Chicago – Sunday festivalgoers at Lollapalooza can be divided into two camps. First you have 3-day pass holders. They are having a lazy Sunday, moving at a snail’s pace, mustering up every ounce of energy in them, to fit in as many new bands as possible, but settling for lounging in the grass listening to whoever is playing at whatever stage they found themselves at when their legs officially gave out. Then you have the people who just arrived to Lollapalooza, ready for a Sunday funday! These are people you see going crazy, dancing, screaming, climbing trees, and what have you. Regardless of where you fall, day three of Lolla did not disappoint, and from start to finish, new bands were taking Sunday by storm.
The best decision I made Sunday was to stop by the BMI stage to check out Plastic Visions. This Nashville band blew my mind! Frontman Kane Stewart bounced atop the speakers, jumped into the crowd, and then climbed up the side of the stage. Plastic Visions’ heavy punk rock was further amplified when Stewart’s cousin joined the band on stage. That cousin being none other than guitarist Brad Shultz of Cage The Elephant!
I then caught another family rock act at the Palladia stage: Kongos. The South African brothers did not disappoint. Hearing the foursome play live was amazing! Even more amazing was their delight in playing Lolla. Jesse smiled and told the crowd, “The last six months have been pretty wild, and to be here – at Lollapalooza – is like a cherry on top!” Applause spread, and then the jumping began. They guys asked their fans to pretend they were on a trampoline and jump up and down to “I’m Only Joking.” Later friend and MC MO Gordon joined the guys on stage to perform a mash up of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and Dr. Dre’s “What’s The Difference.” Heads up here: I chatted with the Kongos bros about Mr. MO Gordon and a few other things later that afternoon, so keep a look out for the interview!
After Kongos, I was all set to take in Bleachers, but then the rain came in like a party foul. Luckily I was able to hear some of their set while taking cover in the media tent. The guys played their hit “I Wanna Get Better” and covered The Cranberries’ “Dreams.”
The rain let up a little during London Grammar’s set. I was in awe when I first saw these three English pop stars perform live, but truth be told, I worried that their sound might be weakened at a festival. I had nothing to fear. Hannah Reid’s majestic voice soared through the field like a dove in flight during “Hey Now.”
The rain kept coming, but broke briefly for Miss Jessica Anne Newham, aka Betty Who. The Australian songstress was shocked by how large a crowd had gathered at the BMI stage to see her. Even actress Sophia Bush came by to see the next pop star in the making. BestNewBands.com’s Caitlin Peterkin was right in saying everyone loves Betty Who! Newham played songs off both her EPs, of course including “Somebody Loves You,” covered “Say my Name” by Destiny’s Child, and tossed in some cute choreography with her bandmates. She also played “All Of You,” which she wrote with her good friend Peter Thomas, but announced that she was taking it off her rotation; making Lollapalooza the last time she would perform it. Fans sang along with Newham and Thomas’ all too appropriate lyrics: “It’s a perfect day for a fight / Running off to me in the pouring rain.” The rain soon came falling down.
This time around, I decided I would not wuss out. I stood in the pouring rain to see Mr. Donald Glover – the actor and comedian also raps under the moniker Childish Gambino – and was not alone. The downpour seemed to fuel the excitement in the crowd. People were chanting, “Gambino, Gambino!” To their delight, the thirty year old came running out and jumped off the Bud Light stage into the pit, sprinting around, giving high-fives to screaming fans while spewing out verses to “Crawl.”
Later in the night, Gambino was spotted at Perry’s checking out Chance The Rapper’s headlining set. The Chicago native was a mix of emotions, seeing the skyline of his beloved city from the towering stage. The twenty-one year old – better known around Chicago as Chancelor Bennett – pointed west and told the audience, “I used to go to school right down there.” I ran into an old classmate of Bennett’s in the crowd. She said it was strange to see him on stage but also amazing. Bennett is among a handful of young and talented Chicagoans who are making a name for themselves in the music business.
His performance proved that his success is well deserved. He is a natural born entertainer. Chance went all out for this hometown gig. He brought Vic Mensa out for “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” and then R. Kelley joined him for “The World’s Greatest,” “Bump N’ Grind,” and “Ignition (Remix).” He also covered the Arthur theme song “Wonderful Everyday.” If that wasn’t enough, as part of his finale, he brought out DLow and shuffled all around the stage.
Sunday was beyond amazing, but all three days of Lollapalooza were wonderful this year. Despite the crazy weather, fun was to be had and new bands were abundant. Be sure to keep checking in for our Lollapalooza artist interviews.
All Photos By Sarah Hess - http://www.smhimaging.com/
After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.
You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.