Features

Lollapalooza 2013: Sunday

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Well guys, Lollapalooza is over. Time to go back to the real world. But before you go, music editor Amy Dittmeier (AD) and staff writers Marissa Morales (MM) and Jonathan Mondragon (JM) have their last thoughts about Sunday’s line-up.

Best New Find: Alex Clare

Truthfully I only have heard a handful of his songs, but I was interested in seeing him live. First off, his voice is beautiful, and secondly, he may be the cutest human being currently in existence. His excitement to be playing to such a large audience was apparent and he gave it his all. Clare’s voice is powerful and he sang from his heart. His band also deserves a shout out for being fun, and bonus points for bringing out a keytar. This set was a great way to start my day. MM

Best Reignited Live Band – Baroness

Usually a near-fatal bus crash, multiple broken limbs, doctors assuring you that your career in music is over, two founding members leaving, and extensive physical rehabilitation will kill a band dead, leaving fans weeping. Savannah, GA used-to-be-metal-but-now-aren’t-really band Baroness is thankfully exempt from these usual rules. Playing an early afternoon set to a comparatively small crowd, the band ripped through newer material from excellent 2012 double album Yellow & Green such as singles “Take My Bones Away,” “March to the Sea,” along with others such as “Little Things,” “The Line Between,” and even victorious instrumental “Green Theme.” Fan favorites from the critically acclaimed Blue Record such as “A Horse Called Golgotha” and “Swollen & Halo” were also played, the latter demonstrating a particularly noteworthy display of the band’s melodic ear and badass guitar heroics. New live members Nick Jost (bass) and Sebastian Thomson (drums) debuted and had big shoes to fill, though with their addition, the band sounded tight as ever. An extremely stoked crowd watched as guitarists/singers John Baizley and Pete Adams expressed their sincere thanks and excitement to be playing a festival they both attended in the 90s as kids, in particular mentioning The Jesus Lizard and Sonic Youth’s Lolla sets as inspiration. Enthusiasm, plenty of impressive guitar playing, massive choruses, and a great setlist made this a highlight for any Lolla-goer wondering what all the fuss with Baroness was about. JM

Worst Crowd/Most Dapper Frontman: Two Door Cinema Club

Photo by Dave Mead

Photo by Dave Mead

I was looking forward to seeing these guys, and while this was hands down the worst crowd I experienced all weekend, I still enjoyed their performance. Their lead singer was drinking from a wine glass, and looked dapper as can be in his get up, earning themselves the title of being the classiest act I saw all weekend. They kept the energy up and had the crowd dancing, resulting in the second wheelchair crowd surfing I witnessed this weekend. They were fun…if only I could say the same for their crowd. MM

Best Harmonies/Best Performance By A Chicagoan – Grizzly Bear

Photo by Matt Ellis

Photo by Matt Ellis

Lush psychedelic indie geniuses Grizzly Bear’s set at the Red Bull Sound Select stage was not only exceptional, but according to singer Ed Droste, it was also the 101st set the band had played in support of their 2012 album Shields. Maybe because of this, the majority of the songs played were from Shields such as set opener “Speak in Rounds” and singles “Sleeping Ute,” “Yet Again,” and “Gun-Shy.” Also included were Veckatimest singles “Ready, Able,” “While You Wait For the Others,” and of course, “Two Weeks,” with Yellow House staples “Knife” and “On A Neck, On A Spit” thrown in for good measure. The band’s renowned textured live sound was in full form, with bassist Chris Taylor playing bass and various horns, creating fitting soundscapes to accompany the music. New keyboardist Aaron Amtz was also playing various synths, organs, pianos, and electronics, and guitarist Daniel Rossen showcased his signature blend of atmospheric effects and jazzy playing. The band’s vocal harmonies were flawless as well, with every member contributing and, thanks to great sound, being equally heard. Of particular acclaim was drummer Christopher Bear, apparently a Chicago native originally, whose nuanced and enrapturing drum style left the crowd raving during crescendos such as the chorus of set closer “Sun In Your Eyes.” Fantastic as always, Grizzly Bear may have topped their performance at Lollapalooza in 2010, and props to them for that! JM

Ballsiest Stage Bandit During a Set: Vampire Weekend

I looked forward to this performance all day, partly because I have heard mixed things of them live. I can’t vouch for all of their performances but Sunday’s was phenomenal. They all had so much energy and bassist Chris Baio has some of the greatest dance moves I’ve ever seen. The high energy set resulted in someone jumping on stage, alarming both Baio and lead vocalist/guitarist/Twitter genius Ezra Koenig, but they played on as security chased the guy down. The set was like a dance party and a truly great time, I highly recommend seeing them. MM

Best Stage Dive: Phoenix

Photo by Cambria Harkey

Photo by Cambria Harkey

Hands down, the craziest set I was a part of. They sound amazing live, and I never realized what a large band they were. Vocalist Thomas Mars sang in the crowd and ended the set by crowd surfing, causing momentary chaos and the lovely couple I stood with lost a phone to the mess. (Hopefully it was recovered). Phoenix’s lightshow alone would have been worth a ticket, though it was slightly problematic for taking photos. Some of the crowd was concerned that they would only play music from their latest album, Bankrupt!, but they played a variety of tracks from all of their studio work. A solid way to end a three-day party. MM

Best Sound/Best Crowd – Phoenix

Returning after a 2010 headlining stint, Parisian indie rock giants Phoenix played supporting their 2013 release, the solid Bankrupt!. Despite playing against The Cure, Phoenix managed to draw quite the crowd. At one point it became impossible to move shoulders because of how evenly packed the field was. The band ripped through a perfectly paced setlist consisting of (once more) nearly all of their 2009 masterpiece Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Bankrupt! songs “Entertainment,” “SOS in Bel Air,” and “The Real Thing,” ASTOUNDING mash-ups of “Trying To Be Cool / Drakkar Noir / Chloroform” and “Love Like A Sunset / Bankrupt!,” sole Alphabetical pick “Run Run Run,” United tracks “Too Young,” “Funky Squaredance,” and “If I Ever Feel Better,” and It’s Never Been Like That hits “Long Distance Call,” “Rally,” and “Consolation Prizes.” Thomas Mars’ vocals were infectious and charming, brothers Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai’s guitars rocked extremely hard, and whether bassist Deck D’Arcy was playing thudding synth bass or groovy, melodic electric bass, the band’s live sound was just as huge as ever. Touring members Robin Coudert (synth, percussion) and Thomas Hedlund (drums, also of Swedish post-metal collective Cult of Luna) rounded out the lineup, and Hedlund’s incredible pounding, ferocious drum style gave Phoenix live a sense of immediacy and energy not usually found on their recordings. The crowd sang along devotedly to most of the set, and at any given moment you could look around and find thousands of hands in the air. Flawless sound made for an exquisite, fun, and (second only to NIN) visually stunning headlining set, with synchronized multicolored lights and projections contributing much to the show. The Cure might have been an event like no other, but if you were looking for an alternative, Phoenix was a choice you couldn’t have regretted making. JM