Chicago's highest-profile music festival ended with a bang Sunday, a day which saw far more agreeable weather than the festival's stormy, rainy second day.
Those evacuation-free conditions allowed the main story of Sunday to, thankfully, be the music and the sold-out festival's finale was certainly marked by some incredibly energetic and dramatic performances that did not have as many of the sound issues that impacted many acts later Saturday in particular.
Below are some highlights -- and photos -- from Lollapalooza's final day.
Dry, muddy, smelly conditions. Arrived on the grounds Sunday just in time to hear some of Trampled By Turtles' fantastically frenetic bluegrass, followed immediately by The Walkmen, who captivated their audience all while dressed to the nines in suits.
"As Lady Gaga said the last time we played Lollapalooza, it's hot as fuck out here," vocalist Hamilton Leithauser said as he removed his suit jacket. In addition to a balmy start of the day, the festival grounds -- particularly its southern end -- had a distinct barnyard scent to them due to the previous day's deluge.
Ladies' day. Heading over to the Perry's stage, I took in several songs of Little Dragon's set. Led by Yukimi Nagano, the Swedish band sailed through their dream poppy jams under the hot sun with flair and exuberance. Next, the Dum Dum Girls' set over on the Google Play stage, in front of a sparse crowd, was equally impressive. Near the end of their set-closing "Coming Down," the Los Angeles band hit some chill-inducing notes.
Accompanied by women-led sets from Yuna, Florence and the Machine and Chairlift, I'd have to hand it to the ladies of Lollapalooza's Sunday lineup and their show-stealing ways. Festivals as large as Lolla often have the feel of a boys' club, but these acts -- as well as Metric on Friday and surely countless other performers I wasn't able to see in action -- proved those dog days are (nearly) over.
An arctic breeze. For many, the Sunday set from Icelandic band Sigur Ros was among the most anticipated for the weekend, and the band, led by Jónsi Birgisson, delivered a haunting, somewhat mellow set that left those fans transfixed with their pristine, mini-orchestra-backed sound. As the band sailed through their late afternoon show, one could almost feel the temperature in Grant Park dropping from its previous intensity.
Remember this name. Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna played her captivating first-ever Lollapalooza set before an intimate crowd on the lake-adjacent BMI stage. One can't help but smile as they watch Yuna play her bubbly, indie jams, including "Remember My Name" and "Live Your Life." This set was a real revelation of the weekend.
Of monsters and teenagers. The crowd at the small Google Play stage for Of Monsters And Men's set was easily at least quadruple that of the Dum Dum Girls' a few hours earlier. The noticeably younger, noticeably rambunctious crowd hung on every twist and turn of the Icelandic band's uptempo indie pop songs.
Florence, fairy godmother. Escaping the Of Monsters And Men set after a few songs, I made my way over to see Florence and the Machine. Getting anywhere near the stage was an impossibility, but Florence Welch's signature warble was built for overtaking large outdoor spaces.
Owing perhaps to the singer's recent vocal problems, some of her songs -- largely off "Ceremonials" -- appear to have been reworked to avoid some of the trickier notes, but the audience didn't seem to care. (Among that audience, it should be noted, was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was highly visible from the stageside VIP section.) The throngs of fans assembled were enraptured by every note and every bit of banter the contralto shared with the Chicago crowd -- all while standing in front of a gorgeous, stained glass backdrop that was one of the festival's most stunning on-stage setups.
Chairlift surprise. Early on Sunday, Lollapalooza announced that Brooklyn band Chairlift, whose Saturday set was one of those canceled due to the evacuation, would be playing a rescheduled set late on Sunday. And vocalist Caroline Polachek and company took advantage of the opportunity beautifully, delivering one of the weekend's finest sets in front of one of its most intimate crowds.
The songs -- off "Something" -- sounded dramatic and beautiful and the band was clearly in their element. Bonus points to the band for the seamless "I Melt With You" interlude during "Bruises," their iPod commercial hit.
Nightenders. The night and festival ended for me with French electronic duo Justice and Childish Gambino, a.k.a. "30 Rock" writer and "Community" star Donald Glover, rather than Jack White. After witnessing a terrifying bottleneck situation on the stairs near the festival's largest headliner stage where White was playing on Saturday (read more on this incident from the Sun-Times), I was not itching to return to likely unsupervised chaos.
On the other end of the festival grounds, Justice brought the dance party but their stage presence -- which consisted of the two of them behind their DJ equipment about as far back on the stage and with as little audience interaction as possible -- left much to be desired. Still, they sounded phenomenal. Meanwhile, Glover and company ended the festival on an energetic and engaging note that left me wishing the weekend had served up more high-quality rap among its lineup.
Want to hear more about the festival's final day? Our friends over at Spinner also have a recap posted, including coverage of At the Drive-In, Miike Snow and The Gaslight Anthem.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story read that Glover is a star on "30 Rock." Rather, Glover was a writer for and made an occasional cameo in "30 Rock."
All photos below appear courtesy of Justin Barbin unless otherwise noted.
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