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Posts Tagged ‘Lollapalooza’
16 Aug

For our final day of coverage of Lollapalooza, our writer Michael Zonenashvili would have to make the most difficult decision of the weekend: Foo Fighters or Deadmau5? Find out which he chose below. (Photos courtesy of Lollapalooza Flickr page)

The Joy Formidable:

The Joy Formidable by Matt Ellis

The best set that could possibly happen so early in the morning. The UK’s Joy Formidable could play the extended outro of “Whirring” as an entire set and I’d be more than fine with it. What preceded that closing song, was a quick slew of songs from the thunderous album “The Big Roar.” The crowd clapped along without any prompt from the band, only encouragement after already starting, Ritzy Bryan saying, “Fuck yeah! Keep doing that.” Massive double kick drums, all the bass strings hit at once, and Ritzy’s army of guitars compact into one made it the loudest non-headlining show of the weekend. I always like to consider Ritzy Bryan to be the My Bloody Valentine incarnate that’s actually listenable/discernible. But yeah, back to that outro. A ten minute extended version of “Whirring” concluded the set, complete with Ritzy and crew thrashing their instruments, meddling with pedals, and Ritzy smashing a guitar into a gong. A perfect wake up call.

Noah and The Whale:

Noah & The Whale by Matt Ellis

I came to the stage expecting a cheery, ukulele ridden, completely inappropriate for a main stage set. Only one of those rang true. Being clad in matching suits was not the only thing that made Noah and the Whale seem like they were trying to be The National. New songs were droney and little too post-breakup to keep the crowd interested. The violin that cut through all their album tunes shifted from whimsical to eerie, and the songs as grey as the suits. A ukulele wasn’t the only thing missing from the most anticipated track, “Five Years Time.” Replaced with a guitar, and stripped of all charm, the song had me(and seemingly others) completely disengaged. Perhaps they would’ve just been better suited for the stage in the shade.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. hasn’t given up their shtick. They still came out in racing suits, only to strip them off before starting to play – it is hot, after all. I hadn’t yet seen them post-album release, but a little did change. Even more tight on the harmonies, on point with dynamics, and with no decrease in enthusiasm. Even stage banter was inspired and sincere, balancing between cheesy cuteness and festival-y togetherness. My only complaint is that they traded their cover of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” for a Celine Dion one. Probably not a career defining move, but it’s not too late to go back.

The Cars:
The Cars by Steve Wrubel

“I should learn how to play that one.” murmured Ric Ocasek following the career defining “Just What I Needed.” Even he knew something was up, and that’s what made the set a little disappointing. Compared to last year’s “legacy” act, Devo, The Cars made me feel old and dated themselves as well. Can’t blame it on being tired of old tunes; even new songs from “Move Like This” lacked enthusiasm and volume. The audience awkwardly bobbed to “My Best Friend’s Girl” as I sat on a hill and feared the impending storm.

Arctic Monkeys:
Arctic Monkeys by Jack Edinger

Delayed by thirty minutes due to the second strongest storm of the weekend, the Arctic Monkeys refrained from making too many jokes about the weather and got straight to the music. It was a shame that after every song I’d have to actively hope that the next one wasn’t from “Humbug,” but songs from “Suck It And See” melded well with old tracks, and the band luckily got a 45 minute set instead of being cut down to 30 by the storm. Just enough time to appease the crowd with songs like “Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “When the Sun Goes Down” that were significantly more enthused and energized than when played on the “Humbug” tour. Maybe all Alex needed was a haircut, but whatever it was, the band is starting to get their groove back.

Explosions in the Sky:
Explosions in the Sky by Dave Mead

Every time, Explosions in the Sky is a completely cathartic experience without even needing lyrics. Perfect buildups to even better payoffs riddle their extremely precise set. An artistic approach to volume and crescendo establishes the band as one deserving of their almost religious following. Perhaps there were only previous fans at the stage, others walking by to see the Foo Fighters and wondering “why aren’t they singing yet?” but those fans were into it. The crowd would be at Explosions’ side until the rain washed the set away, and the Foos started to blast across the park.

