Archive for the ‘Music Festival’ Category

Lollapalooza 2017


The calendar is about to shift from July to August, and that can only mean one thing: Lollapalooza is coming. Soon Chicago will be invaded by bros in basketball jerseys and headbands, with aviators reflecting the beauty of nature as they drop molly and lose any sense of dignity with which they arrived. It’s a bittersweet time downtown, as the visitors pump money into an economy that desperately needs it, while also tearing one of our most beautiful parks to shreds.

This year I’ll be covering the fest for Flood Magazine, a gig I kinda fell into in the last week. I haven’t been to Lolla since 2009, when the headliners were Kings Of Leon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (originally Beastie Boys but they bowed out when Adam Yauch’s cancer diagnosis was revealed), and The Killers (also headlining this year and every odd numbered year until the end of time). They couldn’t get me a photo pass, so I’ll just be writing about what’s going on over there, as well as some polaroid portraits with a few artists that have been kind enough to return my emails.

I still don’t think the festival needs to be four days, merely spreading the good stuff over a longer period of time while filling in the spaces with mediocre acts. There is enough to fill your schedule, though, and I’ll highlight some acts I’d recommend now.

A lot of the bands I like play early each day, and that’s certainly true on the opening Thursday. Local acts Kweku Collins and The O’My’s will be done before most people are off work. Paper Diamond and Temples will lose a bit of their appeal playing in the hot sun in the mid-afternoon. Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher could only snag a 4:30 slot for his new solo work. Things will really start rolling at 6:30 with Cage The Elephant, Kaytranada, and then Muse to close out the day.

There’s also the after shows every night, but I’m only hitting one. Slothrust is opening for The Pretty Reckless at Bottom Lounge, and I’m so excited for them. I’ve been a fan since I first heard the song “Crockpot” a few years ago. I saw them play at Township, which is pretty tiny, and now they’re playing Lollapalooza.

Their set is pretty early on Friday. Early enough that I won’t be there because I can’t get out early from work that day. They’re on at 1:10. The Lemon Twigs and Jidenna probably should have received later slots on Friday, but if you can get there before 1:45, I’d highly recommend both of them. Mid-afternooners will get Phantogram and Tegan & Sara before the evening music starts. My picks are Ryan Adams at 6, followed by Run The Jewels, and finishing with The Killers.

I have Saturday down as the weakest day overall, with a few acts not to be missed. The first is Ron Gallo at 2:10. I saw them back in April and it was great. Alvvays is on at 3, probably the first one I can make. Royal Blood have a great new album out and they play at 5:15. Live made one of the seminal albums of my teen years and they have a set at 6pm. Hitmaker 21Savage is playing at 7:15 and then local hero Chance The Rapper headlines. There are rumors out that Childish Gambino might make an appearance because they’ve been working on some new music together. I’d say it’s just as likely that Kanye shows up like he did at Chance’s Magnificent Coloring Day last year. Yeezy blazed through 4 or 5 of his own songs before they came together to perform “Ultralight Beam.”

Sunday is a bit of a crapshoot, could go either way. Local singer Noname is playing after Joseph and before Charli XCX and Tove Lo. Sampha gets a decent 6:30 spot and I hope he gets a big crowd because his latest is fantastic. Justice is back headlining after a few years off, and the French duo will be sure to make the audience D-A-N-C-E.

So it’s not too bad. Lollapalooza is neither the worst festival, nor the best. It just is. They didn’t book some of the more interesting acts like Frank Ocean or Solange, probably due to the money involved and not wanting to deal with the possibility of a cancellation at the last minute. It’s unfortunate, because I’d much rather see Frank than, say, Arcade Fire again. Or really any of the constant repeats that make Lolla so middling. The corporate desire to please so many demographics means no one really gets exactly what they want.

People Of Pitchfork Collage

I met a lot of nice people over the weekend at Pitchfork, and I put together a little collage to commemorate the event. Thanks to any I photographed over the three days. It was nice to meet you.

Follow the link and click on any photo to find a nicer, hi-res version.

Jamila Woods at Pitchfork Music Festival

If you’re from Chicago and went to Pitchfork on Sunday, you’re probably one of the hundreds who made a mad dash to the green stage once word got out that The Avalanches had to cancel and local singer Jamila Woods was moving her scheduled performance from the blue stage to take their place. I saw her last year at North Coast for a fairly early set and she was great. Her album Heavn is fantastic, and she just does great work no matter what she’s doing. I was really excited for her to get this opportunity to play for so many more people at the festival. In my mind it made more sense for her to play right before Solange than The Avalanches anyway.

Joey Purp at Pitchfork Music Festival

Joey Purp has been not-so-quietly coming up in the Chicago rap scene for a while now. His contemporaries like Vic Mensa, Kami, and Towkio have a lot of respect for him as an artist, which is why they agreed to perform with him during his set on the blue stage on Sunday. The fun never ended for Purp, who had guys with super soakers and water balloons cooling down the crowd, and a some confetti cannons for the finale.

Isaiah Rashad at Pitchfork Music Festival

Isaiah Rashad is one of the more overlooked artists on Top Dawg’s roster of talent. This shouldn’t be the case, because he’s as talented as anyone and a really great performer. He’s been at Pitchfork a couple times in the past, but this year he got bumped up from the blue stage to the bigger red stage so more people could catch his set.

Ne-Hi at Pitchfork Music Festival

It was a great day for local acts on Sunday, kicked off by Ne-Hi’s main stage performance early in the afternoon. It had been a while since I’d seen them, and their sound was so much more crisp and even I couldn’t believe it. They’ve been a band I hope makes it big for a while, and this very well could have been their coming out party.

A Tribe Called Quest at Pitchfork Music Festival

I never thought I would have the chance to see A Tribe Called Quest play anywhere. I was a little too young to catch them in the 90’s, and as recently as a few years ago I just assumed they were done forever (considering Q-Tip’s statement saying as much after they opened for Kanye). That all changed when they got back together to make We’ve Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service. Despite the loss of Phife Dawg, or maybe because of it, ATCQ came out with a new sense of urgency. They’ve been touring hard, trying to get as many fans in the seats as possible to see them one last time before they hang it up for good. Their performance at Pitchfork was everything anyone could have hoped for.

Oh, also Ice-T was side stage for the show.

%d bloggers like this: