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Lollapalooza 2015 Day 3: Rock And Stormy Roll (Photos)

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 3, 2015 5:14PM

Are massive festival evacuations just a thing we’re going to have to deal with a number of times every summer now? It appears so. The final day of Lollapalooza 2015 will ultimately be remembered for its threat of storms, numerous schedule changes and, remarkably, no one losing their shit, even in the face of numerous tweaks and changes to the day’s line-up.

The City of Chicago extended the fest’s curfew until 10:45 to try and allow every act scheduled to still perform, but at the last minute even that changed as the grounds were shuttered and the stages were stopped in the face of yet another storm threat. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

We previously recapped Lollapalooza Day 1 and Day 2.

2:35 p.m. The call has been made over the loudspeakers—everyone out of Grant Park. The storm is coming and we’ve got to find another place to be to ride it out. Bummer. —Casey Moffitt

2:37 p.m. On the train downtown we get the notification that Grant Park is being evacuated due to a storm that’s set to hit in 15 minutes. Looking at the radar on my phone, it’s a tiny but intense storm with a purple core. This could be bad.—Michelle Meywes Kopeny

2:54 p.m. I’ve made my way to the Millennium Garage to seek shelter from the storm. There’s not a drop of rain, yet, a little lightning in the distance. Things don’t seem too menacing. —Casey Moffitt

3:17 p.m. The small crowd in the garage has emerged to Columbus Avenue, and they’re giving the security team a warm round of applause as they head to the north gate. It looks like this party is going to start rocking again soon. —Casey Moffitt

The doors are open again! Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

3:30 p.m. Gates are open and Michigan Avenue is completely shut down as the crowd clogs the streets, funneling to get in the small opening manned by the security team. It takes about 20 minutes for us to completely re-access the grounds, and considering the number of people choking the small opening allowed by staff, we actually got in remarkably quickly. I do have to wonder if they should have provided a better-staffed, wider opening. Evacuation plans were solid and ran smoothly, but re-entry seemed less thought out. Nobody is missing anything though; it still take another 20 minutes or so for any of the music to kick back off. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

3:44 p.m. "I hear music in my head, though," I hear one kid say as we as we all shuffle in as one massive glob of people through the wristband checkpoint to re-enter the festival.—Michelle Meywes Kopeny

4 p.m. Right on time, the bass returns to Perry's as Mako return to the stage to finish their set. “OK, I think this is about where we started from last time,” they say as as a mix of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” booms through the speakers. I'm always amazed by how quickly things return to “normal” on the inside after such a large scale evacuation. It’s hard to tell that anyone ever left the grounds. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

4:03 p.m. Everything is totally back to normal. There’s a girl with nascent dreds hula-hooping at Perry’s Stage so you know everything’s OK again. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

4:30 p.m. I’m examining the updated schedule. Paper schedules are now pretty much useless, so use that Lolla app! Fest organizers also post the new set times on the video screens next to the stages. None of the acts get cut, just shortened sets and broken curfews negotiated with the city and the Park District. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

4:45 p.m. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Stand of Oaks’ set since I saw they were on the Lollapalooza bill this year. But there’s one conspicuous absence. Keyboardist Eliza Hardy Jones is nowhere to be found. She was a great weapon for this act, because she is a talented musician and provided beautiful backing vocals. She’s been replaced with a second guitar player. I’m keeping an open mind and interested to hear what a twin guitar attack will sound like on these songs. —Casey Moffitt

5 p.m. Stand of Oaks frontman Timothy Showalter is a little salty today. In the past he’s been an ebullient presence on stage, but today he’s demanding people clap their hands and get on their feet. His stage banter isn’t as conversational as I’ve seen in the past. This is unusual. —Casey Moffitt

5:01 p.m. "Sunday Funday A$AP-style," in the Samsung Galaxy lounge. A$AP Rocky is this afternoon’s guest DJ playing hip hop old and new.—Michelle Meywes Kopeny

5:30 p.m. Stand of Oaks has wrapped up their set on the Pepsi Stage, and their new sound is certainly a little meaner, a little more aggressive. Showalter’s songs go into some dark places, but they wind up on an optimistic note. I’m not sure this new sound works as well. Maybe I just need to get used to it. —Casey Moffitt

