Gary Clark Jr., Sigur Ros and Jack White Help Close Out Lollapalooza
Following the rain-addled second day of Lollapalooza, the final day of the festival was blessed with cooler temperatures to accompany the stubborn mud pits born on the prior afternoon. As was the case on the previous two days, the action started on the smaller stages, with Mona presenting a fairly nondescript set of indie rock on the Playstation stage. They served as an appropriate opener to what was likely the breakout star-making set of the festival, delivered by up-and-coming indie darlings Oberhofer, who bear particular note for frontman Brad Oberhofer’s extremely engaging delivery and for having possibly the best drummer at the entire event in Pete Sustarsic. Directly after their set, The Devil Makes Three continued the trend of solid performances by smaller folk bands that unfortunately got swallowed up by the sheer size and scope of the festival. Adding to their difficulties was a concurrent set by Polica on the other end of the park, which seemed to draw a significant percentage of the early crowd. Their set was followed up by Trampled By Turtles who, similar to many of their peers, delivered a superior performance at last weekend’s Newport Folk Festival.
Mid-afternoon featured a showdown of hype between The Walkmen and Gary Clark Jr., the latter being one of the very few to do better at Lolla than at Newport (tUnE-yArDs and Of Monsters And Men shared that distinction). From this point on, the crowd basically split between the sorth (Bud Light) and south (Red Bull) sides of the park. The Red Bull stage definitely won the larger share of the total audience, with the Bud Light/Playstation end focusing on a more eclectic and offbeat lineup that featured solid performances from J. Cole, Amadou & Mariam, Chairlift (rescheduled from the previous afternoon), and a raucous closing set from Justice.
On the Red Bull/Sony side of things, some of the most anticipated sets of the entire festival were stacked together, kicking off with a sublime set by Iceland’s Sigur Ros which could only have been improved by being scheduled for after sunset. Toro Y Moi followed on the smaller Sony stage, drawing in a fair percentage of the audience that was headed to grab a spot for the recently reunited At The Drive-In. ATDI’s set was plagued by technical difficulties, which an uncommonly chatty Cedric Bixler-Zavala made frequent mention of, at one point delivering an extended bit of comedy while the bass rig was being repaired. Despite the difficulties, ATDI lived up to the hype that had previously triggered their split in to The Mars Volta and Sparta and left the crowd completely satisfied.
As the sun began to set, the oddball of the southern lineup, Miike Snow, hit the Sony stage with a large band and even larger sound that helped to build up the crowd for the impending closing ceremony that was Jack White’s solo set. Unlike the previous evenings, where the mainstage closers were fairly balanced in expected audience, the final night seemed to favor White, pitting him against Justice with Kaskade and Childish Gambino stuck in the middle. White commanded probably the largest audience of the festival overall, with his all-boy and all-girl 6-piece backing bands (they switched off mid-set) bolstering his back catalog of mostly White Stripes tunes.
Despite a significant weather event and oppressive heat, the quality of the lineup and organization made for an extremely successful festival, and suggests that Lollapalooza will only continue to expand, as with their planned events in Chile, Brazil and Israel in 2013.