is going through, I was concerned how it might affect the band’s live show. Turns out, not at all. They’ve gotten even better since the last time I saw them a few years ago, and the absolutely massive crowd was eating up every last note.
I had to jump away from Passion Pit to see The Shins because I really like both of their latest records. I only wound up hearing a couple of new tunes, supported mainly by classic standbys off the Chutes Too Narrow album. Honestly, that was perfect for me. It lacked the outward fun party energy of Passion Pit, but offset that with great attention to detail.
I think this was the biggest crowd I was in all day. I could only stay for 20 minutes before having to run across the park for Black Sabbath, and what I was able to hear was excellent but not nearly loud enough. The crowd seemed to only care about the hits on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, because classics like “Teen Angst” and “Colours” were met with shrugs. Too bad.
I never paid that much attention to Tony Iommi before, but after their set I was convinced he’s one of the 10 best guitarists still living today. The man hit every note with precision, and that’s with questionable health too. Ozzy was Ozzy, playing ringleader and encouraging the crowd to cheer louder or throw their hands up or whatever. He was mostly on target vocally, but slipped now and then, something all too easily forgiven considering his age and history. Bill Ward is certainly missed, however fill-in drummer Tommy Clufetos did an admirable job, especially on some big solos. The band hit all the important marks, including “Iron Man,” “War Pigs” and “Paranoid.” I wish them all the best and don’t regret missing The Black Keys for a second.