Lollapalooza 2017: The Wet, The Wild and The Wonderous

By: Seth Johnson | Photos: Berto Campos

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The Drums

Lollapalooza never ceases to be a rollercoaster, with twists and turns coming with each and every trek across Grant Park. This year was certainly no different, as the festival provided its fair share of fanfare. Below, follow Seth Johnson’s four-day journey at the fest, with photos from Roberto Campos.

Walking past folks in business attire on the way to a four-day party felt a bit odd, but so it goes with a Chicago festival that starts on a Thursday. Heading into Lollapalooza 2017, I was greeted by the pleasant psychedelic sounds of Temples, before catching a charming set from Jonny Pierce and The Drums. The New York guitar pop group played several selections from their 2017 album, Abysmal Thoughts, while also intermingling in classics from their earlier releases. From here, my wild, wild festival ride kicked it up several notches as I headed to a set from the Atlanta trap trio Migos, who played an abbreviated set due to a late arrival. Following this madness, I briefly popped by Cage the Elephant before making my way to see Kaytranada. A longtime favorite of My Old Kentucky Blog, the 2016 Polaris Prize winner did not disappoint, playing a fantastically groovy DJ set that wound up being my favorite moment of the day. Following Kaytranada, I headed to see Lorde, who would unfortunately have her set cut short after just a few songs due to a torrential downpour.

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Migos

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Kaytranada

Friday was perhaps my favorite day of the festival, with artists both new and old pulling out all the stops. I kicked off my day with Cloud Nothings, who wowed on one of the fest’s biggest stages. After heading onward, I caught a phenomenal set from The Lemon Twigs. With harmonies that brought Neil Young to mind, the group showed a great deal of versatility throughout their performance, even playing some songs from an upcoming EP titled Brothers of Destruction. After catching high-energy sets from Phantogram and Run the Jewels, I hiked my weary legs over to see Whitney. Another longtime favorite of My Old Kentucky Blog, the group played a quick-fire set that featured a new song as well as a guest appearance from Joey Purp. After having a nostalgia-filled finale to my festival with time split between Blink-182 (no shame), Crystal Castles and The Killers, my photographer and I headed to an intimate Mac Demarco after show, where the always entertaining Viceroy Cowboy gave the audience all that they wanted and then some (he took off his pants near set’s end).

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Cloud Nothings

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The Lemon Twigs

Saturday at Lollapalooza was certainly the most underwhelming day of the fest, despite a few bright spots. My day started off with an appropriately sunny set from Alvvays, who unveiled some new tracks from their upcoming album, Antisocialites. Next, I caught a little bit of Glass Animals, before enjoying an intimate smaller-stage performance from Warpaint. After a day of chilled-out pop, I was given an unabashed trap slap from 21 Savage, whose hit song “Bank Account” is all the rage right now. Following this performance, I made my way to catch an endearing set from Chance the Rapper. As expected, Chance gave Chicago all that they could’ve asked for and then some, even welcoming Vic Mensa up on stage to perform his verse on the Acid Rap classic “Cocoa Butter Kisses”. Backed by a band that featured none other than Nico Segal (a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet), Lil Chano from 79th delivered songs from 2016’s Coloring Book with the perfect amount of heart and soul, even treating hardcore fans to a deep cut from 2015’s Surf. After weaving through the late-night masses, I made my way to another after party, headlined this time by Sylvan Esso. Despite it being day three of the festival, I quickly forgot about my tiredness upon walking into the fourth floor venue and hearing the indie-pop duo do their thing. Consisting of singer Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) and producer Nick Sanborn (Megafaun, Made of Oak), Sylvan Esso performed several selections from their impressive sophomore album, What Now, before letting a dance floor full of fans disperse into the night.

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21 Savage

By Sunday, I had come to the conclusion that my feet and back were going to hurt well into the following week (they did). Nevertheless, I went back at it for one more day, which would turn out to be the most high-energy of them all. My final Grant Park excursion started out with Chicago’s Noname, who dropped her excellent debut mixtape Telefone in 2016.. Next, I jumped over to a set from Car Seat Headrest — a band that continues to gel more and more each time I see them. At Lollapalooza, Will Toledo and company played selections from both Teens of Style and Teens of Denial, while also performing a brand new tune as well. Following this soothing start to Sunday, my turn-up meter nearly burst as I caught back-to-back-to-back sets from Lil Yachty, Big Sean and Joey Bada$$. All three with their own unique styles, Yachty, Sean and Joey gave rap fans all that they wanted and then some, while also giving the festival security a headache too. To close out my time at Lollapalooza, I decided to go out with a bang, enjoying an excellent set from legendary French electronic duo Justice. Much like Daft Punk, Justice orchestrated a DJ set that skillfully meshed songs together from their three-album catalog, helping the remaining Lollapalooza crowd forget about their problems one more time before heading back out into the real world.

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Cage the Elephant

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Phantogram

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Tegan and Sara

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Crystal Castles

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Whitney

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Run the Jewels

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Justice

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Big Sean

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Sampha

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Lil Yachty

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Tove Lo

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Charli XCX

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Noname

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The xx

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Sylvan Esso

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Mac Demarco

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