Lollapalooza’s 3rd and final day started and ended with a bang worthy of this year’s festival. Though pretty much the entire south end was transformed into a ankle-breaking swamp, shows there carried on with no problem.
Bombay Bicycle Club (Red Bull Stage 12:45-1:30)
As many of you know, I’m a huge British music enthusiast. I’ve been a Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC) fan for quite a while, but I had never seen them live. Man, did they not disappoint. The Londoners possessed the kind of legitimate joy that really does make it fun to watch. Lead singer Jack Steadman seemed eased when playing his rhythm guitar, easily smiling and whipping his bangs back and forth to the music. Every once in a while, he’d look up and notice that the crowd was really digging his songs, and just glow with enthusiasm. The crowd fed of of this, giving him back as much energy as a pre-headliner set could do. He even busted out some drum skills for one song, both singing and pounding out the beat. It was a great way to start out a great day…and it hadn’t even gotten hot yet.
Trampled By Turtles (Red Bull Stage 2:15-3:00)
I’m not one for hating on bands…even if I don’t necessarily dig their sound. I really hadn’t ever head of Trampled By Turtles (TBT) before their afternoon set on the South side of Grant Park on Sunday, but I decided to go see them, like many people I talked to, because of their name. I was surprised when the Duluth-based bluegrass quintet entered the stage, all looking jolly and carrying some sort of stringed instrument (including an acoustic bass, which I didn’t even know existed). At first their set was great. There was no percussion, but instead a plethora of instruments, including bass, banjo, mandolin, violin, acoustic and electric guitar. Frontman Dave Simonett’s vocals were twangy and spot on. The violinist (Who looked strikingly like Zach Galifianakis) would tear into a solo which jump-started the crowd’s energy. Eventually, though, all of the songs started to sound the same. They seemed to all boil down to the members of TBT just strumming away as hard as they could at the end of the song, only to abruptly end it there. Don’t get me wrong, the initial sound was great, but the show as a whole lacked variety.
The Gaslight Anthem (Google Play Stage 4:45-5:30)
“American Slang” is one of my most favorite American rock songs in recent memory, so I decided to head on over to the Google Play stage. The Gaslight Anthem’s set, however, was neither here nor there. It didn’t really impress, but maybe that’s becuase I’m not really into their style that much.
Miike Snow (Sony Stage 7:15-8:15)
From the look of it, Miike Snow’s stage set up came straight out of a nightmare. Every member of the band dawned all black, which really must have been hot, considering that the sun was setting and shining directly on the west-facing stage. The Swedish band took a little while to get the crowd into it’s action, but after they played their dark hit “Sylvia”, the crowd was entirely on their side. What was interesting, however, was how much the band didn’t appear to be enjoying their set. They were playing to a packed house (trust me, it was jammed. I had to walk out of there!) of people who loved them, yet the lead singer seldom seemed to crack a smile. The songs were spot on. The instrumentals were great, it would just have been better to see some enthusiasm from the band.
Childish Gambino (Google Play Stage 8:45 – 9:45)
How many rappers do you know who wear shorts that are cut off above the knee? Surely you know the story of Childish Gambino, so I will spare you the details. I will say, however, that he put on an electrifying set on Sunday night. With Jack White and Justice going on at the same time, I figured that he would be playing to a diminished crowd, but that didn’t seem to get anyone down. It seemed to be a little mix of emotions for Gambino, who couldn’t believe he was playing at Lolla after playing 200 seat theatres last summer, yet at the same time rapped in an arrogant and confident manner. The entire stage bounced when the beat dropped from the very first song until the very last one. His tracks included a sampling from pretty much all of his projects including mixtapes EP, Royalty, and Culdesac, as well as some favorites like “Heartbeat” and “Bonfire” from his debut album Camp. Overall, it was definitely nice to get the energy of a rap show to close out the night. The crowd was ready to rock with Gambino, and he used this to it’s full potential.
Written by Boswell Hutson
White Rabbits [Bud Light Stage, 2:30-3:15PM]
The six-piece indie band from Brooklyn started off the final day of Lollapalooza for me. I didn’t know what to expect from White Rabbits but was pleasantly surprised. They played an energetic eleven song set, playing many songs off of their 2012 album, Milk Famous, but also reaching back to their 2007 debut album, Fort Nightly. Near the end of their set, lead singer Stephen Patterson out of nowhere exclaimed, “Michael Phelps!” into his microphone, rousing a decent amount of cheers and confused laughter from the audience. White Rabbits played a solid show, and I’m optimistic about their future growth in popularity.
Sigur Ros [Red Bull Soundstage, 4:00-5:00PM]
Sigur Ros is well known for their ethereal, trance-like sound. I’ve never seen so many people so enthralled by a musical act, but the Iceland band did just that. Jónsi Birgisson‘s use of a bowed guitar caused some quizzical comments from nearby audience members, who were quickly silenced by his prowess with the instrument. At one point during the show, Birgisson was slamming the bow against his guitar with a great deal of force, snapping it in half as the song was growing increasingly intense. Unphased, he continued playing without it. He tossed the broken bow into the audience nonchalantly and was handed a new one for the next song. The eleven-piece band’s sound was immense, but due to the nature of their musical style, bored many crowd members directly around me. Their leaving was a small annoyance, but who can get upset while listening to Sigur Ros?
At The Drive-In [Red Bull Soundstage, 6:00-7:15PM]
Remaining at the Red Bull Soundstage, I pushed my way forward for At The Drive-In. My main objective was to get as close to the front of the stage as possible before Jack White at 8:15, and I was severely punished for it. I was thrashed around all show long and was thankful that I suffered no apparent internal injuries by its end. Singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala was hilarious on stage, offering up jokes and witty conversation between songs and during minor tech issues. His afro and pink Sears Tower t-shirt were humorous, but the band’s performance was seriously kick-ass. I began the show with a neutral opinion of the band but became a fan by the end.
Jack White [Red Bull Soundstage, 8:15-10:00PM]
By the time Jack White took to the stage, I was no less than six rows away. The band came out rocking to Sixteen Saltines, the audience erupting as soon as Jack stepped out onto the stage. He started the show with his all male band, switching it up with his female band in what seemed like a blink of an eye after playing Love Interruption. White also played many songs by The White Stripes, including Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, The Hardest Button to Button, and, overwhelming crowd favorite, Seven Nation Army. Around 9:30, the band left the stage. People around me were confused, but I knew the show wasn’t over yet. After a few minutes passed, Jack and his band came back out on stage amid roaring cheers from the audience, and played The Raconteurs hit, Steady, As She Goes. The encore was four songs long, ending a few minutes shy of 10:00PM. Then began the task of exiting a field packed with sweaty festival goers…
Written by John Clishem