On Saturday, the skies opened up briefly at Lollapalooza; the early afternoon showers blew through quickly, thankfully, but it was long enough to transform much of the grounds into a giant mud pit. Most of the people in the crowd fell into one of two camps: those who attempted to tip-toe gingerly around it and those who embraced it—taking off their shoes, dancing in it and even laying down in it.
If there had been mud on the Playstation Stage, you can bet the Black Lips would have found a way to sling it into the crowd. Instead, those in the pit had to settle for beers, smashed guitar fragments and Cole Alexander himself. Guitarist Ian St. Pe kicked off the set by shotgunning a beer and tossing the can into the crowd, and he wrapped up their final song by lobbing one into the air and batting it with his guitar towards the cheering fans who were loving every minute of it. That being said, the notorious Atlanta garage punks were on good behavior, relatively speaking—no bodily fluids this time around. It’s for the best, for obvious reasons, but also because when you strip away just a little of the rock ‘n’ roll posturing you can see that the Black Lips are actually a really great band. They tore through plenty of tracks off Arabia Mountain (“New Direction,” “Modern Art,” and a fantastic version of “Dumpster Dive” to name a few) as well as old favorites like “Bad Kids.”
Meanwhile, their fellow Atlanta native Cee Lo Green’s set could have benefited from a little dirtiness. After opening his set with a surprisingly good cover of Danzig’s “Mother,” the singer—clad in huge, spiked shoulder pads—never really managed to win over the crowd. There were a few interesting moments smattered into the otherwise underwhelming set (a cover of Billy Idol’s “Flesh for Fantasy” was cool to see), but for the most part, it was a bust. Green knew it, too; at one point he threatened to leave the stage and warned the crowd to not “let this wonderful outfit go to waste.” Unfortunately, it was a waste. With his soulful voice and arsenal of hit songs, Cee Lo should have had the audience eating out of his hand, but an odd arrangement of “Crazy” and a halfhearted “Fuck You” couldn’t fully liven things up.
Speaking of audiences, the crowd at My Morning Jacket was unjustly small. Those who did opt to see Jim James and company over Eminem, however, were rewarded with a strong set by a band whose live act only seems to be getting better. The growing darkness that came right as James was singing of “the evening’s setting sun” in “Victory Dance” made for a pretty picture. James’ voice impressively runs the gamut from haunting and psychedelic to soulful and howling, and those who opted to see Eminem instead missed the perfect cap to day two of the fest.
Check out Meghan Brosnan and Josh Darr ’s photos from the festival below. See coverage from day one at Lollapalooza here.