As with any music festival, after Lollapalooza is over, it always takes us a few days to digest everything and snap back to reality. For locals, the festival serves as an escape within our own city. For outsiders, it provides them with a completely unique way to experience Chicago. The magic of Lollapalooza is simply unmatched, and despite a weather scare early on, Lollapalooza 2016 turned out to be just as memorable as years past. This year in particular will most likely stick out in the minds of many as it marked the 25th anniversary of the festival. Because of this, much of the weekend was filled with nostalgia as artists reflected on some of their past memories of playing the festival or of their ambitions to take the stage in Grant Park while growing up. For the first time ever, this year also added an additional day of festivities, kicking things off early on Thursday to commemorate the festival’s legacy. On the next few pages we’ve broken down some of our lasting impressions from Lolla 2016.


(Image Credit: © Lenny Gilmore)

Rain Couldn’t Stop The Party


Every year at Lollapalooza there seems to be at least one day during the weekend that’s marked by relentless downpours and the muddy fallout that follows. An extra day of festivities brought with it an additional day of rain, which seemed like an ominous start to the festival. Unlike last year though, there thankfully was no need to temporarily shutdown and evacuate the park due to inclement weather. Instead, the party raged on as festival-goers reveled in the marvelous rainfall…or sought refuge under the trees.

The gloomy conditions reached their peak Friday afternoon, right as Rufus Du Sol were getting ready to kick off their set at the Pepsi Stage. There’s definitely an irony to hearing lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist belting out the lyrics to “Brighter” with beads of water ferociously pelting down from above. His pleads did not go unnoticed though, as the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds right in time for them to close out their set with a fantastic rendition of “You Were Right”. Of course, everyone had already been thoroughly drenched by this point, but it was certainly relieving to not have to deal with anymore poor weather the rest of the weekend.


(Image Credit  from left to right: © Lenny Gilmore, Joshua Brasted, Getty Images)

The Petrillo Bandshell is Still The Oddest Stage of Them All


The Petrillo Bandshell is certainly a historic fixture at Grant Park, but compared to the standard stages at Lollapalooza like the Samsung Stage, Bud Light Stage, and Perry’s Stage, it sticks out for more than a few reasons. The lineup was one of those, featuring an assorted group of acts that included such names as Mac Miller, Danny Brown, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bryson Tiller, Dua Lipa, Classixx and Third Eye Blind. It’s not unusual for any stage to host a diverse range of artists, but the placement of some of them on the schedule certainly raised a few eyebrows. Sets by Mac Miller and Third Eye Blind in particular drew unmeasurably large crowds that stretched out as far as the eye can see, which seemed especially out of place at such a small stage. Also, going back to previous years, I’ve noticed that the Petrillo Bandshell seems to be plagued by sound issues that cause an uneven listening experience which overemphasizes the bass, often drowning out the vocals. Unfortunately, this problem popped up again this year, but it’s something we hope they can fix moving forward.


(Image Credit  from left to right: © Philip Cosores, Greg Noire, Erika Goldring)

Toronto’s New Generation Have Earned Their Seat At The Table


Much has already been said about Toronto’s up-and-coming generation in what can be tentatively labeled as the post-Drake era. It’s one thing to listen to these guys through your headphones though, and another to witness them live in person. Lollapalooza gave us a chance to catch three of the city’s finest in Jazz Cartier, Tory Lanez and JAHKOY. Although they were relegated to smaller stages, you wouldn’t believe it from the trio’s larger than life performances. Jazz and Tory in particular seemed to be locked in a battle to see who could rile up the crowd with the craziest antics. Cuzzi set the tone for the weekend early on Thursday, climbing the scaffolding on the left side of the stage as he recited the lyrics to last year’s hit single “New Religion”. On Saturday, Tory followed things up by pledging he would “make it all the way to the back” while he surfed through the crowd grabbing everything in his path from umbrellas to inflatable alligators. He finished his set off by scaling a lamp post in the middle of the crowd while rapping along to “Diego”. These sets were some of the most memorable of the weekend, and it wouldn’t surprise us at all to see these artists playing much later in the day in future years.

