Lollapalooza 2022 Day One: Caroline Polachek, The Wombats, Tove Lo, Metallica, Emmy Meli, Underscores, 100 Gecs, & more!
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing and Editing by Fiza Javid
Grant Park - July 28, 2022
Metallic makeup and a Metallica shirts, we’re here for it Lollapalooza Day One!
Troves of festival goers arrived while being handed free reusable “Prince: the Immersive Experience” water bottles near the entrance. While there were no expectation of a Prince impersonator, a mix of old and new artists were on the agenda for many to discover and appreciate.
Emmy Meli was first on JBTV’s list at the Coinbase stage, and I must say, while the pressure may be high for the larger acts to put on an unforgettable show stopper, the pressure of being first up on one of the prominent stages is may have artists sweating bullets as it may be the first impression of first time Lolla visitors. Rest assured Emmy Meli deserves an Emmy and potentially a Grammy for being the performer that she is. Her melodic voice, and the incredible range of notes she hits in the prospect of delivering one line, particularly in "I Am Woman" was unlike anything that had ever hit a Lolla stage before.
Devon Karpf of Underscores was next, and they were remarkable in their ability to cover a wide variety of genres and cover of one of Lollapalooza, and JBTV’s most memorable guest. They covered No Doubt's "Hella Good," Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi" and Williams Crook's "Drive it Like You Stole It." However, it was their originals like "Everybody's Dead!" and "Trustfall!" that were booming the audience with a backdrop of 90s computer games while she playfully danced and sang to the audience. This HTML Hyperpop musical perspective expands the horizons of what future music could hold. With the mix of meme culture melting into more avenues, it did not surprise me that the audience enjoyed this switch into a "We're in the middle of nowhere” clip of Squidward, because we gotta feed that need for another meme somewhere. It’s incredible how Lollapalooza evolves with the times and responses to generations of new audiences. Underscores was a playful reminder of the current evolution being witnessed among the musical acts of this generation. They certainly created more excitement for the upcoming day.
As I walked over to catch the Last Dinosaurs, as they were already performing on the Bud Light stage, I was amazed to find an actual temporary Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant right by the Buckingham Fountain. Not nearly a typical setup for a smaller festival, but Lollapalooza truly delivers. The Buckingham fountain is the nucleus of the entire event, and a marketplace for Lolla merchandise, cell phone charging, supply buying (for anyone like me who forgot to bring a pair of sunglasses on a genuinely hot day). It was nice to grab some jerky while I was at it.
While I destroyed a piece of jerky, I removed my sunglasses in pure Alan Grant style when I beholded Last Dinosaurs. If only Grant was a rock music enthusiast. I could tell this band was not only made for 90s kids and the new "20s" kids. The right audience who loves a good mention of anything dinosaur related, but more importantly, an effortlessly talented, down to earth band who lets the music speak for itself.
Lead singer Sean Caskey, who was rockin it with his blonde hair, truly owned the crowd with "Andy." His voice has a California accent hidden in there somewhere which just makes their sound more beachy, but was fitting considering they are an Australian band. Their crisp guitar work, uplifting, danceable sound, almost leaning toward disco vibes. You could see the disco attitude in the dance moves of the audience. But the chorus switch into hard riffing alternative. Their dynamic sound mixed perfectly with the cool lakefront.
“So we got an album coming out, From Mexico with Love.” Sean then pulled out a gorgeous electric guitar.
“One of you guys could win this guitar.” That’s a line to make anyone go extinct. I couldn’t catch the type of guitar it was but it certainly didn’t look cheap. These guys are one to compete with.
In a sea of computers, they come out with pure musicianship and a lot of love to give.
Next up was Sam Fender, who is an artist who managed to get the crowd going before even stepping on stage. The audience began singing one of his songs in unision as they chanted his name just minutes before his appearance was scheduled to begin. That was until an airport-style announcement blasted through the intercoms to inform the audience that of a slight delay, but that he would be there soon. Thankfully it was only enough to make a couple people boo, but everyone else continued on with a sea of “olllaaayyyyyy”, damn near chanting like it was a soccer game. I think it’s time Sam moved up the bill if this is truly how dedicated his fan base it.
