Since the start of Lollapalooza Argentina in 2014, there has been a major change in the mentality of regular festival-goers. The eclectic yet meticulously-calibrated lineup, complimentary amenities such as food and resting areas and, most importantly, the quest for the public's comfort have turned the event into a personal experience.
That said, a few adjustments had to be made to this year's fest, which kicked off Friday (March 31) and included performances by Metallica and the Chainsmokers. This time, security and transportation were tightened in the wake of the two deaths following a massive concert (350,000 in attendance) by superstar Indio Solari in the province of Olavarría in March. The layout of the festival was also changed to better accommodate crowds.
The first beats of the day at Lollapalooza Argentina were conjured up by newcomer Louta, who demonstrated that underground indie is still alive and well. Moments later, two other local groups, Palo Pandolfo and Leon Gieco (at the Alternative and Main Stage 1, respectively), provided wonderful sets of road-tested melodies. Pandolfo performed a repertoire of songs from his solo efforts as well as a few tunes from his previous groups, Los Visitantes and Don Cornelio y la Zona.
However, Gieco was the standout. The singer/songwriter had been a pretty controversial choice for this year's lineup, but he earned his spot as he took the stage with a new band, in a Neil Young and Crazy Horse approach. Minutes later, Glass Animals injected psychedelia, fragility and flying pineapples to Main Stage 2, still fresh after having delivered a brilliant set at their Niceto sideshow the day before.
When generations overlap, crossover triumphs. In that sense, Cage the Elephant returned to the festival and expanded its fanbase. Frontman Matt Shultz led their classic sounding tunes, looking like Mick Jagger at his most belligerent.
As the sun went down, the 1975 made the concept of retro its own and delved deep in search of '80s synth pop, with danceable hits such as "Girls" and "Chocolate." At dusk, Rancid took the stage and delivered its streetwise punk rock in a set that explored its entire career.
Many of the same fans who bled and sweat in the Berkeley band's ferocious set unabashedly came together at the xx's endearing show. The English trio engaged its audience with their best, exploring the intimate feeling of their first records and then the sense of liberation of I See You. Jamie xx even took the chance to play "Loud Places" from his solo outfit.
As audiences moved to and fro throughout the premises, Metallica made Main Stage 1 its own in a show where classics such as "Master of Puppets," "One" and "Seek and Destroy" mixed with deep cuts like "Fight Fire With Fire" and "Hit the Lights" and a few new tunes like "Moth Into Flame" and N"ow That We're Dead." At the same time, the defining encores of "Nothing Else Matters" and "Enter Sandman" proved that metal is still vibrant with energy.
After the fireworks, and with the metal hordes retreating, the Chainsmokers opened up the dance floor and fired everyone up with their mix of dubstep, garage and chest-beating bass.
It was far from being the freak circus that Perry Farrell conceived in the early '90s, but little of that matters. Lollapalooza stands today as a captivating proposal, enough to entice anyone to gladly return the following year.