Best of Lollapalooza day three: At the Drive-in, Florence + the Machine and more

Categories: Lollapalooza

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Photo by Erik Hess
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What have we learned following Lollapalooza 2012? Not only do reunions (Afghan Whigs, Black Sabbath, At the Drive-in) still rule, but so do the prevailing genres of EDM and rock. The third day of the Chicago Megabus of a 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.

Nuggets from the final Lolla day of 2012 follow.

Little Dragon
Perry's Stage
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 1 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 5-piece felt like they were content to run through their signature material and win over potential fans in the process. -- Ian Traas
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Photo by Erik Hess
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Photo by Erik Hess
Florence + the Machine
Bud Light Stage
"Hello Chicago, we need you," Florence Welsh 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 3 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
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Photo by Erik Hess
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Photo by Erik Hess
Zed's Dead
Perry's Stage
Canadian face-melters Zed's 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. They're no strangers to Minnesota, and if you know where to look (cough, The Loft, cough), you won't have any trouble catching them in the Twin Cities. -- 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 mic 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
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Photo by Erik Hess
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Photo by Erik Hess
View our complete Lollapalooza coverage here.
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