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Saturday @ Lollapalooza: fun., Washed Out

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BY THOMAS CONNER Pop Music Critic

Once back inside Grant Park after Lollapalooza's rain delay on Saturday, fans scrambled to catch up to a revised schedule. Eventually, though, most just followed their ears.

A whole lot of them, in fact, crammed around the smaller capacity Google Play stage to hear Brooklyn's fun. The crowd wasn't surprising given the trio's series of chart and sales record-breakers thanks to the omnipresence of the hit single "We Are Young." But there was something else going on Saturday night -- a level of exuberance that exceeded the already highly pitched spirits the band often generates in concert.

This crowd had just been shoved out of the park and let back in, and they were happy to be there. fun.'s many whoa-whoa, singalong choruses were just the ticket to celebrate Lolla 2.0 on a suddenly cooler Saturday night. When the band finally played "We Are Young," the crowd went wild. The audience in front of the stage sang ecstatically. A dance party broke out on Columbus Ave.

"Oh thank God, thank God, thank God!" exclaimed Kathy Winegate, 30, of Kenosha. "If I didn't get to hear that song tonight, well, we'd have us a problem."

Immediately after was the band named for the evening's activities: Washed Out.

Ernest Greene, the Southern gent behind Washed Out, was pretty happy to be back in the park, too. "We didn't even think we were going to get to play today," he told the crowd, "so it sounds much better with all you guys here."

On record, Washed Out lives up to its name more than in concert. The dreamy, drowsy electro-pop of the group's stellar second album, "Within and Without," is retooled with bigger beats and seismic synths. After an opening number that would have pleased Jean Michel Jarre, the three synth players plus a drummer tightened the grooves underneath Greene's lowly mixed, indistinct vocals.

Before the deluge, Green spoke to me about that early-Michael Stipe view of vocal mixing, plus what's on tap next for the project:


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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 5, 2012 1:44 AM.

Charities seek support at Lollapalooza was the previous entry in this blog.

Saturday @ Lollapalooza: Crowds swell as night falls is the next entry in this blog.

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