Lollapalooza 2012: Saturday Recap
Day 2 of Lollapalooza 2012 was a short one. That is to say, a few hours were cut out due to inclement weather. By “inclement” I mean severe storms the likes of which Chicago hasn’t seen in a little while. They evacuated Grant Park for the first time in Lollapalooza history, undoubtedly scared at the prospect of a potential stage collapse that might kill some people. So from about 3-6 PM no bands performed and while some were rescheduled, others were cancelled entirely. One of the bands I was most looking forward to, Chairlift, was unable to perform as a result. But I did get to catch a few bands on Saturday, mostly after the storm. Here’s a quick summary of what I saw, which I will expand upon at a later date.
The only band I saw before the evacuation, and they were the perfect start to my day. Their upbeat energy was contagious, and the crowd was totally into it. They stuck with the great stuff on their debut album In Light, and made it even more exciting and catchy than ever. GIVERS are definitely going places.
After the evacuation and rain delay and the release of a revised schedule, I was with some people that desperately wanted to see FUN. I went along for that ride, even as two of my favorites The Tallest Man on Earth and tUnE-yArDs were also playing at the same time. One thing I learned is that people love FUN. They love FUN. in the same way people love Neon Trees and the like. I am not a fan, but stood there trying to understand the appeal. What I took away from their set was that they’re high energy and really appreciate their fans. They’re also a little better than what their hit single might suggest. So there’s that.
After a food and restroom break that took far longer than anticipated, I stumbled through the mud to see half of The Weeknd’s set. Turns out Abel Tesfaye (the man behind the project) is a pretty strong live performer. As a full band, they haven’t put on too many live performances, but you wouldn’t know that from watching them. Tesfaye’s vocals are the heart of it, and while he’s not quite Frank Ocean, he’s of comparable quality, which is meant as a compliment.
The last time I saw Bloc Party was the last time they played Lollapalooza a few years ago. I wasn’t too impressed then, and apparently neither was frontman Kele Okereke. He said that he didn’t enjoy his last Lolla experience, but was having a much better time this time. It sure sounded like it too, as their set was better and more memorable than before. They kept the tempos strong and the hits coming. The couple new songs they played felt a little shaky, but maybe that’s how they all start before you’ve heard them a hundred times.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
What can I say about this performance. I’ve seen RHCP a couple times now, and they tend to be okay live. The live versions of their songs often have a little extra kick to them thanks to a funky bass solo from Flea or extended outros and such. Flea remains the band’s stronghold and focal point, the only real treasure now that John Frusciante is not with them anymore. Anthony Kiedis does all sorts of posturing on stage, but the real tragedy was that he seemed to forget a few lyrics. It made things interesting, to be sure. That, and the off-key renditions of RHCP hits done by every single person standing around me made for a pretty shrug-worthy performance.
Due to the modified rain delay schedule I didn’t see, I had no idea when Frank Ocean was performing. Somewhere around 10 PM I wandered over to his stage, and he’d been on for at least a 20 minutes or so. Because I also had an aftershow to go to and sets were pushing well past the curfew time, I couldn’t stay and watch the rest of Ocean’s set. I caught 3 songs, and they were all spectacular. His album Channel Orange is one of 2012′s best, and as a live performer he makes every single kind word said about it justified. The man is now a bonified superstar in both the studio and on stage. It was probably the most impressive thing I saw all day, even if it was only 15 minutes worth.