Indie Soundcheck Lolla Recap – Day 3

Hey everybody…it’s Ryan from Indie Soundcheck.  And here’s the third of three long-winded Lollapalooza recaps.

(All photos are credited to the Lollapalooza wesbite….Lollapaloozafest photostream, and photographers are listed.  All photographers did some fantastic work over the weekend and they all deserve a raise.)

Ra Ra Riot

The first shows on Sunday are exactly why it’s always in your best interest to arrive a Lollapalooza EARLY in the day.  And there was a very nice crowd that showed up for Ra Ra Riot.  A band that has played our Emerging Artist Series at Summerfest, and who Ezra from Vampire Weekend introduced us to when he co-hosted Indie Soundcheck last year.  This was my first time seeing a full set from them live, and they did not disappoint.  Again, I’m a sucker for non-traditional instruments in rock bands.  Cello AND violin?  Sign me up.  Great way to start the day.

(photo credit:  Dave Mead)

Bat For Lashes

This performance is in my top 3 for the weekend.  Some may argue that it was another one of the wrong-setting sets…that it should have been indoors at 10pm and 72 degrees instead of outdoors at 1:30 and 90-some degrees.  But I disagree.  It was a set that didn’t demand a lot of energy from the audience, and let us just hydrate ourselves for the hour.  Perfect.  The songs from her two CD’s translated very well live, and we even got a chance to talk to her after the show (we’ll try to get the audio posted here sometime this weekend).  She (Natasha) uses lots of wacky instruments that I’d never even heard of.  The rest of her band was perfect in complimenting her too.  There was song when she and another member of the band sat down at the same keyboard to play a song.  A piano duet?  Who does that?  That’s awesome!    Unlike Crystal Castles, this was a band whose high expectations were met.

(Photo Credit:  Dave Mead)

Gang Gang Dance

I caught a half hour of their set before I had to skip off to the media area for an interview, and they were kind of a let-down.  No vocals for about the first 20 minutes.  I’m all for percussion being in the spotlight, but part of  the set that I saw was underwhelming.  Didn’t make me want to go buy their stuff on iTunes.

(Photo credit:  Matthew Taplinger)

Passion Pit

(Photo credits:  Jack Edinger)

This was the show of the festival.

As expected, the crowd was massive.  While Cold War Kids were most likely being unspectacular on a main stage, Passion Pit was stationed on one of the smaller stages on the street.  Here’s what the crowd looked like from the stage.  I’m standing by the light post on the right side of the photo.

There was a lot of this going on…

I agree with the Pitchfork review that the band could stand to work on their stage presence a little bit, but damn, the songs are a rush.  The songs trump all.  Amazing crowd reactions to “Little Secrets”, “The Reeling”, and “Sleepyhead”.  There was a brief pause in the set because Nate the drummer broke the kick mechanism of his kick drum.  Never seen that happen before.  Guitarists break guitar strings all the time…but a drummer breaking a kick drum is an achievement!  Thanks to the folks from Deerhunter who donated theirs for the remainder of the set.

I don’t usually find myself at crowd-surfing-style shows, nor am I all that big of a fan of being so packed into a tiny space.  But it all came together in a very enjoyable way at the Passion Pit show.  If they make it to Milwaukee soon, definitely see them.

Lou Reed

He’s a legend.  But he’s kind of a jerk.  He opened 12 minutes late, and played about 25 minutes after his set was supposed to finish.  Band of Horses were the next band to play on that side of the festival grounds, and all they could do was just wait.  Just when you thought he’d be wrapping things up with “Waiting For My Man”, they rip in to a jammed out “Walk On The Wild Side”.  The set as a whole was enjoyable, but a little festival etiquette would have gone a long way, and prevented a mass of people from yelling “F*CK LOU REED!” over and over again.

(Photo Credit:  Ashely Gorman)

Silversun Pickups

Due to Lou Reed’s overindulgence, I only caught the last 25 minutes or so from Silversun Pickups set, but I was able to catch “Lazy Eye” and “Panic Switch”.  They don’t reinvent the wheel, but they rock.  They’re fun to watch.  And I want to give a shoutout to the people who were working the video cameras for their show because they did an AMAZING job capturing everything.  At the end of the set, Brian the singer was going to the far sides of the stage and playing his guitar from over there, and the camera folks had some beautiful shots from behind Brian, capturing him, the crowd, and the city in the same shot.  If there’s a Lolla DVD video of some kind, “Lazy Eye” will be on it — no doubt.

(Photo Credit:  Dave Mead)

The Killers

I don’t like the Killers.  I never have, and that’s not a secret to anybody.  But I know a lot of people DO like the Killers, and with that in mind, I’m tempering my review of them.  I’m playing the if-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say-don’t-say-it-at-all card here.

The plan was to stay for five songs and then leave, and we followed through with that.  Our cue to exit stage left was when Mr. Flowers asked the crowd if we wanted to touch his bones (which preceded the band playing their song “Bones”).  No thanks.

(Photo Credit:  Cambria Harkley)

Lolla 2009.  Good year.  And to sell-out the festival in this economy, good on you Perry.  You’re obviously doing something right.

  1. The lolla lineup was ridiculous. I’m surprised that BFL was a good set in the hot afternoon, I’ve always thought of her as an indoor act. Are these your photographers? these are great shots.

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