RECAP: Lollapalooza 2019, Day One
With near-perfect weather conditions, day one of Lollapalooza 2019 got off to a great start, with thousands of fans eagerly rushing through Grant Park in Chicago. A lineup featuring a mix of established stars and fresh new faces only helped matters, making for a memorable Thursday along Lake Michigan.
The festival kicked off with a bang on the North end of the grounds, as up-and-comer YBN Cordae kicked off the day on the Bud Light Stage. Cordae is only days removed from putting out his exceptional debut, “The Lost Boy”. While it may have not gotten the attention of Chance The Rapper’s “The Big Day”, which dropped the same day as him, the crowd was bouncing and screaming early to cuts from the album, including the Chance-featured “Bad Idea”. It was closer “Kung Fu” that truly hyped things up however, featuring Cordae running through the crowd on the second play of the song.
On the other side of the grounds, Max Frost brought plenty of funk to his set on the T-Mobile Stage. The young pop star has plenty of potential, and he showed all of it on the biggest stage of the grounds. Look for him to do big things in the future.
Another young face that turned heads was 21-year-old British songstress Ama Lou, who shined with her humble personality and impressive vocal range. With many of her songs performed acapella or close to it on the BMI Stage, she truly was a diamond in the rough, nestled away within the wooded area of Grant Park.
Things really kicked into high gear later in the day, though, as buzzing R&B artist H.E.R. took the T-Mobile Stage. Within her opening number, she played an acoustic guitar, bass, keys and electronic drums, and proceeded to showcase her talents throughout the duration of her set, complete with playing a recreation of Prince’s solo from “Purple Rain” to close out the set. A large crowd flooded the stage area for her set, and she may very likely return to Lollapalooza’s main stage, albeit in a headliner’s slot, in the near future.
There’s always a special spot for local hip hop at Lollapalooza, and Saba‘s set on the American Eagle Stage definitely felt like a homecoming. Just off of being featured on the Dreamville collective album “Revenge of the Dreamers III”, Saba brought a lively set to an enthusiastic crowd on the side stage, including a pair of cameos from fellow Dreamville collaborator Smino, who is performing at the festival on Saturday.
The night, however, belonged to The Strokes, who capped off the night with a set on the T-Mobile Stage as part of their global comeback tour. For a band that is 20 years on by this point, there were some signs of wear and tear, but Julian Casablancas and co. were technically on point thoughout their hour-long set. While Casablancas was easily distracted by The Chainsmokers’ set across the park, and might have indulged in a vice or two prior to the show, he was entertaining to watch, at times seeming like he was off in his own world, but taking you along for the ride. The set served as a retrospective of the band’s deeper cuts at first, but that soon gave way to hits like “Reptilia” and “Hard To Explain”. While it may not have been the tightest set in the world, it didn’t necessarily need to be, as a sizeable crowd bounced along enthusiastically, hanging on every note. In many ways, it felt like a giant call back to the band’s true heyday, but also an encouraging sign of things to come for the next evolution of the band.