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Lollapalooza 2012: Day 1

(Rob Carroll photo -
Passion Pit lead singer Michael Angelakos reaches out to the crowd through the fog on the first day of Lollapalooza 2012 in Grant Park in Chicago. The music festival continues through Sunday.

MORE COVERAGE: Lollapalooza photo gallery

Lollapalooza kicked off in Grant Park in Chicago on Friday. Here's a look at some of the performances from the day.

The Black Keys, having played a supporting Lollapalooza role in the past, were fitting headliners for the festival on Friday, While they had a backing band for a good portion of their set, it still was about drummer Patrick Carney and guitarist Dan Auerbach. And the duo made it seem all too easy. Carney slammed the drums while Auerbach made even the most complicated blues-rock riff look simple as he strolled around the stage. He might as well have been walking down the tree-lined sidewalks in Grant Park. But that doesn't mean The Black Keys didn't pack a punch. Their set peaked in all the right places after getting things started with "Howlin' For You." About mid-performance, the backing band stepped out for a little bit as Carney and Auerbach got back to their roots as a drum/guitar garage rock act. They worked their way through a few songs including "Little Black Submarines." the backing band returned for the plugged-in second half of the song, which turned out to be one of the better numbers on the setlist.

MORE COVERAGE: Lollapalooza photo gallery

Passion Pit played on of their first performances after canceling a handful of shows for lead singer Michael Angelakos to work on his mental health. Angelakos seemed in good spirits. But his soulful voice might not have been fully back."I haven't sung in awhile," Angelakos explained before the set-closing "Little Secrets." No explanation was needed. The band sounded great as they played several tracks from their latest album, "Gossamer."

M83 may not be the type of act suitable for an outdoor venue. What appeared to be an elaborate light show mostly trailed off into the setting sun while the rest appeared too hidden underneath the canopy of the stage. In a club, the display would have beautifully matched the band's synth-heavy ambient sounds. Lights aside, the rest of the performance was up to speed. M83's breakthrough single, "Midnight City," was given proper treatment with a searing sax solo to wrap it up.

The Black Angels, yes there were a few bands with "black" in their name booked for Day 1 of Lollapalooza, looked to be on their way to being the surprise hit of the earlier part of the day's schedule. The Austin, Texas-based band played moody rock while lead singer Alex Maas did his best Jim Morrison vocal impression. The formula worked for most of the set, but seemed to tire out toward the end. It was early in the day, and festival attendees were ready to rock a little. Maybe they were just the victims of having an early slot on the schedule.

Metric's dance rock really brought the north end of the festival grounds alive. Emily Haines fluttered around the stage in a sequined top. The Canadian band's music was just as flashy as they worked their way through several songs, many from their latest album, "Synthetica." Haines had full control over the crowd at times as they sang along with every " ah ah ah." The band's energy was a welcome kickstart to a main stage that had been heavy on the doom and gloom most of the day.

Other notes: The removal of the tent over the Perry's stage was a welcome sight. The dance music area was a steamy mess under the tent panels last year. Perry's was given a large, open area on the festival grounds for 2012 ... Black Sabbath brought several metal fans, distinguishable by their black Anthrax and Iron Maiden t-shirts, to the festival at least for Friday, Some claimed real estate in front of the stage well before Black Sabbath's 8:05 p.m. set time. "Sabbath deserves better than this," one of the group members said in reference to Passion Pit playing the timeslot prior to the metal band on the stage. Guess waiting up front at 6 p.m. wasn't for everybody ... Attendees will notice increased fencing and barriers when entering the festival this year. Gate crashers will have a few more obstacles to hurdle this time around after many hopped the fence to enter last year.

• Rob Carroll writes about pop culture and entertainment for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached at You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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