I, among 299,999 other folks in the city of Chicago, claimed the massive Grant Park as my home this weekend, taking part in the Chicago festival staple, Lollapalooza. The monolith of a festival contained more than 130 artists offering a wide selection and giving music fans of all genres, from indie rock to EDM, something to sink their teeth into and enjoy. Divided over 8 stages, the sold out three-day festival left very little to be desired.
Starting on Friday were sets from current Swedish hit-makers Icona Pop, heavy metal band Ghost B.C., and Chicago’s very own indie pop band Smith Westerns. All the while, the Perry’s stage kept people moving with DJ sets by Dillon Francis and Modestep. In the middle of the day, Canada’s electronic/noise duo, Crystal Castles, took the stage for an energetic and abrasive set. Front woman Alice Glass jumped into the crowd twice during the set, keeping the crowd fired up and never presenting a dull moment throughout the hour long performance.
Queens Of The Stone Age then took to the stage. and provided the crowd a great riff heavy, headbanging, devil horn’s up in the air set. The majority of their setlist was mainly from their new record Like Clockwork and their 2002 classic, Songs For The Deaf. Needless to say it was a great time provided by one of the best rock acts in America. Friday’s headliners offered quite a spread, from The Killers’ arena rock, a DJ set by the very popular Steve Aoki, and the very much anticipated set by the reformed Nine Inch Nails (who in my humble opinion easily put on the best set of the entire three day festival).
NIN took to the stage and put on an expansive, two hour career spanning set playing tracks from their debut album, Pretty Hate Machine, to debuting new tracks off their upcoming release Hesitation Marks. Backed by amazing visuals and stage set-ups, everything about their set was constructed perfectly and was awe-inspiring. Impressive sets like this that really show what festivals such as Lollapalooza are made for.
Now we venture into Saturday, the first day of the festival to sell out due to the massively popular Mumford & Sons taking the headlining slot. Also scheduled for Saturday were sets by indie rock favorites, Local Natives and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Other acts to preform that day were Kendrick Lamar, with a fantastic set filled with tracks from last years album Good Kid Maad City. The crowd was buzzing. The National capped off the day, providing Chicago with their anthemic brand of somber indie rock, and last but not least, Ben Gibbard’s project The Postal Service. The Saturday headlining spot marked Postal Service’s last performance of this tour, and from other sources allegedly their last ever.
Sunday easily started off as the most mellow, musically at least, with indie poppers and 80’s revivalists, Wild Nothing, easing the crowds in. Metal act, Baroness, took the stage mid-Sunday and filled the air with sweet riffs and anthemic tunes from their double album, Yellow & Green. The ever popular, Wavves, played around the 5 o’clock hour with his perfect-for-summer jams about smoking weed and being frustrated with the world. The set was relatable and easy to rock out to, which the crowd happily did. Continuing the musically mellow trend was a one-two punch of fantastic sets by Grizzly Bear at The Red Bull Select stage and Beach House at the Lake Shore stage. After these performances, any mood of mellowing out and chilling was crushed when Diplo’s project, Major Lazer, took the stage and turned Lolla into an all out dance party. This trend continued with Phoenix‘s headlining set right after. Both sets by Phoenix and alt-rock veterans, The Cure, very much capped the festival off right with Phoenix proving they’re at the top of their game right now and The Cure proving they still have their live spark. Both bands dug quite deep into their catalogs and put on fantastic, fun performances.
All in all, it was a fantastic Lollapalooza weekend, as always. Were you a part of this year’s festivities as well? If so, the comments section is open for debate over who played the best set (even though we all know it was Nine Inch Nails).
Lollapalooza 2014 will be August 1-3.