Monday, August 10, 2009

Lolla Day Two: Animal Collective caps off a solid day

Day Two brought sunnier skies and dryer grounds, and the crowds were ready to rock. Up first was Miike Snow, the awkwardly named group that displays a electronic style of pop that wavers between Animal Collective-ish textures and more straightforward dance grooves. Overall I was entertained, but not really blown away. It just seemed like a solid electronic band, with shimmery vocals and pulsing rhythms. Also, all of the band members were wearing black-only outfits in +90 degree weather, which was either courageous or idiotic.

Next I made my way to the other end of the park for Los Campesinos!. Before I even got close, I could sense the amount of energy the group was giving off. The band seemed to be having a blast with their infectious blend of violin, guitar, glockenspiel, and yelping vocals, and the energy was transferred to the audience. Also, the lead singer was wearing jean shorts, which to quote from a previous paragraph, was either courageous or idiotic. But I'm leaning towards awesome.

After LC! I made my way over to the smaller Citi stage for Chairlift. Like most people, I really only know these guys because of their song "Bruises" that made its way into an iPod commercial ("I tried to do handstands for you"), but sound troubles seemed to mar this set and I left rather unsatisfied. The crowd seemed equally restless, waiting for the hit and having to sit through a muddy sound mix.

I then went to the smallest stage yet for Blind Pilot. I saw these guys open for the Decemberists and I was very impressed, so I thought I'd go see how they were doing since then. They drew a very impressive crowd to the small stage, going up against Arctic Monkeys across the park. They had the same stage presence as before, very bashful and respectful to the audience, grateful for their attendance, and the songs went down very well. The crowd seemed really into it, staying relatively quiet for this more acoustic group. Also, the preshow music consisted of the Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi" album played straight through, which was pretty delectable.

After Blind Pilot I tried to go catch a bit of the Arctic Monkeys , but the crowd was crushingly huge at the Budweiser stage, and I've never really gotten into the Monkeys anyways, so I headed back to the Citi stage for No Age. I've heard lots of things about these guys, but had never seen them, and I was very impressed. I stayed for the whole set, which was a little low on energy due to guitarist's Randy Randall's dislocated shoulder which forced him to sit on a chair for the whole set, but nonetheless they brought the rock. No Age is a drums-guitar duo, and the drummer handles the lead vocals, and it was an hour of pure rock. The first few rows of the crowd starting moshing early, and by the end it was a pulsating mob of sweaty dancers. One guy even ran up on stage, throwing the drummer a note before being forced offstage. A love note, perhaps? Wouldn't be surprising, the duo really know how to incite an energetic frenzy.

After No Age I headed over to catch the beginning of TV on the Radio. I've never seen these guys live, and they were pretty impressive, with a huge band that included 3 horn players up on stage. They started with a slow burner before landing on a big ball of energy on the second song. Very energetic and very comfortable on the main stage, but I had bigger fish to fry.

I headed over to get a good spot for my #1 show of Day Two: Animal Collective. I'll admit I'm a relatively casual fan of AC, not getting into them until this year's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" album. I came in tentative, and left blown away. The band played a very courageous set, opening with a brand new song "What Would I Want Sky", risky for both a) being a new song and b) being a song in 7/4, which means it's not the easiest to dance to. They waited until the third song to display a "Merriweather" track with "Guys Eyes" and the crowd responded with joyful glee. Crowd surfing was at an all-time high for this one.

The second half of the set featured a mammoth version of "Fireworks" that led into set-closer "Brothersport". One song was noticeably absent from the festival set, and that was "My Girls." The fact that they didn't feel pressed to play this song was very impressive in my mind, and they're probably sick of it by this point. Overall I was blown away by this group, and can't wait to see them in their own show.

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