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Lollapalooza 2016 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

Perry Farrell's blockbuster festival celebrates 25 years with four days in Chicago

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    Twenty-five years of Lollapalooza.

    It’s hard to believe that a quarter century has gone by since Perry Farrell rolled out the blueprints for what was then simply a fun way to say goodbye to Jane’s Addiction. Since then, the blockbuster brand has seen its fair share of lineups, shakeups, and breakups. Now, it’s an annual Chicago tradition, one that C3 Presents hosts at Grant Park every summer.

    “The record industry loves success,” Farrell recently told Chicago Tribune hero Greg Kot. “They wait for something to hit, they go to the hilltops. They go right to next year — hey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers want to do it (in 1992). I didn’t have much else to do that year, I knew I was going to put Jane’s down for a time, and I figured why not? I was up for another party.”

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    He’s been up for one almost every year, and he went all out for 2016. The 25th anniversary celebration sucked the Day-Glo-colored marrow straight out of the “-palooza,” featuring veterans like Radiohead, Jane’s Addiction, and Red Hot Chili Peppers alongside young visionaries like Future, Lana Del Rey, and Vic Mensa. There’s something for everyone.

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    Although the festival “started out as a scene for the alternative kids,” as Farrell also argued, it’s essentially become a beacon for all things pop culture. This past weekend alone saw Dwyane Wade welcomed back to the 312 during Flosstradamus’ set, Malia Obama floating about with her flanneled detail, and random pop-ups by that hunky boyfriend from Stranger Things.

    Still, Lollapalooza’s evolution into a four-day fiesta wasn’t without its fair share of growing pains. Thursday felt like a complete toss-up, headlined by two acts at the tail end of their press cycle and supported by a hodgepodge of genre-ruling talent that was spread too thin. Meanwhile, Perry’s Stage continued to bring out the worst in everyone by simply bringing out the worst people.

    Case in point:

    Farrell arguably summed it up best with his rallying confession: “I hate EDM. I want to vomit it out of my nostrils. I can’t stand what it did to what I love, which is house music, which was meditative, psychedelic — it took you on a journey. I sometimes cringe at my own festival.” The feeling’s mutual, especially when you see hundreds of teens either fighting or puking on each other.

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    One major win for the festival was avoiding another evacuation. They came close, admittedly, with several long stretches of garbage weather on Thursday and Friday, but the gates remained opened and nobody had to run into hotels or overpriced bars on the Michigan strip. Instead, most festivalgoers huddled under trees as their crisp Cavs gear turned soggy.

    There’s been plenty of discussion as of late about the festival bubble bursting. Sagging sales have affected titans like Bonnaroo and promising rookies like New York City’s Panorama, urging analysts to reconsider the once booming business. Yet that isn’t a problem for Lollapalooza, which continues to sell out before the lineups even hit the newsstands.

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Much of that has to do with the overall experience, how both Chicagoans and tourists can enjoy the Second City and escape into this insane metropolis-within-a-metropolis. Still, this lax accountability has in turn affected the curation of any given year’s lineup, which is why some of the bookings may feel either safe, predictable, or worse: dated.

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    “When you book 170 acts per festival and don’t want to repeat yourself, you run out of greatness and you start compromising,” Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger explained in the same interview. That “compromise” has been a nagging issue of the festival for years and with Thursday now in the mix it’s likely only going to get a lot worse.

    Maybe not, though. One of the more inspiring facets of Lollapalooza is its graduation process, namely how the festival tends to invest on an act’s reputation, moving them up the ranks from the side stages to the main stages that anchor the opposing sides of Grant Park. This year alone saw several graduates pulling their own weight — it was inspiring, to say the least.

    Looking back, the term “moment” was thrown around a lot over the weekend. Chance the Rapper coming out for Future was a moment. Tom Morello and Jimmy Chamberlin assisting Jane’s Addiction was a moment. The whole D-Wade appearance was a moment. Are these calculated? Sure. Are they pedantic? Somewhat. Does anyone care? Absolutely.

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    Because there’s really nothing more lucrative than a rare moment, especially in a world so hideously fascinated with bragging rights and personal narratives. Lollapalooza’s greatest strength is providing those opportunities, and while that’s a depressing departure from its halcyon days, it’s a smart business strategy, and one that will keep this afloat for some time.

