Lollapalooza 2014 Day Three: Soaked Yet Stoked

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 4, 2014 6:45PM

12:54 p.m. On the Blue line some girls are whispering amongst themselves, apparently never having seen a Media wristband. Trust me girls, outside of free Wi-Fi and a shady area with a couple of perks I’m out there in the field with you all day too! — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy (JK/T)

1:27 p.m. The clerk behind the counter at the 7-Eleven we’ve taken shelter in during the downpour is cursing the fact that his stock of ponchos is in the basement and not readily available. The three things all stores in the Loop should have during the fest are ponchos, cigarettes and water, because they’re going to always be in high demand over Lollapalooza weekend. — JK/T

1:36 p.m. I use the main gate for the first time this weekend—every other time I’ve entered from the north end of the festival on Monroe—and holy hell is the staff far more mean and aggressive at this entrance. — JK/T

1:46 p.m. Bleachers has the south end of the park packed. Through the next 45 minutes or so Jack Antonoff leads his backing band through an astoundingly exuberant set. Antonoff mentions playing his first Chicago show 15 years ago at Fireside and gives shout outs to all the local venues who supported all his previous projects, including Fun. and Steel Train, through the years. For me this is the breakout set for the weekend and this is only partially due to the music. Antonoff is so genuinely exuberant that it’s impossible not to love the guy. So it makes sense that his music is also eager to please and full of optimistic promise. As he ends the set with “I Wanna Get Better’ goosebumps form on my arm and I realize I’m crying. The crowd is exploding around me, the sun has broken through the clouds to bathe the field in an otherworldly glow and its altogether just one of those unforgettable personal moments that only exists through your connection to the crowd and world around you. — JK/T

2:25 p.m. Nonono has me literally saying no no no. The songs are cookie cutter ‘90s alternative guitar fare and the lead singer’s thin voice isn’t helping matters. And then guitarist Tobias Jimson goes and talks about growing up in Sweden, idolizing Lollapalooza from afar and explains this is a dream come true for the band. And I immediately feel like a heel for disliking their set so much. And then realize that while I can appreciate their happiness it doesn’t make up for bland, uninspired tunes like these. — JK/T

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Photo by Jessica Mlinaric

3:11 p.m. Trombone Shorty’s got a NOLA party vibe going on the north end, so I grab my first beer of the day. — Michelle Meywes (MM)

3:13 p.m. Trombone Shorty causes jaws to drop, including mine, with an amazing demonstration of circular breathing. As his uninterrupted trumpet blast goes on for minutes the crowd slowly begins to realize he hasn’t taken a single breath. I’ve played brass instruments since grade school years and am still in awe of folks that can pull this bit of breathing dexterity off. — JK/T

3:25 p.m. Trombone Shorty with an unmistakable Green Day guitar riff! Gritty, soulful cover of Brain Stew—with horns in place of lyrics, of course. — MM

3:25 p.m. As soon as I enter the gates it’s apparent that I need coffee. I down a double espresso to get this day going while listening to the distant sounds of Trombone Shorty. Are they covering Green Day? — Jessica Mlinaric (JM)

3:27 p.m. People are walking in the gates already barefoot. — JM

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I always feel like some one is watching me... Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
3:48 p.m. Dance party really picking up as the rain starts to come down (again) at RAC. “We’re not gonna let a little rain stop us,” says Andre Allen Anjos. — MM

3:52 p.m. RAC rips into “Tear You Down” and I wonder why Alex Ebert, who supplies vocals to the song, isn’t there in person since his band just played yesterday. Maybe they had another show? As the set progresses though it’s obvious that not having singers onstage with the band is no hindrance (though a few tunes do feature live vocals). The overwhelming vibe is that of a sunny dance party, despite the constant rain. In fact many of the acts I’ve seen at The Grove stage over the weekend have had so much of the crowd moving it’s basically turned into the grown up version of Perry’s stage. — JK/T

4:09 p.m. Penguin Prison joins RAC on stage for their popular single, “Hollywood.” — MM

4:23 p.m. EL-P has cut off the Run The Jewels set imploring a security guard to take it easy on somebody. “She’s just a girl!” he shouts. Whoops, EL-P, that’s a guy. “Girls wash their hair,” Big Mike reminds his partner. EL-P apologies, but this thing’s got to get back on track. Z-Trip is introduced to DJ the next tune, and he helps not only get the set back on track, but elevates it to the next level. — Casey Moffitt (CM)

4:23 p.m. First photo op request with my Zydrunas Ilgauskas throwback jersey of the day. — JM

4:35 p.m. We hide out in the Samsung Galaxy Owners Lounge to get out of the rain and watch cellphone owners sip cocktails and eat catered food. Sometimes corporate sponsorship actually does the average citizen a favor. We take in a bit of Cage the Elephant’s set and I’m struck at how little the band has changed since I last saw them play at Subterranean a few years ago. They’re still rooting around The Stooges back catalog for many of their riffs and most of their stage show and I’m struck that a band doing that could attract such a huge following. Good for them? — JK/T

