Going to music festivals is tough for anyone, but when my 59 year-old father told me he wanted to go to Sunday at Lolla this year (mostly to see Grizzly Bear, but also for The Cure), I was a little afraid. What if he passed out? What if it was ungodly amounts of hot like it has been in the past? Luckily, the weather was the most pristine and hospitable I have ever seen it be in early August in Chicago, and the day went off with out a hitch. Check out what I (and my dad) saw and heard on Sunday!
Wild Belle – 1:30-2:15
After putting down some lunch, we decided to make our way over to the Lake Shore stage to see Wild Belle, a female-led hometown band (Chicago) who donned all-white suits. Lead singer Natalie Bergman seemed to have a soulful aura around her, despite her band’s dreamy music, and with those two things coupled together, the set was varied and extremely entertaining
Wild Nothing – 2:15-3:00
If my pictures and popular stereotypes aren’t enough to let you know, I will explicitly tell you right now: musicians dress very oddly. By the time Sunday had rolled around, I had seen front men/women in black hoodies (in the summer), white suits, sequin-laced shirts and no shirts at all. So when Wild Nothing came out dressed in extremely normal clothing (t-shirts and jeans), I found myself oddly impressed with the band from Virginia. Their set wasn’t really memorable in any other facet than the way they looked, which I found to be a little weird, but their tunes were extremely un-abrasive and made getting through the early-afternoon Lolla set extremely easy.
The Mowgli’s – 3:20-4:00
The Mowgli’s win the award for the most crowded stage at Lollapalooza. The California jam band was on the smallest stage of the entire festival (BMI Stage), but packed it out with what I would estimate as being 10 musicians on the stage at once. Much like the band being too big for the stage, the crowd was also too massive for the stage, which forced it to be pushed out in all directions possible. My dad and I were unfortunately squeezed out to the far left of the stage, which negatively impacted our viewing of the show. That didn’t really matter that much, however, because the entire show was based more around dancing and having a good time than watching the band themselves. This was definitely one of the most fun shows of Lollapalooza 2013 as a whole.
Alt-J (∆) – 5:00-6:00
Alt-J easily had one of my favorite albums of 2012, and to see how that would translate over to a live set was very interesting to me. I heard they had a great set at Bonnaroo from a couple of friends who made the trek down to Tennessee, and so I was very anxious to see them Sunday afternoon at Lollapalooza. I must say, my friends built it up so much I was actually slightly disappointed. The show was good, exceptionally entertaining (featuring a cover of “A Real Hero” by College), and bumped almost as much as a hip-hop show, which was extremely fun. With that being said, it didn’t quite live up to the (probably unrealistic) expectations I had built up for the set itself.
Grizzly Bear – 6:00-7:00
Grizzly Bear probably put on one of the biggest surprises of the weekend. For being sandwiched in-between Alt-J, Beach House, Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines, and Diiv, the crowd was slightly diminished, which was good news because it meant my dad and I could get even closer to Grizzly Bear. They played a Shields-heavy setlist with some samplings from earlier albums sprinkled in here and there. I will forever regret missing these guys’ Pygmalion set last year, but this set made up for it as much as it possibly could.
Vampire Weekend – 6:30-7:45
Deciding to stay for the entirety of Grizzly Bear’s set was a really hard decision for me. It meant not being able to get a good spot for Vampire Weekend and it also meant missing out on all but 4 of their songs. For a band whose album is my absolute favorite of the year so far, this was pretty tough. I did get to catch the last 4 songs, though, so I can’t really complain that much. From what I could tell, Vampire Weekend are one of the most charismatic and tight-sounding live bands in the country. It’s a shame that both you and I will probably never be able to catch them in a small venue, where they shine, again.
The Cure – 8:00-10:00
There’s not really that much I can say about The Cure’s set to do it justice. Robert Smith in the flesh (though he looked a little larger and older than he does in various music videos) was an absolutely awe-inspiring. Time hasn’t changed his voice at all. Seeing old bands that retain all of their talent is always inspiring, and The Cure’s Lollapalooza set was no exception. They flew through their hits, playing “Lovesong”, “Pictures Of You”, “Just Like Heaven” and “Friday I’m In Love” all in quick succession, leaving the crowd of largely younger people to wonder if they had any more hits to play. Right when everyone thought they were out of hits, however, the boys from Crowley pulled out a fantastic encore which was capped by crowd-favorite track “Boys Don’t Cry”. Seeing Mr. Smith and The Cure was definitely a life-changing experience, and I’m proud to say I was there.