    Rest assured, there’s plenty of music to be had and we saw and heard more than anyone needs to see and hear in any given season. So, click on ahead to read about our thoughts on the best and worst of Lollapalooza, and if you’re still recovering, we recommend you drink plenty of water and eat the largest sandwich you can make before taking some Hibernol.

    –Michael Roffman
    Editor-in-Chief

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    Biggest Clusterfuck

    Major Lazer

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    While blowing the generator twice certainly didn’t help Major Lazer’s headlining set, what truly did them in was the general lack of direction. Being the esteemed producer and DJ that he is, Diplo is known for his fabulously curated set lists. Whether he’s blasting his latest Beyoncé cut or chopping and splicing mainstream’s meanest club jams, he always runs a tight show. Until this year, that is.

    After opening with early hit “Pon De Floor”, the set jumped everywhere. New Major Lazer stuff was followed by old Major Lazer stuff, which was mixed with a “Heads Will Roll” remix, which was interpolated by “Boom Boom Boom” by The Outhere Brothers. The set list was incoherent and exhausting. But hey, at least it matched the stage production. In case we weren’t stimulated enough, strobe lights, pyrotechnics, and voluptuous twerkers interjected at any and all times.

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    When Major Lazer first blew up, the stage production served as a way to excite the crowd. These days, it’s meant to distract them from the set’s biggest problem: that Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire look totally exhausted up there. And let’s face it, they probably are. It’s no secret that Diplo spreads himself thin. Switching between three active side projects (Diplo, Major Lazer, and Jack Ü) and performing multiple shows per day would kill anyone’s spirit over time.

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    As a longtime Major Lazer supporter, I truly had high hopes for this set. Of all Diplo’s side projects, Major Lazer has always been the most conceptual, exciting, and exotic. However, the show hasn’t changed much since I first saw it four years ago, and that was more noticeable than any of the spastic antics onstage. Major Lazer is by no means dead, but it’s about time they rest, regroup, and restructure. –Danielle Janota
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    Daughter Stormborn, Mother of Drizzle

    Daughter

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Let’s be clear: Daughter’s Thursday afternoon set sounded great. Elena Tonra’s voice was sumptuous and piercing, and the band’s ever-swelling orchestrations crested with power. But, man, they are really not suited to the devil-may-care milieu of an outdoor festival, even one splayed beneath storm clouds. “It looks like we brought the bad weather with us,” the London-based band joked as steady rain segued way into the hell that is a sunny, humid drizzle. In a way, it’s a complement: The band’s arrangements are tumultuous, starting slow before roaring like so many thunderclaps, and Tonra’s voice is as overcast as they come. But that voice is as sad as it is beautiful, and it seemed to carry a weight the damp audience simply didn’t want to bear. On record and onstage, Daughter’s music is rich with detail and emotion; those qualities, however, are better suited for the dim club than the open field. –Randall Colburn
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    Most Obvious Growing Pains

    Big Grams

    Two of the best tracks on Big Boi’s second solo album, 2012’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, were co-written with nocturnal electronica duo Phantogram, which eventually yielded a more long-term collaboration in Big Grams. But their afternoon Lolla set saw the newly formed trio working their way through a choppy-sounding mix and stage banter that hadn’t quite gelled yet: Repeated exclamations of “Oh shit, I love this song!” were about as funny and creative as Sarah Barthel and Big got. Whether it was the off-kilter levels or the lack of a nighttime environment that helped make their Bonnaroo appearance so successful, Big Grams struggled to find the crossroads where their two respective genres meet — something they seem to have no problem doing in the studio. –Dan Caffrey
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    Saddest Strip Club Confession

    Jane’s Addiction

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    Kudos to frontman Perry Farrell for 25 years of Lollapalooza, and speaking his mind to Chicago Tribune veteran Greg Kot about the stupidity of his own stage and the disaster that EDM has become. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that his ’90s outfit Jane’s Addiction is about the closest approximation to a Guy Fieri installment at this festival. One gaudy pink suit, dangling Suicide Girls, shirtless Dave Navarro, guest appearances by Tom Morello and Jimmy Chamberlin, and all of Ritual de lo habitual  –“I think the folks are in a Flavortown food coma.”

