Shovels & Rope
Shovels & Rope Credit: Leslie Ryan McKellar

See our previews and photo/video recaps of bands playing on:

Friday ·

Sunday ·

Lollapalooza main »

Check out our photos and video recap of Saturday’s Lollapalooza performances.

Shovels & Rope
Red Bull Sound Select Stage

Twangy, down-home guitar-and-drums bands are popping up as quickly as too-chic Strokes wannabes sprouted in Brooklyn in the early aughts, but the husband-and-wife combo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst set themselves apart by adding some sweat and scrap­yard grit to their sound. The duo’s 2012 debut, O’ Be Joyful (Dualtone), has some proper rock ‘n’ roll sass—”Hail Hail” is a strutting, snapping jam with a simple, muddy riff and a posse of horns wilding out behind the vocals. Add Hearst’s southern-hospitality drawl on the album’s gentler tracks and Trent’s occasionally biting backup vocals, and this early set should make it worth getting to the festival promptly today. —Kevin Warwick

Planet Hemp
Bud Light Stage

In 1993 in Rio de Janeiro, rappers Marcelo D2 and Skunk founded the unfortunately named Planet Hemp as a hip-hop duo. Skunk died of AIDS the following year, but Planet Hemp kept going, adding musicians and other vocalists to become one of Brazil’s most important bands, playing a slightly mooky mixture of rap, hard rock, and reggae, all flavored with Brazilian sounds; as their name suggests, they also promoted the legalization of cannabis. The group split up in 2001, eclipsed by Marcelo D2’s solo career; he just released an old-school hip-hop album called Nada Pode Me Parar (EMI Brazil), produced by longtime Beastie Boys cohort Mario Caldato Jr. The reunited Planet Hemp is in the U.S. for a pair of shows, with a lineup that also includes terrific vocalist BNegão. —Peter Margasak

ReignwolfCredit: Abby Williamson

Petrillo Stage

It’s debatable whether Seattle’s Jordan Cook, aka Reignwolf, would have attracted as much buzz with his bluesy rock ‘n’ roll if he weren’t able to set up his one-man show anywhere with electricity and a modest crowd. That DIY mentality has earned Cook a renegade reputation and regularly landed him on YouTube, stomping away on a bass drum and laying down tattered, fuzzy licks while a sweaty rag of hair flaps in his eyes. The whole production is hammy and hokey, but Cook’s got chops—he basically lights candles in memory of Jimi Hendrix and sings in a kinda-­soulful, kinda-cheeseball style that reminds me a little of Chris Cornell. It’s hard to deny the power and glory of “Electric Love” (a blues-rock song title if I ever heard one), which has the kind of hard guitar lick that’d make people on the sidewalk outside stop dead in their tracks and crack the club door to see what’s up. Also Sat 8/3 at Metro, sold out, 18+. —Kevin Warwick

Court Yard HoundsCredit: Stephen Lovekin

Court Yard Hounds
Lake Shore Stage

The Dixie Chicks derby has heated up this year, but I think Mother (Columbia), the hotly anticipated solo debut from Natalie Maines—which aims for roots-rock crunch with the help of Ben Harper’s band—clearly loses out to Amelita (Columbia), the second album from Court Yard Hounds, aka Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the two current Dixie Chicks who aren’t Maines. Court Yard Hounds are more modest in their approach, but they also sound more naturalistic and confident. Their vocal harmonies blend beautifully on upbeat numbers (the stinging title track recalls the Bangles at their best), and on mildly rootsy, midtempo songs they nail a sound redolent of 90s guitar-pop singers such as Sheryl Crow. I’m not sure what their polished, middle-of-the-road music has to do with the Lollapalooza nation, assuming such a thing still exists, but a glass-half-full type might see the festival’s lack of focus as broad-mindedness. —Peter Margasak

BaauerCredit: We Own The Night


Last year Brooklyn beat maker Baauer released a single called “Harlem Shake” through the Mad Decent imprint Jeffree’s, which essentially meant it was posted to the label’s SoundCloud and Tumblr pages. It performed respectably with a certain subset of EDM listeners and/or DJs, specifically those attracted to jury-rigged assemblages of the most aggressively obnoxious elements of trap music, hip-hop, and Dutch house—but no one expected that almost a year later “Harlem Shake” would explode into a meme big enough to swallow the Internet and shoot the song to the top of the pop charts. Fans of its frenetic energy should be pleased with Baauer’s DJ work, which is similarly noisy and in-your-face. Also Sat 8/3 at the Aragon Ballroom with Kendrick Lamar, sold out, 18+. —Miles Raymer

Eric ChurchCredit: John Peets

Eric Church
Lake Shore Stage

Lollapalooza isn’t exactly known for its country-music offerings, but Eric Church is hardly a hard-line traditionalist—as the title of his single “Springsteen” suggests. It’s one of a handful of hits from his 2011 album, Chief (EMI Nashville), which has dominated country radio for the past two years; it’s also among the finest efforts by the wave of singer-songwriters to which Church belongs, all of whom have found huge success tempering their twang with classic rock. While Church is more than willing to experiment with his sound, he stays true to country’s spirit—the lyrics to “Drink in My Hand,” for instance, are about the traditional pastime of drinking away a tough workweek. Also 8/2, Metro, sold out, 18+. —Miles Raymer

Heartless BastardsCredit: Nathan Presley

Heartless Bastards
The Grove

If you’re a native Cincinnatian, you’re obligated to count the Heartless Bastards among your favorite bands (even though they’ve moved to Austin). I didn’t freak out over the band’s bluesy, soulful bar (punk) rock until I’d bailed on the Queen City for Chicago, but Erika Wennerstrom’s voice—with its impossible­-to-ignore, Patti Smith-like force—won me over as soon as I heard it. Wennerstrom owns last year’s Arrow (Partisan) from the get-go. On the six-minute opener, “Marathon,” she shows off her surreal range, climbing gradually from a sultry, almost timid murmur to an anthemic, take-no-prisoners holler. She leads the charge on the rest of the album too, whether she’s singing an acoustic ditty or a plugged-in number such as “Got to Have Rock and Roll”—which delivers exactly what its title promises. Also Fri 8/2 at City Winery, sold out, 21+. —Kevin Warwick

Kendrick LamarCredit: Kevin Winter

Kendrick Lamar
Bud Light Stage

Los Angeles rapper Kendrick Lamar leaped to the top of the hip-hop heap last year with Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (Interscope/Aftermath/Top Dawg), a thoughtful, detailed album about growing up in Compton that fans and critics quickly canonized. Lamar is a versatile MC whose multi­faceted flow allows him to deliver complex, introverted rhymes about gangs, peer pressure, alcoholism, and street life with the kind of ease you might expect from a rapper working with much lighter material. Lamar’s deceptive heaviness resonates on hard-banging standouts “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” “Money Trees,” and “Swimming Pools (Drank),” which recall the laid-back, dragging funk of classic west-coast rap. Also Sat 8/3 at the Aragon with Baauer, $32, 18+. —Leor Galil

Supreme CutsCredit: Andrea Bauer

Supreme Cuts
Petrillo Stage

Local production duo Supreme Cuts make experimental pop with shades of R&B, hip-hop, and fringey Chicago dance music; 2012’s sometimes menacing Whispers in the Dark (Dovecote) can sound like sensual slow jams for poltergeists. In October of last year they followed it up with Chrome Lips (Mishka), a hip-hop mixtape cut with teenage MC Haleek Maul, whose unsettling, visceral rapping fits well with Supreme Cuts’ hazily subterranean beats. Some of the best cuts on Chrome Lips feature locals such as ShowYouSuck, Yen Tech, and Tree, whose easygoing flow on the retro-tinged R&B banger “Ball” totally slays. Also Fri 8/2 at House of Blues with Local Natives, sold out, 17+. —Leor Galil

The Postal ServiceCredit: Autumn de Wilde

The Postal Service
Bud Light Stage

A little more than a decade ago, Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard and producer Jimmy Tamborello began swapping ideas via snail mail for an electronic-pop side project called the Postal Service. Their fairly mundane creative process has been mythologized since the release of their lone full-length, 2003’s Give Up, largely because that album has become a cornerstone of the aughties indie zeitgeist. Its sugary, accessible, and exuberantly romantic songs have wormed their way into many millennials’ hearts and been dubbed onto almost as many mixtapes; Sub Pop’s recent deluxe reissue of Give Up is a reminder that its best tracks, including “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” can still make youthful existential anxiety sound golden. Also Sun 8/4 at Metro, sold out, 18+. —Leor Galil

See our reviews of bands playing on:

Friday ·

Sunday ·

Lollapalooza main »