Lollapalooza was introduced back in 1991, by Jane’s Addiction front man, Perry Farrell. It is affectionately referred as just, “Lolla.” There were eight stages, including one for youth called, Kidzapalooza. Perry has hopes of making the festival global once again. Many of the bands at Lolla formed in California or the United Kingdom.
The $250 three day pass was available for purchase six months in advance, selling out in less than two hours. Hit refresh, refresh, refresh! There were roughly 300,000 people who attended even President Obama’s daughter, Malia. All-star Bulls center, Joakim Noah was spotted dancing. Sophia Bush of the TV show, Chicago P.D. was seen about the festival as well.
It was a comfortable event, there was hardly any shoulder to shoulder bumping in Chicago’s huge Grant Park until you finally exited the park at 10pm. This year the promoters made it simpler to spend hard earned money by giving you an option to link your wristband directly to your credit card for drinks and popular Chicago eats at a row of vendors called, Chow Town.
While the lineup has varied over the years, two things have remained the same: great audio, and acts that will show up on time. Even though not the biggest music festival in world by square feet, it definitely provided a plethora of talent, with over 130 musicians.
We had nice weather for the first two days of events where you could sit on the grass. Sunday it rained and the park looked like a soggy baseball field reminiscent of a scene from Woodstock. The mud-slinging continued long after the rain stopped. Grant Park is situated against Lake Michigan so the passing boats got to listen for free to a great 3-day Fest.
Plenty of people flying in from other States and Countries to see this festival. There was no one harmed too severe in the writing of this article, security had 2014 edition under control. Until the final day when one security guard didn’t check my person and suggested, “Go get drunk!”
Highlights of Friday include:
IGGY AZALEA 4:30 – 5:30 Iggy was a nice way to get the ball rolling, with her ferocious stage presence and rhythmic sound.
CHVRCHES 5:30 – 6:30 A Scottish trio from Glasgow, last year released full length album titled, ‘The Bones of What You Believe.’ The ‘V’ in the band’s name helps in internet searches, they seem to think.
Ben Rudolph stated about Chvrches, “They are like watching a heavy hitting synthesized dance. They load up on vocal samples and collapsed drum machines,” Ben went on to say, “Considering the intricacies of their music they must have to play with a backing track or laptop.”
LORDE 6:45 – 7:45 Lorde played her two most popular radio hits back to back, “Royals & Team in that order.” She did not disappoint.
EMINEM 8:30 – 10:00 Marshall Mathers posse is smaller. Eminem is sober now, but it does not mean he lost the ability to use expletives, screaming “CHICAGO-WAKE THE F*CK UP.” There was a famous special guest for two songs who was not on original lineup, and was never leaked by sources close to me. She goes by one name, Rihanna. She may have caught a flight back to Barbados right after that unexpected pop-in because she was gone before, “Love the Way You Lie,” was finished. She knocked it out of the park.
Highlights of Saturday include:
FITZ & THE TANTRUMS 4:15 – 5:15 They praised the promoters several times, exclaiming it was their first time at Lolla. They were very grateful to be invited, they deserve their large following.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE 6:15 – 7:15 #FTP has received two Grammy nominations, and had a #1 hit in 2011 called, “Pumped Up Kicks.” Always fostering in good material, they were a big hit with the Midwest crowd. They took a survey of hands, who was actually from Chicago. A lot of hands went up in the air. If you weren’t from Chicago originally, three days at Lolla can make you feel like you are a native.
THE HEAD AND THE HEART 7:15 – 8:15 Seattle band, which met at an open mic, and built a following from there. Their first album got panned by pitchfork magazine, calling it inauthentic by making references to hard working, blue-collar life. They are a cross between early Wilco and The Shins. A very Indie laidback vibe. They shined as the sun set on the evening.
I split time between Cut/Copy and Outkast as the final headliners of the night made it on stage.
