A Soggy Saturday at Lollapalooza
Delta Spirit before the deluge
The second day of this year’s Lollapalooza started off with intense heat, was interrupted by rains of biblical proportions, and ended with yet another veteran act turning in a stellar performance.
The near 100° temperatures appeared to discourage early attendance, leading to sparse audiences for the day’s opening sets, including a pleasant enough set from the nearly-50-year-old Chilean progressive-folk act Las Jaivas. By the early afternoon, enough people had shown up to the festival for JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall to repeatedly pause between songs to express his appreciation for the unexpectedly large crowd that gathered for their Playstation stage set. Immediately afterwards, Aloe Blacc brought his smooth delivery and skintight band to the Red Bull mainstage for possibly the most soulful performance of the festival so far. Neon Indian kicked off their set right after Aloe Blacc finished, and may have been the only band scheduled between 3-4:30 pm that managed any actual performance time.
Almost as soon as Neon Indian hit the stage, the National Weather Service issued a severe warning for the Chicago area, and all the other stages, as well as the various vendors and sponsors, began shutting down. By 3:30, festival organizers had issued the order for everyone to evacuate, and shortly after the severe rains hit. The evacuation was handled with an amazing amount of calm and organization, as was the eventual reopening at 6:00, with minimal scheduling casualties (most notably Alabama Shakes and Temper Trap had their sets cancelled).
Upon returning to Grant Park, festival-goers were met with significant patches of mud, and an extended curfew that allowed most of the performers the same allotment of time as had been scheduled prior to the storm. Rising songwriter-turned-singer LP was one of the first performances of Day 2, Part 2, and delivered an enthusiastic set, slightly marred by the dismal soundsystem set up at the small BMI stage. Despite the mud and otherwise soggy conditions, the mainstage areas held most of the action, and audience, for the remainder of the evening. An interesting reverse-symmetry occurred with the scheduling of the 2 mainstage spots, with the Northern Bud Light/Playstation stages transitioning from rock to electro (Franz Ferdinand, followed by Orchard Lounge, concluding with a “just press play” set from Avicii), while the Southern Red Bull/Sony stages making the same transition in reverse (The Weeknd, followed by Bloc Party, and wrapping up with a killer set from the percussion-and-keyboard assisted Red Hot Chili Peppers). Unlike the first day’s small-stage closing sets of distinctly different genres, day two’s smaller stages had Santigold and Frank Ocean competing for the remaining audience members’ attention, with the nod going to Ocean who delivered a particularly engaging and emotional performance, backed by the 2nd-tightest band of the day (it bears noting that Ocean’s band sets up EXACTLY like Phish, suggesting that at least one person in the Odd Future family has seen the Vermont quartet in action).
The only real flaw in the impromptu reorganization of the day’s close was the official after-parties maintaining their original schedules, leading many of the late night performers playing to relatively empty rooms while waiting for the main festival to conclude. The festival wraps up Sunday with notable performers including Jack White, Sigur Ros, and the recently-reunited At The Drive-In.