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Lollapalooza packs 'em in for first day

August 05, 2011|By Greg Kot
  • The crowd listens to Foster the People.
The crowd listens to Foster the People. (Brian Cassella / Chicago…)

Lollapalooza is feeling the weight of its 90,000 capacity crowd Friday just before headliners Muse and Coldplay arrive. The South Side of the park is packed, with a Times Square vibe spilling over from the Perry’s stage, which once again is the hit of the festival.

With Skrillex commanding a huge crowd, the sound and lights awhirl and a crowd collectively dancing itself into a sweaty frenzy – including a dozen partyers who climbed a generator outside the tent, the better to gyrate in full view of Grant Park – it seems inevitable that Lollapalooza will eventually go 50-50 on electronic/DJ performers vs. rock bands.

The scene at Skrillex was in sharp contrast to the large but relatively sedate crowd that gathered for A Perfect Circle on the main stage.  The quintet’s  spidery guitars and abstract rhythms wove an intricate web of sound, but it wasn’t the party vibe that made Perry’s such a huge draw, whether it was  Bermuda reggae toaster Collie Buddz or Chicago house DJ Lady D.

The day’s most notable performer so far is Terri Gender Bender of the Mexican garage band Le Butcherettes. She hurled her high heels into the crowd, performed somersaults, stage-dived, and played guitar and keyboards while channeling more voices than Sybil. Her performance was underlined by a ferocious rhythm section. Near the end of the set, her drummer threw up several times, only to continue as though nothing could stop him.  

greg@gregkot.com

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