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Festival Review: CoS at Lollapalooza 2012

on August 06, 2012, 4:14pm
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 Festival Review: CoS at Lollapalooza 2012

For the eighth time in a row, Lollapalooza returned to Chicago’s Grant Park. While the festival has received its share of rain over the years (e.g. Billy Idol’s mesmerizing sun shower set in 2005, The Gaslight Anthem’s downpour debut in 2009, Best Coast’s muddy power hour in 2011, to name a few), the grounds have never had to shut down. Yet with recent catastrophes at festivals worldwide, management took no chances and they made the right choice. Only three hours were ultimately lost and in those three hours something wild happened — there was a sense of adventure.

As Chicago’s sacred park weathered harsh winds and thick, thick rain, the hundred thousand festivalgoers fled into the city, stalking nearby bars, restaurants, coffee shops, book nooks, newspaper stands, subway stations, hotel lobbies, miscellaneous stairwells and awnings, and parking garages. Twitter sparked alive with critics and other festivalgoers, while publications remained on the ball with its rumblings and hearsay. When the storm finally passed, there was a chill to the air, a spark of excitement in each festivalgoer, and a newfound sense of coping. There was also a great makeshift community that matriculated throughout the city, where stories and accounts were passed to one another. It all felt very analog, despite everything still remaining very digital.

More than anything, though, it gave the three-day festival something to remember. With such a heavy focus on rock — Jack White, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, At The Drive-In, etc. — this year’s incarnation was admittedly starved for character. On paper, things appeared a little convoluted. Whereas EDM used to be locally contained at Perry’s, acts like Avicii or Justice or DJ Zebo or DJ Mel crossed over into other outside stages, which confused the schedule some. Couple that with a lack of hip-hop, save for Childish Gambino or Doomtree, there just wasn’t much spunk to a festival whose trademark was just that. But one rainy afternoon put things in perspective, and it wasn’t just the mud people that found solace.

Godspeed to the folks in charge of re-sodding, that’s for sure.

-Michael Roffman

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May 13, 2014 at 9:01 am

Hi there colleagues, how is everything, and what you desire to say concerning this paragraph, in my view its really amazing in support of me.

Tyler Gedvilas
August 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm

This is an okay review but it is very lacking in great bands that performed throughout the fest! Where are the Band Of Skulls and Of Monsters And Men reviews?! Of Monsters And Men were easily the best act of Sunday night! And whoever reviewed the Chili Peppers needs to have their ears checked…Chad Smith was a MONSTER behind the drums and EVERYBODY was into their ENTIRE set. It was a riot.

Aaron Guevara
August 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

The Perry tent was still the place to be. Everyone let loose and let the music take them over. It was beautiful. The Takeover of Chicago that happened during the delay was out of control. I remember walking out and feeling like i was in the Walking Dead in downtown Atlanta. The streets were filled with drunk, drugged, and energy filled citizens of the world. The only bad thing about the delay was missing the Temper Trap’s set which was one that i was looking forward to more than most. Although the rock sets were the powerhouses, I dont think any act could top Bassnectar or Kaskade, it was pure beauty and bass. This is just an opinion of satisfied Lolla attendee.

Rory Biller
August 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I enjoyed the first bit by Roffman…it really encompassed the moment when the people hit the streets and the storm descended upon the city. The organizers did good to evacuate when they did…the furious storm didn’t really hit until an hour afterward which gave everybody plenty of time to seek safe shelter.

I think Metric deserved more than a description of Emily Haines’ legs and some name dropping. That was easily one of the top sets of the entire weekend.

There could have been more on Black Sabbath. This was an important performance…potentially their last. I’m thinkin that the elongated drum solo was only included in the set so those old farts could rush off stage and hit the oxygen tank. It was worth mentioning how into the moment the sign language girl was on stage right before Ozzy jumped off stage and kissed her as well. The set was far from perfect, but too much fun for words.

Sunday at the main stage from Sigur Ros to the end of Jack White was the best part of the festival. 3 amazing live bands. At The Drive-In killed it.

And how about the spontaneous hoards of people exiting the festival on Sunday night collectively chanting the melody of Seven Nation Army. Worth a mention.

Otherwise you guys pretty much covered all the bases. Great job.

August 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Dont get the RHCP review. That set was a blast. Do the reviewers actually attend the shows or just watch youtube streams?

August 8, 2012 at 1:51 am

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis was one of the best sets of the weekend! There definitely wasn’t a lot of hip-hop acts, but Lolla got one of the best acts in the genre.

Lindsey P.
August 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Being frustrated over the rain is a waste. What can you do besides throw on a pink poncho and literally ride it out on top of a double decker bus, dodging lightening bolts. That was an adventure! On the other hand, the only thing the lolla crew could keep under control was the volume which they failed. Never have I been to a performance (bloc party) where the entire crowd chanted “Turn it up!” pointing up indicating turn up the volume. Several performances (m83, bloc party, gary clark jr) lacked the sound quality and I personally feel cheated.

