Monday, August 9, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 day three: X Japan, Frightened Rabbit, MGMT

As the final day of Lollapalooza 2010 was heading into its last hours, I was getting ready to see a few major acts one after the other, starting with electro-psych popsters MGMT, then moody indie rockers The National, and finally revered Canadian alt-rock act Arcade Fire. First, though, I caught parts of performances from X Japan and Frightened Rabbits.

It's safe to say there has never been another act quite like X Japan at Lollapalooza. The band is indeed Japanese and perform an over the top combination of power metal and progressive rock. They're known for donning wild, manga-inspired costumes during performances, though Sunday afternoon their visuals leaned toward heavy metal gothic, with black leather, skulls and crosses. Their soaring, epic heavy metal anthems aren't something I'd generally gravitate toward, but there was something endearing about the band and their outrageous show. Maybe it was the fact that, despite existing as a unit since the '80s, it was the first time performing in the States and it was cool to see them getting good energy from the crowd. Or maybe it was the fire blasts that popped up on stage near the end of the set. Who knows, but it was all kind of cool. For photos of the performance, check out Time Out Chicago's gallery and review here.

Next, I decided to catch a portion of Frightened Rabbit's set before staking out a place for MGMT at 6 p.m. Apparently many other Lolla-goers had the same idea, because by the time I arrived at the Sony bloggie stage it wasn't really possible to get anywhere close enough to see them. What I heard from the Scottish indie rockers sounded perfectly fine and I would have been happy to stay to hear more of it, but this was one of those times at Lolla when the atmosphere really inhibited my enjoyment of the music - I couldn't see anything, there was no place to move and the crowd back where I was talked loudly through everything I did hear. Because of this, I stayed for just a few songs and then left for the Budweiser stage to see MGMT.

When MGMT last played Lollapalooza in 2008, I caught some of their set from afar, but it didn't sound like anything too great and I admittedly didn't pay much attention as I was never very impressed with their debut album, Oracular Spectacular. Ever since they upped the ante on their second album, Congratulations, though, I've looked forward to seeing how they would come across live these days. While I had no problem with the band's Sunday evening performance in itself, this was another case where external factors made it suffer. Where I was standing the sound mix seemed way off (I could barely hear Andrew VanWyngarden's vocals) and the incessantly chatty and drunk crowd made it hard to properly take in the music. That said, they played all the songs the majority of the audience wanted to hear - including "Time to Pretend," "Electric Feel" and "Kids," which they've reportedly skipped at other recent appearances - and got people moving.

Check out MGMT's setlist after the jump.

MGMT setlist:
1. Pieces of What
2. Brian Eno
3. Electric Feel
4. Flash Delirium
5. Of Moons, Birds and Monsters
6. It's Working
7. The Youth
8. Song for Dan Treacy
9.  Weekend Wars
10. Time to Pretend
11. Destrokk
12. The Handshake
13. I Found a Whistle
14. Kids
15. Congratulations

1 comment:

    greetings from Argentina