Monday, August 8, 2011

Lollapalooza 2011 day three: Titus Andronicus, The Cars, Lissie & more

By Frank Krolicki

Titus Andronicus (photo: Frank Krolicki)
It's hard to believe Lollapalooza 2011 is already over. My overworked feet and sunburned neck couldn't be happier, but overall I'm kind of bummed that the madness won't be back again for an entire year--I could get used to seeing bands all day in the sunshine. Yesterday I wrote about how I was a bit underwhelmed with many of this year's performances up until that point, but thankfully Sunday came through with some big winners that helped make up for it. It was definitely my favorite of the three days.

Gold Motel (photo: Frank Krolicki)
I started off the day with a bit of Gold Motel, one of my Chicago-based favorites. I'd already seen them a handful of times before so I considered skipping their set since I wanted to see Titus Andronicus, who were starting a half hour later all the way at the other end of the park. That long walk can be brutal, especially in this weekend's extreme heat, but I couldn't bring myself to miss Gold Motel's Lolla debut completely. They're just too much fun. So I decided to suck it up and head over to catch their first few songs before I left for Titus. I saw them play their new single, "Leave You in Love," as well as a couple tracks from their debut album Summer House, and while none of it was new to me it was a good time as always. Frontwoman Greta Morgan tweeted that it was the most fun show they had ever played, so hopefully they picked up plenty of new fans.

Titus Andronicus (photo: Frank Krolicki)
I love when bands that I never cared too much about win me over at Lolla. This year that was Titus Andronicus. I had previously only listened to their debut album The Airing of Grievances and couldn't really get into it, but based on their Sunday afternoon performance I should probably give their stuff another listen. It might have helped that they only played material off of their sophomore record The Monitor, opening with "A More Perfect Union" and energetically blasting through 45 minutes of their anthemic punk. Frontman Patrick Stickles's bratty snarl contradicted his seemingly humble and uber-appreciative attitude--something that made me like the performance even more.

After Titus I headed all the way back to the other side of the fest to take in some of Rival Schools. What I heard provided some good, meaty guitar--something I couldn't find much of on Saturday--but their serious, grungey alt-rock made me feel like it was 1992. The band sounded tight enough, but I kept finding my mind wandering.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (photo: Frank Krolicki)
As the day's heat got more and more intense, I made my way to the Sony stage to sweat while watching NYC's The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This set was hands-down one of the highlights of the fest. Focusing on their latest album Belong, the band created just under an hour's worth of dreamy noise that managed to sound hard-hitting and beautiful at the same time. They were unassuming and actually seemed a bit floored that the crowd was so into it. Many voiced their enthusiasm between songs, drawing big smiles from frontman Kip Berman and keyboardist Peggy Wang. I was a fan before and I'm an even bigger fan now.

Next up was the Cars. As I noted in one of my day two recaps, I tend to make it a point to see Lolla's "veteran" acts, and who knows if I would have another chance to see these guys with Ric Ocasek on board again? Although opening with "Good Times Roll" generated some immediate excitement, the band's stoic stage presence, combined with with the fact that the first part of their set contained a large amount of new material unfamiliar to most people, made it tough to sustain the buzz. Everything sounded great, but the experience wasn't much different from listening to the band's records at home.

Lissie (photo: Frank Krolicki)
I wish I could have seen all of the Cars, but I also really wanted to catch Lissie, who started a half hour into their set at the Google+ stage. I'm glad I made the tough call to leave. The Rock Island, IL-born singer-songwriter was on fire and gave another of my favorite performances of this year's fest. It's actually not fair to call her a singer-songwriter because that might make her sound more folky than she actually is; she came off as more of a rock and roller than anything else, armed with a powerhouse voice, feisty tunes, humble, blue-collar charm and Eric Sullivan, an amazing guitar player who contributed some blistering guitar solos. Lissie and the band played around 8 tracks from her debut album Catching A Tiger and closed with a rousing rock cover of Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness." Over the coarse of the weekend I found myself wishing some performances would end, but I could have watched a whole additional set from Lissie.

And then the rain came. The combination of the sudden storm plus my lack of interest in the night's headliners got me out of the park early, but I felt content with what I was able to experience at Lollapalooza 2011. Overall, I can't say this was the best one I've been to, but I had a hell of a lot of fun. soon is too soon to start speculating about Lolla 2012?

More Lolla 2011 recaps:
Day one: The Vaccines, Reptar, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Smith Westerns, Cults
Day one: The Mountain Goats, Bright Eyes, OK GO, Coldplay
Day two: Walk the Moon, Friendly Fires, Black Lips
Day two: Beirut, Cee Lo Green, Big Audio Dynamite

1 comment:

  1. Ahh you can't beat a bit of rain at a festival, I feel I should try and listen to Lissie again and see if my taste has changed.