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Photo by Jessica Mlinaric
4:40 p.m. Run The Jewels is offering to perform a new tune that EL-P insists is just five days old. It’s not mixed. The instrumental track hasn’t been added, but there’s no way this crowd is going to let Run The Jewels off the stage without playing it. “You’re not discerning listeners,” EL-P quips. “You’re greedy listeners.” — CM

4:50 p.m. I’m giving Chromeo more of a chance than I think I really should because I’m digging Dave 1’s guitar playing. I just wish there was more of it. I wasn’t a fan of this ‘80s dance music the first time around, and I’m just not getting into it now. — CM

4:55 p.m. I work out to Chromeo’s new album, White Women, almost every day. It sure is way more fun dancing to “Sexy Socialite” in a big field than it is pumping iron. — MM

5:10 p.m. Dave 1 is now instructing the crowd how to sing “higher” on the falsetto chorus for the new song “Frequent Flyer.” — MM

5:12 p.m. As I seek shelter under some trees from the rain near The Grove Stage, I’ve got a good view of The 1975. I’m still not into the 80s revivalist dance thing, but I’m a sucker for anyone trying to bring the saxophone back into vogue in rock music. — CM

5:28 p.m. I’m expecting something a bit more mellow from the Lake View Stage, but Glen Hansard’s got an Irish-tinged rhythm and blues thing going on here. It’s rocking and raucous. I’m taken aback, but glad to be so surprised. — CM

5:39 p.m. As Chromeo rips into “Jealous” the south field is transformed into a huge dance party. In fact, this whole day has been filled with dancing. I’m going to guess it’s Chicago’s way of letting Mother Nature that rain won’t stop our party vibe. — JK/T

5:53 p.m. Glen Hansard is wrapping up his set full of songs of struggle and hope. As he introduces “The Old Triangle,” he asks the crowd to join in singing because, “We’ve got to drown out that shit over there!” he exclaims while pointing to the direction of Perry’s Stage. — CM

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Photo by Jessica Mlinaric

6:03 p.m. I’m stopped by an older man who asks, “What’s in your bag?”
“Water. Lots of water.”
“You’re not carrying?” he asks.
“Oh no. I’m clean.”
“Well, with the long hair I figured you were carrying something. I’m looking for trades,” he says.
“Sorry. Can’t help you.”
Nice try, narc. — CM

6:05 p.m. Betty Who leads the crowd in a sing along cover of “Say My Name.” It’s an effervescent set that she carries like a cheerleader, dancing with her band. Betty seems to be the only one surprised by the sizeable crowd she’s drawn to the BMI stage. My bestie and I happen to have a synchronized dance and we bust out the choreography during the final chorus of “Somebody Loves You.” — JM

6:08 p.m. My teeth are rattling from Flosstradamus’ set and I’m still blocks away. — JK/T

6:14 p.m. Flosstradamus have cause to hate the Chicago Police Department after cops put the kibosh on the DJ duo’s West Fest set (citing a riotous crowd) two summer ago and banned them from further street fest performances. However there’s something about a rally cry of “Fuck the CPD!” followed by a Chief Keef track that seems particularly crass in the midst of yet another summer saturated by violence. — Katie Karpowicz (KK)

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The staff at Lolla is very helpful. Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
6:35 p.m. I’m so Lolla that I hopped a barricade to take shelter under a tree during the typical downpour. The tree trunk has a nook for me to shield my camera gear from the rain, and equipped with a burrito it’s pretty luxurious under here. — JM

6:37 p.m. Hiding under a tree from the rain. When the weather report said 40% I didn’t think they meant it was going to rain 40% of the day. — MM

6:38 p.m. Every time it rains, Lollapalooza’s profit margin cry a little more. — JK/T

6:47 p.m. A nearby bro breaks into “Here Comes the Sun” and we all get back to business. — JM

6:57 p.m. I emerge from the trees again after a torrential downpour. The whole time, I’ve been able to hear Childish Gambino’s set, but now I hear just how rocking this rhythm section is. There’s a lot of style changes here, and this drummer and bass player are nailing it. — CM

7:07 p.m. Avett Brothers’ set has confused the hell out of me. Do they want to be Mumford and Sons or Lynyrd Skynyrd? Whichever way they’re reaching isn’t working for me. And holy hell, now they’re covering “Jump In The Line” and Harry Belafonte must be spinning in his grave. Wait, Belafonte’s still alive! Why isn’t he on stage slapping the shit out of these clowns? — JK/T

7:15 p.m. Rain did not put a damper on the Grove Stage crowd. Gearing up for Flume, I help them snap selfies up front and toss beach balls into the melee. It’s rowdy up here in the best kind of way. As Harley Streten gets into “Sleepless” and “Holdin On” the crew and photogs in the pit are grooving along with the crowd, and it’s one of those moments that reminds you why partying in the rain with a bunch of strangers is worth it. — JM

7:34 p.m. Cheese fries. — MM

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Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
7:54 p.m. Oh my god, I found a cellphone signal! Heres’ a novel idea; considering how many synergistic corporate deals are on full display all over the grounds maybe someone should form an alliance with a cell provider for temporary towers to boost signals over these three days. You’d immediately have 100,000 people a day canceling their current plan to sign up with that provider. — JK/T

