The final day of Lollapalooza couldn’t have been more idyllic. Hot and humid weather of days past were a thing of exactly that. Somehow, Grant Park seemed more packed than before, which made for an incredible festival vibe. Enough of the blabber and onto the music.
Bouncing around the stages early on, the 3 p.m. hour gave us a glimpse of a rising star in Gary Clark Jr. The Austin-native, while not quite a seasoned veteran, has performed at a number of the big festivals and used his experience to dazzle a sun soaked audience at the PlayStation stage. Unless fans got there early, they wouldn’t have been able to see the guitarist.
His blend of soul, blues and rock won over the Chicago crowd (who are big fans of the blues), while his effortless guitar solos made believers out of fans who were previously curious onlookers. From our standpoint, had the biggest non-EDM smaller stage crowd. It seems like people are heeding the hype surrounding Clark Jr. and his October album release can’t come soon enough.
Going from Clark Jr. to The Gaslight Anthem was as different of a setting as you could expect. Like Clark Jr., the New Jersey punk rockers faced a sea of humanity at the Google Play stage (which was by far and away the best stage to catch rising stars), with fans setting up camp as far as the street area. For those of you not there, that’s pretty damn impressive. But it was a much rowdier crowd, befitting of the music
The Springsteen endorsed outfit performed material off their latest record, Handwritten, in addition to tunes from across their catalog. Songs like “Backseat,” “The 59 Sound,” and “American Slang” had fans singing along in unison (Gaslight has a strong cult following) delightfully. Gray headed dudes and young punk rockers were bouncing up and down, feeding off the band’s energy. “Are you guys going to see Florence + The Machine?” singer Brian Fallon, wearing a black Pearl Jam t-shirt and dark jeans, asked fans. “You’re dumb if you don’t.”
Heeding Fallon's words, we hit the Bud Light stage to catch South London-native’s set. While many fans were over at Of Monsters and Men, that didn’t stop the Bud Light stage from being filled to the brim. There was hardly any space to move, which in this situation is a good thing.
Wearing a red and black billowing dress a la late ‘70s Stevie Nicks, Florence had her female fans screaming while the dudes were rockin to her brand of rock art rock. Performing songs off both Lungs and Ceremonials, Florence was running across the stage like young Mick Jagger and showed about 90,000 fans why she’s one of the top voices in music today.
Most fans flocked towards Perry’s stage, which featured EDM, but we decided to get our fix of the genre by checking out Miike Snow’s set on the Sony stage. Coming out to charcoal colored smoke, the Swedish trio made their hour long set feel more like 15 minutes.
Before their set, fans of the group wondered aloud how the band would go over when the sun was up. Needless to say, no one was disappointed. With a semi-elaborate light show and semi-complex stage setup, their electro-pop meets dance sound had many fans grooving to the music. A sign of a great festival set is how the audience responds to the music and they were definitely feeling Miike Snow. Many were crowd surfing or smacking beach balls or inflatable dragons and Shamus (yes, the big whale from Sea World) through the air. “Silvia,” “Animal,” “Paddling Out” and “Burial” were the highlights of the set. By the time they finished, fans didn’t know what hit them and likely headed off to see Justice as a continuation to what they heard from Miike Snow.
It’s hard to believe that another Lollapalooza is in the books. Chicago proved to be a great host city and with the festival here until at least 2021, it’s safe to say that it has fully entrenched itself as one of the summer’s top tickets.
All Photos (c) Daniela Montelongo