Saturday’s Lollapalooza lineup was marked by several fine punk rock performances. Against Me! showed off their stellar songwriting abilities by playing a set filled mostly with tunes from its new album, White Crosses. Melodic and politically charged, the band’s songs really resonated, and the guys appeared to be having fun delivering them.
Social Distortion took a far more serious approach but was just as good, offering up covers of the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” in addition to their own rockabilly-informed punk rock.
Headliners Green Day were particularly animated as singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong regularly brought audience members on stage with him to singalong to tunes like “Know Your Enemy” and “Holiday.” The band was in fine form, even when jokingly playing a medley of metal tunes featuring “Iron Man” and “Highway to Hell.”
The XX were one of the afternoon’s most anticipated shows, but the British dreampop band’s atmospheric music sounded too diffuse on a big stage. The same goes for Grizzly Bear. While their vocal harmonies were delivered flawlessly, the band didn’t have any stage presence.
Singer-songwriter Dan Zanes was a real hoot, however, as he goofed around on the kids’ stage, clucking like a chicken while beckoning kids and parents to dance.
Performing during a headlining slot, Phoenix had trouble commanding a large stage; the French group’s techno-y tunes simply droned a bit too much. —Jeff Niesel
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