Four days of music, heat, expensive water at Grant Park

Nicole F. Anderson, News and Co-Managing Editor

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Lollapalooza: Four days of music, 212 minutes spent in line, $103 dollars on water and ten ibuprofens.

Chicago’s weather was not kind; it was gruesomely hot and everyone was sweaty. Every day was different and had its own ups and downs, but overall, Lollapalooza 2018 was a positive experience. Here’s the recap.

Day One – Thursday, August 2:

I waited in line for one hour and 45 minutes just to enter the festival. It was hot and many people around me complained about the wait. This year Lollapalooza tightened its security after the shooting at Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. After waiting in the crowd for that long, I expected a full pat-down, body scan an extreme bag check – nope. I walked through a metal detector and the security guard peeked in my backpack.

Rebelution: The last thirty minutes of California’s reggae band, Rebelution, was great. Though visibility was rough due to the massive crowd, their sound was clear and instruments in tune.

Billie Eilish: This pop artist performed at Tito’s stage, one of the semi-smaller stages at Lollapalooza. Hindsight is 20-20, but Eilish should have been given a larger stage because the audience she attracted covered the whole stage, the walkway and the grass area. Thankfully Eilish donned a neon-yellow outfit which made spotting her from afar easy. It’s easy to forget that the girl behind the hauntingly beautiful voice is only 15-years-old, but it also made her performance that more impressive. Eilish surprised the crowd by bringing out Khalid for a duet on one her hit songs, “lovely.”

CHVRCHES: Formed in 2011, the fairly new band CHVRCHES isn’t new to putting on a spectacular performance. The Scottish synth-pop band brought their energy and brought out the crowds’ feelings with their sad, heartbreak songs.

After CHVRCHES performed, there was a lull at Grant Park stage before Arctic Monkeys came on. During this time, the sound of machine gun shooting echoed throughout the area. I was horrified but realized quickly it was a false alarm. The video game “Fortnite” was being played by a user and displayed on the screens. An egregious choice by Lollapalooza considering the reason behind their heightened security. Two emails inquiring about the incident were sent out by the Independent; Lollapalooza has not responded at this time.

Day Two – Friday, August 3:

I arrived at Grant Park several hours earlier this time, believing that I would beat the rush. The joke was on me. I was denied entry to the festival because I had a backpack instead of a string-bag. I was confused and frustrated, but notices were sent out and the security guard was vocal about it. I was given the option to throw out my backpack or go back home and switch bags. I chose the latter. Three and a half hours were lost commuting back and forth on the CTA which caused me to miss even more artists. To add salt to the wound, I arrived when hundreds of others did and had to wait one hour and twenty minutes to get inside the festival. I was frustrated and annoyed, but it was my fault.

The Neighbourhood: This California band only formed seven years ago but already has a large following. The Neighbourhood attracted a huge crowd to the Tito’s Vodka stage and continued to draw more people in as their set continued. The band sang some of their most popular songs such as “Daddy Issues” and “Afraid.”  Lead vocalist Jesse Rutherford had some playful banter with the crowd. Between songs Rutherford threw the Aqua Blue water cans into the crowd and was threatened to have their set shut down if he didn’t stop doing so. Rutherford taunted the staff by making fun of the situation and continuing to throw out the canned water. Halfway through the set, Rutherford jumped into the audience to crowdsurf. The band ended their set with their most popular song, “Sweater Weather.”

Post Malone: The 23-year-old New York rapper put on an excellent show. People were securing their crowd spots an hour before Post Malone even went on stage. By the time he finally addressed the crowd, the whole area was packed and began spilling over to the stage across from it. Due to the large crowd, visibility was rough, but the large screens operated by the camera people were the saving grace. It added an intimate touch to his performance.

Day Three – Saturday, August 4:

By day three, I was ready; I arrived early with my string-bag and passed through security in under ten minutes.

Lovely the Band: The Indie Pop band from Los Angeles played at the head of the day. Main vocalist Mitchy Collins said, “I know it’s hot, but thank you for making our first time in Chicago memorable.” The band played several songs and were able to get the crowd dancing, moving their hands in the air and tossing around inflatable lips. Before leaving the stage, they played their top-hit, “Broken,” but before the first verse, Collins said, “This song is no longer ours, it’s yours.”