    To be fair, it was everything anyone might expect (or want) from the Los Angeles sleazeballs, but it just felt inessential, dated, and overblown. One intriguing anecdote, however, was during a fiery performance of “Just Because”, when Farrell squeezed in an anecdote about his first trip to Chitown: “The first time I came here, I was so fucking cold. I was waiting for a ride and addicted to heroin.” Swiftly after, he dove straight back into the next verse, leaving the chilly memory behind him. It was a supremely human moment within a supremely inhuman set.

    Needless to say, he’s come a long, long way. –Michael Roffman
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    Worst Picture Show!!

    Towkio

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

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    Note: This entry was written by 57-year-old guest reporter Gunther Guthrie.

    “Guess who’s back/ back again/ Gunther’s back/ Tell a friend.”

    Yep! It’s me. Your friendly neighborhood (older!) rock critic. First off, an apology. As you probably know, last year, I had quite the hedonistic time at the musical monster that is Lollapalooza. This was not by design; let’s just say a young man at the Perry’s tent took advantage of my naivety, fooled me into thinking a tab of lysergic acid diethylamide was an offshoot of TaB® the soda, and gave me quite the fright at A$AP Rocky’s set. Two pants-pissings later, I swore to my wife, Gilda, and my daughter, Jordan, that I would never attend the festival again.

    And believe me, dear reader, that was very much my intent! But as an artist (yes, rock criticism IS an art form!!!), I don’t always get to decide where my path takes me. And after the enthusiastic response to my writing in the previous years, Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman (Hi, Mike!) thought it was important that my voice continued to be represented. The sad truth of the matter is that there just aren’t many middle-age music critics (make that UPPER-middle age, lol) out there. So I am their tongue. I am their bullhorn. I am their megaphone.

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    I’m also their stomach! One of the best things about music festivals is the media tent, where we journalists get rewarded with all manner of free exotic foods. My favorite will always be the kobe sliders (duh!), but this year, I sampled gourmet Oreos, tiny waffle cones filled with nacho toppings, and even gin popsicles! Be still, my tummy…

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    But I’ll get to these gastronomic “misadventures” later. Right now, you’re here to read about the music, and that’s what I will give you, oh loyal reader. The first act I was assigned to cover was a local rapper called Towkio.

    towkio lolla thursday kaplan 2 Lollapalooza 2016 Festival Review: From Worst to BestWait a second. Towkio? You mean Tokyo. Surely you mean Tokyo. Right? Tokyo is the capital of Japan and is spelled T-O-K-Y-O. I should know; I once spent a few hours in their wondrous airport during a trip for Prudential (side note: thanks for giving me the Thursday AND Friday off this year for the festival, Rog!). So why is this guy spelling his name Towkio?

    It’s indicative of a troubling pattern at Lollapalooza, where more and more musicians each year are adopting names of cities, then spelling those cities incorrectly. Apparently, another young act called PVRIS was playing the next day.

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    Um, what? I’ve heard of Paris or even PARIS, but PVRIS? Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t I start a band and call it SHICAGO? I’m sure everyone will love that. Maybe I can even get myself a slot at Lollapalooza!

    As far as Towkio’s music goes, it has a lot of pep and I liked that he brought a lot of other performers (both dancers and rappers) out onstage with him. I’ll always prefer musicians playing INSTRUMENTS as opposed to just pushing BUTTONS (grrr), but I can usually get over that to enjoy a type of music that me, The Gunth, isn’t quite accustomed to.

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    But there was another problem, a problem shaped like a misused projection screen. A$AP Rocky used a projection screen last year, and although the images scared me, I appreciated that I could at least see them. But in the case of Tokyo (sorry, Towkio! Ugh), he blocked his screen with metal panels that kept me from seeing what movie was playing. It looked like he was playing a movie where he and all his friends were hanging out on the basketball court, but I can’t be sure. Maybe they had filmed a sequel to The Basketball Diaries? They’re the right age for it, and today’s youth can always benefit from a cautionary tale about drugs. Hell, today’s middle-aged folks like me can always benefit from a cautionary tale about drugs. Just look at what happened to me last year.

