Chairlift at Lollapalooza 2012 | Photos and music review
"Mr. Sandman" drifted out of the PlayStation stage speakers as the sun slowly and mercifully began to set, it was a subdued set-up to Chairlift. The Brooklyn outfit was one of just two bands (Chicago's own Empires being the other) able to make up Saturday slots canceled due to the storm. Too bad more fans didn't know. Although the couple hundred or so collected were as devoted as they come, I can't help but think there would've been at least triple that, especially considering the massive spilloff following Florence & The Machine's shoulda-been-headlining set on the nearby Bud Light stage. Surely, some of those folks would've found plenty to relish in the whispy, ethereal synth-pop confections of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly. Oh well.
When I last caught Chairlift at Lollapalooza in 2009 on the Citi stage (RIP), the group, then a trio, suffered a host of technical problems and was obviously still honing its live show. Now a quartet live, the band has since blossomed with Polachek embracing her role as frontwoman. She works the crowd with the enthusiasm of a wedding DJ, entertaining us with pseudo-hippie earth-mother speak. "Most of these songs are love songs," she said at one point, "which is fitting, because this is a lovefest," explaining how she couldn't avoid amorous youngsters making out as she and Wimberly strolled through Grant Park this afternoon. It's surprisingly charming, adding a new-agey angle to their already alluring dream-pop. Or maybe it should be called angel-pop? A halo was bleached into Polachek's flowing brown hair, the heavenly vibe underscored by the entire outfit's all-white attire. Her ebullient falsetto earned that halo, too, as heard on several tunes plucked off this year's Something.
"We've had the craziest time in the last 24 hours," said Polachek, describing the sky as having been a shade of dark green when they were due to play yesterday before thanking the die-hards swarmed up front today. Yes, they played "Bruises," eventually, even quoting Modern English's "I Melt With You" mid-tune, which made it worth having to wait through a set with an occasionally flagging pace despite Polachek's relentless positivity and her occasional ecstatic twirls. "Amanaemonesia" predictably closed out the set, before which Polachedk joked that the song, at least for today, was about "Lolla-Lollapalooza." It was hokey as jokes go, but it didn't matter. We were putty in her holy hands.