Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lollapalooza 2012 Coverage: Day Two: Saturday, August 4

Weather struck again at Lollapalooza this year, but this time, the event coordinators and planners were prepared. And they weren't about to let anything go wrong; no one was to get hurt... there were to be no tragedies at Lollapalooza. As you may already know, plenty of festivals and outdoor shows have been marred by casualties and injuries this year. Radiohead, Sugarland, and Smith Westerns have all made headlines in 2012 for the absolute wrong reasons: all three have had incidents in which malfunctions in stage design have resulted in injuries and/or death.

Photo Credit: Jack Edinger
And it's not like the weather wasn't absolutely insane on Saturday. Winds were howling during what was, to say the least, an extreme thunderstorm. I must give kudos to the people in charge at the festival, as no tragedy took place, aside from the fact that an obscene amount of people left the grounds completely covered in mud; but that's hardly a tragedy.

If there was one tragedy, for me at least, it was the loss of opportunity to see a few really good musical acts, Alabama Shakes most notably. This was vastly made up for by the lone performance I was actually able to enjoy from start to finish: Frank Ocean. But I'll delve in to his set shortly.


The Weeknd hits a high note (Photo Credit: Cambria Harkey)

I was able to catch a song or two of Calvin Harris and The Weeknd each. Caught my favorite song by The Weeknd, "High For This" before making my way to Perry's for Calvin Harris. I mainly checked out the Scottish DJ/Producer superstar Harris to get a peak at what I could expect later that night at The Mid. His light show was a spectacle to say the least, and the crowd at Perry's ate it up like a raver eats "candy."

While we're on the subject of Perry's Stage, I want to bring up just how crazy this stage is now. As a direct reflection of the music scene today, Electronic Dance Music (EDM as the kids call it) is on an absolute tear right now, and the attendance at Perry's reflected it. On Friday afternoon, upon just walking past briefly to check out a bit of Nero, I saw the largest crowd of neon-clad at Perry's than I had ever seen swarm the stage. EDM is on the rise, like it or not. Calvin Harris was Saturday's heavy hitter at Perry's stage, and the crowd seemed endless.
Calvin Harris (Photo Credit: Will Rice)

Next to At The Drive-In (who performed on Sunday), Frank Ocean was probably my most anticipated performance. And thanks to the grounds staying open an extra half hour, Ocean's set was not shortened due to inclement weather. Frank Ocean is a true performer, just as good on record as he is on stage. Although his stage presence is not very flashy, his voice is what is undeniably spectacular.

Opening with a brilliant, acoustic cover of Sade's "When You're Gone" that nearly drove me to tears (if you haven't noticed, I get emotionally attached to some performances). Ocean then candidly said: "Thanks to y'all for coming back out; I wouldn't have missed y'all for the world."

Frank Ocean (Photo Credit: Jack Edinger)

Other highlights of the performance included "Thinkin' Bout You," which Frank's falsetto nailed just perfectly, and "Novacane" "Strawberry Swing" and "Swim Good," old favorites from Ocean's previous work nostalgia ULTRA.  Ocean entertained the crowd with banter about Boxed Water, a new company whose product (exactly what it sounds like) was all over the festival grounds, being drank by artist and attendee alike. (The juxtaposition of the water in a white box just made it look like people were drinking milk in 100 degree weather all weekend, but it's benefits for economy and mother earth are evident).

Frank Ocean bids farewell (Photo Credit: Jack Edinger)
Frank Ocean closed his set with two of the best songs I've heard all year. "Bad Religion" ended up sounding like a Dashboard Confessional show (yeah, I went there), with the majority of the crowd singing along, heavily. Closing song "Pyramids" will be one of the defining songs of the summer of 2012. The track is deep both in time and structure, featuring multiple different sections. When the beat picks up with a heavy synth part, Frank Ocean darted back and forth on the stage, jumping up and down, enticing the crowd to join him. It was one of the most unique and uniting moments of the festival, as I lost myself within a sea of "friends" who were all there for the exact same reason I was. By the end of the song, I was itching for more from Frank Ocean, the sign of one of the great performers currently in the field.


Check out the official Lollapalooza Time Lapse, take special notice of the craziness that comes with the storm rolling through!


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