Lollapalooza '07: Sunday reviews

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Pearl Jam
8 p.m., AT&T stage
Unlike Pearl Jam's fan club gig at the Vic Theatre Thursday, the band's headlining Lollapalooza set shied away from rarities and leaned heavily towards the familiar. Given the audience's varying levels of fervency, the decision was a safe bet confirmed by the sing-a-long dynamic of "Why Go" and "Corduroy." But it wasn't just the verbatim versions as first displayed on album, which in the case of the supercharged "World Wide Suicide" and the sped up "Daughter," kept up anunpredictable flow. Though a free spirit also permeated "Evenflow," the extended version was bogged down by self-indulgent jamming and several long winded solos. Grunge-era warhorse "Alive" steered in a leaner, more productive direction, simultaneously earning an electricity doused facelift. A lengthy encore included the acoustic/electric weaving of"Better Man," an explosive take on Victoria Williams' "Crazy Mary" and some of Eddie Vedder's anti-war preaching. But he and surprise guest Ben Harper let the music do the talking with the rootsy rally cry "No More War" and the fitting finale of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World."--Andy Argyrakis

TV on the Radio
7:15 p.m., MySpace stage
Despite a genuinely strange and unsettling sound – a hodgepodge of everything from gospel to noise – TV on the Radio played to an impressively receptive audience, no small feat considering much of the swelling crowd was Pearl Jam fans making their way to the adjacent stage. The New York band made note that the show marked the final stop of a 14-month tour, which means it could be a while before the group hits the road again. Thankfully, propulsive songs such as "Wolf Like Me" and "Staring at the Sun" were focused and forceful enough to help the group's growing contingent of fans weather the wait. --Joshua Klein

Cafe Tacuba
7:15 p.m., Adidas stage
Vocalist Rubén Ortega had plenty to say Sunday evening during Café Tacuba's set. However, outside of the words "Chicago" and "Lollapalooza," it might be hard to recall anything unless you speak Spanish. Following in the footsteps of 2006 performers Manu Chao, Tacuba were the only Spanish-speaking act to perform this year. The crowd did seem to be speaking the band's language, though, jumping in synch to most of the group's Latin-flavored jams. --Will Fresch

My Morning Jacket
6:15 p.m., AT&T stage
Looking like a wedding party that stayed out a bit too late the night before, a tuxedoed My Morning Jacket took the stage Sunday just as the blazing sun tucked itself behind a patch of rain clouds, cooling the air so the band could wear their getups in relative comfort. The jackets and bowties weren't just for show; there was cause for celebration, as the excellent Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra backed the occasionally psychedelic Southern rockers with great success on "Gideon," "Wordless Chorus" and others. --Matt McGuire

Modest Mouse
6:15 p.m., Bud Light stage
Although Johnny Marr's unmistakable style of fretwork melds effortlessly into Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock's complex, hooky sound in the studio, I wondered if Marr missed a more direct engagement with his audience at this evening's performance. A good percentage of the Modest Mouse crowd probably hadn't even been born when Johnny Marr left the Smiths, forever cementing his position as a living guitar god. As the newest member of this chart-topping Washington-based band, he had no trouble relating to them. "That must be the American cigarettes I smell," he intoned wryly as smoke wafted from the crowd to the stage. The rest of the band was head-down meticulous, but even the addition of multiple percussionists still left them feeling slightly buttoned-up. They pleased the crowd with hits like "Fire It Up" and "Float On," but really only ripped it up on a few songs, including "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes." --Chris LaMorte

Yo La Tengo
5:15 p.m., Adidas stage
Even had Yo La Tengo not followed the Stooges, the venerable indie trio would have had a tough time at Lollapalooza. Its quiet pop songs and epic noise drones are made for more intimate spaces, which explains why the band was at its best at its poppiest. "Sugarcube" was the perfect opener, and "Autumn Sweater" and "Stockholm Syndrome" equally pleasing follow-ups, but too often the band stuck to their tried-and-true formula of noise jams. Not necessarily the best soundtrack for a hot, sticky day. --Joshua Klein

!!!
5:15 p.m., MySpace stage
Going up against Yo La Tengo and AT&T's favorite Swedes, Peter Bjorn & John--whose sound occassionally leaked over from the Citi stage--it's no wonder !!! frontman Nic Offer sent a "F**k you to whoever put us on against them" at the end of his group's riotously high-spirited disco-rock performance, saying he's always wanted to see Yo La, but "Oh well!" But he kept it mostly positive with a thanks to those who chose to see them and an earlier shout-out to Perry Farrell for realizing his Lolla dream--not to mention an hourlong set in which he bounced around the stage with his bandmates who worked hard as hell to keep the groove going. Speaking of Farrells, Offer--sporting a luscious fro, shorts and a polo, and a good-times goofy demeanor--seemed sometimes to be channeling Will Ferrell, and the man could surely give Travolta and Shakira a run for their money with his nonstop exhuberant hip-shakin'. From our perspective inside the crowd's dance party, everyone--the band, the audience---had a ridiculously good time. --Fauzia Arain

