What have we learned following Lollapalooza 2012?
The third day of the Chicago fest proved to be the most temperate -- which was appropriate, because we were the most tired. Still, jetting around in the allergen-infested air for one last dance proved highly satisfactory.
See the cut for a recap from day three of Lollapalooza 2012.
Little Dragon made a midday appearance at Perry's dance stage, and the Swedish band enjoyed a great response even despite their lack of dubstep bass wobbles. Vocalist Yukimi Nagano contributed heavily to the most recent album by electronic act SBTRKT, so those that didn't get enough during SBTRKT's Day One set showed up for even more of the diminutive singer's uniquely sultry voice.
Their set felt more rock-centric at its core than anything else featured at Perry's, with the band actually breaking between songs and refusing to be confined to 4/4 club thumpers. Working through fan favorites like "Ritual Union," "Test," and "My Step," the five-piece felt like they were content to run through their signature material and win over potential fans in the process. -- Ian Traas
Florence + the Machine
Bud Light Stage
"Hello Chicago, we need you," Florence Welch said to an earnest early evening Lollapalooza crowd in her breathy British accent. "We demand some human sacrifices! We want your bodies!"
As the sunshine waned on the third and final day of the festival, Florence engaged her fans with some colorful banter encouraging them to hoist their peers into the air on their shoulders -- "as many as you can!" -- and challenged them to express themselves as she blew them a kiss. She floated across the stage like a mountaintop diety in a floor-length cranberry floral gown, the earthy vibe in contrast against the architectural urban backdrop of downtown Chicago.
Her familiar vibrato danced across tens of thousands of heads, firmly seizing the energy of the set during "Rabbit Heart" when she dropped down into the photo pit and ran wildly through the masses at mighty applause. The sun may have been kinder today, but Florence was on fire. -- Jen Boyles
The Gaslight Anthem
Google Play Stage
Jersey boys The Gaslight Anthem were a Day Three standout, pulling in a crowd burned out on synthesizers and ear-slamming drum machines. This year's festival has proven to be especially beat-heavy, so seeing a giant mass of people gathering to check out an act so defined by their soulful blue-collar attitude was an indicator that the glam monster hasn't totally swallowed rock 'n' roll.
Unfortunately, Brian Fallon's voice sounded a bit worse for wear after a summer of constant touring, working hard for every note (but making it more often than not). Though new album Handwritten is barely a month old, the band played songs from across all three of their albums, with the standout remaining "The '59 Sound." Punky tunes like "Howl" and "Great Expectations" got the best response, but "Here's Looking At You, Kid" felt lovingly intimate even in the midst of a massive festival. -- Ian Traas
Canadian face-melters Zeds Dead drew a massive crowd, the youthful Lolla audience showing their unending hunger for massive basslines. The duo flipped nimbly between the loping half-time of dubstep and giant-sounding house music, cheers rising during every break in the beats. -- Ian Traas
At the Drive-In
Red Bull Soundstage
The reunited hardcore-prog experimentalists At the Drive-In came out into the dusty air of the play field to Danzig's "Mother" and frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala -- wearing a pinkish Sears Tower T-shirt and brandishing his trademark afro -- was immediately in the mood to crack wise.
"We are collectively known as Latin Danzig," he offered after putting his hand to his ear like a pro lucha libre wrestler might. Then he took to the stage like it was his ring, and his mike stand was his opponent -- and he often tagged in guitarist Jim Ward for some calculated screams off the top ropes.
"Arcarsenal" and "Sleepwalk Capsules" were among the powerful cuts off Relationship of Command, the band's essential 2001 album, that figured into the career-spanning agenda. Also, "This next song is called 'Technical Difficulties,'" the singer said, masking frustration mid-set when things went awry for a few minutes. "It's from our album What the Fuck Is Up With My Pedal?"
As tight as he was in performance mode, Bixler-Zavala avoided dead air with jokes about changing his name to "Cedric Lion," many requests for audience members to throw a chancla onstage, and his understated, but talented guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez being the "Puerto Rican Woody Allen." The hour-long set ultimately came back to the band's powerful presence as a unit able to execute and improvise. "One Armed Scissor," of course, came last and best. -- Reed Fischer
Sigur Rós unleashed a baptism of ethereal beauty that blanketed the tightly packed occupants of Lollapalooza's Red Bull stage on the final day of Lollapalooza. The four members recruited eight other musicians to recreate the band's heavenly sound -- including a brass section and airy background vocals.
Though Sigur Rós combines Icelandic and Hopelandic, a language made up by the band with no semantic connotation other than it compliments their powerfully charged sound, there was no language barrier when it came to the music.
They closed with "Popplagið," a surprisingly heavy lo-fi guitar song. The beaming 12 musicians bowed in curtain call fashion with Jónsi happily blowing kisses to the audience while they gasped for more. -- Abbie Gobeli
There's no musician who has worked harder than Jack White over the past decade. As the figure within the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, and now his solo work, garagebluessoulrawkmeister, White has done everything to deserve a coveted headlining slot at Lollapalooza. Now, what pray tell does he do with a couple hours and a couple bands? He turns the thing into an entry package for Jazz Fest 2013.
One of the lasting aspects of the career-summing show was the stage (and White's) decor. Constantly glimmering blue, the stage looked like a playground for werewolves or hounds from hell or Gollum or all of the above. With that as the setting, his pale skin and frizzy black hair made him into the Tim Burton character that seems to be populating White's recent solo album, Blunderbuss. This look proved fitting to separate our entertainer from his red/white/black motifs with Meg White, and raised the tension in the cool night air.
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As White explored his Zep influences, the Delta blues, and even a little bit of bluegrass, there was no question that the Third Man Records magnate had detailed plans for what he wanted to unfold. Among the White Stripes songs, "Black Math" fuzzed along like an old Kinks melody, and "Hotel Yorba" found new life as a hoedown jam with his female backing band the Peacocks. At his absolute best was this new solo track with the Buzzards, "Take Me With You When You Go," which seemed to bring out the most new life in his playing.
The familiar fireworks of the set were unsurprisingly saved for the encore. A run-through of "Steady, As She Goes" hit no snags, but it was a reminder of what White becomes depending upon who is onstage with him. Without a Meg, or a Brendan Benson, or an Alison Mosshart onstage, it was hard to shift the attention away from Jack White at any point -- and usually he's at his best when he can surprise us when we're not looking. -- Reed Fischer