Femdot: This year, Lollapalooza had many artists from California, which is nice, but this is a Chicago festival. Where are our local artists? I was excited to see Femdot’s name on the line-up because he’s from Chicago. At 22-years-old, Femdot already accomplished a lot and has a lot of great things happening in the future too. He had a tremendous amount of energy and positivity on stage and was very successful at crowd engagement. Femdot’s music tells stories you may or may not relate to, but the honest lyrics are powerful either way.

YUNGBLUD: Chris Redd, from Netflix’s Disjointed, may have brought YUNGBLUD on stage; however, YUNGBLUD brought the energy. United Kingdom’s Dominic Harrison is YUNGBLUD’s front man and was possibly the most energetic performer of the day.  Despite their English accents, YUNGBLUD has a UK punk sound. Harrison describes himself as, “socially conscious artist unafraid of delivering genre-bending protest songs.” The band played their top songs, “Anarchist,” “Medication,” “California,” and others. Toward the end of their performance, Harrison asked the crowd, “Do ya want one more? Chicago, ya cheeky goofs!”

Bones (UK): This female-led rock band is unapologetic with a distinctive, yet different style. This was the first time Bones (UK) played at Lollapalooza and expressed how grateful they were for the experience. The band played “I’m Afraid of Americans,” a tribute to the late David Bowie and their most popular song, “Girls Can’t Play Guitar.” Their bio states, “Rosie (singer) and Carmen (guitar) create all of their own images, videos and luck… They’re creating a new form of rock and roll, firmly placed in the 31st century.”

Daniel Caesar: This Canadian singer-songwriter is also young; only 23-years-old and already has such a large following that his shows sell out. Caesar’s voice is both angelic and soothing, which fit perfectly with the soft, melodic songs he creates. The crowd for Caesar was massive, taking over the entire American Eagle stage, the area with the statues and parts of the lawn. There were even several people who climbed the trees to get a better view. Caesar performed some of his top hits such as, “Get You,” and “H.E.R – Best Part.”

The Weeknd: Canadian singer-songwriter, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, or the Weeknd, did not disappoint. More than an hour prior to the Weeknd’s performance, the Grant Park stage area was packed and overflowing with people. There were so many people that audience members sat closer to the sidewalk. The Weeknd’s stage had two large statues of a face and a hand. He sang many of his top-hits and had silly banter with the audience. Before the Weeknd signed off stage, he gave the audience one more surprise: fireworks. Flashes of bright colors filled the sky and many people in the audience were smiling.

Day Four – Sunday, August 5

Physically there was no way I was going to arrive early to Lollapalooza; my body was tired from heat exhaustion. I arrived at 3:30 p.m. and waited 40 minutes in line. Immediately getting inside the festival, I made a B-line to the Grant Park stage.

Lykke Li: Swedish indie-pop star Lykke Li is not new to the music scene. In 2008, her single “I’m Good, I’m Gone” was available for a free download on iTunes, where she gained some notoriety in the United States.  She has won “Best Album of the Year,” raving reviews from The New York Times and Rolling Stone and has performed at festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella and now, Lollapalooza. Li brought silvery, silky vocals accompanied by her band’s clear sound. Her performance was outstanding.

Portugal. The Man: This psychedelic rock band gifted the audience with humor, great music and positive energy. Their shifts from song to song were smooth and undetectable. There was never a dull moment during their performance. The band used the large screens on stage to send messages to the audience such as explaining how much they appreciate their fans, an explicative message to music reviewers. It was clever and insightful. The final song of their performance was their radio-hit, “Feel it Still,” which got the crowd dancing, singing-along and jumping up and down.

Jack White: Former White Stripes band member Jack White was the final headliner for Lollapalooza. Earlier this year, White released his third solo album titled, “Boarding House Reach.” Several of his newer songs were played during his set. Between songs, White talked about his life and his love for his daughter. White explained the guitar pick he was using was given to him by his daughter several years ago before he went on stage.

It was a hot and sweaty Lollapalooza and with water at $2 each, it was easy to accrue a hefty bill just on water; however, the musicians and their obvious passion for their work made up for it.

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