Grizzly Bear at Lollapalooza 2010
Lollapalooza 2010 Day Two Recap: Phoenix, Spoon, Grizzly Bear, and others, August 7th, 2010
Aug 08, 2010
Photography by Matt Jones Web Exclusive
Pouring the indie rock on thick, day two of Lollapalooza saw a good chunk of the schedule dominated by all things indie. En route to Stars, I snagged pieces of Rogue Wave and Dragonette's sets.
California-based Rogue Wave brought their gauzy pop rock back to Lolla this year after initially appearing in 2008. Playing from their recent Permalight release, Rogue Wave drew a large, head-bopping crowd. "This is the last day of our tour and the most people we've seen," Rogue Wave singer and guitarist Zach Schwartz beamed to the crowd after opening with "Stars and Stripes." He then lead the group through a fun, easy-on-the-ears set that included 2005's single, "Publish My Love" and a quirky side note. "Dominic got a tattoo yesterday! Show them, Dominic," Zach snitched to the crowd. "It's birds on his middle finger. So now we can really flip the bird!"
Across the grounds, Stars waltzed onstage dressed to impress; leading lady Amy Millan donned a sparkling black dress and heels, and leading man Torquil Campbell suited it up in a jacket and pants. With white flowers bedecking their amps and monitors, Stars brought elegance to the show, even while they were shooting off confetti guns and letting a few choice words fly.
"Holy shit there's a lotta people out there!" Campbell observed. "Thanks, Chicago!" The group played a number of tracks, including "The Passenger" and "We Don't Want Your Body," from their most recent album, 2010's The Five Ghosts, and also fan favorites, "Take Me to the Riot," "One More Night" and "Your Ex-Lover is Dead."
"I suggest you find someone to have sex with because the double X are coming up next," Campbell said, referencing The xx who were following Stars on the stage opposite. The xx have gained a huge following with their headphone-friendly, sultry grooves, and their mid-Saturday set proved every bit of this as human gridlock formed outside the PlayStation stage. An utter mass of people packed the area as the buzz band launched into "Intro." And right as the show started, it fell flat. Singer/guitarist Romy Croft plucked her guitar with the finesse of a chicken, which gave a nod to their overly produced album that plays better in the privacy of your own home than live on stage.
Even when The xx pushed through the breakdown in "Heart Skips a Beat," their moment was stolen. The sun had just dipped behind Chicago's skyscrapers and a cool breeze swept across the crowd. Almost immediately, arms shot up with a collective "Ahhhhh." It was the biggest reaction The xx had while on stage, but unfortunately, it had nothing to do with them.
It was then up to Grizzly Bear's intricate arrangements to stir awake a semi-asleep crowd. Grizzly Bear has played Chicago multiple times for 2009's Veckatimest; twice at outdoor festivals. The band's sweet spots, cheery "Two Weeks" and thundering "Ready, Able" came across loud and crisp and completely deserving of the main stage's speakers. But there's little that can compare to Grizzly Bear's perfectionist sound in a smaller venue, and unfortunately some of the band's intricacies got lost in the huge space.
Metric got the crowd bouncing again as Emily Haines dashed and danced across the stage in a pair of white sunglasses. Girls in jumpers sang along to the Canadian group's pop and Haines closed the set with an acoustic version of 2004's "Combat Baby."
For the fourth time the crowd shifted across the grass from one indie group to another as Spoon's Britt Daniel stepped onto the Budweiser stage alone. Daniel strummed an acoustic, "Me and the Bean" before his band mates joined and later horned-it-out on "The Underdog." I saw bros with Bud Lights in each hand skipping across the park as I left to check out Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros—they were having their indie cake and eating it, too!
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros became the second band of the day where the crowd swelled bigger than the allotted space. Fellow Team Edward listeners swapped bottles of whiskey and favorite song stories while others opted to climb nearby trees to get a better view. At least 10 members of the folk group played "40 Day Dream" and halfway through the set, transfixed with the horns, I wondered if Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros should face off against Spoon for who has the badder brass section.
Rounding out Indiepalooza was Grammy-award winning group Phoenix on the Budweiser stage, who, like others before it, said the crowd was the biggest they'd ever played for. The French group provided a dance-y, energetic end to the day with "Lisztomania" and older tracks "Long Distance Call" and "Everything is Everything." Happy feet all around, one guy couldn't help but admit "Fences" was "as good as apple butter!"
But tucked between Green Day and Phoenix, a lesser-known act was also closing up shop. Empire of the Sun, the Australian electronic music duo, channeled Lady Gaga and brought out the crazy. Dancers, or "girls from the future!" leading man Luke Steele shouted, adorned the front of the stage with cutout guitars and umbrellas for arms. Or they could have been Phillips' head screwdrivers, but I don't really know. What I do know is Empire of the Sun drove us all home with thudding pop electro tracks, including "We are the People," "Half Mast" and encore "Walking on a Dream." The David Bowie-channeling group was theatrical, hilarious and downright awesome. And despite all the big names gracing all the Lollapalooza stages today, if a nod had to be given toward indie queen or king, I'd have to say Empire of the Sun would get this gal's vote for the crown—even if frontman Luke Steele was already wearing one.
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