Lollapalooza got off to a soggy start Thursday in Grant Park… But the city’s club scene has been in full swing since Tuesday night with aftershows by City and Colour, Marrow, Wild Child, Matt and Kim, Dinosaur Jr., NE-HI, Arbor Labor Union and more…
For the first time in its eleven years as a Chicago destination festival in Grant Park, Lollapalooza added a fourth day, starting this year on Thursday afternoon.
Bucking national trends, Lollapalooza sold more tickets than it ever has making for it’s most successful year in Grant Park.
The early festival start means more aftershows and, for the first time, those started as early in the week as Tuesday, making it possible to check out some sort of Lollapalooza associated concert for six consecutive days in Chicago’s clubs.
Kicking things off as the first officially sanctioned aftershow of the week was “Nelarusky,” an annual benefit for Special Olympics held at Metro featuring national and local talent in its tenth year.
This year’s lineup featured local act Marrow alongside Austin, Texas natives Wild Child (who performed Thursday at Lollapalooza) and a solo acoustic set by City and Colour’s Dallas Green (who also performed on Thursday at the festival).
An offshoot of Kids These Days, Marrow features a pair of band members with a Lollapalooza pedigree in Macie Stewart and Liam Cunningham who performed with the now defunct jazz/hip hop/rock ensemble at the festival in 2011 (former Kids These Days rapper Vic Mensa performs Saturday at 9PM on the Pepsi stage).
An issue that often plagues both benefits and Lollapalooza aftershows is, to put it kindly, inattentive crowds. So the deck was stacked decidedly against Dallas Green during a headlining solo acoustic set Tuesday night.
But Green fought through it until the crowd upstairs finally settled down midway through a set that began with “Fragile Bird” and focused along the way on tracks like “Lover Come Back” from the most recent City and Colour effort, 2015’s If I Should Go Before You.
City and Colour, which functions, essentially, as a Dallas Green solo vehicle, features introspective lyrics and Tuesday’s stripped down set put the emphasis squarely on that and emotive vocals.
Channeling Bob Dylan, Green sang of celebrating life, adding harmonica to a chilling take on “Body in a Box” near the end of Tuesday’s set before going back to 2008’s Bring Me Your Love for “As Much as I Ever Could” to close the set.
While “Nelarusky” functioned as an official Lollapalooza aftershow, many performances taking place this week don’t. A highlight of the week for many concertgoers are the corporately sponsored parties that are frequently free to attend featuring a variety of great live music.
“Pandora Invasion” took place Wednesday night in the city’s West Loop at Morgan Manufacturing featuring what could prove to be the week’s most energetic set before Lollapalooza itself even got underway: Matt and Kim.
“I can confirm that it’s Wednesday and I can confirm that it’s hot in here… And it’s gonna get hotter” asserted Matt Johnson accurately of the mid-week set.
Taking place in an uncharacteristic, experimental warehouse space near Morgan and Kinzie, “Pandora Invasion” was a successful event that gave fans a rare opportunity to check out the dance pop duo in a uniquely intimate environment free of charge.
Pulling back the curtain a bit on their influences, Matt and Kim worked a snippet of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” into “Tonight” early on while a hint of Beastie Boys embellished a show stealing take of “Cameras” that began with the New York duo’s take on “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.”
They kept the party moving as their takes on Van Halen’s “Jump” and DMX’s “Party Up (Up in Here)” kept the pace.
From their most recent studio effort, 2015’s New Glow, “Get It” came midway through the set giving way to “Daylight” later on.
As confetti fell and balloons bounced so did the crowd as the keyboard driven pop of “It’s Alright” closed the hour long set.
What finally began Thursday afternoon, as Lollapalooza got underway in Grant Park following a delayed start due to the weather, continued into the wee hours of Friday morning with the annual “Culture Collide” series taking place once again at Hard Rock Hotel.
Each year, one of the coolest Lolla aftershows, “Culture Collide” exposes fans to an array of different sounds including artists ranging anywhere from Slick Rick to Lykke Li over the last few years.
This year, 90s alt rock stalwarts Dinosaur Jr closed things up following opening sets from Georgia rockers Arbor Labor Union and Chicago’s own NE-HI.
A lo fi, four piece rock ensemble that proved the perfect plate setter for J. Mascis and company, Sub Pop recording artists Arbor Labor Union eschewed “Rock Radio 101” and focused the entirety of their thirty minute set upon only three songs, crafting a very satisfying, churning, lo fi, guitar driven take on southern rock in the process.
“Thank you. Didn’t clear out too much” observed the band tongue in cheek.
Chicago’s NE-HI provided a decidedly more pop oriented affair.
Over the course of forty minutes Thursday night, the quartet created an infectiously catchy, swirling psychedelic set of surf rock influenced alternative music before Dinosaur Jr. got things rolling with “The Lung” from 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me in what could very well be the week’s loudest single aftershow set.
– Jim Ryan (@RadioJimRyan)
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Filed under: Concert Reviews
Tags: Arbor Labor Union, City and Colour, Culture Collide, Dallas Green, Dinosaur Jr., DJ Lani Love, Hard Rock Hotel, J. Mascis, Kids These Days, Kim Schifino, Lollapalooza, Lou Barlow, Marrow, Matt and Kim, Matt Johnson, Metro, Morgan Manufacturing, Morgan MFG, Murph, NE-HI, Nelarusky, Pandora Invasion, Sub Pop, Wild Child