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Lolla 2012: Best and worst Saturday performances

(Mike Rich /RedEye )
August 04, 2012|By RedEye Sound Board

Best

Frank Ocean, 9:45 p.m. at Google Play stage

I've been steadily listening to Frank Ocean's work for more than a year, and to finally catch him live was amazing. Despite performing many songs from just a stool on stage, the R&B singer put on a great show. Killer voice, killer lyrics. Highlight of the fest for me. -- Emily Van Zandt

The lucky few who caught Frank's show at Metro Friday night heard nearly the same set list at Saturday's show. That just meant a chance to appreciate his amazing ability to connect with an even larger crowd. "Bad Religion" doesn't work nearly as well outdoors, but man, does this guy have an incredible voice. "Thinkin Bout You" is an absolute live standout. -- Dana Moran

Runner-up: Fun, 6:30 p.m. at Google Play stage

Whoever runs Fun.'s Twitter account is doing a great job. The band sent out set-time updates throughout the rain lockout and were one of the first to let us know when they'd be onstage. The result: plenty of happy fans ready to sing along to "We Are Young" as if the storm never happened. -- Dana Moran

Doomtree, 12:45 p.m. at Red Bull Soundstage

On top of headliner-size beats, this Minneapolis hip-hop collective delivered an absolutely massive set, sampling from the group's records as well as solo material from its MCs (including "Low Light Low Life," a standout from P.O.S.' exceptional "Never Better"). Following a set on Perry's stage (see below) that offered not an ounce of competent lyricism or stage presence, Doomtree, which also features major rap forces in Dessa and Sims, put on a clinic of smarts and power, often turning tracks into riveting and sometimes party-starting spoken-word explosions. Moving, fun, thoughtful, awesome. -- Matt Pais

Runner-up: The Weeknd, 7:15 p.m. at Red Bull Soundstage

Beginning more than an hour after its previously scheduled time due to the weather-related evacuation, Canadian R&B act the Weeknd proved that the success of 2011's three free mixtapes (highlighted by the first installment, "House of Balloons") is no flash in the pan. This group, its tight offering of live instruments and Abel Tesfaye's remarkable falsetto, crafts haunting fables that could inspire nightmares if the music weren't so damn sexy. The Weeknd's best suited for 2 a.m. reflections, and the mood didn't always translate in the festival setting. Tesfaye's pipes, however, never failed to amaze. -- Matt Pais

Franz Ferdinand, 7:30 p.m. at Bud Light stage

The post-evacuation crowd was treated to an otherworldly performance from this endlessly energetic Scottish quartet. At one point, all four of them were wailing on the drumset and actually making it sound musical. -- Harry Huggins


Best timing yet: Our group got back into the festival just in time to catch the end of Fun.'s set. And by end of the set, I mean my favorite three songs from the band's recent album. As the fans poured back into Grant Park, everyone crowded around the tiny Google Play stage until people were spilling into the street behind the trees, chanting "Weee Aaare Young ..." in unison. -- Sara Stewart
Runner-up: Santigold, 9:45 p.m. at Perry's stageSantigold's late-night dance party capped a fun and unexpected day at Lolla. Thanks, Chicago, for allowing extra time. -- Sara Stewart
Santigold, 9:45 p.m. at Perry's stageFlanked by two dancers who graduated magna cum laude from Fly Girl University, Santi White proceeded to run through her hits and get the entire crowd grooving. She even brought out two guys in a horse suit for her verse on Major Lazer's "Hold the Line."  Horse. Suit. -- Ernest Wilkins

Twin Shadow, 8:30 p.m. at Google Play stage
George Lewis Jr.'s band Twin Shadow should have been given a larger stage for the amount of hype this artist has received for his newest album "Confess" and the eager audience of chain-smoking hipsters that crowded the area a half-hour early. Even after the drama of a show cancellation, thunderstorm and audio problems the band brought electric energy and the audience, who sang and clapped along to every song, brought their adoration. It's obvious George is a gifted lyricist who combines heartstring-tugging phrases with toe-tapping beats. The group's set was indeed, as George exclaimed, "short and sweet." -- Julia Bohan

Worst

Twin Shadow, 8:30 p.m. at Google Play stage

Who knows how this set would have gone without the rain delay pushing everything back, but George Lewis Jr. and crew could not get their act together. Sound issues forced the band to check for 20 minutes in front of a restless crowd, with continuing issues throughout a ridiculously brief set. Fans vocalized disappointment. The rest just wanted to get on to Frank Ocean. -- Emily Van Zandt

Chief Keef, 12:15 p.m. at Perry's stage

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