A Subdued Start
Lively performances from the Districts and Moose Blood couldn’t offset the noticeably more subdued crowds, some bundled in sweaters. (Don’t worry, things picked up toward the end of Moose Blood’s set.)
Do It for the ‘Gram!
If it wasn’t ‘grammed, did it even happen? Besides the classic Lollapalooza sign across from Buckingham Fountain, selfie seekers hit the Lolla lollipop (Congress and Columbus), the Perry’s sign (Balboa and Columbus), and Bud Light’s oppressively large tribute to friendship (Jackson and Columbus).
Plus, there’s the red-eyed Trash Monster near the Bud Light Stage—a bit too apt of a metaphor for certain parts of the weekend, if you ask us. Thank the Lolla organizers for this not-so-subtle reminder to recycle those cans of beer you downed earlier in the day.
Folks who made it to the festival bright and early got a glimpse of Harriet Brown, the peculiar but fun soul and synth pop artist whose tracks are reminiscent of late-’80s Prince. It’s not a perfect match for Lolla’s usual rock-heavy lineup, but it’s a lot of fun to dance to with a handful of your friends.
The Guernsey-born DJ kicked off his high energy set to a full house, with some climbing trees to get a better view. After the recent release of his moody debut album this spring, it was a pleasant surprise to see the tracks come to life.
No Teens Allowed
If you were looking for people over the age of 30, they were all congregated at the Tito’s Stage for Ryan Adams. The angsty rocker came out strong onto a stage filled with phony full-stack guitar amps and cardboard tigers, strapped with a Flying V. The set included favorites “Do You Still Love Me?” “To Be Young,” and “Gimme Something Good,” which got the crowd rocking with not a teen in sight.
Can Politics and Banter Mix?
Foster the People lead singer Mark Foster spoke passionately about the world refugee crisis, gun violence, the spread of nationalism across the world. "It’s our differences that make us beautiful… love is greater than politics.”
Tegan and Sara took a lighter track, addressing the elephant in the room (or rather, flying overhead). "I’ve been looking up in the sky today and keep seeing the Trojan Bare Skin condoms ad,” Sara said, joking about whoever’s job it is to fly the thing around. “I myself practice safe sex and I just want to recommend to everyone to do the same.”
Surprise! Vic Mensa Is Playing
A week out from his major label debut, the Hyde Park native played a surprise (ish) three-song set on Perry’s Stage, announced eight hours earlier on Twitter. People went appropriately nuts for what may be the weekend’s most Chicago moment (the rest of us resigned to getting stuck at the back of Chance’s monstrous crowd on Saturday).
Props to Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker for showing up and playing the hits, but there’s no worse feeling than watching a hired co-frontman sing your teenage anthems.
Matt Skiba, the ex-Alkaline Trio singer who replaced Blink co-founder Tom Delonge after irreconcilable differences in 2015, did great. In term of chops, he was better than Tom. But for the San Diego trio, chops have always been the least important thing.
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Not only did hometown heroes Whitney unveil a new song at their sundown set, they brought out fellow Chicagoan Joey Purp for an impromptu verse over their instrumental track “Red Moon.” Here’s hoping we get a studio version of this killer collab soon.
Props to Phantogram for using every tool at their disposal to befriend Bill Murray: the New York duo checked partway through their set to see if Murray had arrived. No dice. However, Run the Jewels, who took the Grant Park stage after Phantogram, drew a crowd of celebrity head cut outs ranging from Nicolas Cage to Barack Obama.
🎤🎶rappin 2 u🎶 pic.twitter.com/J8N1CQOAyS— John Hardberger (@JHardberger) August 5, 2017
Running the Stage
Speaking of Run the Jewels, El-P and Killer Mike deserve an award for their masterful crowd-working skills. They told fans to enjoy themselves without violating anyone else’s space; Killer Make added that any man making an unwanted advance on a woman in the crowd would “get his fucking ass beat,” and had everyone step back every time the crowd got crushed in too tight.
Of course, the performance itself was a excellent. With only three albums under their belts, the New York hip-hop duo’s hour-long set felt like a greatest hits run—the first real headliner of the weekend, last night’s having been cut short by rain.
Picking Up the Slack
The Killers tried to atone for Friday’s rainout: “When we heard the news about Muse, we thought we’d give you something,” lead singer Brandon Flowers said. Halfway through their headlining set, the Nevada band performed Muse’s “Starlight,” assuaging some of the pain from yesterday’s abrupt ending. They sounded great on the main stage, capping the night with a rousing “Mr. Brighside.”