Deadmau5 by Matt Ellis

I passed up seeing a stadium rock band to see a DJ I hate. Was it worth it? Completely. After the brief, torrential storm that turned any blade of grass left on Grant Park into mud, we had all potentially garnered pneumonia but had made it to the North Stage. Upon passing the hill to the stage, we had the first glimpse at Deadmau5′s massive production. His famed Cube setup was bolstered by more lights and crazy rigging, and apparently that was only about half the setup that was allowed with the weather. The Deadmau5 set had an entire field dancing and jumping in mud, and I guess something converted me. Seeing everyone in a field lose their collective shit regardless of being covered in god knows what was exciting. Even the remix of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” was tasteful, a nice nod to the band that everyone hopes will headline Lolla with each announcement released.

Deadmau5 was able to convince thousands of people to opt out of returning to their hotel to shower, in favor of being dirty and listening to some great beat drops accompanied with great lighting and design. And fine, I don’t hate him, “Ghosts n Stuff” is a pretty fun one, I admit.

14 Aug

Here’s our writer Michael Zonenashvili’s review of the second day of Lollapalooza. All images are provided by the official Lollapalooza Flickr page and most of the videos from the Lollapalooza YouTube page.


Phantogram by Dave Mead

The last time I saw Phantogram was in a dark, one-hundred person venue. This time, they were the first band I caught on the second day of Lollapalooza. They had the luxury of convincing me that I could stand up and brave the crowds for the second most difficult day. I, on the other hand, had the luxury of seeing a great performance, unhindered by the time slot and bolstered by the addition of a live drummer. Opening with “Running From the Cops,” Phantogram displayed their mix of deep electronic elements, borderline sexy beats, and overwhelming style. The vocals bouncing between Sara and Josh meshed well, the guitar playing was ever subtle yet necessary, and the setlist short and sweet. “Mouthful of Diamonds” was a definite highlight, with the bass resonating regardless of not having walls to bounce off of.

Friendly Fires:

Friendly Fires by Matt Ellis

Everyone seems to only have enough words to write only about Ed MacFarlane’s dancing. Yes, it’s entertaining. Yes, he’s super into it and has great presence. Yet, people tend to leave out an important element about Friendly Fires: Their music translates wonderfully live. Opening with “Lovesick”, the bassline melding with two drummers and a horn section had the crowd half emulating Ed’s dance moves. The guitar layered over the music was perfect, whether through sliding a maraca over the strings or simply providing the sonic bottom layer to the music. Nailing a great mix of both albums in only forty-five minutes, Friendly Fires showed off why they’re so popular in Europe and deserve the same attention in the US. “On Board” built to its breaking point as Ed entered the festival crowd, sending the camera crew on the stage into a frenzy to capture the magic happening off of the stage. “Kiss of Life” closed the performance with one of the most chest pounding outros, a drum jam picking up in tempo over time until nearly the entire band’s limbs were at breakneck speed on their instruments or dancing.


Dom is the asshole friend that you have to love. “This song is called Jesus, Hail Satan” began “Jesus.” “This one is called BRO-Chicha” began “Bochicha.” Seemingly unenthused as usual, fitting for the fuzzy indie rock he makes, Dom’s performance was exactly what you’d want. Grabbing from their EP ridden repertoire, the band brings a more garage-y than electronic performance live. Shreddy guitar solos adorned “Living In America” (Dom’s “Creep”, even more unenthused than the other tracks) and the band busted out a cover of The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” made the audience forget that Dom still haven’t put out a full length album, too distracted by this solid live act.

Death From Above 1979:

Death From Above 1979 by Matt Ellis

Sadly, I was only in middle school when the hardcore dance-punk outfit took the music world by storm. At least I read they took the music world by storm. Luckily, now they’re back and I was able to see why they were so relevant when I was only discovering that Radiohead existed. Jesse F. Keeler can make some great sounds with his bass, and he can write some awesome riffs. Seabastian Grainger has the energy to shout and snarl through short, punchy tracks while blast-beating away on a drumset. Perhaps this was the only moshpit I saw at Lollapalooza, and perhaps I would’ve preferred to see this band when they were playing dingy clubs. But, even on an enormous stage the band was loud and ballsy, making a lot of noise for just two people. In nearly the same timeslot I saw the Black Keys play the stage last year, it felt like I was seeing their evil twins. Their evil twins, it seemed, could probably beat them up.

