Starting the day off with Ra Ra Riot, the Syracuse band did not disappoint. Violinist Rebecca Zeller is a hell of a performer and gave the band a presents that would echo throughout the day. Following Ra Ra we caught Alaska's Portugal. The Man. Like a cracking whip in a lion's den Portugal seized the opportunity to get the crowd in motion. Certainly the loudest thing to come from Wasilla, Alaska aside from Sarah Palin's big dumb mouth.
I split Portugal early to get a great spot for Airborne Toxic Event. The band I was looking forward to most at this year's festival turned out to be my favorite band all weekend. They were beyond amazing in concert, taking their serious songs and having fun with them and the crowd. A great set that would see singer Mikel Jollett jump into the crowd multiple times and constantly thank his audience. With their hour long set they played a majority off their debut, and broke out a new song that not only left me speechless, has me waiting with baited breath for a new record.
After Airborne Toxic Event's fantastic display, came Dan Deacon. The Baltimore via Purchase electro artist has a cult following that would rival most jam bands. Deacon was made to be a performer and his wacky sense of showman ship shines through his sounds and style. Deacon would set up the fans for Vampire Weekend. Drawing one of the biggest crowds of the festival, the Ivy league afro rockers made their preppy intelligent sound shine through their audience. Dressed like they just stepped out of a J. Crew catalogue, Vampire Weekend sounded and looked like the essential summer band and I do not think I would have wanted to see them anywhere else. I had the opportunity to hang out with Vampire Weekend in the airport the next day, and after telling them I could not wait for the new album, the band unanimosly said "neither can we!" Discussing drummer Chris Tomson's new sneakers and how much singer Ezra Koenig needed a new pair of Topsiders, the band were really nice and cool and were glad everyone enjoyed their set.
As Vampire Weekend brought fun in the sun, Cold War Kids brought aggression and ringing ear drums to their set. Cold War Kids dangling sense of musical style is one that has gotten the band much attention and they sounded great. As soon as Cold War Kids finished, the audience had a big split decision to make with two legends in their own right, Lou Reed Vs Snoop Dogg. Catching Snoop first, the rapper drew another one of the largest crowds with hands in the air and herb being passed, Snoop knows how to get a party started.
While leaving Snoop Dogg's party early we ran to see Lou Reed, it was a must see event since Lou was personally asked by festival organizer Perry Farell to play his festival. The legendary art rocker did his work, but like most acts only given 60 minutes, Reed may not have gotten the memo and played for almost 90 cutting into Band of Horses set. Reed however, did breakout his classics from "Walk on the Wild Side," and "Heroin" while Lou kept on playing and upsetting many, I split to see more acts and was glad I caught the New York legend.
On my way to Silversun Pickups, I had to drop into Perry's DJ tent to see MSTRKRFT. The DJ's drew a very impressive crowd and threw a dance party bigger and better than anyone all weekend long. From dancing hard, I then went to rock hard with Silversun Pickups. Another impressive band that left my jaw on the floor. They were indeed the surprise act of the day, taking their Smashing Pumpkins influence and kicking it up a notch, Silversun sounds better live than on any album.
After nine hours in the sun, night finally came for The Killers. Closing out the festival weekend, The Killers went against Jane's Addiction, however, The Killers gave their audience a reason to stick around. A very similar set as to when I saw them in January at Madison Square Garden, singer Brandon Flowers would tell stories on the band's beginnings to how it was for them to be playing to their biggest crowd in North America that night. The Killers slaughtered their audience and left us victims to their stage show. Closing out the weekend with an anthem that every person needs to hear live, at least once, "When You Were Young" and having plenty of pyro, fireworks and lighting they could not have found a better closer for this years festival. All in all, this year's Lollapalooza may have not been as exciting as last years, but the quality of artists and the magic of the festival still rings out. I can not wait to do it all over again next year!
Lou Reed (Above) / MSTRKRFT (Below)