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Lollapalooza 2012

I was lucky enough to be in Chicago visiting old friend this past weekend, and so I got the chance to go to Lollapalooza for the first time, and certainly not the last. After attending Coachella for the past two years, I was expecting a very similar type of festival, with the same type of relaxed atmosphere. I was definitely wrong. I enjoyed Lollapalooza a lot more than Coachella this year. Maybe it was the line-up, the wonderful Chicago food, or the beautiful skyline of Chicago serving as a backdrop to massive stages. Anyways, here are all the bands I saw and a quick summary, or review, of them.
1First Aid Kit

It was a hot one on Friday. Approaching the afternoon it was probably 95 when I saw these guys. Or girls, really. It was a solid 45 minute set, not only a great way to kick off the festival for me, but a great reintroduction to how excellent this band is. I'd seen them once before this year, and was intrigued. This time, I was thoroughly impressed. Beautiful crisp and tight harmonies were nailed, and the closer "King of the World" showed a fun side to these two swedish sisters.
2The War On Drugs

Around 2:00 I headed to the smaller stage and got a near-front row spot for these guys. I only like a few songs from them, but I was still excited. The songs were a lot longer than they were on the record, with extended and improvised guitar solos from the 70's looking lead singer and guitarist. It was a good show all around, with the exception of the last song, which ended on a sort of poor note (literally, the song ended with a long, distorted chord that lasted more than 5 minutes and was way louder than it needed to be).

Excellent show. I was worried that this band wouldn't deliver live, for some reason. With an hour set, I figured I might get a bit bored. But despite poor mixing for the first half of the show, Metric played with a ton of energy. It was an awesome selection of songs, definitely displaying the band's style, versatility, and catchy-ness. But they didn't play Gimmie Sympathy, so I was a little bummed about that (First World Problems).
4Band of Skulls

After a wonderful meal of deep dish Chicago-style pizza, I got a great spot for one of my favorite bands at the moment, Band Of Skulls. It was a fantastic show, not much else to say. Tons of energy, great songs, almost perfect mixing...it was probably one of the best shows of the weekend. Pretty lame crowd, though. There was like one little group in the corner that got into. And then there's me, looking like a fool in front of everyone.

3rd time seeing M83. I would love to say that each time they are brilliant, but, well, they're pretty inconsistent if you ask me. When I saw them the very first time, most of the songs were solid live, despite the frequent tech issues. I expected that "Midnight City" the first time would be a practically a religious experience, but it was, well, very mehh. Up until the sax solo, it was a little disappointing. The second time I saw them at Coachella, the song "Reunion" was unbelievably fantastic, and "Midnight City" was a bit lame again. This time, "Reunion" sucked, "Midnight City" was great up until the all-of-a-sudden choppy sax solo, and "Steve McQueen" was amazing. Along with this, every time I see them, they come on 15-20 minutes late. It's still a fun show, regardless, and I honestly look forward to seeing them a fourth time.
6The Black Keys

A little disappointed with these guys. For a headlining spot, I was expecting a lot. I saw them last year at Coachella with a 50 minute set, and they didn't bring it as much as I'd like them too. Same thing on Friday night, even with 40 minutes more. I mean, they're great musicians, but there's no spark live. There's nothing that sets their shows off from anyone else who stand there up on that stage and plays music. "Gold On the Ceiling" was pretty badass, though.

First band of Saturday, trying to get a good spot for Givers. It was a very short show for these LA punk rockers. The lead singer did a total stage dive, and I'm pretty sure Lollapalooza shut off their power because of it. Regardless, it was a fun show, and I couldn't wait for Givers.

It might sound crazy by saying this at a young age, but so far in my short life, I've been to many concerts and seen many, many live shows. On Saturday, at 2:15, the Louisiana-based indie band Givers played the BEST show I have ever seen in my life. I literally am speechless when I think about how phenomenal this show was. An absolutely tremendous display of music, with delightful banter and amazing talent. If there's one thing you should take out of this list, it is that you MUST SEE GIVERS LIVE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. YOU WILL BE PLEASED, VERY MUCH SO.
9Neon Indian

Sweet show. I was pretty far, but I was still on the high from Givers. I was impressed on how similar Neon Indian's live sound compared to his studio sound. The catchy single, "Polish Girl", was insanely fun to watch.

So, funny story, there was like this crazy storm, and it was gonna be so fuckin' huge that they had to kick everyone out for a few hours. I was worried that they would simply cancel all the minor bands before the headliners (for some reason), but as soon as the storm cleared up, I was happily back inside, squishing in by the soundbooth to see this band. It was an impressive show, no doubt. Singer Nate Ruess is one of the most impressive vocalists I've ever seen. Even with the consistent running all about the stage and the huge amount of energy flowing through him, he still managed to hit insanely high notes with ease. The crowd was great, of course. I'll admit, I went a little insane when they closed with "Some Nights". It also must feel good to have 4 or 5 thousand people singing with you.
11Washed Out

Well, in terms of sets throughout the weekend, Washed Out was the only band that actually played the least amount of my favorite songs. I reeeeaally like Washed Out. But, he came on very late, and had enough time for probably 8 songs. Out of the 8 songs he played, and out of the 12 Washed Out songs I consistently listen to, he only played 3 songs that I like. But whatever, I have no right to complain. I can, however, complain about the mixing (I could barely hear Ernest Green the entire time, harmonies were practically non existent), and the poor stage presence of everyone in the band but Ernest Green.
12The Red Hot Chili Peppers

I grew up in California listening to Kroq, so I know a shit ton of Chili Pepper songs. The show was everything I expected: Tons of awesome banter from Flea, a great selection of old, high energy songs, and the biggest audience I had ever seen. It was a good show, and I enjoyed it a lot.
13Bombay Bicycle Club

It was 12:45 on Sunday, and I was extremely giddy. I've been listening to these guys since 8th grade, and I was beyond stoked to see them. And of course, they were wonderful. Phenomenal musicianship, great mixing, stage presence....it was a show I had been waiting for for a very long time. New single "Beg" was probably the best of the set.
14The Walkmen

By far the best show of Sunday. These guys basically played all my favorite songs. The vocalist gave one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen, the drummer was phenomenal, and two of the band members came out in fuckin' suits. It was just so much awesomeness in one show. And I was front row! It was a very, very good hour.
15J Cole

Well, I had to get in at least a little bit of rap. I've been obsessing over "Work Out" for the past 2 months and I absolutely had to see it live. J Cole was solid. I just wish he played a lot more full songs instead of just a verse or two. But the crowd was amazing, and the energy throughout the show never died.
16Florence + the Machine

Second time I've seen her, and boy, does she deliver. With an hour and 15 minute set, she managed to get the crowd lifting people up, hugging people, jumping, dancing, singing...it was a very, very good experience. Her vocal performance was practically flawless as well. Her soft and acoustic rendition of Leave My Body was phenomenal. Her energy in No Light, No Light was so fun to watch. Easily one of the best shows of the weekend as well.

Justice. Kicked. Ass. Okay, I'm done.
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