Any hardcore music fan knows the day a festival lineup is announced, of course one will look at the headliners first… but then quickly start scanning down for the undercard as that is where a festival is made.
Fans know what they are getting when they see acts like Paul McCartney and Metallica booked on a bill. The sense of discovery comes from those acts that will be playing in the afternoon – the ones who take the stage before the sun goes down. Day 1 of Lollapalooza in Chicago definitely offered some breakout moments. Here are a few of Yahoo Music’s favorites.
Black Pistol Fire
Power duos are nothing new in rock; just look at the success in recent years of the Black Keys and the current chart-topping Twenty One Pilots. But a power duo that can almost match the power and intensity of the massive rock sounds of the likes of Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac? That is something to take note of, and Black Pistol Fire did just that at the BMI stage, rocking the crowd with a mix of their own songs and covers of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio” and Fleetwood Mac’s powerful blues-rocker “Oh Well.” And the Zeppelin intensity comes from the little snippet they throw in of “The Lemon Song.” The Canadian pair of Kevin McKeown and Eric Owen definitely displayed force – and then some – in a breakout set.
First Aid Kit
Speaking of duos, Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg generated a lot of buzz in the completely opposite way from Black Pistol Fire, with their quiet vibe. The sisters are a folk duo first, but as they talked about backstage before their set, they’ve learned to up the ante and the amps at festivals. The result was spectacular as fans at the Pepsi stage still totally got the beauty of songs like “The Lion’s Roar” and “Master Pretender,” but got to rock out as well during those moments when the guitars screamed out to make sure the crowd was paying attention, which they definitely were.
Cold War Kids
True, L.A’s Cold War Kids have been making the rounds at festivals for years, their biggest radio hit, “Hang Me Up to Dry,” turns 10 next year! But they continue to put out quality music and work hard to win over fans, which they definitely did with their afternoon set at the Samsung Galaxy stage. The highlight today was their raucous cover of John Lennon’s “Well Well Well.”
Straight out of Oxford, this quartet has gotten a lot of radio love in the past year for the moody alternative hit “Gooey,” but live at Lollapalooza in the afternoon, the band showed a much more upbeat vibe that felt as good as it sounded. Glass Animals absolutely established themselves as a band to watch live.
When it came to pop energy on day one of Lollapalooza, though, no one had a thing on Michigan singer-songwriter Borns, who not only dazzled with high octane pop, but may have won the cover of the day award with his rendition of Elton John’s seminal “Bennie and the Jets,” an inspired selection for its equally feelgood vibes.
photos: Getty Images