The Cure’s Manic-Depressive Set – Lollapalooza Day 3 in Photos

DIIV Emerge as This Year’s Demigods

The Cure

It was happy. It was sad. Happy. Sad. Everyone thinks The Cure are exclusively depressing, but half their catalog is a bright and sappy swimming pool of sunshine.

Early in their set at Lollapalooza, Robert Smith and his band played “Pictures of You,” proceeding to play half of their 2-hour headlining set with songs oozing with joy. From “Friday I’m In Love” to “Just Like Heaven” it was one spine-tingling hit after the other.

Flip the coin and you’re down in the dumps with songs like “One Hundred Years” and “The Hungry Ghost.” That was the second half. Nonetheless satisfying if not bone-chilling. Robert Smith reminds you that if you’re feeling moody, you’ve come to the right place. Thrilling. 

Which brings us to: DIIV…

 

DIIV

Is this Kurt Cobain? No it’s Zachary Cole Smith – frontman of DIIV. And no big surprise, DIIV says they are heavily influenced by – but sound nothing like – Nirvana.

Wearing old lady clothes like a jean vest and a floral print skort, Smith was romping about the stage, hair-in-face – playing the band’s jaw-dropping mostly instrumental tunes. A young band with a brilliant future. The demigods of this year’s Lollapalooza. 

 

Tegan And Sara

Wild Nothing

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The Postal Service Reach Greater Heights, The National Stuns Crowd – Lolla Day 2 in Photos

 

The Postal Service

Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard’s electro side project earned the hearts of hipsters back in 2003. The debut album “Give Up” by The Postal Service became an instant classic that left fans begging for more.

During the band’s headlining set at Lolla Saturday night, fans reveled in the chance to see this band for the first time in a decade. They delivered… ahem… an incredible set.

 

 

The National

The National absolutely blew me away. I had written them off as a humdrum band but live they were anything but boring. It was a symphony of indie rock complete with a horn section in addition to the guitar-bass-drums. Astonishing. And eye-opening. I think you guys have a new fan.

 

Matt And Kim

Matt And Kim’s usual antics were on full display earlier that afternoon as the duo played covers of Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” as well as DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat” in addition to their own hits “Daylight” and “Lessons Learned.”

 

The Lumineers

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New Order Schools Nine Inch Nails – Lollapalooza Day 1 in Photos

 

New Order

Forget about Nine Inch Nails for a second. The true legends of Lollapalooza Day-One were New Order. With a veritable sonic boom of hits that lasted the entire set, the new-wave-electro band proved that an artist like Nine Inch Nails wouldn’t be who they are today without New Order.

Frontman Peter Hook sandblasted the crowd with hit after hit after hit. From “Blue Monday,” to “Bizarre Love Triangle.” “Temptation” to “Ceremony.” “Regret” to “True Faith.” Even a couple Joy Division songs – “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” I kept thinking, “This band’s gonna run out of hits.” But they didn’t. The set was jam-packed entirely with hits.

 

Nine Inch Nails

On to NIN. OK set. They played everything you’d think they would minus “Down In It” and “The Perfect Drug.” A spooky rendition of “Hurt” ended the set. Haunting indeed. 

 

Crystal Castles

IO Echo

Icona Pop

 

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Lollapalooza 2012

…And Justice For All

 

Justice Reigns Supreme Over a Sold-Out Lolla Crowd – The Wise Choice Over Jack White

The French really know how to make electronic music. Daft Punk. Air. M83. Les Rythmes Digitales. And then of course Justice – one of two headliners Sunday night at Lollapalooza in Chicago. 

The Paris-based duo brought their booming bass, fist-pumping beats and acidy keyboard sounds to an otherwise lackluster day at Lolla. It wasn’t rock, but it did indeed rock – a performance that was absolutely sick. It felt like a gigantic rave circa 1999.

Completely refreshing after a day saturated by rock ‘n’ roll, Justice knocked it out of Grant Park. I could’ve watched Jack White’s solo show – and if it were the White Stripes, I maybe would’ve considered it – but Justice was definitely the wise choice.

After I was blown away by Daft Punk in 2007, I opted for Justice, knowing that a huge electronic dance party was the better bet for a festival crowd. This wasn’t quite as good as Daft Punk’s set five years ago, but it was close.

The Walkmen

The Walkmen delivered a afternoon set of indie rock hits that rivaled any rock band of the whole weekend I’m guessing – I only went to Lolla on Sunday because I couldn’t get a 3-day pass and Friday and Saturday were sold out.

The Gaslight Anthem reminded me of my punk days in high school. Except this was a different kind of punk, which I will call punk-for-grownups. Huge singalongs.

But the best rock band of the day was At the Drive-In – a group that is the epitome of post-hardcore. The ground surrounding the Red Bull stage was caked in mud and I was praying that a moshpit wouldn’t break out. It did so I quickly moved out of the way but I still managed to get my feet all muddy since I was wearing sandals.

This was the first Chicago reunion show for the post-punk boys from El Paso, TX.  I saw them 12 years ago when I was in college. They opened for Fugazi at the Safari Club in Des Moines, Iowa. Now they’ve reached legendary status. And they’ve still got it. 

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