words by Zach Pollack, photos by Grant MacAllister
Bright Eyes / Mountain Goats
Despite being out late in the name of DFA1979 on Thursday, I arrived at Lollapalooza on Friday in time for Wye Oak at noon on the Sony Stage. The duo had the uncomfortable job of playing one of the first sets of the weekend, and unfortunately their Civilian-heavy set was also plagued by technical problems. They thought at first it was singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner's amp (which they replaced), but then realized it was pedals. Regardless, the band and audience stayled calm. And the crowd especially appreciated the finer moments like pounding single "Holy, Holy".
From there I headed to the near-by (and quite massive) Music Unlimited Stage for The Vaccines. Frontman Justin Young thanked the crowd for "rolling out of bed this afternoon," and the band proceeded to dive into their raucous set. Hanging behind them was a large banner of their album cover What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? from which they played choice singles such as "Wreckin' Bar," and "Post Break-Up Sex." I was liking it, but decided to run and catch a bit of Tennis on the Google+ stage.
Google+ (yes every stage has a corporate sponsor) is located in a heavily tree-covered area of the park, which gives you a nice break from the scorching sun you're subjected to on the larger stages. Drawing from their 2011 debut LP Cape Dory, Tennis locked into a tight groove felt throughout the crowd. Alaina Moore's vocal stylings and the band's instrumentation were spot on, though a bit boring compared to The Vaccines who I wish I stayed for more of.
It was then over to the Music Unlimited stage to catch Delta Spirit. Matthew Vasquez and Co. offered the crowd 100% of their energy in the now-blistering sun. The band of five makes the sound of ten and upbeat songs about past lovers like "Bushwick Blues" remind the audience why they love this band.
With barely any time to catch my breath, I ran across the festival to catch Grace Potter & the Nocturnals who happened to be playing at the Bud Light stage on the complete opposite side of Grant Park. Her powerful vocals and talented band could be heard echoing loudly for a long distance as I approached.
After a break to re-hydrate and eat I returned to Bud Light to watch The Kills. The duo consisting of Alison Mosshart, and (recently married) Jamie Hince took the stage and started playing the loundest band I saw that day. Their flawless performance included songs from their four-album catalog, drawing heavily on the recently released and fantastic Blood Pressures. I stuck around to watch their entire set. I might catch them again at one of their two Terminal 5 shows in NYC this week.
From ther it was to the Playstation Stage to catch The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, and John Wurster walked on stage accompanied by some loud metal entrance music (Darnielle is famously a metal fan). The Mountain Goats mostly drew from their early catalog, not bypassing 2011's All Eternals Deck completely, but instead just slightly grazing it. Their Merge Records labelmate Jenn Wasner (from Wye Oak), joined the trio to sing "Last Year", a major highlight of the day. I left a bit early, and headed back to Bud Light to get a good position for Bright Eyes who went on around 6:30pm.
Connor Oberst and Co. brought their full band sound found on their recently released LP The People's Key. The crowd-pleasing set focused heavily on the album but also featurd older cuts like "Lover I Don't Have To Love" (another major highlight). I didn't really want to, but again took off early in favor of catching some of Crystal Castles across the grounds at the Sony Stage.
The crowd was not as insane as when I saw them this past year at the Riv, and that's partly what made this set so enjoyable. They played a mix of Crystal Castles I & II, including tracks like "Untrust Us" and "Baptism." Frontwoman Alice Glass' ankle is now fully healed (she was in a cast at the Riv), so she was actively surfing the crowd and thumping around the stage.
Keeping it electronic, I then headed to Perry's to catch Girl Talk which would be my final set of the day (I didn't catch any of Muse'sor Coldplay's headlining sets).
Perry's, named after fest co-founder Perry Farrell, is more so a Coachella-like tent than a stage. Girl Talk was as energetic as ever in the tent, and Greg Gillis probably lost about five pounds running around the stage to amp up the crowd. He played all of the usual mixes featuring hits like Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and Phoenix's "1901", along with new subtle additions.
Lollapalooza continues Saturday and Sunday in Grant Park and is streaming online.
Other bands who played Friday, that that we got pictures of, include Cults, Foster the People, The Smith Westerns, and Two Door Cinema Club. The pictures continue below...
Foster the People
The Smith Westerns
Two Door Cinema Club
The Mountain Goats