Lollapalooza 2013 – Day 2
After a long day at the festival on Friday, we headed back to the room for a meatloaf supper and Wheel of Fortune reruns to rest up for another day-long affair. Saturday began for us at just before 1:00pm, kicking off with the southern duo Shovels & Rope. The band’s sweet, country sound was like having buttered corn on the cob to start to the day, and who wouldn’t be enticed with choruses like “come to Carolina and yer drinks are on me” (the band is from Charleston, SC). The set included instrument switches between the two, and vocalist Cary Ann Hearst maintained a smile the entire time. Aside from enjoying the music, all I could think was “tonight, whiskey will make an appearance” (hint: my prediction came true).
Photos by Rachel Rubenstein
It was just a short hop (all the way across the park) to the Petrillo Stage to see Reignwolf. Lead singer Jordan Cook took the stage alone at first, beginning the set with a triple-threat combination of guitar, vocals and drums in a bluesy song that included improvised mentions of Chicago and Lollapalooza. His raspy, inarticulate voice carries a tremendous amount of soul and is reminiscent of southern rock singer John Bell of Widespread Panic. The band delivers a no-nonsense style of rock & roll that would remind a virgin listener of a Jack White project, and Cook has the charisma required to elevate a band to the top.
During a transitional period at the press lounge, we found out that there were some changes to the schedule that affected the Grove Stage. The cancellations included Death Grips, who were making their second non-appearance in two days, as well as Azealia Banks.
Following a brief and exhilarating stop at the Soundwave tent where we participated in a photobooth, we headed back to the Grove Stage for St. Lucia–now in a new time slot because of the aforementioned lineup changes. I was not incredibly familiar with the band, but was immediately put into a better mood when they started playing. Although the start was somewhat awkward and a lot less than perfect (seemed like there may have been some sound issues) the band began a set that I could only describe as ‘summer music.’ It made me feel like sipping lemon spritzer and dancing around in pastel clothing with no shoes. Their sound could be paralleled to electro-pop bands such as MGMT, but again this is from the perspective of one who had not previously heard more than a taste. During the 3rd song, ‘Closer Than This’ lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler encouraged the crowd to ‘sing along if they knew the words’. Their music was a perfect accompaniment to the sunny Grove Stage lawn.
We engaged in obligatory hydration then headed back once again to the Grove Stage (yes, a pattern is developing) for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Upon arrival one could tell that this was going to be underappreciated, as the size of the crowd was clearly not up to par with the other shows we had seen up to that point. This may have been due to the fact that thousands were sprinting to Perry’s Stage to catch Baauer, but we nestled in to check out the garage rock trio. Their set was dominated by intense guitar solos and boundless energy, as well as an abundant sound for a three-piece band, an observation that was randomly echoed a few minutes later by a friend who I ran into.
Now approximately halfway through the weekend and with a string of bands yet to cover on our schedule, we opted for a getaway in the media tent to charge our phones and rest our bones. During this rest stop we listened to Eric Church, a pure country act who was performing on the Lake Shore Stage. Numerous people in the media area were preparing to cover the Kendrick Lamar show, and we were among that group. We made the journey along with other dedicated media folks across the park to the Bud Light Stage.
I went into this show with low expectations because frankly, most rap artists do not deliver well in the live setting. Kendrick’s set was highly anticipated, as his record was probably the rap album of the year in 2012, at least in the court of public opinion. The Compton native also has ties to Chicago, and the fans were rushing to catch his performance. His DJ, who also serves as his hype man came out first, prompting the crowd to do the usual pre-show routine at a hip hop show. Kendrick came out to the stage, backed by a drummer and guitarist in addition to the DJ, and instructed the crowd to put their hands in the air (yawn). It was interesting to see the change from Kendrick’s studio effort that features mellow and often times trippy vocals to the live setting where he followed suit of most other rappers , running back and forth yelling into the mic. Despite some annoying, long-overused hip hop stage tactics (if we’re feelin’ it, we’ll put our hands up), Kendrick navigated through an arrangement of his popular songs and the live band added a layer that could propel the talented lyricist to another level. The highlight for me had to be seeing young girls waving their arms around singing along to the warm lyrics “P_$$y and Patron Got Me Feelin’ Alright.”
Our next stop was, you guessed it, the Grove Stage for HAIM. The three-sister trio from LA was without a doubt the surprise performance (for me, at least) of the weekend. Simply put, these girls absolutely killed it. Their vocals have a folky, country influence but the music is most definitely not described as such. Upon taking the stage, the girls in the audience let out a scream that was similar to that of when Lana Del Rey took the same stage the night before. The band has an extreme affinity for what they do, and they are damn good at it. They showed their passion for the Lollapalooza experience when they asked “How they f__k are we feeling, Chicago?!” and then told a story about how they had dreamed of playing the festival since they first attended in 2008. Definitely check them out the next time you get the chance if you have not already, or even if you have.
Supreme Cuts was scheduled to play on the Petrillo Stage at 7:45pm, but after some obvious on-stage confusion, they announced that their computer wasn’t working and they might not be able to play (unfortunately, there was no Apple Store or Genius Bar onsite). They continued to fuss with their Mac to no avail, and finally regrettably announced that they could not perform, but that they were going to let Chicago R&B collective JODY do a set instead. This show was a disaster and I know the guys in Supreme Cuts felt terrible, so we won’t pour salt on their wound by describing it in any further detail. I know what it can be like to be on that side of things and I felt for them.
Finally, we headed back to the Grove Stage, our home away from home on Day 2. This time we were there to see the replacement act for Azealia Banks, the LA-based Bad Things, a band with a recognizable face on lead guitar: Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. The straightforward rock act took the stage with a spirited fervor, and fortunately gave no special attention to Shaun White. If you did not know he was in the band, you would never think twice about his role in it–he is simply another member of the band, and most would not recognize him without the familiar, signature long, red hair. High energy vocals from frontman David LeDuke led the way to a great set to a small but appreciative crowd to end our second day at Lollapalooza. We look forward to a third and final day tomorrow!
-Recap by Ryan Hickey