While the first two days of Lollapalooza 2023 featured perfect weather, Saturday started with a light drizzle that lasted most of the day. Fans closely watching the weather forecast saw the weather changing hourly and rain that should have been over by 2pm didn't stop until closer to 6pm. Despite the rain and mud, Saturday had its fair share of highlights with many of them occurring on the smaller stages featuring commanding voices making their mark in the world where they were able to flex their musical muscles and show a festival crowd not just their talents but what they stand for.
Tackling the enormous T-Mobile stage was Motherfolk who brought their indie folk-rock sensibilities to the stage. Nathan Dickerson and Bobby Paver met in college and became music allies. With the rain covering the southside of Gran Park, the band charmed the crowd with their smiles and verve. The melodic warmth of "Kill the Sun" felt apt and appropriate on this cloudy day.
BONNIE X CLYDE 1:40
Over at Perry's the EDM fans were out in full force, rain be damned. The electric dance duo of Daniel Litman and Paige Lopynski formed less than a decade back in Fairfax, Virginia brought the usual big beats and thundering bass expected from Perry's stage, which still had swaths of fans regardless of the weather.
The Linda Lindas 1:45
There have been great performances at Lollapalooza since they made Chicago their permanent home back in 2005 and then there was the set by the Linda Lindas which was easily the best non-headline set, I've seen in recent memory. The Linda Lindas consist of four girls, all teens, who play stripped down rock n' roll: Bela Salazar, Eloise Wong, and sisters Lucia and Mila de la Garza. They tore through one of the most purposeful and illuminating sets I've ever seen. Songs included "Growing Up", "Remember" and "Magic" from their debut album which was just re-released with several bonus cuts. The Linda Lindas crushed their set and even threw in a pair of covers; "Tonite by the Go-Go's and "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill (they can both be streamed). This was one of the most propulsive sets in the fest as they hearkened back to the spirit of the original Lollapalooza. Anyone who feels it's too corporate isn't looking hard enough because in the case of the Linda Lindas, they're giving an audience to a group of young women who are the future just like they did Billie Eilish five years ago. Right before the band performed "Rebel Girl", they spoke to the audience about the difficulty of the world we are living in but reminded all of us, "You've got to do what you can...vote."
Arcy Drive 2:45
The four-piece indie rock band from New York had an optimal stage for their rain-soaked set, the BMI stage which is covered by trees which enlarged their audience. The chiming guitar chords of "They Don't Dance" and "Roll My Stone" offered a wonderful reprieve from the inclement weather.
The young musician who goes by Windser, Jordan Topf, was so genuine and sincere at the BMI stage, it was hard not to be impressed with his resolve and appreciation for his talent. Hailing from California, Windser's music was some of the barest of the festival accentuated by the sweetest of melodies. Despite Lollapalooza being his first festival, he performed it like a veteran. Two highlights were "Paris" and the radio-ready "Memory" which the crowd showed their admiration for in a massive sing-along.
Suki Waterhouse 4:00
Suki Waterhouse may be recognizable from the Amazon streaming show Daisy Jones and the Six as the band's keyboardist, but at the end of her excellent Lollapalooza set, the audience will know her for her moody and atmospheric music. Performing "Good Looking", "Moves" and "Nostalgia", Waterhouse swam in the waters of morose melancholy music made famous by Mazzy Star, so it was no surprise they performed the anthem "Fade Into You" late in her set which was so good, it makes you want her to do a tour with Hope Sandoval. The set felt nostalgic and ethereal in all the right ways.
Danielle Ponder 4:45
Danielle Ponder is a force with a voice that the heavens can hear. The R&B artist did a show at Evanston's cozy SPACE earlier this year, but at the BMI stage, she flexed her voice to reach far and beyond. She previously worked as a public defender in Rochester, New York before giving it up to chase her dream. Performing songs from her debut Some of Us Are Brave, Ponder comes to the stage with more than talent, but a history she brings with her on stage at every performance. Numerous acts perform at Lollapalooza every year, and some disappear over time, but Danielle Ponder is one to watch and expect more from in the future, her talent in immense and something to behold.
The Revivalists 5:10
David Shaw of The Revivalists was dressed in jean overalls showing his tattoos when he left the stage to enter the crowd and go eye-to-eye with the fans. Tearing through cuts such as "All My Friends" and "How We Move", the New Orleans eight-piece made the most of their time firmly connecting with their audience delivering the goods to their fans and winning over new ones and by the time the final song arrived, "Wish I Knew You", the audience was in the palm of their hand.
Aiden Bissett 5:45
The BMI stage had its largest crowd for Aidan Bissett, the young singer-songwriter performed breezy set the crowd loved featuring his current single "Sick", his huge streaming hit "More Than Friends" and a Clash cover "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" which the young audience rocked out to as the sun began to creep through the clouds.
Morgan Wade 6:30
Hailing from Floyd, Virginia, Morgan Wade has made a name for herself in country music circles, but her twangy voice differentiates her from the standard country performers, there is a grit to her delivery of every note that escapes her lips. "Last Cigarette" with its "oh-oh-oh" chorus walloped the crowd, while the band played a snippet of Stone Temple Pilots "Plush" during "Bad Karma" and the reflective ballad "Psychopath", from her forthcoming album of the same name.
Maggie Rogers 7:15
Maggie Rogers career arc is fascinating from her independent beginnings to gaining recognition by Pharrell Williams during her master class at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, to her nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards in 2019. Dressed in a red dress, she stretched herself across the Bud Light stage with conviction while performing "Love You For a Long Time", "Fallingwater" and "Light On", the latter of which upon the song's inclusion a huge rainbow appeared over Grant Park. After a long day of rain and mud, it was as if the crowd was being rewarded with something beyond beautiful and there was no better soundtrack to the moment than "Light On".
Tomorrow x Together 8:30
Tomorrow x Together performed at Lollapalooza in 2022 and they returned in 2023 to be the Saturday night headliner. The band brought their A-game with perfectly choreographed dance moves featured on "Dear Sputnik" and "Tinnitus". They spent a good amount of time chatting with the audience where they confessed "Chicago is a very special place for Tomorrow x Together" and the crowd made sure they knew that Tomorrow x Together is a special to Chicago and Lollapalooza with their roars proving they've earned their headline status.
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 and has covered Lollapalooza in-depth for over a decade. He can be contacted at tonykAT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter
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