Let me count the ways I love Lollapalooza. This was Lost in Reviews’ first time experiencing the full-blown festival in all it’s glory and although it was a hot, sticky mess all day (or was that just me) the day went off without a hitch. We were able to take in many sets through out the full day such as the 8-bit band from New York, Anamanaguchi, which set the mood for the upbeat atmosphere all day to Tame Impala which was a welcome set to chill out to in the blistering heat. Here’s who we saw on day one:
Kevin Devine and the God Damn Band
The Black Angels
The Head and the Heart
The Black Keys
After the whole day was said and done, the most impressive show of the night was by far Bassnectar. Lorin has outdone himself again. Although he didn’t have the largest field to play in as Black Sabbath or The Black Keys, he was most definitely the loudest. His beats could easily be heard across the park during Black Sabbath’s set and the lights attached to the show were so bright and amazing that spectators of The Black Keys couldn’t help but look over the trees at the laser show being projected on the buildings around the town. I was one of those people. Being a huge fan of The Black Keys, I was set up to spend my evening with them, however, I had to pull myself away from Dan and Patrick the last forty minutes or so just to take in what Bassnectar was all about.
The set was huge! The stage seemed to have grown since last seeing him and Lorin looked even more insignificant up on that huge stage. That wasn’t all though, out in the crowd, about half way back, two more giant screens wrapped around poles and projected the images from the stage out further. Honestly the best place to watch the show was way back from the stage so all the lights and screens could just devour your eyes. He played new songs as well as old favorites. But he couldn’t just play those like normal, he had to remix his own remixes just to keep you on your toes. Everyone seemed to be having a great time at the show. I even saw a woman dancing around topless. It was hot enough outside to justify this action. Then when the other two headliners played out their final songs between 9:40 and 9:50 pm, Bassnectar used every minute up to the 10 o’clock deadline to perform his songs.
Other notable shows through out the day were Anamanaguchi and The Black Angels. Completely different bands, but both definitely worth the watch. While The Black Angels had the crowd in full sun at the time, it didn’t deter the crowd from standing and swaying back and forth for the songs. Notable performances were “Black Grease” and “Entrance Song” but the finale did not disappoint either. “Deer-ree-shee” closed out the set with a fantastic live performance on sitar by Rishi Dhir.
Anamanaguchi certainly surprised me with their set. The shady crowd really got into the 8-bit vibes being projected on stage. Although there is no singer fronting the band, it was still easy to get into the songs. The guitars are plugged into old Sega Genesis machines and Nintendos and projected out on speakers sounding like a home made Mario game. Even though there was no singer, the man fronting the band had a pretty good sense of humor and kept the crowd laughing and cheering.
Passion Pit was another band that I’ve looked forward to seeing for awhile. I was obviously not the only one excited to see them. The stage’s field was filled from front to back and spilling into the Playstation stage behind it. The band played many songs from their new album, Gossamer but it was their hit single “Sleepyhead” that everyone was waiting for. Although there were still many in the crowd that jumped and danced in place to most of the songs played from Manners, the whole crowd went bananas when “Sleepyhead” started.
M83‘s set seemed to have some sound issues. At least from stage right the crowd was hearing the songs come in and out of the speakers, as if the speakers were oscillating. As we moved to the other side of the stage the sound was more direct and much louder. The lights that accompanied their set were amazing, even though they played as the sun set. The crowd seemed nonchalant about the performances on stage at times, which angered me a bit. Having seen them in a small venue, I know the sheer force that their show can have on the viewers. Fortunately, after their hit song, “Midnight City” played, a lot of the crowd started heading over for The Black Keys which just made more room for the real fans to move up. That is when the show became amazing. Being up close and surrounded by hundreds of fans chanting all the words to the last two songs sent chills down my spine. They closed out the set with the amazing song “Couleurs” and had everyone on stage and in the crowd dancing like it was the end of the world. I was a sweaty mess again, but didn’t care.
After their set, all I had to do was turn around and move up for The Black Keys. I decided because I had seen them twice already that I would hang back for better sound and just watch the monitors, since my eyes are so bad I would need to be ten feet from the stage to watch that. It was nice because most people crowded up in front of me and began to push a bit and I found a nice patch of land behind that where I could freely dance and swing my arms around. Unfortunately, their set was the same set I saw in St. Louis so it was nothing spectacular to me, although I did love hearing “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Little Black Submarine” again. The crowd loved the set and rightly so, they are amazing live. It’s strange, because normally I don’t like this particular style of music but they seem to have the magic touch because I will literally see them live any time they are near me.
Like I said earlier, the set of lights coming from Bassnectar was too enticing to not check out. It was an amazing first day to Lollapalooza and even though my feet were killing me, I wouldn’t have changed anything.
by Angela Davis
The Black Keys photo by: Jason Shaltz
M83 photo by: Will
Bassnectar crowd photo provided by Bassnectar site.