Day 1 Recap : Lollapalooza 2014 : Grant Park, Chicago, IL

Written by Ryan Hickey

Back for our second consecutive year together at Lollapalooza, photographer Rachel Rubenstein and I journeyed into the festival in the early afternoon, ready for a big first day. After checking in, we headed to the Samsung Galaxy stage to see our first act of the day: Bombay Bicycle Club. The British indie outfit allowed us to warm up before we hit the hard stuff. Their smooth, poppy music is pleasant, but also offers a world beat influenced percussive quality. The gentle voice of lead singer Jack Steadman at times reminded me of both Gene Ween and The Radio Dept.’s Johan Duncanson.

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After taking cover for a brief rain shower, we walked across the park to the Grove stage to catch Jagwar Ma. Currently touring North America all the way from Australia, these guys pump out spacey, digital, electro-rock/dance music with heavy vocal effects and great stage energy. As the rainstorm had seemingly blown past the city, lead singer Gabriel Winterfield commented, “Did we just scare the weather away? I think we did!” The rain never returned to Grant Park after that, at least not on Friday. These guys seem to be steadily rising so be sure to catch them in your area sometime soon.

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Up next, we caught the infamous and currently pop-chart-dominating Iggy Azalea at Perry’s stage. The area was swarmed with youngsters preparing for the Australian born pop star to hit the stage. Iggy, whose birth name is actually Amethyst, ran onstage in skin-tight exercise gear, accompanied by a handful of backup dancers. She ran through popular hits such as “Bounce” and “Fancy,” keeping the crowd energized and entertained. After a few more songs, we bounced like Iggy and headed to the next show.

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Next on the Lakeshore stage was Chvrches, the electronic band from Scotland. Regardless of a somewhat awkward stage presence from lead singer Lauren Mayberry, their sound and style is jumpy and fun.

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Just a quick turnaround towards the Samsung Galaxy stage and we were on our way to see our next act, Broken Bells. Formed by Danger Mouse and Shins frontman James Mercer, I was excited to see the melodic sounds of this crazy good side project. I had no idea Danger Mouse was so versatile instrumentally, switching from keys to bass to drums throughout the set.

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We continued our back and forth stage game and turned back around to the Lakeshore stage yet again for the Swedish indie pop singer, Lykke Li. While she has not necessarily cited her as an influence, and I had not previously thought this, it seemed like she was projecting a ton of Stevie Nicks both vocally and performance style wise. She ran through material from her new record I Never Learn, including the lead single “No Rest For The Wicked.”

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Our final stop along the musical trail on day one was back at the Grove stage for Phantogram, who describes themselves as “street beat, psych pop.” The New York-based electro rock outfit delivers a fun and upbeat set, but also keeps things spacey and psychedelic with haunting, airy vocals and effects-tweaked instrumentation.

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