RECAP: Lollapalooza 2018, Day 3
Saturday at Lollapalooza was, in a word, hot. In two words, it was really hot. I could keep going, but you get the idea. That didn’t stop droves of fans from coming out to Grant Park in full force to see another full day of great music.
Our day began with Sir Sly, who were just as excited to be at their first Lollapalooza as were the sea of fans who came to saw them. Frontman Landon Jacobs was a force to be reckoned with on stage, moving around, in front of, and on top of the Lake Shore Stage setup as he pleased. At one point, he also scaled the rigging to the ceiling, looking out at a roaring crowd. The band is still emerging, but had a number of notable songs in their set, capped off by hit singles “High” and “&Run”. There’s a lot of potential for the band to play much later in the day in the coming years.
Columbian band Bomba Estereo put the dance party in full swing on the Grant Park Stage, mixing huge, thumping bass with rhythmic elements from their native country. The mixture was accented by psychedelic videos of birds on the giant main stage screens, which no doubt sent altered festivalgoers into a frenzy. The heat probably also helped. Did I mention it was hot?
In news you probably could have seen coming, Lil Pump had an underwhelming performance to say the least. With a delayed start, Pump accumulated a massive crowd at the Tito’s Vodka Stage, surpassing the madness of last year’s Lil Yachty set at the same location. Fans scaled lightposts, and the downhill area of the stage setup created for a dangerous push towards the front barricade. Whenever Lil Pump would start a song, it lasted maybe a minute to 90 seconds before either the DJ or sound board would cut the audio. Though he tried to explain that Lollapalooza “was tripping”, medics were pulling bodies out of the fray regularly. At one point, an official instructed the whole crowd to take three steps back. Not many moved. This resulted in an off-kilter set that included track “D. Rose” twice, and his signature “Gucci Gang” performed with mostly the studio vocals and not through a live mic. With multiple false endings and mass confusion, Lil Pump made it to 4:45 without a complete shutdown, but fans left in mass, many chanting “fuck Lil Pump” on their way out.
Elsewhere, emerging hip hop/EDM hybrid Goldlink had also amassed a big crowd in the shaded American Eagle Stage area. Though you could attribute some of that to respite from the heat (did I mention it was hot?), much of the crowd was there for the talent on stage. Goldlink’s set was everything that Lil Pump’s wasn’t; raucous, energetic, and enjoyable. Look for big things from him in the future.
By the time the sun began setting, both the wind and the mood had shifted, creating great conditions for St. Vincent to bring her unique live show to the Bud Light Stage. With a backing band wearing in jumpsuits and flesh colored masks, the show was clearly focused on St. Vincent’s artistic work, and she took full advantage of the massive screen setup. While remaining mostly stationary on stage, she still managed to command the crowd’s attention with her powerful, emotional performance. With a number of tracks from her latest, “Masseduction” and a mixture of hits, she made sure to claim her spot as one of indie rock’s leading ladies.
The night concluded on the Bud Light Stage, with Vampire Weekend’s first festival set in over four years. The start of their set was odd; EDM act Droeloe hadn’t quite concluded their set at the Tito’s Vodka Stage, which is across from the much larger Bud Light Stage, causing Vampire Weekend to drown out the closing moments of that set. However, the lights went down, and the band took the stage to AC/DC’s “Back In Black”. The band didn’t look the same, however; Ezra Koenig, Chris Tomson, and Chris Balo all remained, but new touring members Greta Morgan, Brian Robert Jones, Garrett Ray, and Will Canzoneri all gave the band an ensemble feel to it. The band “warmed up” with the crowd, playing crowd favorite “A-Punk” not once, but three times in a row, with the crowd reacting enthusiastically each time. In many ways, it felt like a signal to the fans that even though Vampire Weekend looked different, there was no change in the quality of the band’s sound or attitude.
The rest of the set was a reminder of the band’s extensive back catalog, as well. Many of the songs from the band’s 2008 debut,and 2010 follow up “Contra”, which made fans fall in love with the indie darlings, made it’s way into Saturday night’s set list. In fact, the band had made light of the fact that they had not released an album in five years on stage. Koenig was delightfully awkward as well, wearing a System Of A Down shirt while Vampire Weekend songs melded into covers of Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park” (fitting) and Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man”. He repeatedly noted that Vampire Weekend and The Weeknd were headlining on opposite sides of the park, and on a weekend at that. When The Weeknd had fireworks at the conclusion of his set, Koenig joked that he didn’t know they could do that, and instead opted to play the encore-concluding “Walcott”.
The biggest news of the night, however, was that Vampire Weekend has a new album ready, and currently in mastering, according to Koenig, who told the crowd that they would be getting new songs the next time that the band played Chicago. Details were scarce, as he mentioned that he didn’t want to divulge too much about the new release just yet. One thing was for certain, the band new how to make a successful return, and a prominent one at that.