Lollapalooza turned 25 this year and with four days and 170 acts it was a weekend to be remembered. Becca was totally spot on in her Pitchfork article about not being as young as we thought we were. Going to a music festival is completely energy draining and four days of Lolla is just way too much. Due to old age, work, and a body that was just shutting down on me I didn’t make it to the festival before 6:00 pm on any of the days. Shout out to the attendees who were at the fest for more than four hours a day. With that said, Lolla was a great time. I saw some of my favorite artists and discovered new acts along the way. Here is how it all went down:
We made it to the festival grounds just in time for the duo’s performance. Aluna is completely alluring. Her tiny frame has such a strong and independent voice over George’s beats. She had the crowd hyped and energetic throughout her entire performance. Her two dancers were also great and the trio completely captured #blackgirlmagic in front of 50,000 fans. She also sported a #23 t-shirt, a tribute to Chicago’s greatest athlete of all time.
Side note: Bulls Jerseys were EVERYWHERE. Is that a standard uniform for Lolla?
Honestly there wasn’t a rush to see any of G-Eazy’s performance and since Cashmere Cat was playing on the same stage following AlunaGeorge seeing him seemed like the better option. He’s a clever DJ that didn’t rely on many samples but new soft beats and arrangements. Malia Obama was dancing among the crowd as well! Didn’t spot her, but glad she was having a great time.
Not even a minute late for his performance J.Cole was one of the headlining acts for the first night. He sported a Bulls jersey and was armed with a group of backup singers and a drummer. While he was very energetic and had a great flow there were times he wasn’t really reading the audience. I realized that once my brother turned to me and said, “Wanna catch the end of Flosstradamus?” No role modelz and Wet dreams got the crowd going, but I am not sure if he should have been a closing act. He’s still bae though.
I really wanted to catch Alessia Cara’s performance, but due to some rain it delayed our move to the fest a bit.We got there just in time to see Future. It’s amazing how he has all the bangers and when you’re in a bar you love when Future comes on, however dude just isn’t a good performer. He stops a lot and he tries to hype himself up (can Future hire a hype man?). It was disappointing. Plus, he kept shouting out the people NOT from Chicago. I understand that Lolla is a big tourist week for the city, but I don’t care for those people. Shout Chicago out. That’s petty, I know. Future did bring out hometown hero, Chance and the crowd went completely insane. That was a highlight for sure.
Once A$AP Ferg said mosh-pit, we know it was best to stay back. He was at a smaller stage and a two minute walk from where Future just finished his performance so the crowd was still hyped. There wasn’t any breathing room, which made for a perfectly timed surprise visit from Twista. He got the crowd going with Hungry Ham, New Level, and Hella Hoes. It was a quick, turnt, performance. He did pay a touching tribute to A$AP Yams.
Walking to see Radiohead seemed too far (I know) so we didn’t see them.
At this point in the game, Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy know how to demand attention in a crowd. Their outfits, dancers, flags, call-outs are all perfectly curated to put on a hype show and they did it well. Too well. They ended up blowing the generator at the Bud Light stage not once, but twice. Diplo jokingly said, “”Lollapalooza’s gotta pay their bills!” after the second black-out. While most artists would have been really upset, the group remained calm and continued to play a great show, even with a good chunk of attendees leaving their stage. MØ appeared to close the trio’s show with a live performance of Lean On, unifying the crowd for one last time.
Two years ago Leon Bridges was a busboy and to see how far he has come as an artist is honestly beautiful. He has a voice like Sam Cooke and the moves of James brown. He’s soulful and still young and can’t get the crowd in a feel-good mood. He is someone I truly hope explodes in the near future. Mid performance he did a rendition of Genuwine’s Pony and dedicated it to all the bachelors at the festival looking for partners.
This was the first day of the festival I actually explored the grounds. There was a dope cocktail lounge hosted by Tito’s, Hendricks, Bacardi, and Jack Daniels nestled right behind Buckingham Fountain facing Lake Michigan. This area had a lot of freebies, cool photo opps, lounge chairs, and shorter bathroom lines. It was a little sanctuary for a good hour.
It was between Big Gigantic and Grimes at this point and I am so glad my friend convinced me to go to Grimes. This tiny women hold some big talent. She’s been around for a few years now and although is not top 40 recognized, I think her fans like it that way. She had everyone moving as she coos and screams over her electric beats. She is a bit awkward as a performer at times, but I think most of her fans knew that. She is very attentive and although she though her set might be cut short due to some rain , she head banged and kept the music going.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Samsung stage was right next to the stage Grimes was playing on so we started with them as our closing Saturday act. I know many Lolla goers think that the band is too old to be headlining Lolla, but they are quintessential to the festivals 25 years. They played the second ever Lollapalooza so it only makes sense to have them at the 25th year of the fest. The crowd, which was cross generational, shouted and sang almost every song of their discography (at least for the thirty minutes that I attended) and often drowned out the voice of lead singer Anthony Kiedis. Apparently, it was the most attended set of the weekend.
(my shitty Snap Chat video)
I saw Disclosure last October and maybe it was the Chicago skyline as their backdrop, but this felt completely different. The Dj duo recognizes that Chicago is the home and where house music started as they paid homage to the city during their set, “It’s special for us to come play house music where it was made. It really does mean a lot,” they told the crowd who didn’t stop dancing once. This was also the first act that I made it to the complete front- it was tame, beautiful, and magical. They brought out two guests for their set Kwelbs and Brandon Riley, who might not be well known, but put on a fantastic show. They closed the night with their number one hit Latch and it goes down as one of the best Lolla moments, hearing 100,000 people sing such a beautiful song in unison.
His DJ definitely got the crowd hyped prior to his performance, but unfortunately Bryson Tiller was not worth the wait. His performance fell flat and you could hardly see him since he had his fog machine on 100. After twenty minutes I (along with most of the crowd) bounced.
Holy moly Flume had Samsung packed. Like closing night headliner packed. You would think since he’s a DJ he would be at Perry’s stage, but even though Lolla Founder Perry Farrell hates EDM he knows its importance at his festival. At one point my friend looked at me and, “So these guys get paid to play their computer?” The crowd was a bit rowdy and I was supposed to meet a friend closer to the stage but decided against it. He brought on Vince Staples and closed his set with his remix of Disclosure’s You and Me which left the crowd enchanted.
“Bye, thank you. I love you, be happy,” Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser told the crowd as they shut down Lollapalooza to their partying audience. They had an interesting set for sure as the duo is known for their raunchiness, but they did keep the crowd fist pumping and jumping. Towards the end of the set, they brought out special guest Sen Dog from Cypress Hill for a a funky version of Insane in the Brain. Visser then ended their set by crowd surfing a rubber inflatable ducky.
We only caught about thirty minutes of their set as we started and the ended the night’s closing acts with Die Antwoord, but James Murphy does not disappoint. The band sounds just as great as they did five years ago. The sound impeccable live and even though they draw a huge crowd it was still memorable to see them.
Annnnnnd that’s a wrap. I didn’t make it to any of the after parties I initially intended, but I had a great time at the fest. I would say that a lot of the artists had the same message, to love and respect each other. Something I hope other concert goers will take with them past the weekend.