Posted August 3, 2013 by whopperjaw in Tunes

Lollapalooza 2013 Day 1: Chicago fest starts strong

A few raindrops couldn’t dampen the spirits of the tens of thousands of fans who turned out in droves for Day 1 of Lollapalooza 2013 at Chicago’s Grant Park. (A line of intense thunderstorms actually stayed just south of the city). We started the day at Perry’s Tent where the Toronto trio Keys N Krates performed in front of an enthusiastic audience. Even at 1pm, the young fans that packed the area were dancing to Keys’ eclectic mix of trap, hip-hop and techno. The group included a few songs from its forthcoming EP, SoLow, in its high-energy 45-minute set. It was a nice way to start the day.

Next up, we caught Icona Pop’s set. The female duo sounded a bit like M.I.A. but with more of a pop sensibility. While the two shouted more than they sang, they finished their set on a high note by delivering hits such as “Girlfriend” and “I Love It.” Other mid-day highlights: Smith Westerns delivered a solid set of power-pop; eccentric neo-folkie Father John Misty showed charisma to spare as he enthralled an enthusiastic audience with his quirky delivery and terrific voice; and rapper Theophilus London benefited from playing with a live band.

Crystal Castles have played Lollapalooza in the past, but this year’s appearance was far more remarkable. The band’s live show has really evolved. Singer Alice Glass literally crawled onto the stage, took a swig from a bottle wine, and then started screaming. She jumped off the stage and into the audience at the start of the set and spastically danced like she was some kind of rag doll. All the while, the band cranked out noisy electro beats that nicely complimented her distorted vocals.

The day ended with good one-two punch of hard rock provided by Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails. While the Killers and New Order played on one side of Grant Park, QOSTA and NIN turned up the volume on the other end of the festival. With his super-short crew cut, QOTSA’s Josh Homme doesn’t look like a rock star but the guy still plays a mean guitar. While most stoner rock groups try to out-sludge Black Sabbath, Homme and crew don’t settle for sludge. Songs such as “No One Knows” and “My God is the Sun” came off as potent garage rock anthems more than homages to ‘70s metal.

Nine Inch Nails followed QOTSA with a rousing set built gradually as frontman Trent Reznor arrived on stage by himself to perform “Copy of A” and the band slowly joined him. Sounding a bit more electronica than industrial rock, the band still embraced its industrial past on tunes such as “March of the Pigs” and “Terrible Lie.” The minimalist production value of the performance wasn’t on par with that of the last NIN tour but the guys still had enough lights on stage to illuminate a runway.

For some reason, pop singer Lana Del Ray played opposite the other Day 1 headlines. While the singer was very outwardly appreciative to the substantial crowd at her show, the brief bit of her set that we caught was incredibly boring as she strutted around the stage in a flowing red dress while smoking a cigarette.  She had little to no stage presence and her forgettable pop songs were so dull, we really had to wonder why she was even on the bill.

Below are a few of the photos of the day. To see all 90+ pics, click here.

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