WPGU @ Lollapalooza: Day 1

WPGU’s Boswell Hutson set out to see the sights and sounds of Lollapalooza this weekend…check back as this post will be updated all day!

The Neighbourhood – 12:00-12: 50

I’m a sucker for when bands come on stage to hip-hop.  Coldplay did it to Jay-Z all throughout their Mylo Xyloto tour last year and The Neighbourhood did it this morning at Grant Park’s Petrillo Bandshell.  I must say, I was thoroughly surprised by the appearance of lead singer Jesse Rutherford in all black sporting a hoodie and another shirt wrapped around his waist, but I guess some people can just handle the heat.  Rutherford spent the whole set (45 minutes) having an enormous amount of energy and swagger on the stage and the crowd was feeding off of his vibrant demeanor.  After about 4 songs, though, the spark started to wear off. The band got the crowd back into again after their track “Sweater Weather”, which was played second to last.  All in all, however, the set was extremely impressive…especially for being the first of the festival.  Check out our pictures below!






Smith Westerns – 2:30-3:15

I’ll be the first person to tell you that Smith Westerns can and will put on a good show.  This set at Lolla would make my firth of theirs I have ever been to, but the first on a main stage (the biggest stage) at Lollapalooza.  While I was worried if they would be able to pull a big enough crowd, the hometown boys from Chicago did that and more.  Lead singer Cullen Omori got off to a little bit of a late start, and due to that they had to cut a couple songs out of their set, much to the disdain of the crowd, but even with a shortened set, the pop-rock group shined.  Mixing hits from their sophomore album Dye It Blonde with (relatively) new cuts from their third album Soft Will which was released to much praise in June.  Overall, the new songs sounded polished (though Cullen had some trouble reaching the high notes occasionally, but they just came off tour…so I can cut him some slack) and the old songs sounded just as good as they had before, making for an extremely solid set.






Atlas Genius – 3:30-4:15

All my life I’ve lived by a strict moral code.  That code has one rule and one rule only: don’t trust people who wear fedoras.  When the lead singer of Atlas Genius came out in a fedora, I must admit that I was extremely skeptical about how he was about to perform.  Would he be really cheezy or would he be surprisingly good?  Until they started playing, Atlas Genius was a huge question mark for me.  After they played their set, however, there was no doubt in my mind that they were a great live band.  Of course they played the two tracks that we spin regularly on WPGU (“If So” and “Trojans”) but they also played a majority of their songs off of their recent album When It Was Now and that made me really want to go back and listen to the whole thing again.  I think you should, too.





Hey Marseille – 5:40-6:20

I really only showed up to this stage early because I wanted to get a good spot for Chance the Rapper…and boy did I, but I also got a great show from a band I knew nothing about in Hey Marseille.  That’s the beauty of Lollapalooza: being able to go to shows that you know nothing about and walking away a fan.  I’m not saying I’m a giant fan of these guys’ version of folk-rock, but I definitely am going to get their album and check out what they’re all about.

Chance the Rapper – 6:50-7:30

I know this isn’t a rap station and this isn’t a rap news site or blog, but I’m going to write about Chance regardless.  I’ve been a fan of Chance since his first mixtape (10 Day) dropped a couple of years ago. I’m not trying to gain hipster credit, but I am trying to convey how great of a feeling it is to see someone you’ve followed so closely reach the pinnacle of their dreams. At one point during his set, Chance said “This is the best moment of my life” and you could tell he was being genuine.  The crowd was far too large for the tiny side-stage they put him on, but that didn’t stop Chance from rocking out and, upon reflection, having my favorite set of Lollapalooza so far.  Here’s to you, Chano. You did it. Oh yeah…and he crowd surfed in a blow-up pool.






The Killers – 8:25-10:00

I want more than anything to say that The Killers blew me away at Lolla this year…I really do.  They had such a profound impact on my adolescence that all I wanted to do was hear some tracks off of Hot Fuss, maybe some off of Sam’s Town and then maybe just a new song or two.  The Las Vegas rockers did exactly that, but they didn’t execute it in a way that was pleasing.  Some parts were amazing, such as the opening with “Mr. Brightside” and the parts where frontman Brandon Flowers was under a spotlight on the piano, but other parts, such as when Flowers did corny, obviously canned audience baiting, were underwhelming to say the least.  I have seen The Killers at Lollapalooza before, and without all of that cheezy fanfare, they put on a damn good set.  This year, however, it seemed to dampen the mood instead of lift the populace up.




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