Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lollapalooza 2011 day two: Black Lips, Friendly Fires & more

By Frank Krolicki

Walk the Moon (photo: Frank Krolicki)
So, Lollapalooza 2011 is officially now more than half over, and I'm sad to say I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed this year. Sure, there have been highlights (one of my favorites remains one of the first performances of the festival, by the Vaccines, even though nobody else I've talked to seems to have seen them). I've heard a lot of buzz about how amazing Le Butcherettes were (there was even vomiting in true punk rock style), but I didn't catch them. So while I've seen some perfectly enjoyable stuff, the "wow" moments have been scarce.

That brings me to my thoughts on Saturday's performances. As with Friday, there was plenty that I liked but not a whole lot that floored me.

Walk the Moon (photo: Frank Krolicki)
My first stop was the Music Unlimited stage to check out Walk the Moon. Going in, I had only heard a song titled "Anna Sun" by the young Cincinnati, OH-based four-piece, which was enough of a catchy, feel-good slice of pop to get me curious. Their set was that of a band obviously in love with what they are doing and eager to get the world listening. They gave off enough energy to fuel an assumedly tired crowd of early-arrivers and frequently cracked big grins, making it known they couldn't be happier to be there. Their dancey pop/rock, while perfectly good, didn't sound like anything too original, but it was solid enough to get me interested in hearing their debut album. I also appreciated their take on David Bowie's "Let's Dance," which I think would have made the Thin White Duke himself proud.

Friendly Fires (photo: Frank Krolicki)
A bit later in the afternoon I decided to check out Britain's Friendly Fires. Speaking of energy, these guys had it too. A lot of it. I knew it was going to be a fun set when lead singer Ed Macfarlane came out and started gyrating his body about as hard as humanly possible to opening song "Lovesick"--it was a vision of true uninhibitedness. Throughout the set he even took his gyrating down into the crowd a couple times, and people ate it up. In fact, I saw people having more fun during this performance than probably any other of the fest so far. My only small issue was with the music itself; the band's dancey indie-electro sounded a bit too samey to me after a few songs. I feel like there's a definite focus on this kind of sound at Lolla this year, which makes each of the bands playing it seem less remarkable on their own. Still, there's no denying that Friendly Fires put on a show worthy of the reception it got.

Black Lips (photo: Frank Krolicki)
I knew that next I should check out the Black Lips, since they're infamous for going all out during live performances. Also, after hearing a lot of poppy and dancey stuff I was ready for something rawer, and I figured their punky garage variety would do as well as any. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea because the stage was mobbed--especially considering it was still pretty early. It took me a little while to get into the set (I admit I was catching up with some friends, which could have a lot to do with that), but by the time the second half came around I was definitely feelin' it. It was a much needed dose of scrappy rock and roll.

After Black Lips there was still plenty of day two to go, and I ended up catching either all or some of Big Audio Dynamite, Cee Lo Green and Beirut. Look for my next post to read up on those. 

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

1 comment:

  1. I saw Friendly Fires this summer and overall there greaet, I know what you mean about samey but I feel they've changed it a bit since the first album.