“Don’t do that Cuzzi, relax.” @jacuzzilafleur doesn’t even know how. #JazzCartier #lollapalooza2016 #Lolla #chicago

A video posted by The Music Ninja (@the_music_ninja) on

@torylanez turned things all the way up yesterday at @lollapalooza. #lollapalooza #lolla2016

A video posted by The Music Ninja (@the_music_ninja) on


Joey Purp Proved He Belonged


Chicago’s SaveMoney certainly had an indelible weekend, boasting appearances from crew members Towkio, Vic Mensa and Joey Purp on the Lolla lineup (along with scattered sightings from Chance The Rapper). This wasn’t always the plan though. Although he’s certainly well known to local rap fans, chances are many ravers at the festival were left scratching their head at Joey’s 2:30 placement at Perry’s stage, which is typically reserved for EDM acts. That slot originally belonged to Skepta, who had to pull out 10 days prior to the start of the festival due to some unforeseen Visa troubles. This left Joey with some pretty big shoes to fill, but on Friday he proved that he was more than up to that challenge. While Joey kept the crowd engaged with some of his own recent hits like “Girls @” as well as some new material, he also had his fair share of help, bringing out some special guests like his Leather Corduroys running mate Kami de Chukwu, along with some other Chicago natives such as Towkio, Mick Jenkins and Twista! There’s nothing that endears you to a crowd at Lolla quite like bringing out a local legend. If the fans at Perry’s didn’t know Joey’s name at the start of the set, they certainly remembered it when they left.

jack garratt lolla

Jack Garratt Is Truly A One-Man Band


I’ve heard the term “one-man band” used to describe Jack Garratt before, but I really had no idea what to expect from him prior to his set. Let’s just say I was definitely blown away by the experience. Surrounded by instruments on all sides, Jack Garratt’s Saturday afternoon performance might be one of the most impressive displays I’ve ever seen from any solo act. Jack truly separates himself from the pack with his amazing concentration and astonishing ability to juggle so many duties at once, shifting his focus between drums, keys, controllers and even guitar all while pouring his heart and his soul into his vocals as well. It all must be both mentally and physically exhausting, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the way Jack carries himself on stage. Jack could just as easily man the microphone himself and let others do the instrumental work for him, but instead he chooses to handle everything himself and is a better performer for it. If there’s one act I recommend you make sure to catch live in the future, it’s definitely Jack Garratt.


Big Grams Is Just As Unbelievable Live


Big Grams might be one of the more bizarre collaborations of the past decade, but just like with their studio recordings the unlikely trio have the proper chemistry to make it all work on stage. Their group dynamic is still such an odd concept to grasp–the 2010 version of me would certainly be ecstatic at the prospect of seeing them together live after spending that entire summer listening to Eyelid Movies and Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty–but their identity as both individual acts and as a single unit becomes even further solidified once you get to catch them in person. I’ve seen some reviews complain about them sharing an awkward rapport, but I certainly didn’t get that impression at all. In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say that they may have had the most playful and fun set of the entire weekend.

While their discography together is a bit limited, they definitely had enough material to fill out an entire hour long set, as the group played all of the songs from their recent self-titled EP, as well as their joint efforts from Big Boi‘s 2012 solo album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Going well beyond that, they also drew from their own well-respected collection of tracks, playing around with some mashups like “Mouthful of Ms. Jackson” (“Ms. Jackson” and “Mouthful Of Diamonds“) and “The Way You Don’t Move” (“The Way You Move” and “Don’t Move“). This was my third time seeing Big Boi live–first time being as a solo act, and the second on the same exact stage two years ago as a member of Outkast–and every time he brings with him a stage presence that’s completely unparalleled. As a huge fan of both his and Phantogram‘s, it was worth the price of admission just to see both of them live.

lolla-Daniel Boczarski

(Image Credit: © Daniel Boczarski)

Four Days Was Still Not Enough


As we’ve already mentioned, as a celebration of their 25th anniversary this year’s Lollapalooza was a bit unusual as it expanded the lineup and started a day earlier on Thursday. One of my biggest fears prior to Lolla was that I wouldn’t make it through all four days, and to be honest, I almost didn’t. Despite my weariness though, I can still say I loved basically every minute of my experience. Even with the extra day, I feel like I didn’t get a chance to see everyone I would have liked, but that’s just a reality of all festivals. I do wonder if the four day structure is an anomaly though or if the folks over at C3 Presents will consider making the fourth day a permanent fixture. I can’t say I would fight them on it because as exhausted and sore as you are at the end of it all you can never have enough Lolla.

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