So it is 1 A.M. Friday night (Saturday Morning? I never know) and whereas most people are thinking, “Hey so uh sleeeep.” I was thinking, “Let’s hop on a bus so I can get down to Chicago in time for Saturday!” Moral of the story: ride the Megabus, its cheap. Also, while the red eye buses have amazing availability, it is really hard to sleep when you are on the way to Lollapalooza. After sleeping only a few hours off and on, I was there.
So we leave our bags in our hotel, do the whole Starbucks thing, and then head over. Saturday’s lineup was incredible. Staying at one stage I got to be front row for 8 different wonderful artists, half of them female. So yadda yadda yadda, I’ll get onto performances.
First of all a shout out to all the women who played Saturday: Ximena Sarinana, Julia Easterlin, An Horse, Phantogram, Skylar Grey, Fitz & The Tantrums, Ellie Goulding, The Pretty Reckless, Beats Antique, and Lykke Li (Note the number of already featured SWAS artists, Lollapalooza knows what’s up).
I was fortunate enough to see Julia Easterlin, An Horse, Ellie Goulding, and Lykke LI.
Julia Easterlin – The tone of a concert is always set to fun when the lead singer throws a couple bottles of red face paint into the audience. Julia Easterlin is from the local Chicago area and has just started making music and has really emerged as a wonderful loop artist (Loop artists, for those who don’t know, utilize technology to store different vocal tracks and layer them together to make chords and such). Julia’s set was full of raw energy and was truly inspired. She was more than excited to be there. She even took on an Aretha Franklin song and deconstructed it into loops and it was original and fantastic. She really has an amazing voice and to hear pitches like she does takes a whole different level talent wise. Not only this but she had all sorts of face paint and was dancing all the time at her mike. Definitely check her out.
An Horse – The tone of this show? The first five seconds people start an Aussie chant in the audience. An Horse put on an amazing set. They are always so cool on stage and are the couple that just has a swagger for rock. They pour emotions into songs though, which a lot of rockers will ignore at live concerts, but the passion was just really phenomenal. An Horse doesn’t really have guitar solos or all the bells and whistles, they really just let the lyrics shine in all of their songs. I very highly recommend them as music to have on while thinking. Mini-plug, they’re now on tour with Kevin Devine, so go!
Ellie Goulding – To repeat the theme of setting a tone, Ellie did about as wonderful job as any. Ellie had her crew bring boxes and boxes and boxes (and boxes…) of star shaped sunglasses for her set since she has a song called Starry Eyed. So they heaved these all throughout the audience and fans got pumped easily. Getting freebies? We were into it already. Ellie has one of the most unique voices of anyone in the music business today. She uses it as an instrument and people who don’t even like her music can appreciate her voice. Ellie was big on dancing on stage and you could tell she was proud of her music. Ellie’s shows sell out in England, her home country, about as fast as Spiderman got negative reviews on Broadway. It was a real treat to see her. Also, her beats are incessantly catchy so be warned.
Lykke Li – Imagine the audience as Lykke’s entire band comes out in black with smoke from a smoke machine all around them. Lykke takes center stage as the rest of the band is in a semi-circle behind her. She is clearly the star. Then Lykke proceeded to take us on an extremely rhythmic tour of her music. You could always feel her emotions as her arms were vehicles of expression. She really knew how to perform! She worked the audience like the pro that she is. Lykke’s music is delightfully drum oriented to the point where she has her own drum and she also has two drummers. Listen to all these drums line up in an almost tribal fashion for Get Some was magical. Lykke also did a stellar job of playing slower songs and even did a Bjork cover that gave the audience goose bumps as it was performed so delicately. Lykke Li is one of those artists that sound even better live than on a recording. Lucky was I to obtain a drumstick. I can now die happily.
Tune in next week for the conclusive Sunday and the exploration of acts like The Joy Formidable and Gold Motel.