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    But alas, I’ll never know what Towkio and his pals were warning us about on that basketball court, because I couldn’t see the picture show. Towkio, look: you’re clearly talented, and I admire that you’re a filmmaker as well as an enterprising rapper (my daughter Jordan likes your music quite a bit), but pleeeaaase take a few spelling lessons and maybe watch a couple of Marty Scorsese pictures, okay? Thanks, Towkio. –Gunther Guthrie
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    Worst Crowd

    Chris Stapleton

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Chris Stapleton is easy to love. He isn’t afraid to fortify his soulful country music with blasts of distortion or the dirty swagger of Southern Rock, nor does he shy away from vulnerability. His mass appeal was obvious during his Saturday evening set when the masses poured into and clogged the Petrillo Music Shell’s sloping concrete expanse. But though they seemed well-versed in Stapleton’s breakthrough album, Traveller — nearly everybody mouthed along to “Tennessee Whiskey” — they also seemed perpetually disengaged.

    A few rock horns and a smattering of fists rose from the diehards at the front of the crowd, but elsewhere the stoned, sunburnt audience seemed interested in everything that wasn’t happening onstage. Not that a festival crowd is expected to always pay rapt attention to the performers, but there was a palpable disconnect here, one that wasn’t helped by Stapleton’s tepid banter (which rarely extended beyond a “how y’all doin’” or “y’all got a drink in your hand?”). His hour-long set essentially embodied the worst part of festival culture: that the crowds like the idea of music more than the music itself. –Randall Colburn
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    Winnie the Pooh (And Stephan Jenkins, Too!)

    Third Eye Blind

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Note: This entry was written by 57-year-old guest reporter Gunther Guthrie.

    A lot of people were introduced to Third Eye Blind through their hit “Semi-Charmed Life”, and so was I. But most of these folks remember hearing it for the first time on the radio. I remember hearing it somewhere else though: the trailer for The Tigger Movie, a 2000 animated film produced by DisneyToon Studios. You see, my daughter, Jordan, turned two that year, and it was the very first picture we took her to. So “Semi-Charmed Life” will always have a special place in my heart as a family-friendly song. And outside of the Kidzapalooza stage, where else can you hear a family-friendly song at Lollapalooza?

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    Stephan Jenkins, the singer for Third Eye Blind (or 3eb, as their hardcore fans call them), seems very nice and is very concerned with people being kind to each other. During the breakdown of another hit of his, “Never Let You Go”, he told us all, “I’ve got this sense of aliveness in me and this sense of joy and this great big sense of I don’t give a fuuuck.”

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    This is very much in line with Tigger’s worldview of just bouncing around and having a good deal of fun, only with more swearing, which I didn’t mind. After all, this is a rock ‘n’ roll show! But if we’re speaking in Winnie the Pooh terms, the sound quality reminded me of the time Winnie got stuck in the honey tree. The bass and the drums were mixed so poorly that it was like our ears were all clogged with honey! It wasn’t the band’s fault, but the sound technicians’ fault. I glanced over at him, and one of them — the long-haired one — appeared to be falling asleep. Hey, buddy, how about actually giving a crap — no, giving a SHIT (if Stephan cursed, then so can I!) — about the music? Oh, bother! –Gunther Guthrie


    Most Likely to Give You a Black Eye

    A$AP Ferg

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    At this set, the term “mosh pit” was thrown around more times than “shabba.” Perhaps it was the mud, or the fact that most attendees were still high off Future’s set, but the general vibe at the Pepsi stage was war. A$AP Ferg tore through fan favorites like “Hungry Ham” and “New Level” while reaching new peaks of bro-iness with “Hella Hoes”. There wasn’t a single second of breathing room, which is why hyper-speed lyricist Twista made the perfect surprise guest.

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    Twista managed to lift the mood of such a vicious set by coasting through “Overnight Celebrity” and showing off some of his signature chopper style rapping. All in all, though, he added little to such an inflated performance. Given Ferg’s widespread critical acclaim, it was pretty disappointing that he decided to satisfy the needs of turnt-up festivalgoers over those of longtime fans. At a different festival and set time, Ferg may have had more substance. For Lolla, though, he sufficed. –Danielle Janota


    Most Disappointing Lack of Original Material (and Chance the Rapper)

