Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Lollapalooza Day 3

| August 8, 2011

Local natives Gold Motel get Day 3 moving at the north end of Grant Park. Their innocuous brand of pretty pop music is proof that Lolla 2.0 isn’t about being on the cutting edge. Greta Morgan’s vocals have always been the highlight of the bands that she’s fronted (The Hush Sound), but the songwriting and performance seem to be playing catch up.

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Formed in North Wales, The Joy Formidable seemed absolutely astounded by the fact they were playing a main stage. They responded by delivering with unhinged passion: convincingly creating a drone that could compete with My Bloody Valentine, but underneath the white noise lurked compositions with heavenly melodies.

Noah & The Whale gave off the vibe of very polite dinner guests. The music delivers much the same fare. Their performance was so straightforward that whenever guitarist Fred Abbott stepped forward for a solo, it was greeted with a Clapton-worthy reaction.

Back to the 80’s again. The Cars continue their reunion tour as one of the token veteran bands in this year’s lineup. The performance was robotic in nature, as if the band had been exhumed from the decompression chamber and transplanted into present day. It was the peak of professionalism. It was also incredibly frigid.

In contrast, Cage The Elephant was very much living in the moment. Lead singer Matthew Shultz pranced like a shelter dog that finally figured out a way to hit the streets. He also seems like an excellent heir apparent to the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, given his penchant for not being able to stay out of the crowd. “If I get knocked unconscious out there, promise me you’ll pass my body around for the rest of the day,” he barked. The audience and his bandmates never doubted that he wasn’t joking.

The debut album by Best Coast stirs up visions of sunny drives down the Pacific Coast Highway, top down with a Shirelles song blasting out of an AM radio. So when the skies opened up two songs into their late afternoon set, it was that idealistic dream gone awry. Considering that, at some point, you can’t get anymore wet, the stubborn remained, arms pointed upward while the water puddled around their feet.

It’s telling that fest closing headliner Deadmua5 was not compartmentalized to one of the side stages. With large, stadium-filling rock acts being harder to come by (Dave Ghrol’s Foo Fighters were simultaneously playing at the south end of Grant Park), festival organizers have begun to recognize that DJ culture is the new black. Good call, considering the man under the shiny, silver mouse headpiece brought with him a light show that rivaled the closing scene from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and a stage that looked like a busted up Rubik’s Cube (hi ’80s, again!). When the music started some 15 minutes sooner than scheduled (compliments of the second round of bone chilling rain), patrons in the park ran to, not from, the stage panicked that they might miss a mind-blowing, ecstasy-fueled, glowstick-streaking experience. It felt like Lollapalooza’s future had arrived. Just like 20 years earlier.

— Curt Baran

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Category: Featured, Live Reviews, Weekly

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