Peter, Bjorn and John
5 p.m., Citi stage
Peter, Bjorn and John didn't let stifling humidity and a power outage mar their first Lolla performance. (Ironically, sound cut out 15 minutes into the set during "The Chills"; the Swedish trio picked it up nearly 30 minutes later with "Start to Melt.") Coming back stronger than ever, the indie rockers delivered a full set--running 20 minutes over their slotted time--and a couple of surprise guests: Nikki Monninger of Silverspun Pickups and Dean Stone from Apostle of Hustle stepped in for hipster anthem "Young Folks." Monninger formed a duet with Peter (Moren) as he belted out lyrics about the beginnings of love while shaking a maraca and whistling, and Stone rounded out the sound with bongos. But the closing two songs ("Objects of My Affection," "Up Against the Wall") showed Peter, Bjorn and John have plenty of their own power to keep rocking.--Karen Budell

The Wailers
5 p.m., PlayStation stage
With the undeniable scent of pot and patchouli in the air, The Wailers got down with its sun-soaked grooves. And while some of the original cast are no longer with us (most glaringly, its fearless frontman), these players are the closest living collaborative link to Bob Marley. Though the whole concept could easily fall into the cleverly marketed cover band category, The Wailers avoided this tag by veering away from a predictable "Legend" set list. Sure, a few expected crests were present (the vibrant "One Love" and the anti-worry adage "Three Little Birds"), but there was also plenty of fresh produce, including the sure-fire party starter "I Wanna Yell." --Andy Argyrakis

Iggy and the Stooges
4:15 p.m., Bud Light stage
Only time will tell who had a tougher time with the Iggy and the Stooges concert: concert security or whomever had the unpleasant task of helping Iggy Pop -- looking as sinewy and leathery as ever -- peel off his skin-super-tight jeans following the band's sweat-soaked set. Moments before Pop, bassist Mike Watt and original members drummer Scott Asheton and guitarist Ron Asheton launched into "No Fun" from the band's 1969 debut, Pop invited the crowd to rush the stage. And by the time Pop growled, "No fun to be alone," he was anything but, as hundreds of frenzied fans danced behind him in one of the festivals best unscripted moments. --Matt McGuire

Kings of Leon
4:15 p.m., AT&T stage
Kings of Leon took the stage Sunday afternoon during what might have been the hottest point of the three-day festival. Nobody seemed to mind the heat though, and several thousand people rocked out to Kings hits like "Molly's Chamber" and "The Bucket." Midway through the set, vocalist Caleb Followill remarked, "It's starting to feel better out here," and he was right. The heat died down long enough for the Followill family (the group consists of three brothers and a cousin) to bring out longtime friend Eddie Vedder. With the Pearl Jam frontman in tow, the Kings delivered a rocking performance of "Slow Night, So Long" off their 2005 album, "Aha Shake Heartbreak." --Will Fresch

Paolo Nutini
3:15 p.m., Adidas stage
This Scotland-bred newcomer may be just at the tip of his twenties, but Nutini has amassed a substantial following in a short amount of time. All skeptics had to do was catch the karaoke sessions behind "New Shoes," his relatively generic coffeehouse pop breakout that still came across with catchiness in front of the mostly teenage crowd. Those looking for deeper substance beyond commercial connection would've been disappointed, though Nutini did show off an impressive soulful side, turning in a reggae-meets-R&B treatment of Moby's "Natural Blues" and some grittier prowess on his lusty "Loving You." --Andy Argyrakis

Amy Winehouse
2:15 p.m., Bud Light stage
Amy Winehouse has raised some eyebrows this summer for cancelled shows, and, yes, she was 10 minutes late--eons, in Lollapalooza time--taking the stage Sunday . But no matter how much gossip is swirling about the pint-sized soul singer's erratic behavior and rumored substance abuse, it's hard to argue with pipes like these. Winehouse wavered between frightening intensity and seeming disinterest--usually betraying the truth with a sly smile just when we were starting to believe the latter--as she worked her way through a good portion of her latest album, "Back to Black." It's a safe bet that her understated stage persona didn't win her any new fans at Lolla; of course, it didn't really have to. --M. Kathleen Pratt

