Frank Ocean & the Weeknd at Lollapalooza, 8/4/12
Photo by Erik Hess Frank Ocean at Lollapalooza 2012
Lollapalooza 2012 suspended, resumed after dangerous weather conditions
Ten things your Lollapalooza outfit says about you
The Weeknd at First Avenue, 6/17/12
[Slideshow] Lollapalooza 2012 Day One: The Music
[Slideshow] Lollapalooza 2012 Day Two: The Music
[Slideshow] Lollapalooza 2012 Day Three: The Music
[Slideshow] Lollapalooza 2012: The People
Frank Ocean & the Weeknd
Lollapalooza at Grant Park, Chicago
Saturday, August 4, 2012
In case you haven't been paying attention, R&B is enjoying a new life. Forget everything you know about "that boy/that girl" subject matter and trade it in for a taste of drugs, sex, and regret. It all gets wrapped up in the emptiness of a lengthy party that gets mistaken for high society. Singers Abel Tesfaye and Christopher Breaux operate under the names The Weeknd and Frank Ocean respectively, and their recent contributions have done much to reshape the face of modern R&B. Both of them made noteworthy appearances during the second day of Lollapalooza, and they each had something different to say to a muddy festival crowd.
After a torrential downpour threatened to cancel his set, the Weeknd's Tesfaye hopped onstage backed by a full band, launching right into "High for This." Snarling bass could be felt a football field away as a mix of young and old festivalgoers tromped through puddles to hear Tesfaye's angelic falsetto sing about impossibly filthy encounters. The pitch problems that showed up midway through the Weeknd's visit to Minneapolis' First Avenue were nowhere to be found, and each high note was hit with an effortless skill.
And another thing, now we are starting to know what Testfaye actually looks like:
Photo by Erik Hess
Couples started a slow grind during "The Morning", but took breaks from gyrating to call out "all that money / the money is the motive" with Bud Lights held high. Running through tracks from his breakthrough mixtape, Tesfaye knocked out great renditions of "House of Balloons" and the slithering, shaking "Glass Table Girls." The crowd knew every lyric, singing his own songs back to him at full blast.
The Weeknd's most impressive vocal award has to go to "The Birds Pt. 1," the live performance of which showed off the Toronto native's formidable range during a hushed coda. Tesfaye's musical vignettes shine a harsh light on the life of an unrepentant, self-destructive playboy, but the crowd seemed to care less about his words than the feeling of the syrup-smooth quiet storms that he's selling with that incredible voice. Closer "The Knowing" sounded like George Michael on a handful of tranquilizers, but what it lacked in physical verve it made up for with sheer druggy decadence.
Photo by Erik Hess