Lollapalooza 2022 - Day Three
Lollapalooza 2022 - Day Three - Saturday July 30, 2022 - Grant Park, Chicago
Lollapalooza begins to reach its peak on Saturday every year. It is the third of four days and the first day of the weekend for many, so the festivals streets tighten, and the crowds are much larger earlier in the day which is good for all the acts who have early-stage times. Day three in Chicago was warm with picturesque skies and was the definition of an ideal summer day. As Lollapalooza has shifted from an alternative rock festival to one that has focused more on hip-hop and pop in recent years, it has become more eclectic; however, there are struggles beneath the surface. With the shift to four days, there's an abundance of up-and-coming acts that don't have significant catalogs and often haven't had enough experience to capture the imagination of a festival crowd or the discography to make their sets essential viewing but on the flipside just because they don't have a catalog of hits doesn't mean they can't be a wholly engaging presence on the stage. Here is our day three report from Lollapalooza 2022.
Terrell J. Cox goes by the stage name of Cochise. He is a Jamaican-American rapper, singer and songwriter who hails from Florida. A fanatical weekend crowd showed up for his 1:15 early afternoon performance. Taking the stage in a long beige overcoat with black slacks, gym shoes, a white collared shirt with a thin tie, sunglasses and black gloves he got to work right away sending the crowd into a tizzy and after a few songs confessed, "I'm corny as s**t but I don't care, I'm feeling handsome, I am not going to lie to you". Saturday is when the crowds really begin to come alive earlier in the day, especially for those single day ticket holders. Cochise was there to make a mark and he did just that performing songs from his 2021 album Benbow Crescent
Hailing from Madrid, Spain the indie rock band Hinds were a joy to watch. Originally scheduled for 2021's Lollapalooza, they finally made it to the big dance in 2022. Consisting of Carlotta Cosials, Ana Garcia Perrote, Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen the four-piece projected pure bliss throughout their set with their indie rock sounds which focused on their three studio albums; Leave Me Alone (2016), I Don't Run (2018) and The Prettiest Curse (2020), that latter of which includes a cover of the Clash's "Spanish Bombs" which they delivered with the same insurrectionary spirit as the Clash. Their ability to wrap melodies around the brand of minimalism was a gift. They even pulled a fan onstage for bass duties for "Burn" which features some of the most defiant lyrics of any song I heard at the festival, "I wanna tell my girls how are we fighting in this man's world / Yeah, we wanna have fun but not to follow your plan / Remember the day he tried to make you behave? /We didn't come here to please you, my dear."
Q Brothers 3:00
One of the highlights of the festival, not just Kidzapalooza, is the Q Brothers. Both, GQ and JQ, hail from Chicago and are creative forces to reckoned with. Their family friendly hip-hop event deserves more credit than it gets. Slicing and dicing intrinsic rhymes, the brothers collaborate with friends and kids who have visited their hip-hop workshop. The collaborative nature of the performance makes it an unforgettable experience where the Q Brothers stand toe-to-toe with most hip-hop performers at Lollapalooza. The free style section of the performance allows them to stretch their legs. Watching the Q Brothers washes away your cynicism because it is a top-to-bottom experience that will not just invigorate you but leave a lasting smile on your family's face. The Q Brothers have a free family hip-hop album suitable for children on their website (http://qbrothersofficial.com/).
Emerging on the T-Mobile stage, the biggest stage at the festival, New Jersey born Fletcher soared as her pop vocals stretched across the immense field as she strove to make a connection with the large crowd who came out to see her. Despite a steady stream of singles, her first full length debut album Girl of My Dreams
does not come out until September but that did not stop a huge crowd for appearing for her set which featured her ardent vocals. She even covered Billie Eilish's "Happier Than Ever" that made the crowd do a double glance because it was so effective.
