I saw several bands, general summary below, but here is my Top 5 Performances out of 24 bands total that I saw/heard.
Lollapalooza 2013 Top 5 Performances
- The Cure
- The Bright Light Social Hour
- Brick + Mortar
- Queens Of The Stone Age
- Nine Inch Nails
- Crystal Castles
- Beast Patrol
Brief Review in the order in which I saw them.
Drowners: A really good sounding high energy band that reminds me of what The Strokes “could” be live.
IO Echo: Only caught the first few songs because I wanted a good spot for Deap Vally. IO Echo was pretty good. I don’t know enough about them, but sounds a lot like a Euro-Japanese techno band.
Deap Vally: A high energy band who engages the crowd well. A very nice duo of guitar and drums, sexy. Lindsay Troy on guitar is no Jack White of course, but they pull it off well. They have a lot to offer for those wanting to see a lively performance.
Brick + Mortar: A dynamic duo of bass and drums and high energy. Lead singer puts on a great show with at times very tender vocals reminding me of Cat Stevens and Harry Chapin w/ drummer going apeshit at times pulling the crowd with him. Just recently discovered this hidden gem of a band. Very close to breaking out. This band connects well with me.
Crystal Castles: Second time I’ve seen them at Lollapalooza. It’s great now that they have even a bigger catalog, this was one hell of a show. Alice Glass taking a shot of Jameson between every song, she really gets the crowd going. The first time she went into the crowd she nearly faceplanted and got mud on the knees of her green stockings.
Imagine Dragons: Got to catch the first 2 or 3 songs from them before they lost power. I’ve seen this band two other times, once before they were big, next when they were headlining w/ a 90 minute show. ID had way too many people there to see them, they should have been on the Red Bull Stage and if the timing were right, they could have been one of the headlining acts. Bailed early to get good seats for QOTSA.
Queens Of The Stone Age: Just discovered and got into this band this year when they released their new album. One listen was all it took. This damn near all-star band got the short straw by only getting a 75 minute slot. Even so, it was amazing. Good to see Troy from Sweethead performing live with them. Very impressed with them.
Nine Inch Nails: This was a really amazing performance to me that I think outdid the Deadmau5 light show from two years ago. This was my first time seeing them live. 20+ years ago, NIN was just a bit much for me, but the Downward Spiral stuff I always liked. The new material is going to be pretty good. I was impressed by the diversity in the music.
The Bright Light Social Hour: This was the show I was expecting from them, and then some! First show of the day, they were amazing. This band has a lot to offer from Allman Brothers jam-type to Blondie disco. I walked away from them with that “Holy shit!” feeling after seeing them live. Can’t wait for their new album.
Beast Patrol: Recently became a fan of this band through Lollapalooza when creating my lineup. Really impressed by the great dominance and presence of bass guitar among an 80s sounding guitar duo that even reminded me of Chairlift.
Charles Bradley: Didn’t actually see this band, but listened to them as I waited in line for meet and greet with Beast Patrol. A nice brass band with him who kept reminding me of James Brown. Not bad.
Ellie Goulding: My biggest disappointment. I saw her two years ago before she was big and her material was quite different than what she played Saturday. She’s still cute with a delicate voice, but just not what I was looking for in that performance. She certainly has quite a following now. She did perform Lights and Your Song which I still enjoyed.
Heartless Bastards: This was a pretty decent band, different. Had an amazing bass player. Lead vocalist/acoustic guitar sounded a lot like Amy Winehouse to me with a Marshal Tucker Band type of feel. Glad I caught them.
Blondfire: This band was pretty good, did a good cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”. They seem like a really young band that needs a couple more small shows under them. They have potential, thought they had a great Lolla showing.
HAIM: This band of sisters seemed like rocking veterans that had a great sound, put on one hell of a co-drum solo and were really excited to be there. They know how to work the crowd. Highly talented band.
The Postal Service: I just couldn’t fathom seeing the labeled “Rockers” Mumford & Sons so I tried to give The Postal Service a fair shake with some of the hype they had been given. I stayed for three songs. Just couldn’t do it for me.
Guards: Pretty good band. Liked ’em enough to stay for their whole set. Didn’t blow me away.
The Orwells: Another “had to see what the hype was all about”. Not bad. Only stayed for a couple of songs. Just came across to me as a band that was kinda “overdoing it”
Astro: I only saw them to assess the crowd situation for The Cure at Red Bull Stage. They weren’t bad. From Chile.
Wild Nothing: Camping out for The Cure, checked them out. The repeated bass lines with dual melody guitars came across as very boring to me and a band who had a vocalist, not a singer.
MS MR: Pretty good performance by this duo who had some touring musicians with them. Really like how solid Lizzy’s vocals are and a great stage presence.
Tegan and Sara: Had a pretty decent, younger crowd there. It was a solid performance by them like well-seasoned veterans. Didn’t blow me away, didn’t expect them to.
Grizzly Bear: This band had some good moments, but had a really hard time getting into them for their whole set. They had an awesome sounding bass though.
The Cure: I have basically been waiting since High School to see The Cure (1987). Couldn’t see them when I was in college during the late eighties run, so it was like a dream come true to see them play. Robert Smith is such an amazing performer, he’s up there with Prince, Bowie, Mercury and MJ for me. Women in the crowd were crying. Felt the same amount of significance as I did when I saw Black Sabbath for the first time last year. Managed to get up to the fourth row.
Bands I’m most looking forward to hearing from again:
The Bright Light Social Hour
Brick + Mortar
and they were all brought to you by the letter “B”. And yes, I did witness an Elmo mylar baloon floating away in the sky, so maybe that will be the last time we ever hear from him (her?)
Catching Nico Vega and Crash Kings in a few days!