Lollapalooza 2017 Delivered With Their Best Lineup in Years
Lollapalooza 2017 is over, and as music fans head back to their respective cities, it’s time to recap this ever-growing, ever-beloved Midwestern music festival. Chicago, as has been the norm in recent years, welcomed an average of 100,000 fans per day to downtown’s Grant Park over the weekend of Aug. 3-6. While most of the weekend went off without a hitch, Thursday was cut short due to a thunderstorm which forced organizers to evacuate the grounds for the third time since 2012. Sets from Muse, Lorde and Lil Uzi Vert were all cut short to the dismay of fans who hoped to see the night through.
Fortunately for organizers, only one other negative incident seemed to make headlines over the weekend. Former Oasis front man and self-proclaimed “rock n roll star” Liam Gallagher unexpectedly cut his set short after only a few songs. The singer abruptly walked off stage without returning with an explanation to the crowd. It wasn’t until about an hour later when he tweeted from backstage “Sorry to the people who turned up for the gig in Chicago lollapalooza had a difficult gig last night which fucked my voice. I’m gutted LG x”
Chance the Rapper took the festival by storm on Saturday night for a number of reasons. First off, the celebrated hometown hero didn’t allow the standard Lolla livestream that accompanied other headlining sets, declaring he wanted it to be just “me and Chicago,” a sentiment that the crowd ate up before the rapper dove into songs like “Sunday Candy” and “Blessings.” A few other locally-centered highlights included a pre-walk-out video featuring fellow Chicagoan Michelle Obama, the use of a Chicago F.D. firehose during the set and a few choice words to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Come at me, Rahm” said Chance after calling out what he sees as the hypocrisy of the local government.
Arcade Fire received equal parts praise and critique after their close-out on Sunday night. Win Butler and company were outfitted head-to-toe in gear bearing the name of their latest album “Everything Now.” While many have lambasted the band for leaving behind the sound that brought them fame in the first place, Butler wanted to show the crowd they haven’t changed one bit. Songs from “Everything Now” such as the title-track and “Creature Comfort” were punctuated by plugs of the new album, almost to the point where the crowd felt that awkward sense of a salesman pushing an unwanted product. Aside from this incessancy, Arcade Fire pleased the large crowd with sing-a-long tunes from their famed “Funeral” and “The Suburbs” albums including a closing mash-up of John Lennon’s “Mind Games” tinged with Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and “Oh You Pretty Things” from David Bowie.
In line with the “keeping the peace” close-out songs from Arcade Fire, rap duo Run the Jewels took the opportunity, as they are wont to do, to preach good vibes including a call-out to a specific section of the audience that was showing sinister motives. “Don’t violate women or we will punch you.” said Killer Mike with his signature booming presence. Mike and his p.i.c. El-P also brought a young man on stage who was holding a sign that requested a chance to rap their tune “Legend Has It.” The duo riskily obliged, and to the delight of the 60,000 fans that stood before him, the audience member tore through more than the eight bars El-P initially allotted him before being lifted atop Killer Mike’s shoulders in triumph.
The women of Lolla 2017 showed up with might. There’s a fine line between low-hanging fruit and being obnoxiously pedantic when it comes to choosing covers to perform at a festival, but rising pop star Charli XCX hit the nail right on the head with her cover of the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.” “You guys like girl power, right?” she screamed before bringing out her friend and fellow low-key pop star Halsey to join her on the tune. This performance on Sunday was matched by back-to-back-to-back female-lead sets which included Tove Lo and Maggie Rogers.
EDM had a strong showing this year, to the dismay of those who yearn for the old Lolla which focused on alt and punk bands. Turntablist and Kanye West contributor A-Trak, French DJ-duo Justice, 20-year-old producer Slushii and future bass purveyor San Holo all took to the stage over the weekend. San Holo, a Dutch producer, had a stand-out set where he not only treated the crowd to his hits “Light” and “We Rise” but also slipped in covers of Post Malone’s “Congratulations” and Cashmere Cat’s “9 (After Coachella),” even whipping out the guitar at one point. Sander, as he’s known off-stage, met up with us for a chat before taking to the DJ booth to let us in on his yet-to-be-named debut album and his thoughts on EDM in 2017.
Jacob Banks, another rising star, this time from the land of soul, caught up with EV prior to his Saturday afternoon set for a quick interview where he talked about how he found his unique sound and his thoughts on his first-ever headlining tour which kicks off in October. A few special guests popped in to catch the young British singer’s set including Demi Moore, Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who all stood side-stage.
Just as important for many fans throughout the weekend are the after shows. Given that Lolla calls it quits at 10:00 sharp each night – likely due to city noise ordinances – many head straight to the after shows to dance until the early hours of the morning. Notable names took to these late-night venues including Mura Masa, The Head and The Heart, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Little Dragon, Spoon, Kaskade, Migos and Foster the People. Entertainment Voice joined Banks for a chilled out set at the Vic where she ran through songs from last year’s “The Altar” including some tracks from her 2014 debut “Goddesss.” EV also caught up with up-and-coming electropop trio A R I Z O N A ahead of their opening set at the House of Blues with Milky Chance. Read our interview with the trio here
The successful run of Lollapalooza plans to continue as organizers announced the dates for 2018 (Aug. 2-5) over the weekend. Amidst new additions to the festival grounds including a retro roller rink, it seems like those behind the curtains at these massive music festivals are continuing to compete with one another. Is Lolla on track to match Coachella? Only time will tell, but be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s lineup as festival coordinators continue to battle it out.
Lollapalooza 2017 took place from Aug. 3-6 in Chicago’s Grant Park.