Sometimes too much anticipation can turn to chaos and that's exactly what happened from the second the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage. During a blistering bass-rippled instrumental, thousands surged the stage, resulting in a slew of bodies being hurled above the heads of security personnel and over the barricades. The scene probably would've looked cool on television but proved to be a treacherous viewing environment as the group bounced through the familiar "Dani California" and "Scar Tissue." Yet an assortment of lackluster, half-baked material from "Stadium Arcadium" broke the set's continuity, which didn't escalate again until the home stretch battle cries of "By the Way" and "Give It Away."
Everyone loves Kanye, but Wilco's the band Chicago rock fans rally around as one of their own. Playing yet another celebratory outdoor show in Grant Park, the group showed off a handful of quirky but oddly poppy new songs that instantly clicked with the (admittedly) highly sympathetic fans, who sang along with nearly every word of the rest of the set. The group was in high spirits and good form, and as with the best of their sets, whet the appetite for what comes next.
She Wants Revenge
She Wants Revenge put on a real dance party, from the drawn-out post-punk guitar intro to the synthy Joy Division-inspired beats that had frontman Justin Warfield doing hipster hip swivels as he belted out tunes in his monotone sing-speak. The party peaked with "I Don't Want to Fall in Love," which conjured up early Depeche Mode, and ended on a high note with the crowd shouting along to "Tear You Apart."
Matisyahu (real name: Matthew Miller) is not just the best Hasidic reggae star, he's the only Hasidic reggae star. Of course, that also makes him, paradoxically, the worst Hasidic reggae star. Anyone at his Sunday set who didn't feel at least a little uncomfortable with his Jamaican affectations should, while they're looking up "Hasidic" and "Rastafarianism," look up "minstrelsy," too.
30 Seconds To Mars
As an actor, Jared Leto knows how to entertain, and he's applied the skill to fronting 30 Seconds To Mars. He and the band entered wearing white masks, waving flags and throwing roses (inspired by last year's "A Beautiful Lie" artwork) while also jumping in the crowd and climbing the gargantuan stage scaffolding. But the cheerleading couldn't cover up the fact that songs such as "The Kill" and "The Story" were nothing more than recycled metallic alt-rock loaded with commonplace arrangements and lyrical clichés.
As the Shins noted, it's been a long time since the band has played Chicago; they've been busy crafting songs for their upcoming third album, a handful of which the mass of fans at Lollapalooza were treated to. The new stuff sounds downright charming and rather true to the trademark lo-fi confections of their previous work. I've seen the Albuquerque, NM indie-pop troupe play a much tighter set, but they still put on a crowd-pleasing show once singer James Mercer's voice warmed up a couple songs in.