8:00 p.m. There’s limited access for headliner photography so we line up early at the Bud Light state. As the photogs trade war stories from the weekend and express their general distaste for Sonny’s stylings we watch as countless fans try to sneak and plead their way into VIP. Even other artists are turned away. I don’t know if Skrillex is for me, but he’s got plenty of others in his camp. — JM

8:23 p.m. Watching all the drunk kids fight to remain upright in the mud pit of Perry's as they wait for Chance is really amusing. That said, the crowd here is surprisingly chipper and cheerful for this late in the day. Whatever aggression the audience had during Flosstradamus’ set has certainly dissipated as the kids wait for Chance the Rapper. — JK/T

8:31 p.m. Chance explodes onto the stage and the kids go wild as he’s backed by a full live band. Though underneath it all I hear a low grumble that doesn’t quite fit the music coming from the stage. Then I realize that’s Skrillex’s bass coming from all the way across the park. Do you know how loud that must be for it to cut through the sound at Perry’s Stage?! — JK/T

8:37 p.m. This guitar solo is dog shit. It’s bland and uninspired. But I’m finding a lot of that in the Kings of Leon set. These songs are predictable, as well as overly repetitive yet not at all hypnotic. I just don’t understand why this act is so popular. — CM

8:45 p.m. I just don’t really get it. Given Skrillex’s following, it’s clear that I’m missing something. Or am I? “Let’s make this shit count,” he exclaimed before leaping to a start. I give it a few optimistic minutes, but ultimately would rather endure another long walk across the grounds to the swamp of Perry’s than another hour of predictable bass. — JM

8:45 p.m. Chance the Rapper is spot on with his live band, and already more than capable of commanding the huge stage and massive crowd, but there’s something just slightly off. I can’t put my finger on it exactly since all the pieces are perfectly in place but there is something that just isn’t connecting. However, overall there is no disputing we’re seeing a truly huge talent developing in front of us though, and his live show is great. We hear R Kelly joins him on stage later on, which is too bad since it will besmirch what should have been a triumphant return to Lolla. — JK/T

9:26 p.m. As I’m heading over to the Bud Light Stage to get a look at Skrillex, I’m stopped dead in my tracks at The Grove Stage by the gorgeous guitar playing of Darkside’s Dave Harrington. These songs are slow and a little sleepy, but Harrington’s haunting guitar is soaring over everything and it is, by far, the best guitar playing I’ve heard all weekend long. I’m completely entranced and I wish I had made my way over here sooner. — CM

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Look who we found on the way home! Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
9:26 p.m. Skrillex is telling us “We can be children forever.” Deep Skrillex. Deep. And the music is just as deep. — JK/T

9:41 p.m. Skrillex. I don’t understand. I enjoyed the energy for the first five minutes I was over here, but now I’m lost. Maybe I’m too old, maybe I need to be on something other than beer, but this kind of DJ set is more fit for a giant club in Mexico than a live music festival. There doesn’t seem to be any crafting of the vibe either, the tempo and energy is like a manic episode. I’m actually growing angrier the longer I stay over here. Oh, now he’s sampling Daft Punk. At least they play their own songs at their sets. Cool laser show tho, bro. — MM

10:57 p.m. Home for the moment. Skrillex will soon take the stage at Concord Music Hall for an official festival after party. My boyfriend and I decide we’re too old to get “turnt” on a Sunday night but quickly down a bottle of wine we find in the fridge in attempts to forget the fact that everything from the neck down aches and creaks after the long weekend on our feet. Our Uber has arrived. — Katie Karpowicz (KK)

2:31 a.m. It’s a painful decision but we’re forced to leave Concord Music Hall before Skrillex wraps up his set. He shows no signs of slowing and work won’t be any less painful in the morning the later I’m out. As per usual, the energy is assaulting and seeing Skrillex in such a stripped down environment for the first time in years reminds me that the Mothership, the light show and the fire are amusing gimmicks at the producer’s festival and arena shows but he does just fine without them. Earlier this week I unearthed an archival photo of Sonny Moore and myself from the days that he was first starting out as an electronic musician. I’ve sincerely enjoyed his progression and success over the years. People will always have something negative to say about Skrillex and the bass rattling sound he’s helped bring to the mainstream. Sure, he’s not recreating those songs on stage like a live band would but he is constantly challenging the actual verse-chorus-bridge songwriting abilities of the EDM world when he enters the studio and his “live” sets always center around his own creations rather than relying on whatever is topping the Beatport charts that week. My boyfriend summed it up best earlier in the evening as we watched the end of his set in Grant Park: “He’s good at what he does.” — KK

3 a.m. Home. Done. Exhausted. And though I swore earlier this year I wouldn’t do this to myself again, here I am. I’m too tired to formulate all my summarizing final thoughts about this year’s festival, but I can admit I’m glad I went. — JK/T

You can also read our recaps of Friday and Saturday as well if you missed them.