OUTKAST 8:15 – 10:00 The fireworks over the Chicago skyline began as Andre 3000 adorning a blonde wig was asking for requests. Of course the vote was “Ms. Jackson.” After the bands near decade long hiatus, they came back stronger than ever. Big Boi posted from his Facebook page, “Stank you Lollapalooza!!”
CUT/COPY 9:00 – 10:00 They can be summed up like this, an Australian male band, dance pop, programming, lots of synthesizers. Tons of fluorescent colors emanating from the stage, very representative of their music. Really explodes, dynamic, fun to watch. They were on one of the smaller stages, ‘The Grove,’ but there sound is very big indeed.
Highlights of Sunday include:
LONDON GRAMMAR 3:00 – 4:00 Coincidentally, the stagehand organizers put most of the British accents on the same ‘Lake Shore’ stage. Hannah Reid has very strong and soulful voice. Even emotional at times.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT 4:00 – 5:00 They got very friendly with the audience, combining guitar and crowd surfing simultaneously. They also performed at a Lolla after show before taking the main stage on Sunday. Billy Arkush was there and he had this to say, “I was at the Vic Theatre and lead guitarist, Nick Bockrath walked on stage with a #23 Michael Jordan Bulls jersey, the crowd got amped.” Billy continued, “The energy was unbelievable from start to finish, everything was on point. The chemistry blended so nicely that it sounded like a chorus.” In true, #CTE fashion, at least twenty people got to come on stage and sing with the band.” A Lolla fan’s dream.
REBELUTION 5:45 – 6:45 Rebelution is a band that is on the rise, I was able to procure VIP for myself and cameraman at an after show party at the Bottom Lounge. Rebelution is a reggae band who opened for Matisyahu during a tour stretch last year. They started with same song as the after show, but the rest of the set was mildly different. Although bass player, Marley D. Williams did wear the same exact cut off jersey two days in a row. Perhaps he has a closet full of them. If you really like California surf bands such as Slightly Stoopid and Sublime you will mostly likely dig Rebelution’s sound. Generally reggae influenced bands lyrics are extremely difficult to understand. The listener can understand every word sung by Eric Rachmany’s crystal clear voice.
YOUNG THE GIANT 7:15 – 8:15 Releasing ‘Mind over Matter’ in January of this year, it has moved to the top ten of the music charts. Like most of the sets, it only lasted an hour, the crowd wanted more from this hot band.
SKRILLEX 8:30 – 10:00 I was not able to see Skrillex live, but found someone who knew his fair share. Jordan Rall said, “Skrillex has an interesting story growing up in Los Angeles and writing a collaboration with then “The Doors” remaining members in 2012 called, Breakn’ a Sweat. They also produced a documentary together called Re:Generation Music Project.” If you want to know more about Skrillex, watch that documentary on Hulu.
KINGS OF LEON 8:15 – 10:00 I choose to listen to KOL, not based on fast growth and popularity. I liked them when they first started out early in the century. Because I think they are a band that is uniquely expressing a true rock n’ roll family message. I will continue to follow them no matter how big they get. All the songs really hit the mark, and have remained great through time. One of the top ten bands of the 21st Century in my opinion.
In conclusion, the rain may have deterred some folks on the last night but ponchos work well. It was a somewhat rowdy crowd at times, but mostly it was a peaceful display in my hometown. It was an all you can listen to buffet of music. The audience was given kudos several times by the performers for sticking it out in the rain. It was worse weather last year, most folks said. Now that the cleanup has begun, a big thanks goes out to all the volunteers who picked up crushed beer cans seconds after they were flattened. I even saw a five year old girl putting in some community service with her Dad. Also a spectacle was a clearly pregnant Mother to be, showing off her nine-month baby bump with a sharpie pen, “My 1st Lolla baby.”
The main exit reminded one of cattle moving inch by inch back to the packed city streets on the ‘Magnificent Mile,’ to catch an Uber car service. Which was running pretty slow, probably because they gave everyone who attended Lolla a free $30 ride