    Snakehips

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    “I just need to hear ‘All My Friends’,” the teen next to me earnestly proclaimed to her friends as we all waited for Snakehips. Perhaps that was a little uncharitable to the British DJ duo, who have produced more tracks than just the hit song featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper. Unfortunately, their set was curiously devoid of those original collaborations, despite names as familiar as Saturday performer Tory Lanez (“Dímelo”) and as big as Zayn Malik (“Cruel”). That’s not to say the crowd wasn’t hyped — Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” and recent viral sensation Rich Chigga’s “Dat $tick” were standout inclusions — but only “All My Friends” really set things off … at the end of their set, sans the ever-elusive Chano. –Karen Gwee
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    Please Dance…

    Baio

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    If a DJ makes dance music and nobody dances, did they make a sound? Baio’s Saturday set was fun, bolstered by pleasant temperatures and a warm breeze, but the audience simply swayed when they really needed to dance. The side project of Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio, Baio finds its namesake frontman crooning over sunny, sophisticated beats that he bolsters onstage with electric guitar. Baio himself is a charming frontman, cracking cheesy jokes in tones that’d befit a small-town Bingo caller as he shakes his hips like a vintage crooner. The vibe was right, the music was good, but something was missing. Music’s a two-way street, after all; artists need the crowd as much as the crowd needs them –Randall Colburn
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    Most in Need of a Second Chance

    Bryson Tiller

    Like Chance the Rapper in 2013, Bryson Tiller gained traction after he was booked for Lolla, consequently making his stage far too small for the crowd. Thousands of fans clawed their way through the triangular death trap that is the Petrillo Shell just to get a glimpse of their beloved crooner. Unfortunately for Tiller, this excitement was short-lived. Following the Louisville singer’s sultry rendition of “Exchange”, a large chunk of fans cleared out. Tiller, himself, performed beautifully.

    The stage was rather bare, which allowed Tiller’s voice, alone, to paint the mood. However, with such a limited discography and vague personal brand, he wasn’t able to keep the crowd put. He admitted that this was the largest group he’d every played for and that he couldn’t believe how far he’d come in just a year. “Louisville is a hard city to break out of,” he lamented. With another year, another album, and a few more hits under his belt, Bryson Tiller will get the love he deserves. –Danielle Janota
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    The Most Unnecessary PSA

    Pinegrove

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    On record, Pinegrove embraces kindness and self-reflective humility, both of which are just as vital to their music as the hesitance of Evan Stephens Hall’s falsetto or the emo/country hybrid of Mark Levine’s guitar strings. But those same traits — admirable in the young Montclair, New Jersey, band as people — often result in a politeness that can make their live show feel a little rigid, despite them having one of the best records of the year. Even though their Lolla debut boasted an added guitarist and keyboardist that gave their set more texture than their performance at Lincoln Hall in April, there was still something stiff about them onstage, as if giving in completely to the joyous caffeine of tracks like “Then Again” would be rude.

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    The risk aversion extended to the stage banter, too. While it was nice for Hall to marvel at the size of the crowd, him repeatedly beseeching people to keep an eye out for rough behavior shortly before closer “New Friends” felt like overkill. How do you let loose at a Pinegrove show when they seem so afraid to let loose themselves? As their peers Modern Baseball proved the next day at the festival, it’s possible for a young band to exhibit both kindness and wildness at the same time. –Dan Caffrey
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    Lift Yr Skinny Drumsticks Like Antennas to Heaven

    PVRIS

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Here’s a fact: No one at this year’s Lollapalooza loves music more than the drummer for PVRIS. It’s not often a drummer can upstage the band he’s playing with, but Justin Nace pummels his kit with a loopy flair that’s downright inspiring. His arms move like they’re either dislocated or part octopus; he’s basically that wedding band drummer with toned arms and emo hair. PVRIS’ music is fine; it’s an arena-friendly blend of hardcore and EDM that feels focus-grouped to death. It plays infinitely better live than it does on record, however, and Nace wasn’t the only reason the band worked its passionate Friday afternoon crowd into an audience. But the dude certainly knows how to work a crowd — the countless times he’d signal a beat drop or forthcoming chorus by dramatically pointing a drumstick skyward evolved from a cheesy tic to a curiously charged rush of catharsis as the set went on. The power of live music, ladies and gents. –Randall Colburn
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    Vomiting? In Line?? No Thank You!!!

    Torey Lanez

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Note: This entry was written by 57-year-old guest reporter Gunther Guthrie.

    Ah, there’s nothing quite like a peaceful morning in Arlington Heights. Gilda and I often enjoy sitting on the front porch with our coffee, soaking in the picture-perfect view of our grand city’s water tower.

