Photo courtesy of Cambria Harkey / Lollapalooza 2017
The final moments of a music festival are always some of the most important, leaving attendees with those final memories before everything gets taken down.
On the billing for Sunday was no room for mediocrity; anthem-rock group Arcade Fire, disco-house artist Justice, EDM duo Zeds Dead and hip-hop hypebeast duo Rae Sremmurd closed the night following another packed day of artists.
In true festival fashion, artists made guest appearances bigger than those that brought them on: Charli XCX welcomed Halsey onstage during her set at the Lake Shore stage, and Chance the Rapper joined bubblegum trap artist Lil Yachty’s set, throwing dollar bills into the packed crowd.
Here’s a recap of some of the day’s performances:
Maggie Rogers: “I wish I could put into words how amazing this is”
Best known for her hit song “Alaska,” Maggie Rogers took the spotlight when a video dropped of her sitting next to a visibly emotional Pharrell Williams as they listened to her aforementioned track.
Rogers wrote the wavy track for Williams, her New York University masterclass teacher, in 15 minutes.
Rogers has made huge strides since then: In the past year, the 23-year-old graduate of NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has released her first signed record, the debut EP titled “Now That the Light is Fading.”
Arriving onstage with a humble smile, Rogers dove into songs she wrote earlier in her career, some of which appear on her first album, “The Echo.”
With only one EP available on the biggest music platforms (“The Echo” may be found on Rogers’ Bandcamp), Rogers promised the crowd “many more fun songs” during the hour-long set at Lollapalooza’s largest stage.
After covering Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” Rogers closed with “Alaska,” an endearing finish to a dreamy performance highlighting the singer-songwriter’s potential to go big.
Rag’N’Bone Man delivers soulful performance at Tito’s
Rory Charles Graham, 32, looks more like an artist’s bodyguard than a singer whose emotion-filled voice could pierce even the hardest of hearts.
Graham, better known by the stage name Rag’N’Bone Man, blends gospel, R&B and rock influences into a flowy, pleasing sound that excels in a live setting. While the live band gave it a boost, he could have done just as well without it.
Graham’s performance of “Skin” was a highlight of the set, with Graham accompanied by only a quiet keyboard.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” Graham told the crowd. “This is my first time at a U.S. festival.”
The Brighton, England-born artist first entered the music industry by way of his hometown’s hip-hop scene, eventually rising to popularity when he released the hit song “Human” in 2016.
If Graham had any nerves, they weren’t evident during his set. He stood confidently on the stage as he delivered passionate performances of a diverse array of songs, cementing himself as a standout artist at Lollapalooza.
Yachty draws massive crowd on way-too-small stage
He’s attracted a variety of love and hate in the music world. Miles McCollum, the Atlanta trap musician known as Lil Yachty AKA Lil Boat, rose to fame while he was still living in his mother’s house in the suburbs.
A far fling from other Atlanta trap artists like Migos, 21 Savage or Gucci Mane who rap about experiences they’ve had while involved in true “trapping” — the term originates from dead-end streets in Atlanta used for drug deals — Yachty is the 19-year-old result of trap music’s rise to the national spotlight.
During his set at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage on Sunday, Yachty’s main goal was to hype up the crowd as much as possible, stopping the show three times during his performance of Carnage’s “Mase in ‘97” to make the crowd bounce.
He chucked water bottles into the mass of fans, a crowd far too large for the stage he played. He would have done better at a larger stage. That way, he wouldn’t have had to stop songs to ensure nobody had fallen over in the crowd during his most energetic songs.
While Yachty’s songs are made to energize a crowd, his desire to garner the most hype possible distracted from his true performance.
Stopping the show because the crowd wasn’t “turnt up enough” was okay the first time, but by the third he should have kept going in spite of the lukewarm response.
Regardless, so many fans showed up that attendees climbed to the top of the sound booth for a better view, and the VIP section was opened up to help ease crowding. If anything, Yachty proved he deserves a larger stage than the one granted to him.
Oh, and Chance the Rapper briefly appeared onstage in a Lollapalooza bucket hat, tossing dollar bills into the crowd during Yachty’s performance of “Minnesota.”
Big Sean plays unreleased song feat. Travis Scott, produced by Metro Boomin
He can rap long verses, but it can cut into the quality with which he performs them. Big Sean (Sean Michael Leonard Anderson) tried his best Sunday evening to project his voice across the Bud Light stage at the north end of Grant Park. Meanwhile. a dedicated fanbase sang along to songs that go back deep into his catalog, as well as his newest hits.
Big Sean has collaborated on mega-hits with household names from the likes of Kanye West, Drake, JAY Z and John Legend.
“Thank you for blessing me, man,” Big Sean said to the deep crowd that showed up for his set.
He closed out the set with “Bounce Back” off his 2017 RIAA certified Gold album “I Decided,” but not before performing his verse off an unreleased single produced by Metro Boomin and featuring rapper Travis Scott.
It was hard to tell during the set which were his live vocals and which were prerecorded. The songs often bounced in between; Big Sean would rap for a line or two, then pause to take a breather.
His fans didn’t care, though. And it was hard not to like him when he performed “One Man Can Change the World,” after which he gave a speech about success.
“True success is … dreaming something and seeing it manifested in the palm of your hands,” he said. “It’s being on the pursuit of happiness, and then coming true.”
Arcade Fire closes Lollapalooza in the best possible way
With a less positive response to their July 28 album “Everything Now” than the majority of their previous albums, nobody could guess how Canadian rock band Arcade Fire’s performance would turn out on Sunday night as the family band took the Grant Park stage.
Arcade Fire’s first performance at Lollapalooza dates back to 2005, just a year after the band had released the highly lauded “Funeral.”
They opened with the title track off “Everything Now,” but the crowd didn’t get into it until they played “Rebellion (Lies)” from “Funeral” just afterward. Then it was the Arcade Fire everyone loved.
If Arcade Fire does one thing well, it’s seamless transitions between songs. The group effortlessly hopped from album to album while maintaining a steady flow of sounds that made the set feel like one cohesive performance, summing up all the band has done in the past 13 years.
Arcade Fire’s encore was where the band truly shined. Everyone knew “Wake Up” was coming — the festival anthem song of the indie generation — but nobody was prepared for frontman Win Butler’s cover of John Lennon’s “Mind Games.”
Arcade Fire proved to the crowd, and maybe themselves, that an underwhelming album isn’t the end of things, and they’re still among the most qualified to close one of the largest festivals in the world.
Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park on Aug. 2-5, 2018.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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