Whether they were looking for hard-rock classics or modern pop hits, festivalgoers were offered nothing short of a well-rounded selection on the weekend’s first two days.
Metal and Pop Fans Rejoice: Days One and Two At Lollapalooza
From Lil Baby and Metallica on Thursday to Machine Gun Kelly and Dua Lipa on Friday, this year’s Lollapalooza Music Festival started off with a star-studded lineup. Whether they were looking for hard-rock classics or modern pop hits, festivalgoers were offered nothing short of a well-rounded selection on the weekend’s first two days.
Thursday July 28
At the northern end of the park, Australian group Last Dinosaurs kicked off the first day of the festival with a modern indie-rock jam session. The trio sauntered around the stage in funky sunglasses as they effortlessly attracted festivalgoers to their set with songs like “Italo Disco.”
Immediately following Last Dinosaurs on the other end of the almost mile-long park, singer Maude Latour sprinted down the runway of the T-Mobile Stage in teal biker shorts and a magenta bra. As she sang, her smile shone brighter than the sparkly fishnets she wore overtop.
The most energetic song of her set was her 2019 song “Superfruit.” The crowd, belting along with her, made her connection with those in the field evident.
“ROLE MODEL,” said his own voiceover. “For the girls, the guys, the gays and everyone in between.”
In a yellow t-shirt a few sizes too small, the artist walked with playful gestures to his songs and waved to fans as his tattoos poked out from below his shirt.
The 25 year-old opened with songs from his latest release “Rx,” while bringing the crowd back to his 2019 EP “oh, how perfect” with the song “hello!”
“We should be dancing in the sun,” he sang, gesturing to the celestial body above him. “It’s hard when everything is numb.”
Mid-afternoon, Still Woozy offered a 2000s-pop-esque setlist which utilized singing, rapping and talking to create an engaging performance. He took a break from delivering smooth vocals and jumpy dance moves to confide in the audience, announcing he would be getting married immediately after his Lollapalooza performance.
In the cool shade by the Discord Stage, Pi’erre Bourne attracted a healthy crowd. Anxiously awaiting his arrival, the crowd stood with phones in hand, ready to record.
The rapper-producer sauntered on stage in a fuchsia Balenciaga crewneck, immediately attracting the attention of fans — new and old. The crowd roared as he picked up a handheld microphone.
“When I say ‘Yo Pi’erre,’ y’all say, ‘Come out here,’ alright?” the artist said to a lengthy shout from the crowd in agreement.
From the first beat drop, the crowd’s epicenter changed in setting the tone — water was thrown in the air, fans were moshing and puffs of smoke followed.
Strutting on stage in corresponding wizard costumes, 100 gecs brought the bass to Grant Park.
The duo consisting of Laura Les and Dylan Brady leaned into their goofy, hyperpop personas as they jumped around to their techno tunes, eventually ditching the undoubtedly hot cloaks.
The crowd at this performance was possibly the most invested of the entire day, screaming every word and moshing at an ungodly rate.
As the evening set by the Bud Light Seltzer Stage, waves of people steadily trickled in to see Lil Baby. The crowd’s energy was heightened even before the rapper took stage, with Sheck Wes’ 2018 hit “Mo Bamba” setting the tone.
When Lil Baby had finally arrived on stage after nearly 10 minutes, he was met with flashes of bright ambient lighting and the audience’s cheers.
Due to their built-up anticipation, fans were being pulled over the front barricade caused by a consistent effort to get closer to the artist. Many were helped by security to get to safety.
He opened with Drake’s “Wants and Needs” and his feature on the song echoed into the crowd.
“He tryna diss me to blow up, I peep it / I can’t respond, we just go at your people” the rapper said into his microphone. His energy was exceeded by fans who moshed to every beat.
Thursday’s headliner Metallica opened as the sun set, starting on a platform between the crowd soon after. Immediately, it felt as though festivalgoers were witnessing a moment of musical history.
The band was perfectly illuminated by spotlights and stood silent momentarily as the crowd erupted.
“Are you alive?” lead singer James Hetfield asked.
