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Lollapalooza Friday opens with hot rock block

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BY THOMAS CONNER Pop Music Critic

lollaostrich.JPG

Alex Schaaf from Yellow Ostrich performs
Friday afternoon at Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park.
(Sitthixay Ditthavong/Invision/AP)


Lollapalooza's first day began, as expected, with a strong indie-rock block in the afternoon. What wasn't expected was the marriage proposal.

Wisconsin native Alex Schaaf, performing on the Sony main stage as Yellow Ostrich, stopped his set midway through and introduced someone named Nate, who came on stage and promptly proposed to someone named Steph. "I met you a year ago and knew then that I'd be getting onstage with Yellow Ostrich to ask you this," Nate told his beloved. Everyone has their dream, man.

"Congratulations, and thank God she said yes," Schaaf said, resuming his show, "'cause that would have put a big bummer on everything."

His set was no bummer, shaking up his bedroom lo-fi by applying extra speed and spunk, even in the precocious "Elephant King."

Philadelphia's Dr. Dog regaled Hutchinson Field's sparse Friday afternoon crowd with a rich set of their slightly skewed, oddball pop. The fullness of the quintet's sound, after the rambunctious but ramshackle Yellow Ostrich, was laced with organ and inventive guitars. Their latest album is called "Be the Void," but there's no emptiness in their quirky '60s sounds, like a funky Camper Van Beethoven.

Tame Impala was next -- and the heat was getting to them. After they rambled through "Apocalypse Dreams," a classic-rock marathon that ebbs and throbs through slow-grinding '60s guitar swell, singer-guitarist Kevin Parker stopped to explain something.

"If anyone's interested as to why that song sounded so strange," he said, "I think one of my [guitar] pedals has melted."

This Australian trio started out as 13-year-olds clear back in 1999, making bedroom records until 2007. Now fully immersed in the glare of hipster hype -- and the harsh Friday Lollapalooza sun -- they acquitted themselves nicely, switching effortlessly between shoegazey Floyd rock, early solo McCartney melodies and T. Rex boogie. Their second album, "Lonerism," is due in October, helmed by producer Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, etc.).


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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on August 3, 2012 7:11 PM.

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