After a 13-hour drive, two days of wandering the ins-and-outs of Chicago, and a considerable sampling of the local cuisine (GO TO PORTILLO'S), day three of Lollapalooza had finally arrived. It was the perfect conditions for a festival; hot, yet never overbearing, as frequent breezes passed over the perspiring herd of listeners as they let out a simultaneous sigh of relief. After only about 45 minutes inside the venue, a booming voice announced that the park would be evacuating due to inclement weather, as noted by the impending, ominous cloud that quickly seized control of the stratosphere. Luckily, the storm would quickly pass, and the floodgates were open again, as a massive horde of concertgoers restormed the stages about an hour later.
I found myself swiftly meandering through the broad shoulders of the waves of crowds in Grant Park, the heart of The Windy City. As it was my first time in Chicago, I was fascinated by the natural and manmade perimeters of the park, with Monroe harbor tangent to the chain of uniform skyscrapers that served as a backdrop for the Bud Light stage. I took note of the demographics that made up the massive population in attendance. Of course there was a majority pool of 20-something year olds and Chicago suburbia high school kids, but there were also a surprising amount of attendees on opposite ends of the spectrum, both young and old.
Despite the festival's shift in performer's genre in the past couple of years, there are still fantastic acts sprinkled in between EDM acts that seem to encapsulate the musical fad of early 2010's festival music. I was lucky enough to see A$AP Rocky's
stacked set, including appearances by A$AP Ferg, a performance of "U Mad" with Vic Mensa, and what may be the rowdiest performance of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" since 1994. With a set filled with crowd pleaser sing-alongs like "Fuckin' Problems" as well as a cover of Chicago native Chief Keef's "Faneto", the New York native delivered one of the most memorable performances of the day.
A minority group of the crew I was part of were on our way to TV on the Radio's set, but were stopped in our tracks by the stunning performance put on by Florence and the Machine. Just as we started to pass, the mystical harps and distant synths introduced "Cosmic Love," the colossal track off of 2009's Lungs
. We decided to stay, as Florence's Machine came to life, providing the ideal ambiance for the singers dramatic set as she persistently made quick sprints from one side of the stage to the other, only pausing to belt out a verse or instruct her dazzled audience to observe the night sky overhead.
One of the most exciting performances I was able to catch was Nashville's Bully
, one of the most exciting new acts of 2015. As I was a lone wolf for their set, I was able to completely absorb myself in the performance. Alicia Bognanno, Bully's frontwoman and curator, was a complete anomaly of an artist. Her coarse, sandpaper vocals relentlessly charged through her garage punk tunes off the bands debut album Feels Like
, yet in between songs, her soft-spoken brevity completely paralleled her commanding voice, as she usually would shyly divide tracks with a simple Thanks, guys. As one of the most exciting acts of this year and one of the best performances I had seen at the festival, Bully is on the fast track to becoming a household name and contemporary punk staple.