Local Natives:

Local Natives by Dave Mead

Local Natives have it all going for them: stellar harmonies, a phenomenal first release, and an impressive live show. Nailing almost the entirety of Gorilla Manor, planning out the setlist to ebb and flow nicely, Local Natives stayed cool in front of their largest audience to date. The tense moments before the big-riff of “Sun Hands” had the audience waiting for the moment, “Warning Sign” was the closest anyone got to David Byrne all weekend, and “Airplanes” had the audience try to sing in harmony. The band mentioned they’d soon be returning to the studio to record a second album, and strangely I found myself wanting to hear a new song live. Sadly, we didn’t get a taste of what’s to come. Although, we did get another reminder that we should expect nothing less than greatness.

Cee Lo:

Cee Lo by Dave Mead

Cee Lo’s set was my high school prom. A cheesy mix of covers and medleys, and unflattering rearrangements of what the audience wanted to hear. Bookending the set with covers of Danzig’s “Mother” and “Don’t Stop Believing” might say enough of the set, but even songs such as “Crazy” and “Fuck You” seemed like karaoke. Constantly stopping songs to urge us to be louder, the female backing band that seems to have a new member with each appearance, and the god-awful Koopa outfit made Cee-Lo’s set campy beyond belief, a mixtape created by someone to serve up to the crowd at prom.

My Morning Jacket:

My Morning Jacket by Jack Edinger

If you aren’t an avid listener of My Morning Jacket, you were probably at the Eminem stage. If you’re a casual listener of My Morning Jacket, it might not have been the most fun set of the weekend, but it might’ve been the most impressive set before you left to see Eminem/Beirut/Pretty Lights. If you were a My Morning Jacket fan, you made up the most pleasantly uncrowded and enthralled crowd of the weekend. With a couple more inches between fans than the most crowded sets of the weekend, My Morning Jacket put on a show that dispelled any beliefs that they aren’t “Big enough” to headline the festival.

Having claimed that they were the best set of Bonnaroo for the past two months, I wondered if my newfound fandom for the group would be tarnished by them not being as great as I remembered. I was wrong. Going through every single song that absolutely needed to be played, and even combining songs to get through more material(Smokin’ From Shooting/Run Thru), the band put on the best performance of the weekend. Jim James shuffled around, thrashed, headbanged, and even powerslid across the stage while hitting every note, including the high pitched squeals at the end of “Wordless Chorus.”

The extended jams on songs reinforced by beliefs that MMJ is the jam band for those who hate jam bands: the extra eight minutes tacked onto “Dondante” had the audience raising open hands into the air to soak in the solos. Even a broken string on “One Big Holiday” didn’t stop the band from their thunderous outro. Then again, nothing can stop My Morning Jacket: they play for two or more hours in intense heat while wearing suits, sometimes in addition to capes and scarves. And you know what? Those capes and scarves are totally okay.

13 Aug

This year, Lollapalooza celebrated their 20th anniversary with SIX headliners: Coldplay and Muse (Friday), My Morning Jacket and Eminem (Saturday), Foo Fighters and Deadmau5 (Sunday). The three day sold out festival returned to Chicago for the seventh year and boasted over 270,000 tickets, eight stages and 130 bands.

For our coverage of this year’s Lollapalooza, we’ve decided to go with a review of each day’s performances instead of one super long post. The reviews are all written by our onsite correspondent Michael Zonenashvili and are accompanied by videos from various users on YouTube and photos are provided courtesy of the official Lollapalooza Flickr page. Watch some official videos from the festival at Lollapalooza’s YouTube page

Wye Oak:

Wye Oak by Matt Ellis

Oh, the first band of the weekend. Would the first act be enough to propel the audience member to think, “It’s worth standing up for three days to bear the heat and other potential disasters and mishaps.” Duo Wye Oak took the Sony Stage to try to set the tone, but unfortunately, Jenn Wasner’s gear started to act up. Even after switching amps, her guitar shorted out and she cut off midway through the second song to apologize. This all sounds pretty bad, but in fact Wye Oak did their job of setting the tone. After the support of the type of audience that gets there for the first band kicked in, the band powered through the rest of their set sans pedals and effects and was still riveting. Andy Stack’s ability to play drums and keys simultaneously while Jenn Wasner belts out the kind of vocals that Victoria LeGrand would if she was featured on a Titus Andronicus track. Penultimate song, “I Hope You Die” remains the song whose chorus grabs me every time I see it live to remind me that for just two people, Wye Oak can put out a lot in one song.

