Lolla 2012: Best and worst Saturday performances

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Best

Frank Ocean, 9:45 p.m. at Google Play stage

I've been steadily listening to Frank Ocean's work for more than a year, and to finally catch him live was amazing. Despite performing many songs from just a stool on stage, the R&B singer put on a great show. Killer voice, killer lyrics. Highlight of the fest for me. -- Emily Van Zandt

The lucky few who caught Frank's show at Metro Friday night heard nearly the same set list at Saturday's show. That just meant a chance to appreciate his amazing ability to connect with an even larger crowd. "Bad Religion" doesn't work nearly as well outdoors, but man, does this guy have an incredible voice. "Thinkin Bout You" is an absolute live standout. -- Dana Moran

Runner-up: Fun, 6:30 p.m. at Google Play stage

Whoever runs Fun.'s Twitter account is doing a great job. The band sent out set-time updates throughout the rain lockout and were one of the first to let us know when they'd be onstage. The result: plenty of happy fans ready to sing along to "We Are Young" as if the storm never happened. -- Dana Moran

Doomtree, 12:45 p.m. at Red Bull Soundstage

On top of headliner-size beats, this Minneapolis hip-hop collective delivered an absolutely massive set, sampling from the group's records as well as solo material from its MCs (including "Low Light Low Life," a standout from P.O.S.' exceptional "Never Better"). Following a set on Perry's stage (see below) that offered not an ounce of competent lyricism or stage presence, Doomtree, which also features major rap forces in Dessa and Sims, put on a clinic of smarts and power, often turning tracks into riveting and sometimes party-starting spoken-word explosions. Moving, fun, thoughtful, awesome. -- Matt Pais

Runner-up: The Weeknd, 7:15 p.m. at Red Bull Soundstage

Beginning more than an hour after its previously scheduled time due to the weather-related evacuation, Canadian R&B act the Weeknd proved that the success of 2011's three free mixtapes (highlighted by the first installment, "House of Balloons") is no flash in the pan. This group, its tight offering of live instruments and Abel Tesfaye's remarkable falsetto, crafts haunting fables that could inspire nightmares if the music weren't so damn sexy. The Weeknd's best suited for 2 a.m. reflections, and the mood didn't always translate in the festival setting. Tesfaye's pipes, however, never failed to amaze. -- Matt Pais

Franz Ferdinand, 7:30 p.m. at Bud Light stage

The post-evacuation crowd was treated to an otherworldly performance from this endlessly energetic Scottish quartet. At one point, all four of them were wailing on the drumset and actually making it sound musical. -- Harry Huggins


Best timing yet: Our group got back into the festival just in time to catch the end of Fun.'s set. And by end of the set, I mean my favorite three songs from the band's recent album. As the fans poured back into Grant Park, everyone crowded around the tiny Google Play stage until people were spilling into the street behind the trees, chanting "Weee Aaare Young ..." in unison. -- Sara Stewart
Runner-up: Santigold, 9:45 p.m. at Perry's stageSantigold's late-night dance party capped a fun and unexpected day at Lolla. Thanks, Chicago, for allowing extra time. -- Sara Stewart
Santigold, 9:45 p.m. at Perry's stageFlanked by two dancers who graduated magna cum laude from Fly Girl University, Santi White proceeded to run through her hits and get the entire crowd grooving. She even brought out two guys in a horse suit for her verse on Major Lazer's "Hold the Line."  Horse. Suit. -- Ernest Wilkins

Twin Shadow, 8:30 p.m. at Google Play stage
George Lewis Jr.'s band Twin Shadow should have been given a larger stage for the amount of hype this artist has received for his newest album "Confess" and the eager audience of chain-smoking hipsters that crowded the area a half-hour early. Even after the drama of a show cancellation, thunderstorm and audio problems the band brought electric energy and the audience, who sang and clapped along to every song, brought their adoration. It's obvious George is a gifted lyricist who combines heartstring-tugging phrases with toe-tapping beats. The group's set was indeed, as George exclaimed, "short and sweet." -- Julia Bohan

Worst

Twin Shadow, 8:30 p.m. at Google Play stage

Who knows how this set would have gone without the rain delay pushing everything back, but George Lewis Jr. and crew could not get their act together. Sound issues forced the band to check for 20 minutes in front of a restless crowd, with continuing issues throughout a ridiculously brief set. Fans vocalized disappointment. The rest just wanted to get on to Frank Ocean. -- Emily Van Zandt

Chief Keef, 12:15 p.m. at Perry's stage

Teenage Chicago rap phenom Chief Keef is still young, so maybe he doesn't know that the point of a live performance is to deliver something on stage, not just bring as many people as possible to half-heartedly chant along with pre-recorded music. I arrived at this set 15 minutes late, just wanting to see if the city's next big thing could show me in concert what he hasn't in song. Not even close. From what I saw, the young rapper demonstrated no interest in standing out from anyone else on stage and displayed not a shred of talent, other than the ability to rhyme "snitch" and "bitch." I'm happy for the renewed success of Chicago rap, but this is a long, long way from Kanye, Common and Lupe. -- Matt Pais

Lolla evacuation, approximately 3:30 p.m.

On such a weird day, it was tough to have time to see a bad show. There was time, however, to shove hundreds of people through two holes in some fences at exits. Lolla officials did a good job spreading the word about the evauation, then seemed to adopt a "not our problem" attitude about actually getting everyone out of Grant Park in a safe, timely manner--or finding a place to put thousands of people. -- Dana Moran

Franz Ferdinand, 7:30 p.m. at Bud light stage
The excitement the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand exuded was nowhere near as exciting as the band's music. There are only so many times you can say "Are you ready to rock?" before it becomes cliche. Everything was overdone: the bass, the lights and the incomprehensible lyrics only a die-hard fan could love. Their set was full of guitar-strumming lulls which, even at their best, couldn't elicit more than a generic head-bobbing--and nothing close to the passion of other, better Lolla shows. -- Julia Bohan

JEFF the Brotherhood, 1:30 p.m. at PlayStation stage
Remember before the rain? Early in the day, when the sun was blazing hot and temperatures were creeping into the high 90s? The most uncomfortable place to be was in the shade-free concrete lot of the Playstation stage. JEFF the Brotherhood's head-banging punk rock was interesting enough, but I was too distracted by the fog machine (why add more heat?) and middle-of-daylight attempt at a light show to care. -- Sara Stewart

Runner-up: Twin Shadow, 8:30 p.m. at Google Play stage
Half of the small crowd was there to get a good spot for Frank Ocean, and frontman George Lewis Jr. could probably tell. During his short set, he didn't even play our favorite song, "Golden Light." -- Sara Stewart
Bear in Heaven, 1:30 p.m. at Sony stageI have nothing against the floaty psychedelic synths and heavy bass of this band, but its singer ruined them for me. I've never seen someone so in love with himself, looking so proud of his own musical prowess. -- Harry HugginsMother nature

This couldn't go to anyone else. You haven't seen anything until you've seen frightened teens from the burbs getting completely drenched. The horror, the horror. -- Ernest Wilkins


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