Day 3 of Lollapalooza 2021 felt like a tussle between the festival’s past and present, as legacy rock acts fought for airspace against a powerhouse pop rap billing.
There isn’t much tying Journey, Limp Bizkit, and Tom DeLonge’s Angels & Airwaves together, and festival organizers could have helped any of them by booking more bands from the same general movement. But altogether they served as the counter-programming to the Saturday night main event, with Megan Thee Stallion drawing a headliner’s crowd and Post Malone building on top of it.
Check out our Day 3 Recap, including notable performances by Porches, Whitney, and Freddie Gibbs below.
— Wren Graves
Porches Made the Case for Showing Up Early
Here’s what you missed if you slept in this morning. Saddled with a tough 1:45 p.m. set time at the notoriously difficult Tito’s stage, New York indie vets Porches leaned into the adversity, delivering a set of their trademark Strokes-meets-Cocteau-Twins sound that shimmered along with the heat rising from the Petrillo Music Shell’s pavement. From the grooves of early-career single “Strapping Young Weirdos” to the keen tempo shifts of 2016 hit “Mood” to a ripping cover of Nirvana’s “On a Plain,” frontman Aaron Maine and company rewarded the few early-birds in attendance with a set perfectly tuned to a wistful summer Saturday. — Tyler Clark
Cannons Played to the Front
Two years ago Cannons would have gladly performed at a smaller stage at Lollapalooza, but after their song “Fire for You” appeared on Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, the indie poppers found themselves on the biggest stage this festival’s got. Their playing had clearly been honed at smaller venues; lead singer Michelle Joy rarely strayed more than a few steps from the microphone, and guitarist Ryan Clapham moved nothing but his fingers. Their melodies were catchy, but the band hadn’t yet developed the skillset to sell those tunes to the back. — Wren Graves
The Backseat Lovers Changed the Volume
The Backseat Lovers were playing their first festival ever, and they managed to command a large space by exploring one of the simplest elements in music: volume. After a thunderous entrance, the Utah rockers took a dynamic approach to their decibels, and on songs like “Kilby Girl,” “Dugout,” and “Sinking Ship,” they used quieter moments as mere bricks in towering walls of sound. The banter wasn’t great, with lead singer Joshua Harmon expressing some variation of “Wow!” repeatedly. But with performances like this one, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice. — Wren Graves
Mt. Joy Brought a Touch of Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza
Country and Americana acts aren’t always a natural fit at Lollapalooza, but when they work, the resulting set is sure to be someone’s favorite of the day. That seems likely for the packed crowd that swayed through Mt. Joy’s midafternoon set. In addition to faithful renditions of tracks like their 2020 single “Re-Arrange Us and their 2016 breakout “Astrovan,” the LA-by-way-of-Philadelphia five piece infused their set with a playful, jammy spirit more typically associated with Bonnaroo than Lolla. This included an almost-medley of covers (from the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” to Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” to Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.”) perfect for a little afternoon cloud gazing. — Tyler Clark
Trippie Redd Paid Tribute to Juice WRLD
The Bud Light Seltzer’s biggest non-headliner set of the day belonged to Ohio rapper Trippie Redd, who used his time on the stage to pay tribute to one of Chicago’s fallen stars. “To my brother Juice .We’re in Chicago, so it’s only right,” he said before launching into memorial renditions of Juice WRLD tracks including “Tell Me U Love Me” and “Lucid Dreams.” Those dedications were a high point in a set that otherwise felt otherwise disjointed; between near-constant use of Cipha Sounds-style airhorns and Trippie Redd’s repeated (and only marginally successful) requests to open up a mosh pit, the day’s performance delighted existing fans, but probably didn’t bring in any new ones. — Tyler Clark
Whitney Played Music for Laying in the Grass
Sandwiched between Trippie Redd and Limp Bizkit on the festival’s north end, Chicago indie darlings Whitney were never going to match those other acts’ intensity. Instead, they used their signature sound to take things all the way in the opposite direction. As the sun began to dip below the buildings of Michigan Avenue, the band matched the growing shade with gentle renditions of standbys from 2016’s Light Upon the Lake and 2019’s Forever Turned Around. From the honey-sweet organ on “Before I Know It” to the seaside-ready trumpet on “Giving Up,” the band delivered an AM Gold antidote to the day’s resilient heat just when we needed it most. — Tyler Clark