CHICAGO — The [artist id=”1012″]Red Hot Chili Peppers[/artist] are a hard band to keep down. The three-time Lollapalooza vets showed the kids how it’s done on Saturday night, just three hours after the festival’s doors opened for a second time following a freak torrent of rain that necessitated an emergency evacuation of the grounds.
And while they were pulling out their entire arsenal of thumping tricks, a not-quite-as-massive crowd shoehorned into a much smaller area to see a subtler singer who will likely graduate to the main stage very soon, Frank Ocean.
For a while on Saturday, it looked like the Peppers might not get their ultra-rare Lolla three peat. But after organizers managed to quickly and efficiently herd the 60,000 fans who were in Grant Park before the storm out of the venue … and then back in three hours later, the Los Angeles band of funky brothers got their shot. And, like their beloved Lakers (okay, maybe not lately), Flea, Anthony, Chad and Josh almost never miss.
Dodging giant mud puddles in the flooded South field, a massive crowd slowly filled in the bog and boogied around to “Snow (Hey Oh),” at first avoiding the ankle-deep mess, but soon giving up on keeping their shoes pristine and reveling in the sludge, wiping it on their faces, bodies and winging handfuls at innocent bystanders.
Not that he needs to, but newbie guitarist Josh Klinghoffer more than acquitted himself on the crowd-assisted “Otherside,” giving the hit song’s solo a sharper, more metallic edge. The new song-heavy set moved through “Look Around” to “Throw Away Your Television,” which had a spare, tribal drum jam beat interrupted by a twitchy, staticky solo from Klinghoffer that sounded like a broken-up satellite transmission.
Bassist Flea and Klinghoffer got down on their knees for a virtuoso pluck-off showdown intro to the rubbery “Can’t Stop.” And what better time to bust out the recent single “The Adventures of Raindance Maggie” than a day when a rain dance was really the last thing anyone needed? Proof? Out in the middle of the crusty crowd a patch of ground the size of a football field became a mucky graveyard for an endless parade of flip-flops, formerly white shorts and a beach kiosk worth of sunglasses.
The bass-plucking funk of the classic “Suck My Kiss” got the crowd moshing in the slop, “Under the Bridge” evoked a sea of raised waving arms and voices as far as you could see and hear and a gentle “Californication” led to copious slow-dancing, making out and who knows what later?
“By The Way” thrummed away as fireworks lit up the sky over Lake Michigan and weary, and let’s face it, really, really filthy fans trudged toward the exits. The Peppers sent them to the showers with an encore of “Brendan’s Death Song” and the sure-fire pleaser “Give it Away.”
Earlier, before the storms hit, Jeff the Brotherhood, who play a kind of Southern-boogie-meets-the-Ramones sludge, helped opened the day with the numbskull nation anthem, “The Shredder.” Playing an upside down Lucite guitar with three bass strings and wearing short jean shorts and a ragged jean vest, long haired lead singer Jake Orrall joined his brother drummer Jamin Orrall for a short, sharp set of gabba gabba bro-down ragers, including their major-label debut single, “Sixpack.”
With ominous clouds rolling in, Neon Indian offered up some hazy keyboard rock (and fatherly illicit substance-management advice) before leaving the stage prematurely following their signature hit, “Terminally Chill.”
Toronto’s The Weeknd helped get things back on track once the skies cleared with a thick gumbo of live band funk that included the slow grinding “The Morning” and the old school soul bounce of “House of Balloons.” The falsetto siren song of singer and band brainchild Abel Tesfaye was so strong that Santigold wandered out of the backstage area before her closing set later in the night to get a close-up view near the stage.
As if that wasn’t enough, while Ocean was wowing them on a side stage, Swedish dance music piano-man Avicii kept his head at Lollapalooza, by literally bringing his 3-D mapped ginormous head, debuted first at Coachella, to Grant Park. Avicii’s set was a virtual track-for-track singalong, with “Silhouettes,” “Fade into Darkness,” Superlove,” and a set closing Robyn remix rousing over 10,000 fans into hysteria.
With near-perfect weather predicted for Sunday, fans will be back in the park again for a day of sets from the likes of Florence + the Machine, Jack White, Kaskade, Justice, Childish Gambino and At the Drive-In. MTV News is at MTV News is at Lollapalooza! Stick with us for the best festival coverage, as we bring you up-to-the-minute access to the shows, performers and more.