Lollapalooza 2023 – Day Four Recap

Lollapalooza '23 closed out big....
Lollapalooza 2023 - Day Four Recap
Lollapalooza 2023
Lollapalooza 2023

Last year just before the end of Lollapalooza (QRO ’22 recap) Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the festival and the city had signed a new ten-year lease, ensuring the massive musical event’s continued future (not so much a future for the Lightfoot as mayor, however…). Coming out of COVID, there was naturally a question as to whether big music festivals still had, their very size working against them in terms of being able to pull it off again. Yet Lolla has not only survived but thrived, and returned to downtown Grant Park, Thursday-Sunday, August 3rd-6th.

Hendrick’s Gin

Of course, in 2023 it did have to deal with the weather, in twin threats: heat on the weekdays, rain on the weekends. This first weekend in August was coming off the hottest July ever, the hottest month ever, at least in records, probably since the dawn of humanity. Yet it wasn’t the crushing heat that has ruined many a festival (and even spawned some post-failure documentaries…), and Lollapalooza was certainly prepared with more hydration than you could shake a firehose at, from hydration stations to fill up your water bottle for free to the classy Hendrick’s Gin Grand Garden Bar where you feel like you were in Bridgerton while fanning yourself with their branded hand fans.

Saturday did experience the rain, though never bad enough to cancel a set or force an evacuation (like had happened just two weekends ago in Chicago at Pitchfork Festival – QRO photos). The most notable effect was the mud, particularly on the slippery hillsides & steps near the T-Mobile & Bud Light Stages. So maybe your festival outfit was ruined (hip look this year for women seemed to be bikini/bra/etc. top, but baggy pants/shorts – you could handle the heat, bring the heat, yet still sit on the ground or even the L train…), but hardly crushing.

Lollapalooza 2023 - Day Four Recap

The overcast skies, drizzly afternoon, and muddy grounds continued on the final day of Lollapalooza, but so did the music. Of note early on were the high hits from women. Ingrid Andress started it off with some upbeat country-pop that the crowd knew at the T-Mobile Stage (and even gave a shout-out telling everyone to check out Holly Humberstone later on – always a nice move for a musician to remind the crowd that they’re also a music fan just like the attendees). Meanwhile, UPSAHL was an electric stage presence over at the Bud Light Stage, the two women commanding their massive main stages despite their low spots on the bill.

Neil Frances

New York’s MICHELLE brought big girl-group indie-pop and dance presence to the Bacardí Stage, while later at that stage it was time for some Aussie pop out of Holly Humberstone (who seemed honestly shocked at the healthy size of her crowd on the other side of the world). Meanwhile, there was some genre-crossing on the main stages with the sort of hippie-disco Neil Frances at Bud Light, and alt-folk out of Mt. Joy at T-Mobile. And sweet indie-rock still had a place at Lollapalooza ’23 in surprise hit Alvvays (with singer/guitarist Molly Rankin announcing that it was bassist Abbey Blackwell’s birthday).

The Red Clay Strays

But the search for drier shade brought folks to check out the smaller stages. BMI had country sad-twang from Alabama in The Red Clay Strays, followed eventually by the kiss-off rhymes of Big Boss Vette (who started almost 20 minutes late, despite a brief chant of her name, and the short set time scheduled there). Umi didn’t need the tent & trees of the Toyota Music Den to pack it, but didn’t hurt…

Big Boss Vette

Of course, you’re still gonna get the rhymes, like Joey Bada$$ at Tito’s Bandshell, then A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie at T-Mobile Stage. The former even got Chicago’s own superstar Chance the Rapper to come out (no stranger to guest-spotting at his hometown festival), as they did both their collaborations “No Problems” and “The Highs & Lows”.

Chance the Rapper & Joey Bada$$

Those who can remember when Lollapalooza traveled in the alt-nineties, or even the festival’s earliest years in Chicago, can lament that alt-rock has faded away from the festival. It’s true that it’s not Hullabalooza anymore, just as it’s not the nineties anymore (and Lolla has gotten a lot more diverse). But there still was The Backseat Lovers playing to a big crowd who knew their songs at the Coinbase Stage, touring off of this year’s Waiting To Spill (QRO review).

The Backseat Lovers

And there was at least one headliner who could remember the nineties, who played the festival back then: Red Hot Chili Peppers. With so many newer hits, even just twenty-first century hits (which is almost a quarter done…), still could use an act that’s been topping bills since there was a “19” on checks (and there were still checks…). Yes, they’re an oldie (singer Anthony Kiedis was rocking the walking boot), and maybe both not your favorite and the favorite of someone who’s not your favorite, but you still know classics like “Under the Bridge” by heart (of course, they didn’t actually play that song…). It’s 2023 and the world is ending – give us this. Give us Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

-words: Ted Chase
-photos by Brandy Fik, Pooneh Ghana, Roger Ho
, Miranda McDonald, Ashley Osborn, Ismael Quintanilla III, and Nathan Zucker, courtesy of Lollapalooza, save BMI photos by Erika Goldring courtesy of BMI, and Hendrick’s Gin courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin

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