Poised against a backdrop of Chicago’s metallic skyline, Gainesville, Florida-bred punkers Against Me! stormed the Citi stage as the first day of Lollapalooza hit its hottest point, pushing the mercury into the red and baking a mixed crowd of seasoned punks, curious hipsters, and conservative Windy City residents. Cranking out a set evenly separated into old and new, the latter chock full of burly selections from the band’s latest record, New Wave, Against Me! rocked through the album’s title track before frontman Tom Gabel paused, providing brief instructions to the crowd on how to appropriately shake your hips.
As Against Me! dove into other holler out rockers like “White People for Peace” and “Thrash Unreal,” fans, including a few head bangin’ Spin staffers flailing amidst the band’s most fervent devotees, reacted in chorus, chanting along with Gabel and co. on “From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer),” pulled from 2005’s Searching for a Former Clarity.
Following a stroll through the Spin media tent, in which we sat down with Against Me! and LCD Soundsystem for chats replete in cracks aplenty, James Murphy and his crew of humanoid soundsystems saddled up at the MySpace stage. Murphy, clad in a ragged t-shirt and white trousers, offered a few silly remarks before plunging into the pulsating beats and chirping riffs of Sound of Silver‘s “Us v. Them.” It was a set laced with new cuts, including rowdy renditions of “All My Friends” and “North American Scum.” Dancing was frenetic throughout the field, but Murphy offered some cheeky advice for those cutting rug: “If you’re dancing and there’re no girls around, you’re doing something wrong.” We wish the shirtless, bald 30-something in cargo shorts twirling in a fury would have taken heed. WILLIAM GOODMAN