Saturday’s torrential downpour swept in comparatively cooler temperatures for the third and final day of this year’s Lollapalooza. Festival attendees basked in the beautiful summer weather for what seemed like a more relaxed day of music listening, all while doing their best to avoid the mud pits that had been drudged up as a result of the storms.
White Rabbits got things rolling on the North end of the festival grounds. The New York-based indie-outfit initially started out strong with energetic opener, “I Had It Coming,” but the set was ultimately one of the more lackluster performances of the entire festival. The band seemed to be going through the motions as the set dragged on, and the crowd’s enthusiasm dissipated as a result. Camera pans of the audience reveled what can only be described as disinterest.
Over at Perry’s, Swedish electro-band Little Dragon put on stellar, dance-driven performance that drew a massive crowd for a mid-afternoon show. But while the DJs who’ve dominated this stage benefited from its surrounding LED screens displaying rippling neon waves, the same can’t be said of Little Dragon. Lead singer Yukimi Nagano’s stage antics were completely lost to everyone except those directly in front of the stage. Camera crews initially attempted to convert the screens to live feeds of the show but ultimately gave up.
Icelandic group Sigur Rós more than lived up to their reputation as an excellent live act. Backed by small strings and horn sections, lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’s beguiling falsetto captured the crowd’s attention instantaneously as they careened through some of their earlier work. The set only improved from there, as there was a patience to Sigur Rós’ performance that’s rarely seen in musical festival settings. In the first 15 minutes, the group played only two songs, slowly building each one from mere plucks on a piano to a full, crashing orchestral crescendo. On the stage screens, images of forests and rippling water faded into grainy live shots of the band, making the performance feel that much more ethereal.
Sigur Rós was followed an hour later by one of the most anticipated sets of the festival from a recently reunited At The Drive In, who appeared to have lost none of their bite in the 11 years they’ve kept quiet. Lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala threw his body around stage as the crowd lurched forward for opener “Arcarsenal.” His high intensity and almost manic stage antics never relented, though the same can’t really be said of the audience. Enthusiasm seemed to wane as the set progressed, which was undeserved and a somewhat surprising reception for a band that hadn’t performed together in more than a decade until this year.
Jack White closed down the festival on the South end of the park with an eardrum-rupturing, high-octane set that drew from White’s entire catalog. The nearly two-hour performance was full of indulgent, spine-tingling guitar riffs that only Jack White can pull off, proving (as if there were any real doubt) that he’s one of the most talented instrumentalists making music today. The enigmatic singer/producer alternated between guitar and piano throughout the set, also transitioning flawlessly from rock and blues to country and then back to rock. White jumped straight into the hard rocking single “Sixteen Saltines,” following it up with the equally charged White Stripes song “Black Math.” Later in the set, he eased things up a bit with the folksy, almost bluegrass rendition of “Hotel Yorba” and a sensual duet of “Love Interruption” with backup vocalist Ruby Amanfu.
All the while, White’s band slowly transitioned from an all male backup band to his all female group, The Peacocks. Not to get all feminist here, but as a young, female music fan, it was awesome to see one of the biggest, most sought-after names in the industry backed entirely by ladies—extraordinarily talented ones at that. Initially, the change seemed to come with the aforementioned transition from rock and blues to country, but the women proved capable of shredding just as hard as the men, reeling through The Dead Weather’s “Blue Blood Blues” and fan favorite “Seven Nation Army.” Fans hummed the latter anthem as they exited the park after three days of non-stop music.
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Florence and the Machine