Lupe Fiasco
2:15 p.m., AT&T stage
"Can you dig it?!" We sure can, Lupe. The local hip-hop dynamo dealt with the sweltering heat like a champ, dancing and prancing up a storm on stage, gold medallion and all, prompting the crowd to fight the urge to stand still and instead groove and sweat along with him. Of course, the MC played hits like "Daydreamin'" and Chi-town skateboarding anthem "Kick, Push," the latter following a few words on the facade of making big money in the music industry--explaining that he couldn't afford a fast car like a Porche or a Ferrari if he wanted to, since he didn't rake in cash like some might think. Fiasco never let his energy falter, even after admitting he was tired. He kicked it up a few notches higher with guest appearances by Gemini and Matthew Santos, but there's no mistaking who the star of this set was. A Lolla watcher a few feet from me said it best after the show: "That guy is a genius! He's not just a rapper, he's a performer." Word. --Fauzia Arain

Los Campesinos!
2:15 p.m., PlayStation stage
As diverse as the Lolla bill may be, few bands playing constitute any sort of next-big-thing act. Most are pretty big already, or at least well-established. Not so for the Welsh indie-rock group Los Campesinos!, who made their U.S. debut for a healthy-sized and very enthusiastic crowd of early adopters. Drawing inspiration from such American indie staples as Pavement, the band blazed through smart and endearingly ramshackle songs from its new EP "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives." Los Campesinos! were all appreciative smiles for what felt like the start of something good. --Joshua Klein

Rodrigo y Gabriela
1:15 p.m., Adidas stage
A large Mexican flag waved in the crowd as that country's metal-gone-folk guitar mavens took the stage for a set that entranced the massive crowd at the shadeless Adidas stage. For a two-person act armed with just two acoustic guitars, they put to shame groups with lesser sounds and far more equipment. And for those who think girls can't hold their own with an instrument, Gabriela's no slouch. She drummed up a percussive whirlwind with her dainty knuckles while ripping through guitar parts with Rodrigo from the group's original material--including crowd faves from 2006's self-titled album, the release that's brought them to radios and TVs everywhere--along with plenty of rock 'n' roll covers, such as Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." With their hands flying over their guitar strings constantly, the duo managed to rile up the crowd throughout their set, calling for sing-alongs, yells and claps in the milliseconds they had free during songs. --Fauzia Arain

David Vandervelde
1 p.m., Citi stage
It's obvious that Windy City-transplanted troubadour David Vandervelde wishes he was a child of the 60s, but rather than being trapped in a time warp, he thankfully channels the likes of Robert Plant, Marc Bolan and the rougher side of Bob Dylan to current contexts. Sticking mostly to his debut "The Moonstation House Band," the troubadour and his four piece backing band reveled in the boogie-woogie of the electric organ with thrashing psychedelic guitars. The yet to be recorded "Triple Up" served as a smoky climax, complete with Vandervelde's hypnotic moans and reckless strums. --Andy Argyrakis

MRNORTH
12:30 p.m., BMI stage
As if they were scrounging through the remains of Audioslave, Irish band MRNORTH churns out the kind of howl-heavy, riff-heavier "modern rock" that sounds outdated the second it leaves the amp. Actually, vocalist Colin Smith is earnest enough to suggest that MRNORTH could appeal to fans of their countrymen, U2--but probably just the U2 fans who secretly prefer Three Doors Down. Bassist Oisin O'Malley, meanwhile, wore a major scowl on his face for the entire set, as if he either had something his shoe or was just deeply unhappy to be playing such immensely generic RAWK.
--Matt Pais

The Postmarks
Noon, PlayStation stage
Dreamy, calming pop and seriously sticky temperatures don't really mix, but soothing Florida outfit The Postmarks did what they could to embrace their surroundings, which included some significant sound bleeding once the Cribs got going on the nearby Bud Light stage. It resulted in the Postmarks trying a little too hard to rock out on "You Drift Away," but "Let Go," the catchiest song on the group's self-titled debut, translated well, and the live energy put some more oomph into "Goodbye," a sweet pop confection crafted out of a kiss-off breakup song.--Matt Pais

Juliette and the Licks
11:30 a.m., Adidas stage
"This is an impressive crowd," said frontwoman Juliette Lewis Sunday morning. "I expected to see ten of you." And who could blame her for being surprised? Her group, Juliette and the Licks haven't been around long and have hardly performed stateside at all. Still, when a band's lead singer is an Oscar-nominated actress, it's safe to expect a reasonable turnout. "We'll be your caffeinated beverage this morning," she said, early in her set. She delivered on the promise, and provided a nice shot of get-up-and-go for the dedicated festival goers. She dressed the part, too, with black leather pants, a fishnet tanktop, and a few Indian feathers tucked behind her ear for good measure. --Will Fresch

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