Music

Review: Day 1 and 2 at Lollapalooza Bring Heavy Rain and Big Names

Anna Sroka | The PHOENIXThe xx takes the stage at the 22nd Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park.

Thursday

This year’s Lollapalooza kicked off Aug. 3, but was cut short due to an evacuation amidst pouring rain, thunder and lightning and the threat of hail. Needless to say, the crowds weren’t happy. Nonetheless, the four-day festival started strong, with memorable performances by Capital Cities, George Ezra, Cage the Elephant and (some of) Lorde and Muse making up for the weather.

At Tito’s stage, a large crowd gathered to see Capital Cities. The band opened with the song “Breathe,” which is a cover of Pink Floyd’s song of the same name. As expected, Capital Cities brought its own flair on this classic song, warming up the audience with its well-known synth-pop style. Soon, the band started playing its own music, including the groovy “Kangaroo Court,” “Vowels” and even a song off the group’s new EP.

The band engaged the audience with what they called the “Capital Cities Shuffle.” The musicians taught the crowd to shuffle to the right and left, to the beat of their song “Center Stage.” They even added a few hand claps and spins. However, Capital Cities’ most notable moment came when the band performed its most popular song, “Safe and Sound,” which most of the audience knew and sang along to.

George Ezra’s peaceful music was a wonderful transition away from the more upbeat performances. His name was displayed in white across a background of lime green palm tree leaves. George Ezra played his more prominent songs “Leaving It Up To You” and “Don’t Matter Now,” as well as a few new songs called “Pretty Shiny People” and “Hold My Girl.” As a whole, his performance was engaging, and he kept the audience entertained with his witty character emphasized by his English accent.

The suspense waiting for Cage the Elephant to take the stage was the most intense of the evening. The big screen creatively displayed the whole show in black and white and lead singer Matt Shultz stepped out from behind it in a glamorous pink, sparkly dress. After playing the first song “Cry Baby,” Shultz asked the crowd if they liked his dress and said he had worn it because he wanted to look pretty for them. His legs were covered in fishnet stockings and his ankles were dressed in frilly socks.

The band continued to perform energetically with other well-known songs, such as “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Mess Around” and “Telescope” — by the end of which Shultz stripped down from his dress and danced around solely in his briefs for the majority of the concert. With its sense of freedom and recklessness, Cage the Elephant was easily the best performance of the day.

If you were struggling in deciding whether to see Lorde or Muse, there was no need to stress because neither artists played a full set due to the early evacuation of Grant Park. From what was seen of Lorde and heard about Muse, however, it seemed that both performances would’ve ended remarkably.

Friday

The second day of Lollapalooza offered more promise than the opener. Although there were some rain drizzles throughout the afternoon, there was no evacuation and the sky was clear by evening. Notable artists included Foster the People, The Killers and Blink-182.

Kaleo, a rock band from Iceland most known for its song “Way Down We Go,” has grown considerably more popular, with crowds overflowing near Tito’s stage. The band offered a stunning performance, playing hit songs like “All The Pretty Girls” and “No Good.” The group’s blues-inspired rock riled up the audience, emphasized by the lead singer’s powerful and raw voice.

At the Grant Park stage, Phantogram integrated remarkable black and white visuals on the big screen that truly represented their artistry. Their electronica and dream-pop style was backed by trippy graphics — for example, a hundred hands folding into and out of each other to the beat of a song — while the side screens displayed the performers as if they were inkblots.

Phantogram’s music is best heard in person: its electronic sound becomes limitless and reaches beyond the audience. Lead singer Sarah Barthel’s voice is unreal, reaching higher pitches than even imaginable. Phantogram truly offered a better performance than expected. At the end of the show, Barthel brought out her Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Leroy, and held him up for all to see on the big screen.

Foster the People opened up at the Bud Light stage with a song off its new album called “Pay the Man.” Knowing exactly what their audience wanted, the musicians didn’t wait around and led straight into a classic song, “Helena Beat,” which made the crowd ecstatic.

The most difficult decision of the day for many proved to be the choice between The Killers and Blink-182. At the Grant Park stage, the Killers opened with their new song “The Man” and then, like Foster the People, led straight into a classic, “Somebody Told Me.” The park was overflowing with fans, from the main stage, across the side hills and all the way past the Lake Shore stage. The Killers were a seriously fun band to watch. The band also tried to make up for Thursday’s evacuation by singing “Starlight” by Muse, who was supposed to perform at the same stage the night before. Throughout the set, The Killers impressed the crowds and performed the well-known songs “When You Were Young” and “All These Things That I’ve Done,” ending the show with “Mr. Brightside.” At that point, the entire audience was on their feet, singing and dancing around.