Nic Armour
August 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm

i wish cos would never ever talk about edm, or at least hire someone who likes it and knows anything at all about it.
sloppy sloppy sloppy

Tom Vaclavek
August 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

My thoughts exactly…and how could they not even mention Fun’s amazing set re-opening Lolla…the entire crowd that was there got to experience one of the few “moments” of the weekend. It was that good and I dont even particularly like them.

Nero was dropping bombs and from where I was they were totally into it.

Die Antwoord was definitely the best set I saw. I had never heard of them but my friend was like we HAVE to check these guys out and boy am I glad we did. They owned Friday.

Porter Robinson put on a terrific set at Perry’s. His live stuff was even more energetic than his mixes. I left way impressed with him and the crowd loved it.

I only caught the end of Skream and Benga but as I was walking there you could just feel the energy coming from Perrys. Their drops were insane! Calvin Harris followed to a packed area and he proved so much more than just a one hit wonder. His other stuff is way harder and faster. Loved it!

I dont even like Avicii but anyone that caught even a few minutes of his show had to leave loving it. The mud was everywhere and yet people were dancing their asses off having a great time. Plus that giant head he was djing out of was sweet. It was better than I expected that is for sure.

Pretty Dragon were an experience. Completely different than your average Perry’s group but great in their own right. They got the crowd so happy and energized despite the heat. The blow up animals being thrown around were hilarious too!

J. Cole put on a good set too. He definitely had the crowd going and it was good to see one of the few rappers from the weekend doing his thing and having everyone loving it.

Doctor P was fantastic too. I didnt see his entire set but he blew up Perrys and the entire crowd was dancing like crazy.

I get that some people dont appreciate EDM and rap but it is silly to do a review of the weekend and basically ignore it. This year’s lolla didnt have my favorite bands and even some of the bands that I thought were going to be great like RHCP were boring but the weekend as a whole was awesome and a lot of the best times were from bands that surprised me or Perrys. The great thing about Perrys (to me anyhow) is that if you arent into any of the acts playing on the main stages at least you can count on great people watching and a fun time there. Who doesnt have fun dancing and laughing and just having a good time? Without Perrys these last two Lolla’s would have been a whole lot of bleh for me and again Im not going to Lolla just for that.

Michael Hannon Tierney
August 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Lollapalooza has gone wayyyyy corporate and I did not like it…

Die Antwoord = the most entertaining set of the weekend.
Sigur Ros = the most powerful set of the weekend.
Jack White = The best overall set of the weekend.

Rory Biller
August 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Pretty much accurate. Metric and At The Drive-In were incredible as well. Jack White was the perfect ending. Wish I could have been at that afternoon record store set.

August 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

Nice try on the positive spin on the evacuation. It was still annoying & frustrating for everyone involved, but safety is a big deal. Getting the fest extended until 10:45 was a big step in the right direction to make things right, but I still feel a little cheated that everyone’s sets had to be shortened and the Alabama Shakes didn’t get to perform at all.

Julie from Lex
August 7, 2012 at 12:18 am

And let’s not forget the dumb asses who threw bottles at the cooling busses trying to make their way back into the festival grounds while we waited for the gates to reopen. Those moments didn’t feel very adventurous…it felt a little uncomfortable.

Kyle Garrett
August 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

The lyrics for Civilization that you have are incorrect – these are correct:

“The beating of a million drums
The fire of a million guns
The mother of a million sons

August 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Pretty good review. I really thought M83 and Bloc Party’s sets were lacking due to sound issues. The volume on the guitar and vocals were lacking and made the sets both pretty bland to me. I was really looking forward to M83 and came away a bit disappointed. On the other hand, I had a lot of great musical experiences this weekend. Sabbath did as much as you can expect a bunch of upper 50-60somethings to do. Omar standing like a statue was a bit awkward, but I think that was more due to his obsessions with making the sound perfect, rather than not enjoying himself, as I saw him smiling a few times on camera. Michael Kiwanuka, Aloe Blacc, LIttle Dragon, Black Angels, and The Big Pink were my favorite sets of the weekend. Black Keys were excellent as usual too.

August 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

The Saturday thing kind of messed things up so I think there was a lot of frustration. Luckily, the Franz/Jane’s Addiction aftershow was incredible and made it all better for me.

August 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I’m going to have to disagree about the attitude after the rain storm. It wasn’t adventurous or whimsical. It was angry. And I’m not sure why. I saw two near fights while moving in a mass group away from the Chili Peppers stage, and then saw another near fight in the bathroom lines (!) a little bit later. Overall, people seemed annoyed at the delay and the moist conditions they had to walk in afterwards.

Of course there were happy people who embraced the mud or whatnot, but Saturday EASILY had the *most* frustratedly dickish people of the three days. Maybe you were just lucky enough to be around the “grateful to be there” people.

August 8, 2012 at 12:06 am

you should have had a few beers and put some mud on your face

Rory Biller
August 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm

agreed. I drank some PBR’s and enjoyed nature’s fury before re-entering for a surprisingly good Chili Peppers set and then headed to the Jane’s Addiction after show. The people all around me seemed to be having a great time all the way through.

Danny P.
August 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Great coverage COS team! What a festival.

Kenny Troeller
August 6, 2012 at 11:39 am

I actually usually can’t stand your pieces, this was really good!


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