Young The Giant:

Young The Giant by Dave Mead

Young The Giant has mixed reviews all around, juxtaposing their success with the various pans of their album makes for an interesting experiment in seeing them live. They took the largest North stage to open with “I Got” and it clicked. This band is just good at doing what they do. Perhaps the album is not the crossover Indie-Rock album that everyone thinks that the band thinks they’re trying to be, but the songs have catchy hooks and choruses that translate well live. Perhaps the only thing lacking in their set was confidence. Even though vocalist Sameer Gadhia’s spastic and engaging stage presence had him bopping around the enormous stage, at certain points it seemed the entire band was a bit afraid. Nonetheless, the crowd ate up “Cough Syrup” and “My Body” while some songs got lost in the mix, lacking in depth or richness sound-wise, but the ones that hit hard worked.

The Naked And Famous:

The Naked and Famous by Matt Ellis

Only made it for half the set, had to spring from Young The Giant to catch this New Zealand band. Yet, after getting there, I realized it was a good thing I stayed for Young The Giant instead of catching the Naked and Famous’ entire set. Even the two songs that are wonderful on record, “Young Blood” and “Girls Like You” were lacking in a bottom layer, instead sounding like synth and drums with occasional guitar notes layered over, and vocals that drowned those out anyway. The slow building “Girls Like You” lacked the punch of the first chorus, and “Young Blood” lacked any punch at all, easily apparent with the audience quitting their singing along halfway through the song.

Foster The People:

Foster The People by Matt Ellis

Dear Foster The People, you are not allowed to cover Neil Young. That’s not to say no one is allowed to, but specifically you. Foster The People’s cover of “Heart of Gold” was not the only thing that didn’t sit right, though. It seemed the set was filled with obligatory Indie Rock tropes and identity crises that plagued the band with the ever growing opinion that they will have nothing beyond the great tracks released on their EP. The set opened with an inexplicable floor tom jam to “wow” the people who have never seen auxiliary percussion, followed by a stream of repetition. Every song opened with the same use of banging on a sampler to chop and screw vocal parts into some dance rhythm, which passed in a blur until “Houdini.” I have no problems with Houdini sounding like an MGMT song, the outro featuring falsetto repetition and being reminiscent of MGMT’s first record. Following that came another droning twenty minutes before a lackluster “Pumped Up Kicks” which kept the guys who took their girlfriends to the festival salivating and the rest of the crowd slowly making their way from the stage to go somewhere else. I wish I had followed suit.

Two Door Cinema Club:

Two Door Cinema Club by Matt Ellis

Two Door Cinema Club was a bigger dance party than anything at Perry’s. I have always been bemused by videos of European festivals where the most simple of songs can send a crowd into a perfectly synchronized jumping frenzy, thinking to myself, “Why can’t OUR festivals be like that?” Well, Two Door Cinema Club used their one hour to turn this dream of mine(and presumably the entire crowd’s) into a reality. Tackling nearly their entire album, extra cuts, and a formidable new tune, the band took their dance-ridden indie rock to a crowd of now converts to the festival jumping phenomenon. Two Door Cinema Club’s mastery of dance breakdowns, although formulaic in their mix of one high pitched guitar/one sonic undertone guitar/sampled synth, gave every song its own payoff. Tension built before each breakdown, allowing for the crowd to go ballistic for every crescendo. “Eat That Up It’s Good For You” and “Kids” were particularly notable in that aspect, and perhaps the highlights of the set that got an enormous crowd to dance at four in the afternoon. In fact, I’d be willing to say that Two Door Cinema Club was one of the bands most suited to a festival of the weekend. Their ability to put their repertoire in one hour without a lull in the set, their massive appeal, and I daresay nice outfits make them an excellent candidate for the list of bands that you’re satisfied with even without a headlining spot.