The best part of every Lollapalooza I have attended has been taking in new and undiscovered artists at the BMI stage, which backs right up to Lake Shore Drive, but is sheltered by a beautiful assortment of trees and shade, right by Buckingham Fountain. BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) has presented the BMI Stage at Lollapalooza for its sixteen years, and it is always where I experience some of my favorite performances. As the heat was at its peak. DannyLux (born Daniel Balderrama) made his Lollapalooza debut at BMI. A seventeen-year-old Mexican-American who sings in Spanish, he has made an impression as of late and has a major label deal and even opened for Coldplay earlier this year. After performing a few tender and beautiful songs on his acoustic guitar, he spoke to the crowd in Spanish and English before telling the crowd his inspiration of love and heartache before ending with "enjoy the vibes" and vibes were aplenty as the young man serenaded the Chicago crowd. He learned how to play guitar with a church choir and was influenced by his father's love of classic rock. Under the shades and away from the boisterous festival, DannyLux was not just refreshing reprieve, but his set was nothing short of fantastic highlighted by his expressive acoustic guitar and the sweet sounds of his voice.
Dashboard Confessional 4:00
In my lifetime, few acts have as rabid as a following as Dashboard Confessional. If you do not believe me, find their MTV Unplugged 2.0
album from 2002, which was recorded before
they had cracked the Top 100 on Billboard's album chart. In fact, they were the first act to appear on Unplugged who was not a platinum artist at the time. Emerging out of the emo genre, Dashboard Confessional, and their leader Chris Carrabba, were always much more sincere than the box the press put them in. His lyrics perfectly captures the vulnerable emotions of our youth in a way few others can without swimming in saccharine. Two decades on from their Unplugged performance, Dashboard Confessional have aged well and just this year, they released an excellent new album All the Truth That I Can Tell
which is a throwback to the acoustic albums that captured the hearts of that rabid fanbase. The only negative of their Lollapalooza performance is nothing from the new album made its way to the setlist, but the set was comprised of songs entirely from their first four albums, giving the hardcore fans what they want. "The Brilliant Dance," "The Good Fight" and "The Sharp Hint of New Tears" were primers as the set grew more impassioned where the band and fans fed off one another into multiple synchronistic moments of musical ecstasy.
Carrabba's guttural wails on "Don't Wait" reached throughout the entire field as the crowd sung from the gut as drummer Chris Kamrada pummeled the emotions out on his drums while guitarist Armon Jay let his six-string sing. "Stolen," "Vindicated" "Again I Go Unnoticed" took the set to a new level which each song upping the previous one with frenzied concentration. "Remember to Breathe" was delicate and would usually be reserved for clubs, but as the sun basked over the band, Carrabba howled "everything will be OK" and with the audience serving as his backing singers, and it was a moment so pure you couldn't help but be caught up in it as he gave us a silver lining, we all could grip onto. When it was time for "Screaming Infidelities" the field in Grant Park became a choir where Carrabba's lyrics hung in the air making it one of the most real, perfect, and saddest songs I have ever heard. Dashboard Confessional continues to make timeless music that captures whispered pain, and the never-ending yearning of our broken hearts.
Cole Preston's machine guns drums opened "I Don't Want to Talk" which commenced their set and was followed by the sweeping and blaring "Especially You." Wallows and their brand of indie power pop-alternative-pop rock went over wildly at the T-Mobile stage so much so that it must be encouraging to the band's leaders Dylan Minnette and Braeden Lemasters to give up their day jobs as actors in Hollywood.
Big bombastic beats & jangly guitars were present for most of Coin's set with the exception being "Malibu 1992" was something out of a dream with its languorous howl. The indie band from Nashville flirts with pop most noticeable on "Talk Too Much" and "Crash My Car" which were superb as the band stirred the audience into a hysteric craze.
Once again, the BMI stage delivers with eighteen-year-old GAYLE. She is an inspiring singer who looked completely at home on the stage. GAYLE is a young artist who is making their way in the world and not afraid to let their emotions be seen by the world. Much like Girl in Red the day before, GAYLE is creating music that are confessional diary entries. "ur just horny" had the crowd waving their hands back and forth which she introduced as "This song is about being a honey motherf***er." The crowd came out to hear "abcdefu" which ignited the crowd. The song became a TikTok sensation had more than 750-million streams on Spotify alone. Despite being only eighteen, GAYLE was self-assured and not afraid to disclose her vulnerability. It was uplifting to see someone so in command of their craft while expressing some of the same doubts that linger in our head and hearts not just when we are young but well into adulthood.
