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Festival review: Lollapalooza 2010 Day 2

Gogol Bordello performing Saturday, August 7 at Lollapalooza in Grant Park
Gogol Bordello performing Saturday, August 7 at Lollapalooza in Grant Park
Susan Schomburg

The second day of Lollapalooza didn't have a whole lot of acts I particularly wanted to see, but instead had a bunch of acts I had heard good things about and wanted to see for myself.

This afternoon, anthemic gypsy-punk outfit Gogol Bordello delivered an exhilirating set complete with dancing, chanting, and general musical mayhem.  The band, a miniature melting pot, included violin, accordion, bass, drums, and electric and acoustic guitars.  It seemed nobody in the audience could keep still during their set--small wonder, as nobody on stage could, either.  They tore it up live.  I'm not surprised their aftershow sold out in fairly short order, and will look forward to seeing them at a more intimate venue the next time they're in town.

The grove of trees that provided the setting for the set by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros was packed with people.  I was a bit surprised to see how many people were there to see the band, but with so many people onstage (about ten, if my sketchy head count was accurate), it would have been a bit silly to have an empty audience for their show.  The group is clearly an ensemble/friend band, where everybody gets in on the music-making, which isn't a bad thing; there was a definite collective feel to the set, and their songs are perfect for singing along to.  The stand-out performance (for me) came from singer/guitarist Jade Castrinos, who has a gorgeous set of pipes.  Her voice is rich and reedy and has an old-soul feel to it.  The set was pleasant and the band and audience seemed to have a really good time, but based on their set yesterday, I don't know that I'd go specifically to see them live again (although I certainly wouldn't avoid a show with them on the bill, either).

Walking around the fest during the late afternoon, I unexpectedly ran into some friends, and wound up tagging along with them to see Green Day's set.  I figured I'd check them out, see a couple songs, then head over to see Phoenix play.  But wow.  They really know how to put on a good live show.  Although their music isn't really to my taste and is probably far too commercial by now to be relevant (assuming it ever was), their live show was very exciting and entertaining.  They got everyone dancing and singing along, brought several people from the audience onstage (encouraging one to stage-dive into the crowd and having another take the lead vocals on a song), and threw in plenty of fireworks and pyrotechnics for good measure.  There was a bit too much buildup during the intros to their songs (they could have played a lot more songs if they hadn't spent twice as long on the intros as on the songs themselves), but at least it was fun.  As frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said during their set, people paid their hard-earned money to come to see them play, and they were going to give them a hell of a show.  Their set is what I was expecting from Lady Gaga yesterday (and did not get)--stage spectacle worth remembering for some time to come.