Skrillex by Will Rice

Perry’s tent, where lighting rigs work in the daytime shade, and the daytime shade doesn’t make the temperature any cooler. Pressed up against the most neon clad people I’d see all weekend, I had high hopes for this show, having completely lost interest in dubstep sans this former “From First To Last” prodigy. Sadly, the set was plagued with pauses that almost completely threw off the flow of the set. Perhaps a stray space-bar stroke led to these pauses, but the payoff of the beat-drops and transitions into subsequent songs lost their luster. I’m not the biggest electro-music head, but I’d imagine it’s safe to say pauses like these slow down an EDM set to the point of disinterest. After a certain point, the songs became almost too predictable and I found myself regretting not being at Bright Eyes.

Crystal Castles:

Crystal Castles by Matt Ellis

I’m sorry you had to play in the daytime, Alice Glass. I know you don’t like it, it’s almost like being punished by the festival patriarchs. I bet they told you not to go into the crowd either, but you didn’t listen. Good for you. I was with many a friend who hated Crystal Castles on record but were infatuated with the live show. The synths and beats are a little clearer live, while retaining the grittiness and heaviness of the record. With a real drummer, and the enthusiasm of Glass, Crystal Castles live show is still a hardcore dance party even in the daytime. Thankfully, even with hindered strobe-lights, Crystal Castles’ set was engaging and a good primer for the headliner to follow.


Muse by Jack Edinger

There’s a reason Muse was given the headlining slot on the southern stage of Lollapalooza. “I know you had…options.” Said Matt Bellamy, “You made the right choice.” And Muse’s set validated that choice. Having put Coldplay and Muse at the same time gave much of the audience (and myself) the feeling of “I wonder how the other band is doing right now” while watching our respective headliners. But, launching into “Uprising” with an impressive light show and equally impressive audience participation made Lollapalooza feel like another universe. There’s a reason Muse can headline massive festivals and play arenas, a combination of their immensely popular songs and even more immense precision on stage. Even times when the music felt improvised, there was a certain degree of calculation involved, solidifying that the trio might be too talented for their own good. Each member got their chance to show off, Matt during the Piano solo of “Butterflies and Hurricanes” while Chris Wolstenhome and Dominic Howard got a drum and bass jam to showcase Wolstenhome’s signature bass fuzz and to reinforce that left-handed drummers do indeed exist.

Perhaps the only complaint about the band’s tightness and precision is that it comes with a cost. Because of the synchronization of the production involved with the show, the setlist is the same thing that I saw over a year and a half ago. After promoting the resistance for nearly two years, I’d hoped the setlist wouldn’t be too heavy on it. While songs like “Uprising” and “United States of Eurasia” translated, “Guiding Light” and “Undisclosed Desires” had the audience disengaged and talking. Granted, the band has to be choosy with so many hits, and people were thankful for cuts such as “Citizen Erased.” However, it’s hard to complain with such a spectacle on stage, even when you could see the reflection of fireworks on a Chicago building coming from the Coldplay camp. “Knights of Cydonia” closed the show, with the most blinding light show and loudest crowd participation of the weekend, I made the right choice indeed.

11 Aug

Big Audio Dynamite at Lollapalooza


10 Aug

Fitz and the Tantrums played Lollapalooza.

Watch it belooooww

10 Aug

You should buy tickets to see the Black Lips on tour this summer/fall. If you want to get an idea of what to expect, watch their Lollapalooza set below:

10 Aug

Someone told me that people who read this site might like Death From Above 1979. Someone also told me that they’re dying to watch their Lollapalooza performance. I don’t like to disappoint people. Watch the set below:

10 Aug

It’s no secret that we’re big Cage The Elephant fans. We’ve seen them live several times and enjoy every opportunity to see them, even if it’s on our computer. Due to the rain and technical difficulties, however, we missed seeing a full set from the band at Lollapalooza. Here are the two videos below. The first one’s pretty good, the second is the one with all the problems. It cuts out at 30 second mark, returns at 5:27 and then cuts out at 9:18, then returns at 23:32. The second video pretty much has one full song and a few minutes of Matt Shultz crowdsurfing in the rain. Check out the videos for yourself.

10 Aug

Watch Local Natives at Lollapalooza:

09 Aug

Watch The Joy Formidable at Lollapalooza below: