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Friday: Lollapalooza 2013 according to Reader writers

Our hour-by-hour itinerary of the bands most worth seeing on the festival's first day

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See our previews and photo/video recaps of bands playing on:

Saturday · Sunday · Afterparties

Lollapalooza main »

Check out our photos and video recap of Friday's Lollapalooza performances.

IO Echo - YASMIN THAN
  • Yasmin Than
  • IO Echo

IO Echo
12:45—1:30
Bud Light Stage

IO Echo flaunts a pan-Asian style—this Los Angeles indie-rock outfit uses koto and Chinese violin, titled a song "Tiananmen Square," and put a picture of a woman in a pastel kimono brandishing a paper hand fan on the cover of this year's Ministry of Love (Iamsound). The music is pretty solidly Western, though: it's moody dream pop, mostly clean but sometimes bordering on fuzzy shoegaze (there's some My Bloody Valentine worship in the title track), and front woman Ioanna Gika sings in a reserved, doleful coo that would be right at home in an 80s British goth band. But IO Echo is at its best when the Far Eastern elements shine through: on "Shanghai Girls," for instance, Asian-sounding string melodies tangle with dramatic industrial percussion. —Leor Galil

Deap Vally - BRYAN SHEFFIELD
  • Bryan Sheffield
  • Deap Vally

Deap Vally
1:30-2:15
Petrillo Stage

Los Angeles blues-rock duo Deap Vally play songs that sound custom-made for the kind of run-down hole-in-the-wall you seem to find on the edge of every small town in America—you can practically hear the groaning floorboards, smell the stale piss, and see the red neon bar sign with half a letter burned out. These two women rip into the fuzzy, aggressive tunes on their recent debut, Sistrionix (Island), with a lot of heart, but their sometimes laughable lyrics don't do the grooves any favors—I don't know about you, but it takes me right out of a song when I hear a line as bad as "You get the itch with the HPV." —Leor Galil

Ghost B.C. - ESTER SEGARRA
  • Ester Segarra
  • Ghost B.C.

Ghost B.C.
2:15-3:15
Bud Light Stage

Swedish band Ghost B.C. might be the most metal dudes on the planet—and even if they're not, it definitely helps their cred with the heshers that both James Hetfield and Phil Anselmo have worn Ghost T-shirts onstage. The group consists of five Nameless Ghouls, cloaked head-to-toe in black or white and differentiated in appearance only by symbols representing fire, water, wind, earth, and "quintessence" (aka aether), plus a skull-faced zombie-pope front man calling himself Papa Emeritus II; I've never heard anybody, undead or otherwise, sing lyrics about Satan so sweetly (most Ghost fans believe he's the same man as the first Papa Emeritus). They look and act spooky as hell, but they aren't the most brutal band around—their music seems to be based on the organ-heavy progressive rock of early Genesis and the guitar-­forward proto-­metal of Blue Oyster Cult. On the recent Infestissumam (Republic), their melodies and hooks—often infused with choral singing and almost orchestral—sound ready for an arena. After this high-profile performance, I have a feeling that's the kind of place we'll see these ghouls next. Also Sat 8/3 at Double Door, sold out, 21+. —Luca Cimarusti

Father John Misty - EMMA GARR
  • Emma Garr
  • Father John Misty

Father John Misty
3:15-4:15
Lake Shore Stage

As a prolific singer-songwriter in the aughts, Joshua Tillman produced mostly whispery, solemn acoustic songs that catalogued his aches and pains. He was eventually enlisted to drum for concert-­hall megaband Fleet Foxes during their rapid rise through the plaid- and beard-wearing indie-folk ranks, and when he quit in 2012 he seemingly emerged with a desire to reinvent himself—he's since had a groove in his step and a boutonniere on the lapel of his tweed jacket. Now calling himself Father John Misty, Tillman is practically debonair, with the cool snark and the occasional soulful swagger of a cocktail-toting playboy. On last year's infectious Fear Fun (Sub Pop), this persona comes into its own: Tillman crafts a soulfully smooth quasi-R&B chorus on "Nancy From Now On" and something almost like a barn-dancin' ditty on "Tee Pees 1-12," both without breaking a sweat. Also Thu 8/1 at Lincoln Hall, sold out, 18+. —Kevin Warwick

