Arts & Entertainment

Wallows Curates A Uniquely ‘Marvelous’ Lollapalooza Aftershow

In their first show in three weeks, Wallows returned to the stage at midnight on July 30 with a completely new setlist featuring deep-cuts, fan-favorites and their latest album highlights.

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix The red and white outfits of Pom Pom Squad added to their heart theme.

Pom Pom Squad began the evening for Wallows, both playing their Lollapalooza aftershow at The Vic Theatre (3145 N. Sheffield Ave.). The opener’s 30 minute set was full of vicious screamo energy.

Their song “Heavy Heavy” provided the perfect amalgamation of the band’s style, with lead singer Mia Berrin’s vocal range on full display. During the simple chord progressions, her voice rose to the balcony of The Vic, but as soon as the drums and violin began she let out her guttural screams.

“Are you guys excited for Wallows?” Berrin said to an eruption of enthusiasm. “We’re excited, too.”

After throwing roses to the crowd, the rock band left the stage in anticipation of the main attraction.

Wallows opened their night with “Remember When,” an ideal concert opener. With a slow build and a hard break, the band held the crowd in the palm of their hands.

What followed was an unexpected setlist from the pop-rock trio.

Currently between legs of their “Tell Me That It’s Over” tour, the band played songs from deep in their discography, including their 2017 single “Pulling Leaves Off Trees.”

“Got me nervous, fall and hit the ground / Seasons changing, but then again so am I,” lead singer Dylan Minnette sings on one of their first releases ever.

In their sixth song of the night, the band stopped halfway through the bouncy “Talk Like That.” Although Minnette acknowledged it was late at night, he said that was no excuse for the crowd’s low energy.

The tone inside The Vic dramatically changed from there on out.

At the barricade, by the entrance doors and throughout the balcony, Wallows fans made staying up past their bedtime worth their while.

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix The band’s latest album “Tell Me That It’s Over” discusses relationship dynamics rarely covered in music.

It only helped boost the venue’s spirit when the next song was another 2017 throwback “Sun Tan.” The vocals were led by guitarist Braeden Lemasters and elevated by an incredible trumpet solo. Adding to the hype, Wallows covered 30 seconds of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” giving a nod to their boy band predecessors.

The entire performance felt extremely intimate. Often backlit, the theatre made Wallows seem like a small band performing in a smoky bar.

When the lights were up, Minnette had conversations with fans, learning some camped out at 2 a.m. the day before to beat the hundreds of others to the barricade. Lemasters kept a shirt thrown on stage and later wore a fan’s crocheted “Nothing Happens” hat.

“Quarterback,” a constant of the band’s setlist, features Minnette taking to percussion and drummer Cole Preston commandeering lead vocals.

“This is really fun,” Preston said. “Thanks for staying up so late. Was anybody at Lollapalooza today?”

Interrupting their cheers, Minnette said, “The real question is who’s gonna see us tomorrow?”

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix The members of Wallows have been friends for years but began releasing music in 2017.

The Chicago crowd responded as devoted fans would.

What followed demonstrated the band’s chemistry as Minnette and Lemasters bounced in unison to Preston’s stellar drum solo on “Especially You,” a standout track from their 2022 album. 

Minnette announced they would be playing their last song and before he could get a second lyric out, the crowd exploded. 

In a full-circle moment, the band played their first ever release “Pleaser.” While this has been a regular in their tour setlist, playing it as the final track provided a beautiful moment for the band and their fans.

Minnette swayed to Lemasters’ strumming as the two sang in unison to close out the aftershow.

“Cause that’s the best you’re gonna get / So maybe I had better leave,” they belted.

All of the lights in the theatre went out as the band walked off, but even The Vic’s bartenders knew the show was far from over.

Succumbing to requests for an inevitable encore, Lemasters and his guitar emerged to face the crowd. He started to strum and play a beautiful, stripped down acapella version of “Let The Sun In.” By the third verse, Preston brought the drums back in, Minnette added backing vocals and the trumpet made a triumphant return. 

“Alright, we’re Wallows,” Minnette shouted in conclusion. “Have a good rest of your night. Get to bed as soon as possible.”

Playing the band’s big break “Are You Bored Yet?” capped off the impeccable curation of Wallows’ rich backlog of songs, highlighting their history and evolution as a group of collaborators, bandmates and friends.

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