Posted August 5, 2013 by whopperjaw in Tunes

Lollapalooza 2013 Day 3: Perfect fest acts

The Cure
The Cure

Day 3 of Lollapalooza 2013 featured two perfect festival acts in Vampire Weekend and Phoenix. Both bands played on the huge Bud Light stage on the north end of Grant Park. Vampire Weekend, who preceded Phoenix, started its hour-long set with the herky-jerky “Cousins” and immediately had audience members dancing.

The band then delivered the percolating, world beat-influenced “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” which kept the audience dancing in unison. The song perfectly resembled its studio version and featured a brittle guitar riff that sounded like it might have been lifted from Paul Simon’s Graceland album. Baby-faced singer-guitarist Ezra Koenig was clearly enthused to be playing Lollapalooza again and spoke fondly of Chicago, a city he said the band always tries to include on its tours. The feeling was mutual. Patrons responded enthusiastically to the band’s terrific hour-long set.

Phoenix, a Parisian band that plays perky synth-pop, was equally suited to the big Bud Light stage. It capably delivered catchy songs such as “Lasso” and “Lisztomania.” The group has played Lollapalooza in the past, but it sounded particularly sharp this time around. Given that its albums are the result of meticulous production, it’s a testament to the band’s talent that it was able to replicate them so well.

The Cure played opposite of Phoenix on the main stage on the south end of Grant Park. With more three decades under their belt, time certainly hasn’t hurt their performance vocally—they sounded fantastic. It, however, may have lowered their stage energy a bit. Singer Robert Smith, unmistakable as ever with his trademark mop top, delivered classic tracks such as “Pictures of You” in a particularly morose manner.

Other highlights from the day included: the Brit pop act The Vaccines, who put on an engaging show that showed off their Smiths-inspired songwriting skills; the punk rock group Orwells, who benefited from having an exuberant, bushy-haired front man who prowled the stage like some kind of caged animal; and Tegan and Sara, who recalled their last Lolla performance with mixed emotions as Sara had to leave the stage early because of the heat.

We didn’t think much of Palma Violets, a sloppy British garage rock band that seemed to think louder was better. They played with so little finesse, they made the Stooges sound like classically trained musicians. And the guys in the hip-hop, electronic group Major Lazer spent too time trying to hype themselves and get the crowd going and not enough on delivering refined beats, instead settling for conventional hip-hop and electronica. In addition, Soul singer Lianne La Havas delivered a soulful set that just didn’t have enough energy. And the highly lauded British alt-rock group Alt-J wasn’t very engaging either as its atmospheric music didn’t really resonate with us—though their crowd of fans seemed to disagree.

Below are a few highlights from the fest. To see all 260 pics we took over the three days, click here.

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