On a day that debuted the newly revamped Perry's, Lollapalooza's dance stage named for festival founder Perry Farrell, electronic and dance music were fully represented. However, it was solid rock that closed the day with headliners The Black Keys (shown at right) and legendary heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.
My Lollapalooza 2012 began with a mellow tone catching former American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart in her Lollapalooza debut. Her vocal chops are impressive, and she made the performance a family affair with mother and sister singing backup and her dad appearing to play guitar. Not far away I also caught the festival debut of British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka. His intimate sound brought smiles to the faces of the appreciative gathering crowd.
By mid-afternoon electronic and dance music began taking over the day. South Africa's Die Antwoord electrified the crowd with their often profane, but undeniably catchy and powerful blend of hip hop, dance music, and conceptual art. They were followed by the beautiful indie electropop of Passion Pit. The group's second album Gossamer was just released a little over a week ago, and their songs translated well to the festival stage.
Later in the day I caught the Lollapalooza debut of Dev with her dance club favorite "Bass Down Low." Unfortunately the performance was dragged down by annoying sound system distortions. My first exposure to the newly designed Perry's, an open air dance stage replacing last year's massive dance tent, came with British dubstep heroes Nero. The sound and design are truly impressive, but if you can catch Nero in concert with their own stage design, it is a better representation of what the pair can really do.
Following the thump of Nero's dubstep, it was time to watch critically acclaimed M83, and their beautiful, more ethereal electronic music. There is little in theatricality to the performance of M83, but the sheer beauty of the music made the group well worth watching. To close the night the action moved to the graduation of The Black Keys to headlining status proving the duo are one of today's top rock acts in a musical climate in which rock can seem to be absent too much of the time.
- Watch The Black Keys play "Lonely Boy"