We all already knew it, but Jack White can and will do whatever the hell he wants. When he’s performing, he’s like a music scientist, testing and mixing guitar riffs and sporadic drum beats in a metaphorical test tube, hoping the end result will turn out with wild success -- and of course it always does.
Whether it’s stopping the show midway to switch from his all-boy to all-girl band or playing only the songs of his choosing, his performance experiments command the stage and the audience for whom he is playing.
Moving at an almost constant pace with few breaks, his Lollapalooza set provided fans with a well-spread mix of solo songs from his well-received solo album “Blunderbuss,” as well as hits from his previous bands, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.
Performing The Raconteurs’ “Steady as She Goes,” The Dead Weather’s “Blue Blood Blues” and White Stripes classics like “The Hardest Button to Button” and, of course, “Seven Nation Army,” audience members were hit with such waves of pre-solo career Jack White nostalgia that they couldn’t help but be sucked into his performance even that much more.
Florence + the Machine
All hail Queen Florence Welch. This British babe and her band played the 6:15 p.m. timeslot, but with the performance level displayed Sunday night, they could have easily been placed as a headliner.
Welch’s stage presence was odd, but enthralling even more so. Dressed in what was reminiscent of Nicole Kidman playing Virginia Woolf in “The Hours,” who was the inspiration behind “What the Water Gave Me,” Welch commanded the stage in both an ethereal and possessed manner.
Her behavior was odd while still completely endearing, and it was all part of her stage presence.
While she joked that the British aren’t affectionate, she more than went against the stereotype by encouraging the massively packed crowd to “hug and love each other,” which is really all that the group’s music boils down to. Their music is about love, whether current or lost, and they only want you to share that feeling with them.
Other noteworthy performance:
Sigur Ros - You may not have known what they were saying at all, but that didn’t make their performance any less poignant and moving. This Icelandic band first made an impressive debut in the music scene in 1999 and since then have garnered a lot of attention (that music video with a nude Shia LaBeouf didn’t hurt either) and much deserved street cred among the so-called hipster crowd and beyond.
Their Sunday performance at Lollapalooza only lamented that, drawing in a huge crowd for one big mellow chillfest . Jónsi Birgisson played his signature bow guitar with so much raw emotion that even a huge group of rowdy 20-something bros were brought to silence and became completely enthralled.