RECAP: Lollapalooza 2018, Day 4

Heading into Sunday, Lollapalooza had felt like more of a sprint than a marathon. Day three was met with high heat, and day four was more of the same. Here’s the highlights from the final day of the festival:

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Photo by Roger Ho / Lollapalooza 2018

The day started early with teenie-punk powerhouses The Regrettes, who played a 12:45 slot on the Grant Park main stage. Part riot grrrl, part doo-wop, and all attitude, the band are festival veterans at this point, and acted the part. Frontwoman Lydia Knight checks all the boxes to work as a little girl’s indie-rock role model, and the young band seems to thoroughly enjoy each other on stage, laughing with each interaction. Knight can command a crowd, and did so effectively, leading an all-female mosh pit from the stage, as well as a wall of death during the band’s cover of Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz”. Before you know it, this band could become household names of they keep up that energy.

In some ways, Lollapalooza seemed to limp to the finish line this year on the final day, and that was no fault of the lineup. Much of that was due to external circumstances; the temperature was a sweltering 90 degrees with no clouds for most of the day, and the occasional wind swoop would kick up the dry grass and sand on the festival grounds, making it a difficult situation for anyone in attendance with eyeballs. There was overall a feeling of less energy around the grounds. For many, this was also day four of straight partying, so take that with a grain of sand. I mean salt.

On the American Eagle stage, conveniently located amongst many trees and shady areas, Chicago local Knox Fortune was a contributor to the turnaround in the overall mood, with his second performance at Lollapalooza, following a gig in years prior on the Perry’s stage. He explained that he had just driven in from Milwaukee, after a long night at his brother’s wedding. His voice didn’t necessarily hold up, but the energy and genuine enthusiasm was still there. Snippets of covers, including a live version of Chance The Rapper’s “All Night” built his crowd as he played.

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Photo by Scott Witt / Lollapalooza 2018

As the sun began to set, the tempo and the crowd began to pick up, especially on the north end of the ground. A massive crowd gathered for Gucci Mane‘s set on the Bud Light Stage. While he’s been putting out projects, much of his success has been on featured verses. With that in mind, Gucci and DJ Champ had a setlist prepped that played more like a medley than a concert, usually featuring just the guest verse and a hook. That type of off-the-wall transitioning should have been annoying, but played incredibly well with the gigantic young crowd. Fans climbed pillars to dangerous four-person-on-a-post levels (as if one wasn’t crazy enough), and there was even the rarely attempted double shoulder sit in the crowd, which is just one trenchcoat shy of a passable disguise, if cartoons have taught me anything.

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Over on the other end of the grounds, Portland indie rockers Portugal. The Man drew a gigantic crowd for their set on the Grant Park Stage, very much thanks to the commercial success of their breakout, “Feel It Still”. In fact, in many ways it felt like the band, who were already indie attractions before the single took off, was struggling with their own success. While on stage, things felt very hip in a uniquely weird way, the giant backdrop catered to the first time fan, with messages on the screen throughout extended instrumental breaks. The two most notable messages were “Don’t worry. We’re going to play that one song next”, before “Feel It Still”, and also, “Is everyone ready for that old guy that used to be in The White Stripes?”, a joke that you hope 43-year-old Jack White was at least aware of. In terms of the actual performance, though, the band was on point, with powerful jams that showed off their individual talents as musicians as well.

The man of the night, though, was clearly Jack White. Surprisingly, his set didn’t initially retain much of the audience that Portugal. The Man drew however. Once the lights did finally dim, though, White didn’t hesitate. While partially out of excitement, and perhaps possibly due to the threat of a storm, he and his ensemble band put together a tight hour and a half of high-energy tracks that catered to fans of every era of the Third Man Records label head. Much of the setlist stayed away from his latest, “Boarding House Reach”, and instead opted for only uptempo cuts like “Over And Over And Over” and “Corporation”. There were also reinterpretations of tracks from The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather thrown into the setlist.

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White and Co.’s best trait, however, was their license for improvisation. It all at least felt very breakneck, with White flailing over his guitar, utilizing three microphones with different effects, and at one point just dropping guitars to pick up another from the rack and plug in with reckless abandonment. Stage banter was limited, save for a few crowd-hyping mentions that he wasn’t willing to leave if the rain did come, ultimately cursing out God in unison with the crowd, and a touching story about his daughter giving him a guitar pick out of a toy purse before playing Stripes’ hit “We’re Going To Be Friends”.  In many ways, the set needed no banter. The show was all about the power and talent of the band, with Jack White at the helm, and that’s exactly what Chicago got. A full 90 minutes of pure rock and roll with no pause or pretense, culminating in an raucous singalong to White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army” to close out the festival. Jack White sent his guitar to the stage, and the band bowed before the roaring Chicago crowd with feedback echoing throughout the grounds.

And just like that, four jam-packed days of Lollapalooza has come and gone. Be sure to keep it locked to Breaking And Entering for more festival updates this summer!

 

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