Rolling Stone’s Rock Room kicked off Lollapalooza 2012 in wild style on Friday with lively sets by Givers, FIDLAR and Delta Spirit in the Studio Paris club in Chicago. The artists and audience had numerous reasons to be excited: some were thrilled to gawk at the celebrities in attendance, including True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello, while others were gearing up for the evening’s festival headliners.
“I’m seeing Black Sabbath tonight!” shouted Matt Vasquez, lead singer of Delta Spirit, before playing a quick heavy-metal riff on his guitar. Delta Spirit doesn’t worship the occult as much as Ozzy Osbourne’s band does, but the Brooklyn rockers’ afternoon set at the Rock Room displayed a shared love for rock & roll mayhem. Vasquez was prevented from crowd-surfing to the bar, a move he’d perfected during the previous night’s show, but he demanded that the whole room join in Delta Spirit’s revelry. “Come on everybody! Let me see you fucking dance!” he howled before charging into the fan favorite “White Table.” Afterwards, he explained his show philosophy to Rolling Stone: “We always mix up our sets, always, because Willie Nelson does. When have you not seen him play the hits?”
The Los Angeles surf-punks FIDLAR kicked off their set with “Cheap Beer,” their bouncy ode to Miller High Life; it was a fitting introduction for the laissez-faire rockers, whose name is an acronym for the skater mantra “Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk.” It was followed quickly by the less euphoric “No Waves,” which guitarist Zac Carper introduced with, “This song is about rehab and how shitty it is.” He wailed the bleak lyrics: “I feel, I feel like a cokehead/ I feel, I feel like can’t get drunk no more/ Because I’m on the floor/ I’m looking for some action, just give me a score.”
FIDLAR told Rolling Stone after their set that they are excited to release their self-titled debut album later this year. “We’ve got a song on the album called ‘The Punks Are Finally Taking Acid,'” says bassist Brandon Schwartzel. “There’s a Flaming Lips [album] called Finally the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid, so that’s what we meant to say, but we messed it up. We’re huge fans of the Flaming Lips. Huge.”
After a DJ set by the electro group the Cosmic Kids, Givers gave a shout-out to the Chemical Brothers. “Here’s another one of those block rockin’ beats!” cried singer Tiffany Lamson before launching into the Louisiana indie-poppers’ carefree “Saw You First.” The group added a bit of a hardcore element into their Afrobeat-inspired fare, breaking strings and a bass strap while they let loose onstage. It was business as usual for the band; as Lamson told Rolling Stone before the set, “I break my tambourines too easily to get attached.”