Lollapalooza 2011 Day 2: Kids Crashed Fences, Chain Gang of 1974, Ween, DOM and Eminem Played On

August 11th, 2011: As seen on Archive (PDF)

Goth chanteuse Lykke Li summoning the pop in Chicago’s Grant Park on day two of Lollapalooza; Photos: Gavin paul

The kids were not alright yesterday, as hundreds of them evaded the new airport scanners and crashed a Western, 15-foot fence, booking into the concrete jungle for a taste of Day Two.

At the time, Ween was at the tail-end of “Bananas and Blow.”  But it wouldn’t be a bad typecast to say Southern headliner Slim Shady had some influence.

Then again, maybe they all were after My Morning Jacket on the North end, where the Kentucky wooly rock mammoths would eventually destroy a sunset with a “Circuital”-heavy set 1974 would be proud of.  The last time Jim James and crew came to Lolla, they pulled the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra with them.  But this year, they let blistering epics like “Victory Dance” and “Holdin’ On To Black Metal” pull the weight, James’ hair a constant flurry.

As crowds continued to thin out with Eminem traitors, fans capitalized on the elbow room and danced their faces off, culminating in a barn-burning rendition of oldie “One Big Holiday,”  with James’ flash-dancing the tune home without an encore.

Or maybe some of those kids were 80s children, as Saturday was also a fine day to get your John Hughes teen sentiments on, as Denver’s Chain Gang of 1974 were in a constant flannel-on-the-waist spin mid-afternoon, flinging blissed-out synth from June’s “Wayward Fire.”

With each smear of his eyeliner, and lyric upon lyric of Depeche Mode hurt, ringleader Kamtin Mohager reached a new glam height the way of commiseration, dedicating one particular tune to “a lying bitch.” One fan’s immediate response – “I love you mom.”

Same retro synth story with Brooklyn’s The Drums on another side-stage, bittersweet vocalist Jonathan Pierce maximum hips, minimum head in his Cure-ish emotions, as gaggles of sun-dressed girls twirled around mud pits from the morning’s rain.  The band slowed it down mid-set for one of their only ballads, “Down By The Water,” in which Pierce reminded all mid-sway, “everyone’s gotta feel something.”

Likewise with Worcester’s DOM, in a more burnout fashion, teasing sloppy pop from their Family of Love EP, dragging their feet around stage with scuzz-brat lines about not caring about anyone else and how sexy it feels to be living in America. Goofy, sun-drenched dudes making jokes about Nickelodeon behind thick walls of reverb and keys that glistened so bright, you had to wear shades.

Aside from Eminem breaking that youthful bygone stride, Sante Fe’s brass king of indie-swoon, Beirut, managed a headlining spot buried amidst a side-stage trees that they pulled off immaculately.  Bouncing around from their latest record, “The Rip Tide” back to 2006′s “Gulag Orkestar,” Zach Condon ring-led a Balkan fever of accordion-strung harmonies, his band moon-facing trumpet, tuba and trombone fills while he lofted a Morrissey-croon so smooth, you couldn’t even hear the sound bleed from adjacent My Morning Jacket.  There really wasn’t any looking back to be had by Condon anyway.  When he and the band swaggered into an old, drumless Lon Gisland EP cut, “Scenic World,” there wasn’t a muddy foot in that crowd not on its toes harmonizing along to the “careless life.”

Lykke Li and Pretty Reckless also played. Let’s hear it for these strong acts that brought some feminine mystique to the night.