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Lollapalooza

Resuscitated after a five-year layoff, the Perry Farrell-created Lollapalooza alt-rock festival is back in business this summer, relatively healthy but lacking the freshness that marked earlier editions. Coast-to-coast tour has suffered sluggish attendance in many U.S. cities despite a strong artist lineup, even resulting in some show cancellations.

Resuscitated after a five-year layoff, the Perry Farrell-created Lollapalooza alt-rock festival is back in business this summer, relatively healthy but lacking the freshness that marked earlier editions. Coast-to-coast tour has suffered sluggish attendance in many U.S. cities despite a strong artist lineup, even resulting in some show cancellations.

But such was not the case at this capacity-crowd Orange County date, where five L.A.-based groups on the main stage gave the show a distinct local flavor and made for an exhilarating day.

For the first time since the 1991 Lolla bow, Farrell and Jane’s Addiction held down the headliner slot, and — with its first new album in 13 years under its belt — the quartet delivered a satisfying hourlong set, complete with requisite dancers in bikinis.

Recharged group’s set focused on familiar tunes from the past (“Ocean Size,” “Been Caught Stealing,” opener “Stop”), but also included a handful of new tracks, highlighted by the stream-of-consciousness rocker “Just Because,” where Farrell called out those whose lives fall into mediocrity and lethargy. Guitarist Dave Navarro, with purple boas hanging from his shoulders, was a blur of manic guitar histrionics.

Preceding Jane’s was Audioslave, featuring ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell fronting a band comprised of the three former musicians in Rage Against the Machine. The group all but stole the show with a powerful set. Set even included two surprise cover songs: a reworked take on Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love & Understanding” and White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”

Cornell has, for the most part, set aside the screaming and shouting of his early Soundgarden days for a much more listenable singing style, which fits well with his new bandmates’ mighty delivery. Drummer Brad Wilke played with his back to the aud and facing a large mirror, a throwback to early Rage shows, while guitar whiz Tom Morello created numerous otherworldly effects even while engaging in Pete Townshend-like stage jumps.

Calabasas quintet Incubus has a new bass player — Ben Kenney of the Roots — and the change has resulted in a focus on musicality for the platinum-selling group. Songs like “The Warmth,” from the band’s breakthrough “Make Yourself” opus, included standout bass fills and gave the music interesting new character. Some numbers were extended to include Santana-inspired jams.

A Perfect Circle, with vocalist Maynard Keenan of Tool, has a new lineup featuring Twiggy from Marilyn Manson on bass and former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, and the change also serves this band well. Keenan — sporting his APC wig — was a much more animated and social performer this time out, and the band’s sound has evolved from spooky and mysterious to an energized and complex goth-metal style that was somewhat out of place in the midday sun.

L.A.’s Jurassic 5 was the sole hip-hop act on this year’s bill, and the four-vocalist, two-turntablist crew delivered an exciting, old-school-motivated half-hour set that included not only inspiring lyrics of righteous living but some serious turntable and effects battles between DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark.

Lollapalooza

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine; 16,300 capacity; $59.50

  • Production: Presented by XBox, KROQ and Clear Channel. Reviewed Aug. 16, 2003.
  • Cast: <B>Main stage:</B> Jane's Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus, A Perfect Circle, Jurassic 5, the Donnas, Rooney.