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Lolla 2012: Best and worst Friday performances

( ( Brian Cassella/Chicago…)
August 03, 2012|By RedEye Sound Board


Metric, 4 p.m. at Bud Light stage

Frontwoman Emily Haines is absolutely unstoppable on stage, moving from keys to tambourine to guitar and back during a set with perfect pacing and just the right balance of old favorites and new material from the long-awaited "Synthetica." Haines' voice is impossibly pure in a live setting, and the band has a synergy and energy that can't quite be matched during a fest like this. Way to kickstart the weekend, Metric. --Jessica Galliart

There is nothing--I repeat, nothing--Metric singer Emily Haines can't do. She sings, she shreds a guitar, she slams a piano and she has her audience leaping on the balls of their crud-stained feet. This is what being a rock star and bringing the party looks like. -- Dana Moran

Having only seen Metric in small venues over the years, it was great to hear Emily Haines command the main stage. Playing old classics and hits from their new album ‘Synthetica,’ Metric rocked the crowd and had everyone dancing, regardless of the temperature.  -- Rex Chekal

The Black Keys, 8:30 p.m. at Red Bull Soundstage
These two put on an amazing show, both musically and as a spectacle. I came in knowing barely any of their songs and left wanting it all. -- Harry Huggins

Runner-up: Passion Pit, 6 p.m. at Bud Light stage

This may not have been the most exciting show of the day, but it felt the most important. With the band in a large semi-circle leaving plenty of room in the middle, the lead singer paced around constantly, emphasizing the seriousness of many of his catchy songs' lyrics. -- Harry Huggins

DJ Zebo, 7:15 p.m. at PlayStation stage

Topless women? Check.  Hard beats? Indeed. Local DJ Zebo took advantage of the time slot and brought the pain. Sparks literally flew. -- Ernest Wilkins

The War on Drugs, 2:15 p.m. at Google Play Stage

I have no patience for noodling of any kind, and Philadelphia psych-rockers the War on Drugs gave me no reason to complain. They may specialize in hazy ‘70s grooves and jams that take over for songs that sometimes offer a fuzzy take on Dylan, but the band made every section count, with or without words, never improvising without somewhere to go. Acts like this rarely have as much purpose and swagger. – Matt Pais

Runner-up: First Aid Kit, noon at PlayStation stage

A perfect way to kick off the fest, this Swedish trio’s lovely folk songs kept a large crowd riveted for the length of a deeply charming set, which worked to engage a fest audience while sticking to what FAK does best: sweet, simple arrangement and terrific harmonies. – Matt Pais

Dev, 6:50 p.m. at BMI stage

You might not know her name, but once the music started, fans recognized the voice featured on "Like a G6." Dev brough high energy and turned this little patch of Grant Park into a dance club. Fans bounced and their bodies pulsed to the beat of her radio-friendly finale, "In the Dark." When Dev's set stopped, I still wanted to shake it a little more. -- Leonor Vivanco

Die Antwoord, 5 p.m. at Playstation stage
A long way from home, this South African trio is now synonymous with "zef," the Afrikaans term for something being cool. And oh how zef they are. With neon orange pants, asymmetrical haircuts, pale eyebrows and tattoos for days, the husband and wife team of Yo-Landi Vi$$er and Ninja, along with DJ Hi-Tek, are the zef ambassadors to the world. Often mixing in tongue-in-cheek phrases from their native Afrikaaners language ("ag shame die arme meisie" means "ah shame the poor girl" from their song "Rich Bitch") Yo-Landi and Ninja rapped fast to catchy beats that got even the shyest body moving. -- Julia Bohan

Whether you think they're crazy fun or just crazy, this South African rave group brought major energy to their set and left non-fans scrambling to download a track or two. -- Emily Van Zandt

Best? Possibly. Most memorable? Definitely. Every bit of this South African rap-rave group's show was captivating. From their clothes (orange-hooded jumpsuits, later stripped down) to accessories (neon watches, Pink Floyd boxer shorts and black contact lenses) to masks (the DJ's face was covered) to their antics and dance moves and crowd-surfing you couldn't look away. Added, the beats were killer backup for Yo-Landi's cartoon-sounding voice that was surprisingly less annoying live than I expected. All added up, the spectacle works. -- Sara Stewart

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