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    Wait, what’s this? A text? Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman — the Commissioner Gordon to my Batman — needs someone to cover rapper Tory Lanez? And he plays at 2:50 p.m.??? Start up the Metra, Robin. We’ve got to get to Grant Park, pronto!

    But lo and behold, even though I arrived 25 minutes before Mr. Lanez’s set, there was a huge line, bigger than the line I had to wait in to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the Dane County Coliseum back in 1977 (the Works Tour, for anyone keeping score at home). Even worse, they switched the expedited press entrance to the left instead of the right, a fact I didn’t realize until I was halfway through the line. So I was stuck among the riff-raff: a sea of gacked-to-the-gills, misguided youth, most of whom were also in line to see Mr. Lanez and some DJ whose talent lies solely in wearing a giant marshmallow on his head.

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Seriously? A marshmallow? What is this, a cereal commercial? Oh, it is? Well, okay then! Just as long as you know.

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    One young man who looked like Jim Belushi wore a Hawaiian shirt, a CamelBak filled with what I HOPE was water (but let’s face it, it probably wasn’t), and a floppy safari hat, which seemed to be the trend among the fellas at this year’s Lollapalooza. After attempting to cut in line a few times, he stumbled around, as if he were Goliath just struck in the head by David’s slingshot. Or perhaps he was the wall of Jericho, about to tumble from the blast of divine ram’s horns. If you want additional biblical references, I’ve got them out the wazoo. I wasn’t an acolyte in my youth for nothing! To use a hip-hop turn of phrase, Saint Simon’s Episcopal Church for life.

    Anyway, this Belushi-looking guy clearly had taken too much of whatever he had been taking (NOT water; I can tell you that!).

    “I’m gonna…I’m gonna…”

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    And with that, he vomited on the pavement, parting the crowd like Moses parted the Red Sea. Instead of helping him, most attendees took advantage of the opportunity and rushed through the gap he had formed to move up in the line. Being a father, though, I couldn’t help but console him. But as I patted him on the back, he wretched again, this time all over my left Teva® sandal. I couldn’t even scream. I was too shocked.

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    As the vomit baked in the afternoon sun and eventually encrusted on my Teva® sandal strap, I worriedly eyed my phone. There were only 10 minutes left in Mr. Lanez’s set. I was going to miss it! Some nearby teens shared my concern.

    “I’ll give a Tory Lanez concert right here!” slurred a shirtless lad trying to grow a tiny wisp of a mustache. With that, he rapped the lyrics of a Mr. Lanez song called “Say It.” It was pretty good!

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    By the time I got to the stage, Mr. Lanez was just finishing up, and the crowd was loving it. He had plunged into the audience and was rapping from the audience, which was neat.

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    “We went from the front to the back!” he shouted. “I’m the new Toronto.” He said this because he was Canadian.

    From what I can tell, Tory Lanez has a lot of gusto and did a really good job. But as he finished, a colony of ants began forming on my Teva® sandal, undoubtedly gobbling up whatever remnants of foodstuff Jim Belushi, Jr. had expelled onto my shoe. They weren’t fire ants, so it didn’t hurt, but it didn’t exactly feel good either. I felt confused, lonely, and couldn’t wait to get to the press tent. Hey, Mr. Laaanez (imagine that in a Dennis the Menace voice)! How about an encore next time, hmmm? –Gunther Guthrie
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    Most Likely to Deliver Thesis Statements as Song Introductions

    Alessia Cara

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    Photo by Philip Cosores

    Alessia Cara’s only 20 years old, but she seems to have life all worked out. The Canadian pop singer is a self-professed lover of “music with a message,” as she put it in her hit song “Here”, and during her set at the Pepsi stage, she took pains to make sure she was understood. “This is a song about refusing to conform to the standards of the world,” she said of “Wild Things”. “Every dream is valid,” she said before “Four Pink Walls”, a song about getting out of her hometown, “no matter if they are similar or dissimilar to mine.” These earnest introductions played like elevator pitches after a while, but they also showed how Cara has taken her responsibility to her young fanbase to heart. Even though she’s best known for “Here”, the sullen, anti-social anthem she closed out her set with, she’s certainly not that person any longer. –Karen Gwee
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