The return of Radiohead to Lollapalooza on Friday was met with immense anticipation from faithful, though arguably just as many were across Grant Park catching Major Lazer. Even so, Radiohead kicked off the revelry about a half hour earlier ensuring enough time for a double sample, but rather than beginning with a bang, the band slowly built the atmosphere with brand new cuts “Burn The Witch” and “Daydreaming” (off “A Moon Shaped Pool,” the group’s first album in five years).
Although technically not in a headliner slot, Future may have very well been given that his audience appeared to be the largest of the day (hot on the heels of two shows with Drake at the United Center).
It wasn’t an ideal way to reel in the casual “Creep” crowd, though anyone who’s caught the indie rockers before knew it was only a matter of time before the more electrifying experimentations kicked into the gear. As the night ebbed and flowed, so did Radiohead’s visual accompaniment, which was a combination of quirky shapes, patterns and synchronizations, plus an occasional broadcast of Thom Yorke and company deep in the throws of concentration.
The band was actually at its best during the home stretch of the set, particularly as the electronic soundscapes of “Everything In Its Right Place” and “Idioteque” injected a jittery jolt into the generally dreamy affair. Come the finale “Karma Police,” the guys turned towards an acoustic mindset, but with most everyone singing along, the quieter affair was a fair choice to cap off a cerebral evening that found Radiohead mostly following its muse rather than the pulse of the masses.
Although technically not in a headliner slot, Future may have very well been given that his audience appeared to be the largest of the day (hot on the heels of two shows with Drake at the United Center). Despite the fact that some of his lyrics were riddled with standard hip-hop clichés, he’s quite an extraordinary entertainer boasting a hit parade that’s impossible to deny or forget.
Along with a few male dancers, a DJ and even a brief but dynamic cameo from Chance The Rapper, Future had his onlookers transfixed, especially when he had everyone throw two fingers up for “peace, Chicago and hip-hop.” Towards the end of the incendiary set, that social consciousness expanded to include a statement against police brutality, followed by the fulfillment of his promise to make it one of Lolla’s hottest parties until the very last second he left the stage.
Out of the afternoon slots, The Struts surely stole the show, treating the widespread introduction as if it was Queen playing Live Aid. Nothing may ever compare to that historic moment, but frenetic and flashy front man Luke Spiller earned the entire field’s focus while channeling the ghost of Freddie Mercury and picking up where fellow rock revivalists Fun and The Darkness left off.
Chicago audiences also finally got the chance to see Canada’s Alessia Cara after two rainouts when she was scheduled to open for Coldplay. Thankfully, the pop/R&B-infused singer/songwriter was more than worth the wait thanks to her confident delivery and meaningful messages spanning affirmations and anti-conformity anthems (which return to the Chicago Theatre on Friday, October 7).
France’s M83 turned in some trippy synthpop that was musically satisfying, but would’ve probably come across stronger in front of a packed club in the wee hours than a park in the broad daylight. England’s Foals faired better blending bits of indie, alternative and art rock, keeping the electricity high as rain loomed, though thankfully never spoiled the 25th anniversary festivities.
Click here for more day two photos of Lollapalooza at Grant Park.