He didn’t have to wait long for an answer as the mob offered a visceral reaction to the opening of “Enter Sandman.” Hetfield simply nodded in approval as the crowd sang the iconic chorus back to him.
The moment seemed as though it couldn’t be topped — but it was.
In a leather jacket that matched Lars Ulrich’s purple drum set, Kirk Hammett stood alone on stage, performing the opening guitar solo of “Nothing Else Matters.” The band eventually emerged from the darkness behind Hammet and the crowd let all their excitement out as the band kicked into full gear again and again.
From the front row to the last of thousands, there was always someone shouting the words back to Hetfield and Metallica.
Friday July 29
Chicago-born singer JORDY was the first artist of the day to take to the T-Mobile Stage. His performance maintained an infectious pop sound while also giving the crowd a glimpse into the artist’s personal life.
“Do you know how long I’ve waited to perform at Lollapalooza?” he said with a smile to his audience, which grew after every song.
His performance of his latest single “IDK SH!T” turned heads as the artist demonstrated outstanding vocal ability.
Following JORDY’s purely pop performance, indie singer Del Water Gap delivered a relaxed yet danceable set across the field.
“Looks like me and JORDY had the same idea,” the performer said before beginning his toned-down rendition of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” which JORDY had coincidentally also performed.
At their first festival in the United States, Wet Leg opened their performance with the first song from their self-titled debut “Being In Love,” followed immediately by their ever-popular “Wet Dream.”
Adults, teens and kids alike shouted their lyrics through the intertwining trees of the Discord Stage.
Pop group The Regrettes captivated the crowd during their afternoon set, distracting the audience from the blazing sun with their charismatic stage presence and unfaltering musical capabilities.
Fresh off the release of their latest self-titled album, pop trio MUNA made their way to Lollapalooza’s Discord Stage with a dance party in mind. As the three artists jumped around the smoke-filled platform while belting clear harmonies, audience members danced and sang along to the band’s hits including their 2021 hit “Silk Chiffon.”
The band’s upbeat pop sound combined with their individualistic outfits and cool-toned stage lights blanketed their corner of the festival with a nightclub vibe. The group’s affectionate on-stage dynamic created a nearly-tangible familial energy.
MUNA has a long history with Lollapalooza. In 2016, it was the band’s first festival ever. Lead singer and Chicago native reflected on stage on her teenage Lollapalooza memories.
Festivalgoers migrated from the Discord Stage to the T-Mobile Stage for Glass Animals’ appearance. With a simultaneously futuristic pop and 2010s synth-grunge sound, the English-American band filled Grant Park with lead singer Dave Bayley’s silky vocals atop consistent instrumentals.
“It’s my favorite city,” Bayley said in reference to Chicago. “Don’t tell the other cities.”
It wasn’t long until the entire park split into two groups. The northern end of the festival filled with Machine Gun Kelly fans while Dua Lipa’s followers flooded the south end’s T-Mobile Stage.
Wrapped in a hot pink, bedazzled blazer, Grammy-award winning Machine Gun Kelly was welcomed with a healthy roar from the crowd.
“Lollapalooza making some f—ing noise out there” the artist said, cigarette in hand.
From the airplane on stage to the spotlights and ambient lighting, Machine Gun Kelly’s set was a pink punk paradise.
The cherry-on-top of his sets were his guests — rapper iann dior and the iconic Avril Lavigne joined Machine Gun Kelly for the ultimate combination of past and present sound.
Strutting out to an extended intro of her song “Physical,” the other-wordly Dua Lipa was dressed in a skin-tight bedazzled suit as she implored the crowd to clap with her.
Even though she went up and down her impeccable 2019 album “Future Nostalgia,” many of the standout songs of the evening were from earlier works. Lipa showed off her vocals during her 2015 song “Be The One” with a repeated chorus that never felt redundant. The crowd erupted when she started to sing her first collaboration with Calvin Harris “One Kiss.”
“There’s so many of you, my goodness,” Lipa said incredulously as she looked out over the waves of people before her. In that moment, it felt like they all had come to Lollapalooza for her.
This article was written by Ella Govrik, Austin Hojdar and Angela Ramírez. All photos by Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix