Lollapalooza 2022 - Day Two
Lollapalooza 2022 - Day Two - Friday July 29, 2022 - Grant Park, Chicago
Day two at Lollapalooza was one of the best in the festival's history. Women ruled the day with expressive, gut wrenching and uplifting performances that remind us that behind every problem in the world is a woman who can fix it. These last few years have been reassuring to see all these acts speak up and urging us to continue to fight. They say music and politics should not mix and that a performer like Dua Lipa should just entertain us, but it is those disco beats, the communal dancing and the words of inspiration that refuel us to fight another day. Dua Lipa, MUNA, the Regrettes, King Princess, Wet Leg and Girl in Red took us places we needed to go, distracted us long enough to smile and inspired us to not give up.
Taipei Houston 2:00
The crushing swell of Metallica's Friday night headline set lingered over into Friday afternoon with drummer Lars Ulrich's two sons making their Lollapalooza debut and one of their first live performances. Myles and Layne Ulrich go by the name Taipei Houston, and they brought a mammoth sound with just bass and drums to the beautiful BMI stage. Layne handles bass and vocal duties while Myles attacks the drums and guitars on record. During the early portion of their set, it was evident they are highly influenced by garage rock with big tips of the hat to the White Stripes and the Artic Monkeys. Lyle's bass exploded out of the gates, and it took many in the crowd to realize he was not playing guitar. There is a lot that will be said about how & why they performed at Lollapalooza, but they transported a fierce oomph to the stage. They did not rest on their laurels or their name and hit the stage ready to leave a pint of blood. They were incisive and raging; Myles was a force on the drums and with his big head of curly hair, you would watch it sway in the air with every propulsive hit while Layne zigged and zagged on the bass driving the melody home. Layne' bass playing is elaborate & not dissimilar to Cliff Burton, Metallica's bassist, who managed to make his four-string instrument sound like a guitar from another planet. The band's debut single "As the Sun Sets," made an appearance along with a good portion of original material that is promising and a wicked cover of "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles. Many heard of Taipei Houston for the first time this week, but if their Lollapalooza performance is any indicator, this will not be the last time.
Wet Leg 2:50
The buzz around the British indue rock duo hailing from the Isle of Wight has been deafening in 2022. Performing at their first festival in the United States, they had a massive crowd for a mid afternoon performance. Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers indie rock vibes permeated throughout the Discord stage. Setup on the far end of the park with trees in abundance this is the same stage the festivals biggest names have performed at before graduating to large stages in the festival within years. The band only formed in 2019 and released their debut album earlier this year which debuted at number-one in the UK. Beneath the rowdy noise Wet Leg has well-formed songs that transcend any buzz. Their eleven-song set was easily one of the day two highlights. The duo, accentuated on stage by additional musicians swayed between their grittier punk vibes while balancing melodic Britpop. While their full set flew by in the flash of an eye, "Ur Mom" was a standout with Teasdale's unleashing an impassioned wail at the end. An unreleased song "Obvious" featured a more hushed and tender performance and it is a signal that there is more to hear from them in the future. Beneath the loud guitars is a powerful sense of craft, something that should serve them well in the future. "I Want to Be Abducted (By a UFO)," "Too Late Now," "Angelica" and "Chaise Longue" closed out their set which teetered on the edge of ecstasy and distinctly decorated them as future stars.
The Regrettes 3:45
The Regrettes are a four-piece band who brought a good dosage of riot grrrl and garage pop. While they are a rock band who dip their toes in every genre of rock possible and it is part of their charm. Led by Lydia Night, the Regrettes, delivered a high energy set full of not just fun music but powerful music as well. Their Lollapalooza set was a non-stop celebration. Night and guitarist Genessa Gariano strode across the stage, constantly engaging the crowd while Brooke Dickson on bass and Drew Thomsen on drums give the foundation for the band to surge forward with their caffeinated brand of power pop. Watching the Regrettes rip through "Dress Up" and new songs such as "Monday" and "Better Now" were an absolute joy to watch and it will not be long before they are back on a bigger stage.
Royal Blood 4:45
Royal Blood are not for the weak hearted. They are a towering and smoldering presence on the concert stage. Even if you do not care for their music, they are a force to be reckoned with. The English duo, who hail from Worthington, England, continued day two's theme of two-piece bands and their performance may have been the most crushing just due to the roars of the crowd. They are Lollapalooza veterans and this year they were on the second biggest stage of the festival, and they used their time well. Mike Kerr muscled his bass and vocals to the forefront while drummer Ben Thatcher harnessed the John Bonham-like heavy foot stomp on "Typhoons." Blending their minimalist sound Blood had the crowd in the palm of their hands. "Boilermaker," "Lights Out" and "Come on Over" continued their set showing they did not shy away from spiking the energy with heavy distortion and thundering drums.
The first time I saw MUNA at Lollapalooza was six years ago and it was a transformative experience. The band was still in their infancy, but they clearly knew what type of music they wanted to make. Yearning for missed opportunities and lost loves, MUNA synthesizes sorrow in such a melancholic and personal manner in their indie pop sound. Lead singer Katie Gavin is a star on the stage, not just a great performer or artist, but a star who the audience can look up to and see a reflection of themselves. Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson fill out the band and forge the band's cathartic pop landscape veering into familiar yet bold new territories. The band arrived on the Lollapalooza stage in support of their new album, MUNA
which was released earlier this summer. The band delicately weaved a perfect setlist opening with "What I Want" from their latest album before "Number One Fan" and "Stayaway" pushed the set into overdrive. Song after song the crowd sung it back to the crowd. In the six years since they last performed their audience has grown and so has their intensity. Gavin took time to talk about coming to Lollapalooza when she was younger and lived locally and spoke about seeing the Killers, before the band launched into "Mr. Brightside." The crowd reaction was so ecstatic that Gavin did not even have to sing half or the song. The crowd enthusiasm spilled over to "I Know a Place" and the set closer "Silk Chiffon," which the crowd sang back every word, proving that it is not necessarily how big your stage may be, but how many fervent fans show up and in MUNA's case, it felt like a homecoming that was nothing short of celebratory.
King Princess 6:15
King Princess, born Mikaela Mullaney Straus, is a twenty-three-year-old singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, New York. Despite her youth, she gave one of the best vocal performances of the day. Her latest album came out on the very day of her Lollapalooza performance, Hold On Baby
which features production from Mark Ronson on certain tracks and the late Taylor Hawkins as well on the album closer "Let Us Die", Onstage at Lollapalooza, King Princess was adept are transforming pop music to a higher plane throughout her entire set, crawling the stage for maximum crowd engagement and was highlighted by her performance of "1950", a standout from the whole festival.
Glass Animals 6:55
The singer, songwriter and producer of Glass Animals, Dave Bayley, has a unique background. He hails from Massachusetts and Texas, but eventually moved to Oxford England where Glass Animals was formed in 2010. A little more than a decade later the band has several songs with 9-figure streams on Spotify alone with one, "Heat Waves" approaching 2-billion streams. The crowd at the T-Mobile stage was huge with the band commenting how it was one of the largest they have ever played. He even spoke of an app to show them which cities listen to their music the most and Chicago was at the top of the list. While "Heat Waves" was kept for the grand finale sending the crowd into a tizzy, they delivered "Tangerine", "The Other Side of Paradise", "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and "Tokyo Drifting" with breezy perfection and the slickness of pop stars, but make no mistake, they earned their early evening slot on the biggest stage of the festival.
Girl in Red 7:45
Playing the stage opposite Dua Lipa is not easy feat but Girl in Red (or girl in red) rose to the challenge and exceeded all expectations. Twenty-three-year-old Marie Ulven Ringheim has been building buzz for her confessional and bedroom confessionals. Her first album was released a year ago, If I Could Make It Go Quiet
but it was preceded by a series of singles and EP's which solidified her fan base, and it was evident at Lollapalooza because they knew every single word. For the crowd in front of the stage, this was life or death for them. Girl in Red is an artist who the audience looks up to and sees a reflection of themselves. When this happens, it is a powerful and transformative A moment in time where they see themselves in the artist on the stage. "Serotonin," "Did You Come" and "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" were some of the best received songs of the festival. The audience was there with Girl in Red every step of the way lifting & cheering her while they draped their emotions in her deeply personal songs which are dripping with vulnerability.
Dua Lipa 8:45
Since Lollapalooza has made Chicago its home, it has shifted from the alternative music festival it once was and covers a wide spectrum of artists with many of the headliners being pop superstars. Dua Lipa first appeared at Lollapalooza several years ago during an early afternoon set. For 2022, she was one of the headliners with the biggest draw. Just because you can draw a huge crowd does not mean you can deliver. I have watched pop stars both soar and come up short on the big stage so I was not sure how Dua Lipa would go over, but I am here to tell you, she delivered one of the greatest pop spectacles that Grant Park and the Lollapalooza festival have ever been fortunate enough to witness.
Dua Lipa is a pop star who has been inescapable from the radio the last several years and she brought all of them to Lollapalooza. Her eighteen-song set stretched past eighty-minutes and from the dance jam opener "Physical" to the "Don't Start Now" the entire performance was a danceable synth-driven spectacle. The set was heavy on her 2020 album, Future Nostalgia which was released two weeks after the world shut down, so she has only been able to take this dance party out on tour this year. Her live band consists of four musicians, four baking singers and a smattering of dancers. What I was most impressed with Lipa's set was her ability to pace the set perfectly despite still being early in her career and relying so heavily on one album, but the show is an excuse to sweat and to grind out the troubles of the world on the dance floor. "Be the One" "Good in Bed," "Boys Will Be Boys" kept the momentum for the dancehall of an entire field. It would have been one thing for Lipa to deliver an album that channels the best of the dance music of the seventies, eighties, and nineties with her own spin, but delivering a show is another thing entirely and she did it with style. Dressed in a beautiful lace black jumpsuit, she covered every inch of the festival stage making those in back feel like they had a front row seat. She did take time to speak to the crowd and expressed her dismay how the last time she was in America abortion was still legal. She gave the crowd a pep talk and told them to "Stand up for women's rights, stand up against racial injustice, stand up for the LGBTQ+ community and stand up for each other." Amidst all the celebrating it was a reminder we are not alone in our fight. Dua Lipa did not just come to perform at Lollapalooza, she came to build a community and when the fireworks blasted off at the end of "Don't Start Now," her mission was accomplished.
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 seven years. He can be followed on Twitter