‘I Couldn’t Have Asked For Anything Better’: Artists Discuss Their Debut Lollapalooza Performances

While some of the most well-known names in the music industry returned to the Lollapalooza stage this year, the festival also welcomed an abundance of first-time performers. 

From July 28-31, Lollapalooza music festival brought over 150 artists to Chicago’s Grant Park for four days full of everything from rock classics to breakthrough pop tunes. 

While some of the most well-known names in the music industry returned to the Lollapalooza stage this year, the festival also welcomed an abundance of first-time performers. 

Australian indie-rock group Last Dinosaurs concluded their North American tour at Lollapalooza. (Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix)

On the first day of the festival, Australian indie group Last Dinosaurs took to the Bud Light Seltzer Stage for their first Lollapalooza appearance and debut U.S. music festival performance. With Lollapalooza as their last stop, Chicago neatly bookended the band’s North American tour.

“It’s an honor to be able to start with Lollapalooza, that’s a dream,” bassist Michael Sloane said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

The trio recounted the crowd’s enthusiasm during their set, noting the group of devoted fans singing along at the barricade. 

Other artists like Chicago native JORDY were excited to finally perform on the stages they grew up seeing from the crowd.

“I have seen some of my absolute favorite artists, some of my biggest inspirations on the stage that I literally just played,” JORDY told The Phoenix. “It was so special.” 

Throughout his 12:45 p.m. set on Friday July 29, he continually expressed disbelief in being on the Lollapalooza stage and acknowledged his family who attended his hometown show.

Adding to the list of first-time Lollapalooza performers, members of the punk-rock band Meet Me @ The Altar were familiar with the gratitude and shock that comes with taking to the festival stage.

Punk-rock trio Meet Me @ The Altar performed at 2:10 p.m. on the BMI Stage on Saturday. (Ella Govrik | The Phoenix)

The trio said their favorite performance moment was an interaction at the beginning of their set when lead vocalist Edith Johnson asked the crowd to raise their hand if they knew of the band. All three performers were excited by the audience’s overwhelming response.

“We didn’t really know what to expect, but a lot of people knew,” bassist Téa Campbell said. “That was crazy.”

“For the next 35 minutes I’m going to do a lot of oversharing,”
LØLØ told the audience during her performance. (Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix)

Another punk-inspired debut Lollapalooza performance was delivered by singer LØLØ, who took to the BMI Stage for her mid-afternoon show on the last day of the festival. 

LØLØ told The Phoenix that despite pre-show nerves, she was excited to put her work on display for festivalgoers. Songs like “debbie downer” were on her list of songs she was most excited to perform. 

“I’ve always wanted to play this festival my entire life,” the pop-punk singer told the audience during her performance. 

Her Lollapalooza set maintained a very personal and honest tone, which was to be expected considering her blunt lyricism and straightforward creative process. 

“I overshare probably a little bit more than I should, but it’s the only way I know how to write,” LØLØ said when reflecting on lyrical inspiration for her song “die without u.”

Many other performers who had their premiere Lollapalooza appearances this year gave a nod to other artists who inspired them when making their own music. 

For members of Last Dinosaurs, fellow musicians have impacted their musical work and performance style through the use of upbeat instrumentals and vocal tones combined with personal and occasionally sad lyricism.

“Usually the stuff that leaves the most of an impression that you want to talk about are the things that are just a little bit sad,” vocalist and guitarist Lachlan Caskey said when referencing artists like The Beatles and Tame Impala, who utilize a similar style. 

The band Green Day, who headlined the festival on Sunday July 31, was a common inspiration for both Meet Me @ The Altar and LØLØ when discussing their musical idols. Both acts said Green Day’s artistry had a significant influence on their own music and performance styles. 

LØLØ said she had never seen Green Day live before and performing at the festival on the same day as the household-name punk group was a surreal experience.

Meet Me @ The Altar recently opened for Green Day at three of their concerts in Europe, which the trio said was an impactful opportunity. Johnson even said their new song “Kool,” which they performed at Lollapalooza, was inspired by Green Day’s 1995 song “Brain Stew.”

“It’s nice to be able to see where we want to be and work our way towards that,” Campbell said. “They’re literally what we want to be.”

For JORDY, being a festivalgoer at Lollapalooza since high school influenced his music career, landing him on the Lollapalooza stage. Artists like Sam Smith, Alessia Cara and Paul McCartney came to JORDY’s mind when reflecting on his favorite acts from years prior. 

Whether they drew inspiration from world-renowned bands like The Beatles or Lollapalooza veterans like Green Day, the gratitude and honor felt by these first-time Lollapalooza performers was a shared sentiment. 

“We literally started out as idiot kids who didn’t know what they were doing, and we’re here playing Lollapalooza,” Campbell said. “It feels really good.”

Austin Hojdar and Angela Ramirez contributed to the interviews for this article.

Ella Govrik

Ella Govrik