Celebrating 20 years with possibly it’s biggest edition ever, Lollapalooza rocked Grant Park for three days last weekend with the biggest names in rock, hip hop and electronic music.
This was the second year of an enlarged festival that saw it stretch from the lake all the way west to Michigan Avenue. Also, there was an addition of an enormous DJ/electronic music tent dubbed Perry’s stage on the South side of the park. But the bigger space only meant more stand out performances that would thrill the sold out crowd.
Friday hit the ground running with a twisted set from Guadalajara, Mexico, punk rockers Le Butcherettes. Not only was their front woman Teri Gender Bender rolling around the stage, but her crazed energy wowed the crowd packed-in at the Google+ stage. Later as the sun hid behind the trees, Chicago power pop group OK Go, who had just performed at a private Birthday event for President Obama the night before, shined with their addictively catchy hooks and crunchy guitars.
On Saturday, Chicago’s own Disappears provided the perfect soundtrack of spacey, noisy garage rock for the cloudy haze that overtook Grant Park in the early afternoon. My Morning Jacket concluded day two with a commanding performance. Lead singer Jim James belted out his warm, country croon on top of big southern rock riffs.
Finally, Sunday opened with a bang from English alt-rockers The Joy Formidable. Their sonic-boom guitars and driving rhythms drew a large audience for an early 1 p.m. set. And as expected, Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters brought their arena rock energy to close out Lollpalooza. The set saw everything from ten-minute guitar solos in the crowd to a stunning version of “My Hero” in the pouring rain.
With another great festival in the books, it’s a wonder how Lollapalooza could get any bigger. But with its twenty-first birthday on the horizon, no doubt the bar will be pushed even higher for 2012. So mark your calendars now. August 2012 will be here before you know it.