Lolla 2013's best and worst performances

An underwhelming lineup on paper provided a lot of highs in person--and several lows. These are the best and worst shows we saw this weekend.

Best

The Postal Service
Second-to-last show EVER??? How can you say no? The crowd was smaller than expected at this show, but every person there knew every word. Pure magic.--Dana Moran

Chance the Rapper
This is bittersweet: the local’s major fest debut basically cemented his status as one of Chicago’s few through-and-through, naturally talented artists on the rise, whom we likely won’t see back here for quite a while. Chance had the massive crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire hour-- shifting easily from crooners like “Everybody’s Something” to anthemic hits like “Juice” and “Cocoa Butter Kisses”--before riding atop it in a blow-up raft. Remember when Girl Talk did the same thing at the same stage at Lollapalooza 2008?--Jessica Galliart

Runner-up: Ellie Goulding
The coolest thing about Ellie Goulding is watching her feed off of her crowd as much as they do off of her. The “Lights” singer seemed genuinely shocked at the large showing for her Saturday set and more than proved her “musicians’ musician” status for me with comfortable pacing, a stellar voice and great showmanship.--Jessica Galliart

Runner-up: Tegan and Sara
Everything about these sisters is cool—their style, their stage banter (jokes about Sara passing out one time at Lolla), their haircuts. The duo made the most of its hour on a main stage by mixing up the set list with older favorites (remember, they’ve been around 10-plus years!) and undeniably catchy stuff from 2012’s “Heartthrob.”  Dare I say they ... drove me wild?--Jessica Galliart

Chance the Rapper

An oversized crowd crammed into the BMI stage area for Chance's set and put on for the Chicago kid. Not only was he relentless, but the audience was too, and they were treated to a very rare guest appearance from OG Chicago emcee Twista on "Cocoa Butter Kisses."--Adam Lukach

Runner-up: Phoenix

These dudes can do it, have done it, did do it, etc. etc., and that means they put on a killer set. With the release of their new album, the setlist has filled out nicely, with an epic show of one dance smash after another.--Adam Lukach

Phoenix

Mark of a fantastic set? Keep a Sunday mass dancing their fatigued asses off well past 9 p.m. If you didn't leave the show with "Girlfriend" in your head, you did the whole weekend wrong.--Mick Swasko

Runner-up: Houndmouth

The crowd was small but mighty. Singer Katie Toupin was so close to letting loose but held back. If she let that raspy voice out during "Casino" as they closed, it would have been perfect.--Mick Swasko

Runner-up: Charles Bradley

When he ran through the crowd and looked like he was getting choked up, I was already there.--Mick Swasko

Haim

Not just the best set of the weekend but one of the best performances I've ever seen from a band who doesn't even have a full-length album out yet. The alternating vocals, the blistering guitar solos, the drum breaks, the fantastic material brought to another level on stage: This band is ready for big things now.--Matt Pais

Runner-up: Chance the Rapper

There wasn't an inch of empty space at the BMI stage for the rising Chicagoan, who performed with passion, gratitude and, as appropriate for the material, a mix of anger and fun. A great performance that was elevated by the communal experience.--Matt Pais


Ellie Goulding

I’m not even a huge fan of Ellie Goulding’s music, so I can honestly say that it was her confident and vocally on-point performance that drew me—and a surprisingly large crowd—in. -- Kate Bernot

Runner-up: Father John Misty
Is Joshua Tillman kind of a cocky ass on stage? Ehhhhh, yeah. But that swagger and tons of perfect, folksy “Ooooo”s won me over anyway. -- Kate Bernot

 

Worst

Icona Pop
Which breaks my heart, really. But when everyone is at your show to hear. ONE SONG, and you play that song halfass, well ...--Dana Moran

Matt & Kim
This is more of a screwup on Lolla’s part: Why the hell was this duo even on the lineup to begin with? They definitely brought out what seemed like a large crowd, but there was nothing noteworthy, innovative or remotely current about what Matt & Kim brought to their repeat Lolla performance. Their late afternoon time slot on a Saturday, at the most clustercluck status stage, mostly just created a nuisance for everyone else trying to get through the south end of the park. --Jessica Galliart

***I would definitely not call NIN a worst, but I would argue it was a disappointment.--Jessica Galliart


NIN

With no video and just shadows to entertain a completely unengaged crowd, Trent and company phoned it in on a mid-'90s cell phone no one really felt like answering. "Hurt"? Good, but a lot of fans seemed to want a painless CTA trip home instead.--Mick Swasko

Matt & Kim
Maybe it was the crowd at the Matt & Kim show that ruined this for me, but the duo seemed bratty when dealing with sound issues, and did I mention their fans were the broiest, drunkest mix I’d seen all day? -- Kate Bernot

Monsta

These guys were some pretty derivative dubby drop-mode stuff, mostly the kind that sounds like cats stuck in a bag. Perry's Stage can have some bad drops, and Monsta was that.--Adam Lukach

Runner-up: Supreme Cuts

I tweeted about their turnout a bit prematurely because the Chicago production duo's equipment flopped on them pretty quickly. It was a bummer to watch, and while they had some friends (Jody) to help them out, you wished they could have actually played their hometown set.--Adam Lukach

Deap Vally

A rock duo just doesn't work with a hesitant drummer. After a while I just couldn't watch this anymore. (Note: Had I forced myself to see several bands that I don't like at Lolla, I'm sure this pick would be different. Deap Vally was merely the worst of who I wanted to see.)--Matt Pais

Runner-up: Icona Pop

I only caught a few songs, but what I saw was a pair that desperately needs a band behind them. This was a lot of standing around, and even "I Love It" was underwhelming. Would be surprised if IP was around for long.--Matt Pais

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