Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lollapalooza Recap | Our 17 Favorite Sets of the Weekend

Frightened Rabbit | All photos by Jason Gonulsen

Another Lollapalooza is now in the books, but we wanted to take one last look back on what we experienced, which we're happy to report was a weekend defined by freedom and expression. It didn't matter if you were shaking it at Perry's Stage, rocking to Queens of the Stone Age, or chanting and singing at Lana Del Rey: chances are, you had a blast.

In case you missed our earlier posts, we took some shots of what we saw:

Day One photos.

Day Two photos.

Day Three photos.

And in no order, here were our favorite sets of the weekend. Until next year, Lollapalooza!

Local Natives
Their latest album, Hummingbird, is more low-key, but their Lollapalooza set was mostly upbeat. And, it was well attended with enthusiasm: thousands sang along to "Airplanes" under the sun. Impressive set.

Lana Del Rey
Someone please give this woman a break. Because, clearly, there are thousands who adore her: I witnessed many people crying at the sight of her face, singing along to her every word, cherishing her every move at the Grove stage (they chanted "Lana! Lana! Lana" fifteen minutes before she took the stage). Her voice was strong and her movements were those of a woman in charge. And at the end of her closing song, "National Anthem," she went into the crowd for hugs and autographs. Amazing performance.

Lana Del Rey

They really hit their stride during their current single, "Waves," and the crowd reacted with a surge of energy. Erica Driscoll has everything you would want in a lead singer, and she's really able to connect with her audience. Look for their full-length album soon; for now, here's their wonderful EP, Where The Kids Are.

Bear Mountain
The quartet from Vancouver was a hit with the BMI crowd, especially during "Two Step." Frontman Ian Bevis is a huge talent, and it would not surprise me to find them playing bigger stages in the near future. Listen to their debut album, XO, here.

The Haim sisters -- Danielle, Alana, and Este -- have pretty much everything: catchy melodies, stage presence, confidence. They displayed it all at the Grove Stage, where they took control during "Falling" and "Forever." Look for them to continue their upward rise after the release of their debut full-length, Days Are Gone, on September 30th via Columbia Records.

Este Haim

Frightened Rabbit
"You just have to do your best," Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison told the crowd, trying to get them to sing. "Because in the end, that always has to be good enough." Frightened Rabbit was more than good enough, as they opened with "Living in Colour." But it was "The Woodpile" and "Backwards Walk" that sealed the deal for the Scots, making this one of the best Lollapalooza sets I've witnessed.

Queens of the Stone Age
They opened with "You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire," and the crowd exploded like a first-day festival crowd should, which is to say: an electric atmosphere at the Bud Light stage. Josh Homme is clearly one of the greats.

Family of the Year
Such fun music, and the members of Family of the Year clearly have a blast performing it. "You're making our year," said Christina Schroeter, who was sporting bright yellow hair. They certainly made everyone's afternoon with tight versions of "Hero" and "Buried." I highly recommend their 2012 release, Loma Vista.

The National
Matt Berninger still walks around the stage like a furious caged animal. And he still howls during "Squalor Victoria." This band is now firing on all cylinders. Highlights were "I Should Live In Salt" and "Fake Empire."

Matt Berninger of The National

Lianne La Havas
A glorious set in the afternoon sun. Lianne La Havas can sing a little, and now I understand why Stevie Wonder and Prince are fans. My favorite moment was her voice during "Lost & Found." Just effortless; La Havas is a huge star in the waiting.

Their opening of "Entertainment," "Lasso," and "Lisztomania" was huge, and it erased any doubt as to whether or not Thomas Mars was still a star. He is, and Phoenix is an absolute must-see band at any festival. They know how to keep a crowd from being restless.

Charles Bradley
Good God can this man put on a show. His set featured a wardrobe change, but I don't think it had anything to do with fashion: Charles Bradley doesn't stop moving, and his purple suit was probably soaked. A 100% real musician, no BS -- that's what you get with Bradley.

Still very young and raw, yet they already know how to deliver with songs like "On the Road" and "Penitentiary." Pretty good turnout for an afternoon set, too. Have a listen to their debut album, From the Hills Below the City here.

Tegan and Sara
Sounded much tighter than their show at The Pageant earlier this year, but that is to be expected. They opened with "Drove Me Wild" and closed with "Closer," and, really, they never let up until their final note. Well done.

Tegan and Sara

Vampire Weekend
They attract a party crowd, so, yes, there was dancing. Everywhere. Especially during "Horchata," "Everlasting Arms," and "A-Punk." I still think "Step" is their best song.

Jessie Ware
She was born to work a stage, constantly moving around like a boxer before a fight. There's a lot to like here, and her Lollapalooza performance shined during the opening "Devotion" and "Still Love Me." Listen to Devotion here.

Theophilus London
What charisma. He basically does whatever he wants, including stopping songs mid-breath, proclaiming, "Naw, it's too early in the day for this." And the crowd just goes with him. Never an awkward moment with Theophilus, just stone-cold swagger.