Ten years of Lollapalooza at Chicago’s Grant Park and all that’s left is the passion. Sure there was a bit of nostalgia on Chicago’s front yard as 300,000 revelers enjoyed nearly 140 bands including Palooza alumnus like Kings Of Leon and Cage The Elephant; however the three day fest that has you paying for the music but staying for the fashion was filled with promise and a whole lot of passion.
Usually my post Lolla notes are filled with observations of trends. A few years ago I commented on the EDM movement and how it had overwhelmed the small stage event organizers had established for it. And sure enough now EDM has its own stage and essentially with its strategic positioning it’s now a festival until itself. Isolated from the standard flow of traffic, the stage named after the event’s founder Perry Farrel, creates a actual demarcation point that these days is becoming real even amongst the twenty-somethings. It appears that the electronica of youth is not for everybody as friends become torn by the incessant beats and dub loops with many festival goers never leaving the trippy EDM area while their friends prefer actual instruments in their music. It’s ok everyone it’s about the passion.
And there was plenty afoot on all of the stages promoting a variety of genres and musicianship galore. For it is here that one’s musical horizons are expanded by the heir apparent to Louis Armstrong, Troy Andrews a/k/a Trombone Shorty. His remarkable trumpet solo with his cheeks bulging Dizzy Gillespie-like and his eyes bugging out of his head enthralled the masses with a touch of Bourbon Street jazz, while the night before Phantogram provided spacey counter balance to the rocking headliners Artic Monkeys and rapper Eminem. The duo’s passion was perfectly suited for their position on the bill and in the tree enclosed stage appropriately called The Grove- Palooza’s best performing area.
This year it was all about the passion. Whether it was the angelic sparrow like voices of Brittany Hölljes and Elizabeth Hopkins of Delta Rae or Irishman Glenn Hansard basking in the downpour and improvising his set to become one with a rain soaked crowd, musicians across the genres shared their talents and seemed renewed by the responsive crowds.
There was John Butler who became a one man band of extraordinary prowess once his trio left him countered by Portugal.The Man’s connecting the generations with a blistering Pink Floyd’s ”Another Brick in The Wall” segueing neatly into their drug tinged “Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue” and you sense the passion of music and its ability to enchant the masses.
And for ten years they have been coming to Chicago to indulge in their passion and for some it’s not all about the music. No unfortunately it’s also about the fashion and this year it was the under-butt meets the NBA jersey. Yes Virginia your butt cheeks are showing and it’s not a pretty site and really boys you’d rather sport a jersey of a professional basketball millionaire then support your favorite musician by wearing an old fashion concert T? Show the love for the music please.
But enough from this jaded fellow. Lollapalooza at the end of the day is a celebration of culture that right now is heavily dominated by music. There are artist you have never heard of and will never hear again. There are iconic acts that seem to reappear healthy after absences (cheers OutKast!) as well as young artist about to emerge like Lykke Li and those whose time is up sorry Iggy Azalea. And for a decade they have spread the passion for the annual three days of music on the summer’s coolest stage Chicago’s Lollapalooza.