BY MITCHELL HERRMANN For the Sun-Times
On Saturday night, electronic act Pretty Lights performed for those looking for something a bit mellower than Eminem, and for those who preferred the electronic to the acoustic. Hunched over his laptop amid flashing LED towers, Derek Vincent Smith mixed warm vinyl samples with stuttering drum loops as the blissful crowd danced enthusiastically. Alternately funky, soulful and heavy, Pretty Lights' set showed a surprising amount of dubstep influence, adding wobbling basslines to the usual trip-hop beats. Although the show was without the acoustic drummer Smith often uses for live shows, the spectacular light show more than made up for it. The light show was the best at Perry's so far.
It seems only fitting that Perry Farrell should perform on the stage that bears his name. Stepping outside the kind of alternative rock he first became famous for, Farrell, along with dance music producer Chris Cox, performed an hourlong DJ set supplemented by his own live vocals. Farrell received a rousing cheer as he walked onstage. He was joined occasionally by his wife, Etty, who assisted him in singing but mostly just danced seductively for the crowd. Sometimes Farrell would run across the front of the stage while Cox manned the DJ mixer, as when Farrell joined the crowd in a raucous singalong of "Where's Your Head At" over a pounding club beat.
Chuckie, born in the small South American country of Suriname, played a DJ set of Dutch and Electro House, with a mix of other genres of dance music thrown in for good measure. Earlier in the day the Lollapalooza crew had dismantled sections of the Perry's tent, so that parts of the venue were now open to the sky. Although this allowed people on the outside of the tent to see in, when an early afternoon rainstorm came in, things began to get muddy.
The Glitch Mob, now a trio after the recent departure of one of its founding members, produces beat heavy electronic music which they then perform live using an array of touch screen controllers, drum pads, and laptops. It wasn't always clear exactly what they were doing as they poked LED screens and twiddled plastic knobs on stage Saturday night, but it nonetheless provided a visual spectacle that nicely complemented Perry's impressive light display. The Glitch Mob brought along their own light rig as well, designed by the same people who created the stage shows for Daft Punk, Kanye West, and Deadmau5. Sets of diagonally twisting light panels framing each member and his equipment flashed and flared in time with the music, though were admittedly a little underwhelming when compared with the giant pyramid and glowing cube designed for Daft Punk and Deadmau5.