Features

Lollapalooza 2013: Saturday

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Lollapalooza is here, and the Heave staff couldn’t be more excited. Music editor Amy Dittmeier (AD) was joined by staff writers Marissa Morales (MM) and Jonathan Mondragon (JM) on the wild ride that is a three day festival in Chicago. (Note: Features editor Dominick Suzanne-Mayer (DM) contributed to Saturday’s coverage as well) Follow Amy and Marissa at @roboticdinos and @MsCatsby, respectfully, for live updates all weekend!

Burgeoning Guitar God in the Making: Reignwolf

Reignwolf, the brainchild of YouTube sensation Jordan Cook, put on a hell of a show on Saturday morning. Given that a vast majority of his crowd was camping for the upcoming Matt & Kim set at the Petrillo stage, he was still able to take over the crowd to such a point where by set’s end he got a sizable encore chant. His sludgy, garage rock-tinged blues aren’t exactly anything new, but the man can shred, and he has presence to spare. Looking like a haggard, over-traveled Russell Brand, he and his two-man band (on select songs; others were solo) ripped through 45 minutes of gnarled, feedback-heavy guitar jams. And in the most rock n’ roll move of all, he came out for that encore, and soloed on until the roadies cut his sound. DM

Best Party Set, Non-Perry’s Category: Matt & Kim

Photo by Matt Ellis

Photo by Matt Ellis

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino have been around for a while now, long enough that it’s amazing how many good albums they’ve been able to eke out of a fairly narrow sound. The secret to their longevity may well be their live show; I’ve seen it a few times now, and it’s never been anything less than a blast. Some write off their exuberant overenthusiasm as cloying or forced, but it’s clear that these are two people who couldn’t want to do anything more than play shows to packed crowds. And packed it was. Their Lolla crowd was massive, spilling out all over the north field of the festival. Matt & Kim always know how to play a crowd, and so the set spanned over their entire discography, going all the way back to first-album gems like “Yea Yeah” to get people bouncing. There was also a side of twerking, with the duo ending a number of their songs with Ace Hood’s “Bugatti” for the sake of dance breaks and Kim crawling out onto the audience to booty pop. The atmosphere turned into a wilder and wilder party as the set went on, Matt kicking off a “Let’s Get Weird!” chant to bring the crowd into a frenzy. The best summary of their wild, festival-ready set is summed up by their single “Now,” which just sees that word hollered over and over again over triumphant synths. Matt & Kim are the physical, aural embodiment of youthful energy, and all that exists is the now. DM

Best People Watching/Most Anticipated Beat Drop: Baauer

Who is Baauer you ask? Have you heard of “The Harlem Shake?” If you haven’t, I would seriously be worried. Everyone knows Baauer’s hit song, and all of those people crowded around Perry’s to get a listen. Sweaty teenagers writhed against each other and young, flower-crowned girls snapped pictures as Baauer played through his set, 90s style graphics and flames adorning the digital screens around him. He teased the song out throughout his set, dropping samples of “The Harlem Shake” intro here and there. Each one made the crowd more and more excited until, finally, the music cut out and the signature sound that could only be said Shake blasted throughout the field. Everyone went nuts. I’m sick and tired of the song and even I went nuts. Of course, as soon as it was over and he continued playing remixes of “B.o.B” and “Swing,” the majority of the crowd departed. “The Harlem Shake” was over, and we could shake no more. AD

Best Live Vocals/Best New Songs: The National

Sandwiched in between the lovely Eric Church and Mumford & Sons, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Ohio indie rock band The National played a set of a lot of new songs from recent album Trouble Will Find Me, with a new touring lineup featuring (synth, keys trumpet) multi-instrumentalist Thomas Bartlett of Doveman. New material included album opener “I Should Live In Salt,” singles “Don’t Swallow the Cap” and “Sea of Love,” as well as gloomy rocker “Graceless.” The setlist was a great mix of older material (“Abel,” “Mr. November”) and already-classic High Violet tracks (“Afraid of Everyone,” “Conversation 16,” “Terrible Love”) with Boxer staples thrown in for good measure (“Slow Show,” “Mistaken For Strangers,” “Fake Empire”). Singer Matt Berninger was energetic and charismatic as always, getting a mostly unfamiliar crowd very active during their set, and sounding absolutely massive and inspired. The weather was really nice, too! JM

Most Unexpected Crowd: Foals

Photo by Matt Ellis

Photo by Matt Ellis

No offense to Foals, but I went to their set expecting a smaller crowd than I saw. Their set cut into The National and I incorrectly assumed that I would be able to blaze towards the front and see these guys do what they do the best – shred, sing, and perform their asses off. Plus hearing some tracks of their newest album Holy Fire would be an added bonus. When I got to the Petrillo stage, I saw a sea of people. Foals really does bring a great show and I’m very happy to see so many people enjoying it. The crowd was eating up Yannis Philippakis’ stage antics, as he set his swagger meter to 11 and jumped up and down the stage. Seeing people lose their shit over songs like “Two Steps, Twice” is an amazing thing, and I for one am glad I was proven wrong. AD

Most Improved: Kendrick Lamar

I saw Kendrick at Pitchfork last year, before his debut album had dropped and to a much smaller audience. It was a less than stellar performance and one of my let downs of the weekend. This year, I can gladly say Lamar is making me eat my words. His performance was extremely strong and he played to the crowd with everything he had, even performing his verse on A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin Problems” twice. He pandered to crowd, frequently keeping the energy up by addressing the crowd. Calling Chicago his second home, you could tell he truly does love this city and wanted to give the crowd a great show. A highlight to the set was when a man in a wheelchair crowd surfed to the front and Lamar stopped singing to watch. He made sure security let the guy watch the rest of his set in the front. It was definitely fun, and I’m glad he proved me wrong. MM

Best Set to Score Coke At: Steve Angello

Let me start this off by saying I do not do coke. I do however, sometimes partake in something that is called a “marijuana cigarette.” Since I am a good American and do not sneak drugs into festivals, a friend and I went searching for said substance before going to see the Postal Service. Because Ben Gibbard’s sad electro jams need a joint to be properly appreciate/make me feel like I’m in college again. We wandered into Steve Angello’s set at Perry’s, his glitchy music permeating the darkness. Almost immediately, we encountered two people doing lines of cocaine while dancing around erratically. They seemed like good candidates for a joint (which they were), and they offered us a bump. We politely declined. Steve Angello and coke may go together, but The Postal Service and coke do not. AD

Best Reunion Show: The Postal Service

Postal Service has been important to me since, well 10 years ago. While this reunion tour is sort of a fluke, and we’ll never get that second album, let it be known: they put on a great show. I was extremely lucky to be very close to the front of the stage and was impressed by Ben Gibbard’s energy. Both he and Jenny Lewis were running around the stage playing various instruments and dancing. The performance was bittersweet knowing this was the one and only time we would get to see them perform, unless you were fortunate enough to get tickets to their after show. All in all, it was a fun, wonderful set and I’m grateful I was there to experience it. MM