Crystal Castles - MATT SALACUSE
  • Matt Salacuse
  • Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles
4:15-5:15
Red Bull Sound Select Stage

Crystal Castles have never had much of a mainstream presence, but their influence on the modern underground dance-music scene has been more than enough to earn them prime spots on big festival stages. When the duo of instrumentalist Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass first came tearing out of Toronto in the mid-aughts, they were exploring a synergistic pairing of confrontational punk theatrics and glitchy electro breakdowns, but since then they've developed a more subtle style. Their third album, last year's (III) (Universal), reimagines the thumping bass and synth arpeggios of 90s rave music as almost ambient washes of sound, and Glass gives her most pop-­compatible performance yet. Also Thu 8/1 at Berlin (Ethan Kath DJ set), 21+. —Miles Raymer

Thievery Corporation - JIMMY COHRSSEN
  • Jimmy Cohrssen
  • Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation
5:15-6:15
Petrillo Stage

Thievery Corporation molds and fuses music from around the world—bossa nova, reggae, hip-hop, Middle Eastern folk—into tender, luxurious pop with such broad appeal that even fickle or unadventurous listeners can get hooked. The D.C. production duo seems particularly comfortable with slinky, relaxed tunes, and some of 2011's Culture of Fear (Eighteenth Street Lounge Music) borders on cheesy Vegas lounge. Fortunately the group frequently strays from that style: the title track, for instance, features the tough, rubbery flow of Boston MC Mr. Lif and a nimble, funky bass line. Also Wed 7/31 at House of Blues with DJ Mel, $38, 17+. —Leor Galil

Queens of the Stone Age - NORA LEZANO
  • Nora Lezano
  • Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age
6:15-7:30
Bud Light Stage

I was pleasantly surprised by . . . Like Clockwork (Matador), the sixth Queens of the Stone Age album and the first since front man Josh Homme had a near-death experience three years ago when his heart stopped during knee surgery. (On "The Vampire of Time and Memory" he sings, "I survived, I speak, I breathe, I'm incomplete / I'm alive, hooray.") The band's music is sharper than ever, with crisp hard rock sitting nicely beside pretty ballads, and though the lyrics are less cynical this time, Homme hasn't gotten mushy. He's also retained the concision that distinguishes him from many of the lunkhead rock stars in his orbit—including Dave Grohl, who plays on half of the record. Also Thu 8/1 at Metro, sold out, 21+. —Peter Margasak

Flux Pavilion - CLAIRE CURTIS
  • Claire Curtis
  • Flux Pavilion

Flux Pavilion
7:00-8:15
Perry's

Joshua Steele, aka Flux Pavilion, is among the most popular British dubstep producers in America, thanks in large part to the conspicuous use of his track "I Can't Stop" on Jay-Z and Kanye's "Who Gon Stop Me," one of the pinnacles of rap's dubstep period. He's craftier and subtler than many of the other artists under the brostep banner, and his latest EP, Blow the Roof (Atlantic), incorporates plenty of hip-hop, pop, grime, and reggae. But if you're simply in the market for sick drops, he has plenty of those too. Also Fri 8/2 at the Aragon, $32, 18+. —Miles Raymer

Nine Inch Nails - BALDUR BRAGSON
  • Baldur Bragson
  • Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails
8:15-10:00
Bud Light Stage

Calling Trent Reznor an industrial musician isn't entirely inaccurate, but it hardly does justice to the amount of ground he's covered over the past quarter century. He's dabbled in a broad range of esoteric sounds, including but hardly limited to speed metal, ambient techno, glitchy IDM, drum 'n' bass, modern classical, and, yes, industrial music, tackling each with the instincts of a world-class pop musician; in the process he's served as a crucial conduit between the fringes of the avant-garde and the teenagers hanging out at your mall's food court. The 1994 Nine Inch Nails record The Downward Spiral is still the best thing he's done, and as a central influence on Kanye's Yeezus, it sounds more current than ever—but judging by the advance single "Came Back Haunted," the upcoming Hesitation Marks will demand serious attention. —Miles Raymer

Correction: This article has been amended to correctly reflect Joshua Tillman's name.

See our reviews of bands playing on:

Saturday · Sunday · Afterparties

Lollapalooza main »

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