Just when they thought he was late, it seemed at first assumption that he was teasing the crowd, as they noticed him standing near the back entrance of the stage, which just the promise of his appearance was consequential, because the crowd was suddenly a screaming pit. He came out to announce that while they sort out their technical difficulties, he would play the crowd some tunes. “Let’s go!” *clap-clap, clapclapclap* While he tuned his guitar. “Is there a chance we are going to get this stuff working?” He said, reckoning to the backstage area. He began performing "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen to hold everyone over. His voice resonated with such purity and grace, and while it calmed everyone down, it the set of we ultimately doomed. Unfortunately Sam Fender was 30 minutes past his start time, and we were not able to catch the set. I guess Sam will have to make it up to these Lolla fans next time around.
After scoring a hot dog with Bobby, we worked our way to the Wombats. The Wombats are JBTV Alumni, and Jerry genuinely has a special place in his heart for them, as their music played during his life-saving surgery when he had stage four cancer.
They never disappoint. When life gives them lemons, they write songs about them. They performed “I Brought A Lemon to a Knife Fight.”
“I'm going to sing a song about my favorite fruit," said Matthew Murphy. And they were truly playful the whole way through. Other notable songs were certainly "Pink Lemonade" and Method to the Madness."
I would love to get into detail about every artist covered, but notable mentions included: Still Woozy, whose "Lucy" and Whoopie" songs were definitely the balanced, subtle vibe, and transcending musical experience that a ton of new ears got a chance to grasp. 100 Gecs, who came out powerfully with "Hey Big Man." Their wizard-like outfits and theatrical appearance couples with the down-to-earth feel of their rock-pop feel was a major jam.
Remi Wolf with "Disco Man", Lorna Shore with "Cursed to Die" (which was such a great pre-curser before Metallica), Black Coffee with the DJ set in "Flava" are other notable mentions that I wish I could go more into detail for.
Hung out at the Hulu motel for some A/C, they has some couches, music and swag. It was the perfect pick-me-up before heading back to the Bud Light Stage for Tove Lo.
Tove Lo was an absolute goddess. Songs “Bikini Girl," "Cool Girl," "Disco Tits," and ofcourse the crowd favorite, "Stay High." She’s the pop star of this generation.
She came out in an all jean iconic outfit, that also had "Madonna from 'Hung Up" vibes. The jean bottoms were cheeky, which allowed for more free expression for her dance moves, as she wiggled for a screaming audience of fan girls and fan boys alike. Her gogo boots also added extra flair. It felt like the perfect club setting as she also played a new song. Then during "Talking Body" she slowly pulls the string on her top and flashed the audience quickly.
Tove truly embodied not only an uncanny ability to sing genuinely, but while maintaining a sexually free spirit of her own. The backdrop of her performance included
cartoon breasts, booty, and vaginal symbols, which I imagine was also a way to further celebrate herself as well as other women in the audience. She also had a clip of herself cat walking toward the audience as it sang in sync with her singing to the audience, which was immensely dynamic. Tove, we absolutely adore you.
Still, the true power house performers of the night were certainly Metallica and Caroline Polachek. Metallica was at the T-Mobile Stage to close out the night, and they embodied the rock level rage that had been missing from Lollapalooza in such a long time, but it probably only felt that way because there is truly no other band like Metallica. They played their classics like "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Enter Sandman" while also surprising the audience with the b-side from "St. Anger."
Metallica always manages to make the audience feel like family. As they are 41 years strong, their true love of their craft and their fans reigns true. James Hetfield made sure to handle the subject matter with genuine care as he discussed how their music may also deal with the topic of suicide. He was sure to mention that it is vital to speak to a friend if anyone in the audience is struggling with those thoughts. He effortlessly includes these truly caring moments, while managing to riff like a true rock god. Lars handled the drums like he ages backwards, and their talent is *chefs kiss*. They are legends for a reason.
Caroline Polachek was absolutely perfect for closing the Bud Light Stage. She opened for Dua Lipa in February, and considering Dua will be in Lollapalooza during this weekend, it was great to see Caroline score a prominent stage. Caroline was a siren in modern day form, and the peaks she hit with her voice, as well as her connection with the audience, was legendary. "Ocean of Tears" is where her voice carries her across the stage like a mythical figure. "Breathless," "Sunset," and "Bunny is a Rider" were genuine favorites.
Lollapalooza 2022 day one will certainly be difficult to top, and while the weekend is just getting started, the memories of this day are already one to get festival-goers excited for many years to come.
Until tomorrow, this is Fiza with JBTV Music Television at Lollapalooza.
Lollapalooza 2022, Metallica, Tove Lo, The Wombats, Emmy Meli, 100 Gecs, Last Dinosaurs, Sam Fender, Underscores