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Lollapalooza 2012, Day Two: Rain Can't Stop the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party or the Weeknd
- Posted on Aug 5th 2012 1:20PM by Mike Mehalick
Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Saturday started innocently enough, as oppressive heat and humidity greeted fans still bleary-eyed from the previous day's marathon run of shows. Late lineup addition and hometown favorite Chief Keef started things off on the Perry's dance stage with a hype crew more than a dozen strong. Meanwhile, Los Angeles harmonizers Milo Greene offered up a set worthy of the acclaim preceding them, rewarding those who made the effort to get through the festival gates before noon.
On the other side of Grant Park, the hip-hop collective Doomtree delivered with large, ambient beats and a cerebral flow as the first wisps of clouds began to roll in. Impending Doomtree, indeed. In direct opposition to each other were sets by Brooklyn art-rockers Bear In Heaven and the fuzz-heavy roots-rock revivalists JEFF The Brotherhood. The heat and sun seemed to reach its apex as festivalgoers melted in order to catch some of their most anticipated acts. Not so much a high-temperature mark as it was a breaking point.
After a brief around-the-world tour of the 2pm sets by Delta Spirit, GIVERS, Moon Taxi and Aloe Blacc, the atmosphere inside and outside of Grant Park seemed to take on a slight hint of foreboding. While Neon Indian took the Sony stage for their mid-afternoon set, the clouds that had entirely blanketed the city of Chicago began to rapidly darken in hue. Things really started to feel eerie after a few minutes spent waiting for Paper Diamond at Perry's. Such a meticulously run festival rarely has an artist show up that late or not at all. Suddenly, the distant sounds from Neon Indian's set stopped like a flick of a switch. People were heading towards the emergency exits in droves, but not everyone seemed to understand why.
The reason soon became clear watching the near-hurricane-level storm unfold from the safety of a local diner. Rain drilled the streets of Chicago, limiting visibility entirely, while consistent gusts of wind battered trees and glass-enclosed storefronts. After two-plus hours of not knowing whether the festival would be able to continue, fans were alerted via social media and several forms of very excitable word of mouth that Lollapalooza was back on.
Hoots and hollers made for a very communal feel as fans resolved to not let the weather get in the way of a good time. That all changed quickly once they got a good look at what the storm had left in its wake. Gigantic pools of water sat stagnantly throughout Grant Park, with the worst area coming in front of the Red Bull Soundstage, where Red Hot Chili Peppers would later play to an overwhelmingly large crowd forced to circumnavigate the conditions. Sadly, the news began to stream out that the most impacted victims of the storm were ones that had gathered specifically to see rising rockers Alabama Shakes or The Temper Trap. Their sets were sacrificed as Lolla organizers and city officials pushed everything back 45 minutes, pushing the day right to 10:45PM.
Things were supposed to ramp back up promptly at 6:30PM, but an unusual day led to some unusual occurrences. Tallest Man On Earth's Kristian Matsson had had enough waiting through the storm and made his way out to the Playstation Stage 10 minutes before he was rescheduled to. Swirls of smoke surrounded the Dylan-esque folk singer as the crowds began to gather yet again after an adversity-laden afternoon.
"It's been raining and all that shit so might as well put this thing on," said Matsson as he accepted a multi-colored lai from a fan. "The weather really goes well with these hopeful songs."
From there things continued as best as they could, given the circumstances as Fun.'s Google Play Stage performance had fans spilling out into the surrounding streets, while Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus led her band, and a collection of Woodstock-level mud dancers, through all the choice selections from her breakout LP Whokill.
The hotly anticipated performance by Canadian soul-singer the Weeknd saw an interesting cross between the truly curious and those staking their claim for the impending Chili Peppers set later that night. The Weeknd, aka Abel Tasfaye, has a slew of self-released collections to his credit -- all crafted and honed outside of the live arena -- and this was a rare opportunity to catch a simmering star right on the verge of exploding into the mainstream.
"Mother nature is a fucking bitch huh?" said Tasfaye after wrapping up a stirring rendition of "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls."
In juxtaposition, on the Bud Light stage Franz Ferdinand turned in an extremely well-crafted and road-tested festival set. Fans who had come simply to hear mega-hit "Take Me Out" were dancing and bopping to the band's never-ending stream of funk-tinged rock. With a final exhausting walk across the festival grounds, one would find themselves rewarded with a masterful performance by the enormously talented Kele Okereke and Bloc Party. The British indie-rock outfit tore through some of their biggest hits while also taking the time out to present new material from their aptly titled fourth album, Four.
With muddy water trapped inside their shoes or grime covering their sandal-clad feet, the weary denizens of Lollapalooza 2012 wore haggard smiles as they made their way towards sets by Avicii, Frank Ocean, Santigold and the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- and the end of a day two that no one will soon forget.
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