Lolla in Brief: Day 1

What an excellent start to the weekend. Lolla on a Thusday was great: crowded, but not too crowded and we were able to get fairly close to the stage for each act.

I was pleasantly surprised by almost all acts I saw yesterday. To start the day was Autolux, a band I’ve never listened to prior to the show yesterday but who made quite the impression on me. The distortion on each instrument was absolutely insane. I can imagine this is a type of band whose studio sound translates well to the main stage, despite so much production. It was like a mixture of Sonic Youth and a heavy dose of My Bloody Valentine, with a few touches of Smashing Pumpkins in there. Additionally, the band’s stage presence was crazy chill for how loud they were.

Another gem was Bob Moses. I’ll be honest, I hated this group’s breakout single “Tearing Me Up,” so my expectations were low. This show, however, was 45 minutes of my expectations being completely shattered. Bob Moses is like the baby version of Hot Chip, with a fantastic blend of “real” instrumentation and synths and drum machines. I think they’re one of those bands who’s just better live. It was impossible to not dance to what these guys were cranking out. I was even singing along to “Tearing Me Up” by the end of the show. I just wish it’d been longer.

Then came some good clean fun with The Arkells, a Canadian alt rock band who had great stage presence. I’d missed a bit of their show, but upon arrival was instantly caught up in the fun. Some highlights of audience interaction featured the frontman dedicating a song to his newly engaged friends and having them come on stage to dance, a few impromptu Elton John covers from the keyboard player and call-and-response singing between the frontman and audience.

The big disappointment, at least for me, was unfortunately Bastille. I don’t doubt that the band sounded good and I really do enjoy moments of their first record (as well as their new single “Good Grief”). But their  soundsystem  was majorly glitchy and all I could hear from where I was in the crowd was the bass. The singer’s voice was completely drowned out and the instruments were muffled.

But, thankfully, Kurt Vile and the Violators delivered an hour of great jams. It wasn’t nearly as mellow as I thought, and Vile’s voice had that perfect laid back slacker vibe I’ve come to love. The studio sound from “Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze” and “b’live im goin down…” carried so well to the main stage. I especially liked the layered guitars and touches of saxophone. And of course I was amazed at how relaxed and at home Kurt and his band seemed on the stage. I may’ve even liked it a bit more than The War on Drugs last year, but that’s debatable.

Probably the most surprising of the bands yesterday was The Arcs, the side project of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. I consider myself a casual Black Keys fan, and I enjoyed a bit of what’s come off “Brothers,” “El Camino” and “Turn Blue” (while also thinking it does have a very similar, formulaic sound). I went to see The Arcs because a.) I’m not a 1975 fan and they were playing around the same time and b.) I had to pass on seeing The Black Keys in 2013 because of school. I was expecting a watered down Black Keys show but instead was blown away by all the blues influence in each song. I especially loved how the brass instrumentation and backup singers (who all played different instruments, too) complimented Auerbach’s guitar solos and gravelly voice. The band’s stage presence was a combination of both untouchably cool and wonderfully friendly. They seemed genuinely happy to be performing and their audience was going nuts. 

Thanks for reading! Hope you’re enjoying Lolla as much as I am. Stay tuned for more updates and God bless.

-A.L.D.

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