Idles hails from Bristol, England and as I walked to their stage a good portion of the way through their set, I immediately regretted seeing the full set. It was a like watching a band who would not yield for anyone in their way. Watching lead singer Joe Talbot, you are immediately hypnotized by his presence which conjures pure menace and mayhem. Talbot has been quick to dismiss his band as punk or even hardcore, but what Idles does is leave multiple pints of blood on the stage after every performance. The closing numbers "Danny Nedelko" and "Rottweiler" found the band scorching the earth with their intense and frantic approach of rock at its most distinctive and unruly.
Charly Jordan 7:50
The twenty-two-year-old DJ began the evening portion of Lollapalooza where DJs would rule the evening. The former model and social media personality had a small but engaged crowd at her stage where she was dressed in a bikini top and black pants. She would work the crowd up with excessive beats, dry ice, synchronized lights, and her turntables which yielded the loudest sound I have ever heard emerge from the Tito's stage in my decade-plus of covering the festival.
Across the street from Charly Jordan was the hardcore punk band Turnstile who were prowling the Discord stage with their brand of hardcore punk. Saturday night belonged to dance music, but here was a refuge and an alternative for those looking to escape the relentless beats. Lead singer Brendan Yates channeled Iggy Pop's physical movements in a set where he burned one-thousand calories. From speedy distortion to slow burn jams, the Baltimore band did not rest on their laurels. The set was heavy on their 2021 album GLOW ON
which was inspired by the isolation of the pandemic. Songs such as "MYSTERY," "BLACKOUT," "DON'T PLAY" and "ENDLESS" seeped into the moshing thrill seekers in the crowd.
Chelsea Cutler 8:30
Chelsea Cutler was raised in Westport, Connecticut and played acoustic instruments before shifting over to electronic pop. The crowd was dancing along to "the lifeboat's empty!" and "Calling All Angels," from her When I Close My Eyes
album, midway through her set where she was draped in a Walter Payton "34" Chicago Bears road jersey with a very present crowd cheering her on. She was charming and demanded participation from the crowd who were all to happy to assist.
Hometown hero Kaskade returned to Lollapalooza at Perry's stage. Perry's audience is possibly the steadiest stream of fans throughout the festival with DJ's turning over sets in short order before the next set of bursts of flames reaching to the sky while the crowd swelled and surged to escape from the real world where it is so loud you cannot even think. This is not a criticism; it is the ultimate escape music. Lights, pyrotechnical disco balls and a sound system to knock you over.
On the smaller Discord stage, Willow performed a short set, but one that was a full-on adrenaline rush. The daughter of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith has fused R&B jams with pop punk. Her set leaned heavily on lately I feel EVERYTHING
including a short but impressive opening of "t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l," "Gaslight," "don't SAVE ME," "Lipstick" and "Come Home." Willow brought high energy pop punk with no frills, but it was still a big adrenaline rush. Rumored guests never materialized during her set, but she did not need them, she brought her own star power.
Closing out Saturday was Kygo, the Norwegian DJ and music producer. The thirty-year old DJ, who was born, Kyrre Gorvell-Dahll had all the perquisite bells and whistles that come with providing dance music to a festival; disco balls, loads of dry ice, blaring beats, big screens synchronized lights and mashups and mixes to make the crowd grind their worries away. His set did not break any new ground for the festival, but like Kaskade's set, it is a way for them to escape their worries of the world.
More in-depth Lollapalooza coverage will be published all this week
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMUSIC Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He has seen over 1,000 concerts in his life, has far too many CD's and has covered Lollapalooza in-depth for more than a decade. He can be followed on Twitter