6 p.m. We find ourselves with a little extra time with the new schedule (not to mention a lot less energy on this final day of the festival) so we’re checking out some of the sponsored activity areas. I stop by the Bud Light House of Whatever while waiting for Albert Hammond Jr. on the Grove—I mean Pepsi stage—next door. The set up with the bright colors and misters reminds me a little of Fast Eddie’s, a popular bar just outside Budweiser’s own hometown of St. Louis, another place where almost anything goes. The mood is rather subdued inside, but there is a spot to charge your phone! We did walk away with a little bit of information though. The bouncer at the entrance is checking actual ID’s for entry and tells us that a bunch of 21+ wristbands were lost today. That might explain why I saw one of the ID check shirts talking to youngsters with drinks near Perry’s earlier today. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

People will wait in line for anything, photo by Michelle Meywes Kopeny

6:01 p.m. Albert Hammond, Jr., has got a bit of The Strokes DNA in his new material. But this band can create a whale of sound on the big hits. I’m not sure the triple guitar assault is necessary, but it’s cool. Also, Hammond really can make that Stratocaster sing. Those tones are gorgeous and he tears a pretty good solo when he wants to. —Casey Moffitt

6:28 p.m. Well, it’s official. Now we know who actually wrote all The Strokes’ songs people actually like. Hammond doesn’t have the Julian Casablancas sneer or swagger, but his songwriting is so sharp it makes me think Casablancas is possibly the weakest member of The Strokes, despite being the band’s face. Hammond is the heart. And his solo work is exceptionally good, though the crowd is pretty thin. And yeah, I do have to wonder if he really needs three guitar players in his band to bring his economic and compact songs to life. Still, a nice, solid set. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

6:40 p.m. Bully has just attacked the BMI stage with their noisy, dirty punk sound. Frontwoman Alicia Bognanno sounds like she’s ready to knock someone’s teeth out. There’s a good crowd here to see this band, and the band is not intimidated one bit. They’re ready to put on a show. —Casey Moffitt

6:43 p.m. Gee, it seems like only two weeks ago we last saw Bully. Oh yeah, it was! And they’re the first band we’ve seen all weekend to channel the urgent rage that many of the earliest line-ups shared. Bognanno is an electric frontwoman and the crowd around the BMI Stage looks both exultant and terrified. Rock and roll. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

6:55 p.m. Bully certainly isn’t breaking any new ground with their stuff, but it’s not hard to appreciate what they’ve going on here. It’s loud and aggressive and they’ve got a good rock sound. Plus Bognanno has great rock scream. Who doesn’t love a good rock scream? —Casey Moffitt

7:50 p.m. I’m sitting within earshot of the Samsung Galaxy Stage eating a sandwich and contemplating how a band with such bland, milk-toast songs like Of Monsters and Men can attract such a large crowd. Maybe I just figured it out? —Casey Moffitt

7:20 p.m. Of Monsters and Men sound more goth than folk with heavy noise as we enter the south end of the park. They move into “Crystals,” just one of their catchy, epic folk hits. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

8:06 p.m. EPIC FOLK. Blame Of Monsters And Men for inspiring the sound of a jillion TV commercials and too many bland bands choking the airwaves. Laugh at them for allowing far too many members to play far too many drums with far too little payoff. tease them for pandering to the lowest common denominator. Hate on them all you will: But even this cynic has to admit they make a pretty decent dusk time soundtrack if you’re going to be forced to stand in a field with a couple thousand strangers. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Another hit, the big one—“Little Talks”—from Of Monsters and Men as I turn back around to run across the park once again for another act on BMI. And the crowd happily sings along. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

8:19 p.m. I get to BMI just as Halsey is introducing “New Americana,” a passionate tune about diversity and her experiences growing up in a black and white household. Gone are the long locks in her promo photos; she’s sporting a tall blue pixie cut and a thong bodysuit. Hardcore fans make up a lot of the crowd, totally into her motivational pop, and she gives them an athletic, high-energy performance, punctuated with a couple of stage dives in the end. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

