Lollapalooza 2021 was the first big music festival in a while for festival organizers, artists, and audiences alike. The pandemic had finally died down, people were getting vaccinated, and festivals were safe (ish) to have again. I was able to see a lot of artists in the four days I was at Lollapalooza, so here are some of my favorite smaller acts that I saw.
Kenny Mason’s set was early Friday at a smaller stage, but Kenny Mason still came out and went crazy. Kenny is a lesser-known rap artist with a unique, bass heavy sound. He switches up his voice and flow for his songs constantly, much like JID or Kendrick Lamar would do. From the first song to the last, every beat drop was a new mosh pit with the small crowd at BMI stage. Kenny and the DJ were able to match the crowd’s energy and even surpass it at times, elevating it to a new level. He even brought out redveil for their song “raygun”, which the crowd loved, despite the fact that many people didn’t know the song, much less both artists. For someone relatively unknown, Kenny Mason brought the energy and the quality that people would expect from a Lollapalooza performance.
Paris Texas was another unknown rap duo, replacing slowthai a few weeks prior due to visa issues (a recurring issue that blocked some artists from performing at Lollapalooza). Many people, including myself, were heartbroken at first, but after listening to Paris Texas’ album BOY ANONYMOUS, I was once again excited. And like Kenny Mason, they brought the energy that was necessary for an unknown artist. Paris Texas employs melodic flows, catchy hooks, and guitar loops on their beats for a very unique sound and a very fun performance. Louis Pastel and Felix are very comparable to EARTHGANG, where they share their energy and bounce bars off of each other throughout their songs. Their charisma and hype are what made the performance that much better.
Nicolas Muñozwas in a weird situation for their performance. He is boy pablo, writing, performing, and producing all of boy pablo’s music. But when he performs live, he usually brings a live band with him. Because of visa issues, they weren’t able to come, and he was the only one at the performance. This time he used a laptop on stage to play his music and he simply sang and danced to the song. It was a new experience for the crowd, but also for Nicolas, as this was the first time he had done a solo performance. He still made it a great and enjoyable experience, performing many of the songs off of his latest album Wachito Rico. The synths and guitar solos had the crowd, and Nicolas, grooving. And by the time “Everytime” came on, everyone was singing along.
Marc is one of the more interesting performers who was on the Lollapalooza lineup. He’s a DJ who uses loops and his own live vocals to create hypnotic and exciting beats, making each set distinct and wild. His set could’ve been a lot bigger but it was on a medium-sized stage and was a headliner along with Post Malone and Journey. I still think I made the right choice seeing him, as in the course of an hour set he: brought a fan on stage, ran through the crowd with a champagne bottle and handed out drinks, and disrobed himself down to just boxers by the end of the set. Looking back, the set feels much more like a dream then something I actually attended late that night.
Brittany Howard is the vocalist and lead guitarist of the band Alabama Shakes, just releasing her first solo album “Jaime” in 2019. But you couldn’t tell she was a solo artist with the amount of people she had on stage: two drummers, two guitarists, one bassist, and two backup vocalists. All of these backup performers brought out her incredible voice, which was the main attraction. The funk and soul in her voice, and the overall sound, had the crowd moving and cheering the entire performance. Her songs live are an entirely different experience that cannot be replicated digitally. I hope she grows in popularity because her voice is one of a kind.