Lollapalooza Day 3: Idles, Kaskade, Dashboard Confessional, J-Cole, Crawler, Alexander 23, Lil Durk, Surf Mesa, Pom PoM Squad, tOMORROW x AND MORE
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Grant Park - July 30, 2022
As festival goers were reeling from the disco themed vibe of day two, day three offered a wide array of artists, both renowned and new. It was interesting to see the migration from Bud Light to T-Mobile on a constant basis. I must say, hip-hop and EDM took the day this day, along with some notable alternative rock with a mix of indie-pop.
First up was CRAWLERS, with Holly Minto on vocals and trumpet, Amy Woodall on lead guitar, Liv Kettle on bass guitar and Harry Breen drums. This university united troupe were the perfect mix to start the day.
They offered such a unique mix of sounds, and Holly's vocal range was mind boggling. They opened with "MONROE" and I felt like I was getting the Hole concert I always wanted, because their renegade style definitely reminded fans of the cavalier attitude that Courtney Love made famous. But when they hit the song "Fuck Me," they went right for the punch, with Holly's addictive, mature vocals, reminiscent of early Fiona Apple. They play every single song from the heart, and they touch on touchy subjects ranging from alcohol abuse to body dysmorphia, and the honesty was the perfect bit of appreciation for their first chance at the Lolla stage.
Alexander Glantz aka Alexander 23 from Deerfield, IL, opened acapella. Sporting a kurta, he was a comforting presence on stage. He opened with "Cosplay" and "Girl," which along with the other songs, are the perfect songs to have on repeat during a road trip, or dancing with a significant other. His music definitely gives off pop vibes similar to Olivia Rodrigo, but he truly stands out by owning his particularly powerful, feminine vocal style. The audience genuinely was fawning for him once he did "Since U Been Gone" which is enough to get anyone screaming alone. What a show man!
Scores of cheerleaders came out to support Pom Pom Squad. Hailing from Brooklyn, fronted by Mia Berrin, this indie/grunge tribe provided the ultimate chill-bit-rugged comforting sound. Their sound almost feelings like being in the hallways of high school again at the end of a senior year, with the angst powering through the effortless guitar and drums. Opening with "LUX" was the power riff intensity to wake everyone up, and Mia's vocals have this fast-paced, feminine touch, with powerful screams and singing mixed, it was impossible to not have fun. "Lux," "Drunk Voicemail," belongs up there with the Seattle grunge scene, and I'm pretty sure this crowd wanted to break things to this music, or drive fast. Pom Pom Squad may have a cheerleader style name, with their signature outfits shining on stage, but their sound makes them turn into the quarterback, powering through a goal line. By the time we got "Heavy, Heavy," we were grooooving.
Other amazing artists from this day included Meet Me at the Altar, who TRULY rocked out with "Now or Never" which is beyond worth checking out. Her yellow braided hair flipped through the stage like a colorful masterpiece. Also, Coin, and Surf Mesa, Lil Durk, who was absolutely nuts opening with "AHHH HA." This is a song to get any Chicago party started, and the beat is an absolute mood. He beamed with a smile and everyone was wildin out like no other. Other notable songs included "Backdoor," "Turkey Season" and he closed with "Blocklist" among others.
Surf Mesa was the first artist of the day to get the EDM vibes going, whose hit "Ily (I love you baby)," featuring Emilee, was the dance-pop hit of the summer of 2021, but its a mix that will certainly carry his career into beautiful places. It covers Frankie Valli's "I Love You Baby" which is a timeless classic, but for the Lolla stage, it was the ultimate festival song. This song along with "Somewhere" and "Another Life" felt like such a gift for these young festival teens especially, who came decked out in elaborate glitter outfits and braided hair. They came for music like this, to just get lost into. Surf Mesa was a straightforward artist, and he delivers like no other.
A maaaajor throwback came in the form of Dashboard Confessional, and I confess, I was losing my mind with joy. Their music brought everyone back to 2002's MTV Unplugged version of "Hands Down" and other notable places in which we have found their music in the past. This was their closing song and it was so perfect. They are one of the few older artists to hit the Lolla stage this year, alongside Green Day and Metallica of course, which is not a bad group to be part of. The nostalgia hit right away when they began with "Brilliant Dance" and the emo tears pushed through as though they were held back this whole time. What an absolute treat, and this audience was genuinely grateful to finally experience them.
IDLES, IDLES, IDLES. I am still reeling, speechless from this band. Joe Talbot, Adam Devonshire, Mark Bowen, Lee Kiernan, and Jon Beavis. What an absolutely show-shopping performance from a rock band that the Bud Light stage needed for this fine Saturday. There seriously must have been a nod to a powerful feminine reckoning and a Kelly Clarkson reference this day, because just like Alexander 23, they covered "Since U Been Gone." Never in a million year did I ever think I'd see two incredible artists provide two unique renditions of this popular song, but from Idles, who are a group of truly lumberjack, rugged men, even with one of the members rocking a dress like no other, it was probably the greatest cover I've ever seen in my life time.
And they did NOT stop there.
They came out swinging....with Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You."
Look, we KNEW this was going to be a good show, and we were definitely looking forward to "Never Fight a Man with a Perm," but it was clear that after they played Metro, post-Metallica on Thursday night, they were on fire for Saturday. They had so much fun on stage, and the way they engage with the audience was like no other. We absolutely demand more of them in the future.
Ahhhhh so many incredible artists though. Mariah the Scientist and Turnstile were the go-to's right before Kaskade. Mariah the Scientist was the one R&B artist we managed to find for this day, and her song "Revenge" was a colorful, vocal masterpiece. She could manage a crowd with her voice alone and that is exactly what she did.
Turnstile may have been the only hardcore-punk band, and their major treats were definitely "MYSTERY" and "BLACKOUT." When he got on stage, it was almost impossible to comprehend what Brendan Yates would do, but once his scream hits, its an uplifting rage-fest, which is a rare combination. They are danceable as a hardcore band, which, again, is a rare combination! But this crowd jumped to every drum beat and head banged to their hearts desire.
While we did get to vibe to J-Cole, whose crowd was absolutely willing to fight for the front-row experience, Kaskade offered a cathartic release from anyone looking for a break from the hip-hop that was dominating the main stage. The rap music this year has been absolutely phenomenal, and Big Sean even had a pregnant Jhene Aiko come out, and it was truly beautiful to see this couple on stage for everyone to appreciate. "No Role Modelz" was a cherry on top.
Tomorrow X was like there was no tomorrow. Considering this is the day prior to J-Hope hitting the stage, we were truly ready for them. Also known as TXT, Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun and HueningKai truly showed how they are "Good Boys Gone Bad" with the ultimate Korean boy-band experience. They were almost cinematic on their presence, and the crowd was in a frenzy. Their edgy attitudes were leaving the front row fans just in pure shock. Lollapalooza was due for a true Korean music experience and TXT were perfection.
But Kaskade, was BEAMING. Literally. He gave a spectacular light show to "Eyes," "Raining" and once "4 AM" hit, its almost as though time did not exist. This was perfect for the Perry stage, and this audience could have stayed with him all night.
What a spectacular and diverse Saturday. We couldn't be more excited for Green Day and Charli XCX tomorrow, thats for sure.
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television