8:15 p.m. TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe is shooting a video of the crowd gathered in front of the Sprint Stage with his phone as he and the rest of the band make their entrance. “It’s for my mom,” he explains. “She doesn’t think I have a job.” —Casey Moffitt

8:40 p.m. I’m reluctant to leave the Sprint Stage because TV on the Radio is tearing it up with their blistering funk/rock jams. Their energy is infectious and they’ve got their act together. Basically, we’re getting a TV on the Radio show. But there’s so much other stuff I want to see. Festival dilemmas. —Casey Moffitt

8:45 p.m. “Hey, you got any weed? No? Do you know who might?” asks some bro as I stand waiting the next band. Part of me is flattered I look in the know enough to be asked this question. Then I just figure he must be desperate and is throwing caution to the wind. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

8:55 p.m. I’ve headed over to the Pepsi Stage to see what all the chatter is about over FKA Twigs. What I get is a pretty wild show. The combination of Twigs’ airy voice, which has a pretty good range, and these industrial sounds is bewildering. Add Twigs’ interpretive dance moves, and it all adds up to something really remarkable. For electronic-based music, it (along with the dance) manages to capture a wide range of emotions. It’s beautiful and gorgeous, then turns eerie, to primal and back again. This music doesn’t really move me, but it’s an impressive show. —Casey Moffitt

9:40 p.m. I’ve hardly been to Perry’s Stage all weekend, so I’ve got to make a sojourn over there to catch little of Nero’s set. The song is about Doomsday, which seems kind of grim for a dance party. I guess the suggestion is to lather up into a raging sweat while we can. That’s my interpretation and I’m sticking with it. —Casey Moffitt

Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

9:45 p.m. OK, I finally get it. I get why you all go so apeshit over Florence + the Machine. Florence Welch is a force of nature and her earnestness will not be denied. Is her music florid, overblown and so filled with over-the-top emoting that it’s almost embarrassing? Yes, it is. And not even almost embarrassing, it is embarrassing for everyone involved. But it’s Welch’s willingness to be so cartoonish that makes her feel so genuine, and I think it’s that thing that connects with people during her live performance. It’s like peering into a teenagers diary penned by a gospel singer; it shouldn’t work, but it does. I still think the band’s albums belong in the dustbin, but her onstage charisma makes the songs work in a live setting, and I can understand why Welch’s acolytes might hold onto even the sliver of a memory via inferior audio documents to reignite the memory of basking in her physical presence. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

9:46 p.m. Nero has cut the set short, saying we’ve got to boogie on out of the park again with the threat of more severe weather. I can hear Florence + the Machine playing, and as I head to the northern exit, and it doesn’t sound like anyone else is ending. This is confusing, but I’ll keep heading north and figure it all out. —Casey Moffitt

9:54 p.m. Florence rips her shirt off and runs through the photo pit in only her bra, and it solidifies the hippie influence happening here. It’s the end of the show, the end of the big hit “Dog Days Are Over,” and everyone is dancing with arms flailing. There are even kids doing cartwheels in front of us. It’s that kind of experience. The show may have been cut short due to another schedule change for another impending storm, but Florence + the Machine fully delivered the transcendent experience that they are selling. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny

9:57 p.m. Whoa! Kygo has fireworks? Cool. Oh, wait, they must be wrapping things up. Maybe this party really is coming to an end. Now I hear Bassnectar announce this is his last song, so I guess the evacuation is the real deal. Bassnectar puts the exclamation point on Lollapalooza by playing The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.” Real cute. —Casey Moffitt

10 p.m. We’re sure Grant Park’s neighbors, certainly apoplectic over the notion that Lollapalooza was allowed to extend its hours until 10:45 p.m., are happy that in the face of another round of threatened storms, the park is still closing at 10 p.m. Lightning has been playing in the distance for the last hour or so, and this is the right move, but attendees still seem pretty universally bummed all the headliners have been cut even shorter. So while this might sound like a whimper, Lollapalooza actually ends with kind of a bang as thunder rolls in and is swiftly followed by a round of hail. And I finally get a chance to actually use my poncho. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy