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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lollapalooza 2019: Great weather, defiant and eclectic acts
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-08-06

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While Lollapalooza has already committed to four days again next year, it was very difficult to sustain the excitement and sell tickets for promoters with the festival this year.

Four-day passes did not sell out until two days before the festival began after a history of it only taking a few hours to do so in the past. With so many music festivals competing in the summer all over Chicago, unless the right combination of acts is scheduled, then the struggle could continue. Cutting the festivities back down to three days might be a nice change of pace eventually to fight this festival fatigue, but that's not happening in the foreseeable future.

In 2019, Lollapalooza had possibly the best weather it's had in the 14 years of history in the Windy City. Revelers were evacuated in the past because of electrical storms, but this year it was more about safety concerns. There was the usual rash of gate-crashers that security quickly apprehended and, thanks to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, security was beefed up to assist in the situation.

The music overall was a mixed bag and fairly eclectic. Australia was well-represented this time, but other countries still need some work on visibility. Asian representation is slowly heading in the right direction, with Japanese Breakfast and Mitski both standing out in performance.

Names of some acts were pure entertainment alone such as American Idol's Alejandro Aranda, who goes by Scarypoolparty, and Canadian music maker Whipped Cream among them. Rapper Yung Gravy had teens partying to old-school samples with his lyrics "Mr. Clean."

There were several musicians representing the queer community at Lollapalooza this year and the fans came out in droves wearing drag and flamboyant designs. Most notable among them was pansexual performer Janelle Monae, who played an unforgettable set complete with costume changes, clever dance moves and a shout-out to the "weirdos" in the audience while asking them to support immigrants, the LGBTQ community and the disabled. She then asked for Donald Trump to be impeached before closing her segment.

Brooklyn's King Princess describes herself as genderqueer and is expected to explode in popularity after being signed to Mark Ronson's label. "Lesbian Jesus" Hayley Kiyoko spoke out on mental health at her set on Aug. 1. Australia singer G Flip talked to Windy City Times about her upcoming album that depicts a tumultuous relationship with her girlfriend. Recently interviewed band Shaed has one gay member and is currently crossing over to multiple radio stations with the successful single "Trampoline."

Acts that support the community included new pop singer Upsahl, who talked to WCT about her single "Other Team," in which her crush turned into a new gay best friend. Singer Hozier spoke to us in his dressing room before his set about supporting the gay community with his video "Take Me to Church" and Lil Wayne debuted an "Old Town Road" remix in front of a packed crowd to honor newly out of the closet rapper Lil Nas X. Based on attendance, much like Post Malone in 2018, Lil Wayne should have been scheduled as a headliner.

Day one had many fresh-faced newcomers to the music scene performing. Jackie Foster from The Voice began at noon with original takes on cover songs from the hit show. In the afternoon, Fitz and the Tantrums returned to Lolla with more upbeat pop and were followed by the alternative dance group from Australia Rufus Du Sol, who performed for a nice-sized crowd. The Chainsmokers came at the end of the day armed with guest stars and fireworks to battle it out against The Strokes, who played at the same time.

Chance the Rapper surprised everyone by performing "Do You Remember" with Death Cab for Cutie on Aug. 2, while Childish Gambino joined 21 Savage for their collaboration, "Monster." Some standouts for Aug. 2 included Maggie Rogers emotional return to Lolla and Bishop Briggs once again belting it out for the festival goers on a bigger stage than last time she was here. Tame Impala finished that night out with a brilliant light show and a wall of sound on day two.

For day three ( Aug. 3 ), first band of brothers AJR supplied burritos from Chipotle to hungry fans in the first few rows, then Tenacious D faked a breakup between Jack Black and Kyle Glass and asked for Satan to the leave the body of their guitarist during their set. Columbian reggaeton performer J Balvin made history afterward there for being the first Latin American performer to sing entirely in Spanish and headline at Lollapalooza. He brought out guests Wisin y Yandel for their song "Rakata" before ending the day positioned against the popular band Twenty One Pilots, who played at the opposite end of the park.

The gay community was certainly in full effect to support performances toward the end of day four. There were rainbows among some dark clouds that figuratively loomed over the music festival after recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio the same weekend. Six-time Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves covered Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and led chants for gun control after thanking the crowd for showing up in dangerous times. Atlanta rapper J.I.D. asked for a moment of silence for victims of the mass shooting before his set earlier that day.

In between the two solo singers at the T-Mobile Stage, rocker Slash wore his usual hat and sunglasses for his set with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators who played Guns N' Roses "Nightrain" at the Lake Shore Stage. Ariana Grande closed things down with moody lighting and pop hits including "bad idea" and "7 rings" from the album thank u, next.

Lollapalooza is already scheduled for July 30-Aug. 2 in 2020. Visit Lollapalooza.com for updates in the future.


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