RECAP: Lollapalooza 2018 Day 2
It’s hard to believe that we’re only halfway through Lollapalooza 2018, as Friday provided a schedule bombarded with talent. From the time the park opened until the crowds pushed their way out of Grant Park, there was top-notch talent making a name for themselves. Here’s all of the action that we caught on Friday:
The day started just before 1:00, with a tremendous set from Welshly Arms. The band was absolutely killer at Summerfest this year, and it begged for them to be seen again. While the setlist was similar, it was fun to see the band excited about their first Lollapalooza performance. Frontman Sam Getz understands how to make an impact, with evangelical preacher-esque banter on stage, making for a great pronunciation of “Lol-a-pa-LOOO-za”. Additional vocalists Jon and Bri Bryant are also a treasure and steal the show when the band performs. If you’re a pure rock and roll fan, go see them live. You won’t regret it.
While the Perry’s stage typically caters to DJs and EDM fans, there was some live instrumentation on Friday that shook things up. In passing, Goldfish became an attraction for many, with live keys, electric stand up bass, and the sexiest of saxophones over their bass heavy beats to make the group a commodity. Also on the same stage, Taylor Bennett proved that he’s not just Chance The Rapper’s younger brother. Bennett had a set that smoothed things out a little bit for the otherwise thumping party central, but luckily Chicago had his back.
By the middle of the afternoon, the sun was hot, but that didn’t stop Lizzo, her fans, and scantily clad background dancers from having an all-out twerk fest on the Tito’s Vodka Stage. You could see that the body-positive artist was generally having fun on stage, instructing fans to take a picture of her backside, as well as commenting on the also scantily clad members of the audience. She was full of sass, but also delivered on a very high level when it came time to perform.
Tyler, The Creator had an interesting duality about his performance on the Grant Park stage. While much of his early music is more hyper, his latest, “Flower Boy”, is more reserved, with limited amounts of energy that would normally not translate to a live audience well. However, when Tyler did choose to ramp the energy up, either via the beat, or off-stage hypeman, the crowd responded accordingly, opening up mosh pits across the grounds. It was clear that Tyler had evolved from the artist that once considered his work juvenile, including his formerly rowdier live show. That being said, the change of pace didn’t seem to affect his hold on the Chicago crowd.
Speaking of Summerfest performers that also played Lolla, Greta Van Fleet proved that they might be the next big true rock and roll band. The band is currently turning heads all summer, and they managed to do that again with a large crowd assembled at the American Eagle Stage as the sun began to set. There aren’t many actual “rock star” personas left, but the Michigan band is determined to become one of them. It seems like a safe prediction that the band will be playing one of the two main stages by next year, likely later in the day.
As the night began to set in, Børns proved to be an act that fully embraces his heartthrob status with his female fans. He took the Lake Shore stage with a cocky strut, which was matched by a plethora of high-pitched shrieks. By the time the set concluded, he was shirtless, long hair flowing in his face, and the crowd ate up every second of it, trying to match his amplified sound with their collective singalong.
The night, however, belonged to Bruno Mars, and there was no question about it, either. Personally, there used to be some reservation in my mind when people would liken Mars to icons such as Prince and Michael Jackson. That all was erased on Friday night, as Bruno sang, danced, played guitar, and commanded the crowd with the flare of a bona fide superstar. Every moment felt larger than life, with the band donning various throwback Bulls gear and following around the stage in tow to Mars’ every move. It was a spectacle to behold on the Grant Park Stage, as likely a stadium’s worth of people made their way to the south end of the grounds to watch a pop music hit-making machine deliver his extensive catalog of chart-toppers. When he had completed his hour-long main set, many fans started flowing out, only to come running back for encore “Uptown Funk”. Think about that; there was actually a scenario where there were so many hit songs that fans had completely forgotten that he had neglected his biggest hit. It was so big of a show that it didn’t need pyrotechnics or flashy stage setups to be enjoyable, but it also had all of those things, as well. We may never see another performer of Bruno Mars’ caliber come out of the current generation of pop artists, and if there was anyone who was going to remind us of that on Friday night, it was Bruno Mars and his incredibly tight band.