Music

Review: Days 3 And 4 At Lollapalooza Pack A Powerful End

The crowd gathered for 21 Savage's set at Lollapalooza. Charles Reagan Hackleman/Lollapalooza 2017

The final two days of Lollapalooza brought a schedule packed with diverse artists from Glass Animals to Kaskade and Arcade Fire. Unlike the first two nights, the weather held up fine, with the sun mounting over the stages and warming the festival-goers. After countless hours of standing and walking around, the festival came to a bittersweet end on Aug. 6.   

Glass Animals lead singer Dave Bayley performs during the group’s Lollapalooza set. Scott Witt/Lollapalooza 2017

Saturday

Brayton Bowman and Ron Gallo both gave performances that were lesser-known and underrated. Before having heard Bowman, I realized there isn’t much music that featured lyrics and themes relating to the LGBTQ+ community. Instead, songs often revolve around a guy chasing a beautiful girl, or vice-versa. I sometimes wondered how the LGBTQ+ community related to a majority of contemporary popular music. Listening to Bowman at the BMI stage, it was encouraging to hear him singing songs about his ex-boyfriends. His voice was incredible as it reached impressive heights, his energy was contagious, his lyrics were witty and his persona was full of confidence and love.

Ron Gallo performed on this same stage a half hour later. His performance was ideal for those who enjoy classic rock. His set included hits like “Kill the Medicine Man,” “Put the Kids to Bed,” and “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me.” Aside from the music, Gallo’s frizzy, voluminous hair nearly stole the show.

The band Warpaint, known for hits including “Love Is to Die,” performed for a full crowd at the Grant Park stage in the afternoon. The group’s melancholy sound seemed out of place at times for an otherwise energetic festival. However, it was still uplifting to watch a talented, all-female band show off its work at such a prominent event.

Glass Animals, an indie rock band from England, followed Warpaint on the Grant Park stage. The group opened up with the lively and well received hit “Life Itself.” The setlist mostly consisted of songs from the band’s new album “How To Be A Human Being,” but this didn’t seem to phase fans. Glass Animals threw pineapples into the crowd while singing their most popular song “Gooey” — a tradition they’ve had since they started touring in 2015.

The Head and The Heart is where you would find the most joy out of your whole day. The band’s folk songs make you want to dance in place for hours, especially with songs like “Lost in My Mind” and “Down in The Valley.” One of the group’s lead singers Charity Rose Thielen showed off her amazing vocal range and talent on the violin. Ending with “Rivers and Roads,” the audience swayed their arms back and forth to the sorrowful but hopeful song.

After The Head and The Heart, I headed over to see Wingtip at Tito’s stage. He wasn’t a DJ that I’d heard of before, and by the size of his crowd, it was clear that he was still a bit unknown. While creating remixes to various pop songs, Wingtip’s unique electronic sound originates from his ability to make a smoother transition into the leads. His singles have less repetitive rhythms which make his DJ-ing style less dramatic when compared to other EDM musicians like Kaskade. I think his performance could have been enhanced with visuals to go with the music, but the songs themselves were still enjoyable, proving his performance at Lollapalooza to be underrated.

Kaskade headlined Perry’s beginning at 8:30 p.m. The crowd, as expected for the EDM stage, was large and vibrant. The music was thunderous and riveting, and the stage lights were flashing an array of white, red, blue and green colors. On the screen there were quick flashes of photos depicting the evolution of life, including a flower blossoming and two chromosomes separating. At times, fire blasted out into the air from the stage, emanating heat felt by the crowd. With its tension-building music and vivacious graphics, Kaskade’s performance was an energetic close to Saturday’s lineup.

Courtesy of Greg Noire/Lollapalooza 2017Charlie XCX was joined by artist Halsey during her Sunday set at Lollapalooza. Greg Noire/Lollapalooza 2017

Sunday

The final day of Lollapalooza included notable performances such as Milky Chance, Grouplove and Arcade Fire. Although many did not want the festival to end, concert-goers attained with them pleasant memories from a weekend full of unforgettable musical entertainment.

Pop star Charli XCX’s lighthearted performance was a highlight of Lollapalooza’s fourth and final day. She performed her most entertaining songs, including “Boom Clap” and “Famous,” along with a cover of Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” with pop-singer Halsey. Later, rapper CupcakKe was invited on stage by the pop artist to sing her own promiscuous song “CPR.” Although the two guest artists enhanced the set, Charli XCX remained the most memorable performer on the Lake Shore stage.

Milky Chance’s stage presence was as casual as the group’s music. Lead singer Clemens Rehbein wore old Converse shoes, ripped jeans that showed his boxers from the inside of his thigh and had nails painted almost every color of the rainbow. The band played hits including “Fairytale” and “Stolen Dance,” but also some songs off its new album including “Blossom” and “Cocoon.”

The two most defining features of the show were Rehbein’s raw and raspy voice, and guitarist Antonio Greger’s standout talent on the harmonica. There were at least two moments when a harmonica solo stole the show, a wonderful way to incorporate an unusual instrument into an already great band.

Grouplove’s artwork, which consisted of large, scribbled-on pink hands, hung high on the Lake Shore stage on Sunday evening. The initially large crowd only continued to grow as earlier acts wrapped up their sets. Grouplove opened with “Traumatized” and then led straight into its classic “Itchin’ On A Photograph.” The musicians kept the audience entertained with their hippie tunes, but especially with their overall performance. They jumped, danced, rolled around on the floor and swung their heads back-and-forth like hard-rock players.

Their enthusiasm spread across the crowd, especially when ending with songs “Ways To Go” and “Colours.” Starting off with no lights for “Colours,” as the chords and tension built, so did the addition of colorful lights illuminating the stage, until finally there was an explosion of flashes of every conceivable color.

The weekend came to a close with an exceptional performance from rock group Arcade Fire. The music, although at times long and repetitive, kept a positive, upbeat rhythm. This seemed enough to keep the audience entertained for the night. Before the start of “Keep The Car Running,” lead singer Win Butler made a political comment, saying even though the world seems messed up right now, it is possible to fix it for the better.

The band played another older song, “The Suburbs,” which they dedicated to David Bowie. For the encore, the band performed “Wake Up” and a clever cover of John Lennon’s “Mind Games,” with a little bit of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” mixed in. The encore songs had everyone dancing, even after the end of the show.

With a full moon above the festival, Lollapalooza finally came to an end with clear skies and a sense of peace.