Mother Nature didn’t quite headline Sunday at Lollapalooza 2015 the way she did back in 2012 for what became known as Stormapalooza, but the weather’s wily ways did cast an immense spell on the proceedings that involved one brief evacuation and a number of set time adjustments, but also a lightning-streaked after-dark backdrop for the music. But the real electricity came from the stages: headliners Florence + the Machine made magic despite an abbreviated set, Halsey thrilled with a guest spot from a member of Twentyonepilots, and Albert Hammond Jr. shredded. Here are the seven best sets we saw at Lollapalooza on Sunday...
Despite the fact that the day’s earlier weather-related evacuation of Lollapalooza resulted in many artists’ set times being shifted, every Halsey fan at the fest was present at the BMI stage and chanting her name Sunday evening ready for whatever she had in store. “Ain’t no f*cking rain gonna stop this set,” she said when she took the mic to a loud chorus of cheers from her crowd, audibly filled with young women. “Hold Me Down” got a big response, but the biggest thrill of all? The moment when she brought out Twentyonepilot’s Josh Dun as a guest performer on her song “Roman Holiday.”
The sky was an ominous pink-grey by the time FKA Twigs appeared like a vision in a flowing red outfit to unleash her otherworldly soprano, trip-hop inflected futuristic R&B sounds, and gorgeous moves under the trees at the Pepsi stage. Eyes and ears remained trained on the 27-year-old Brit with the singular style.
On a day plagued by the impending threat of "severe weather" that fortunately never actually hit the festival grounds, TV On The Radio made the most of the crappy hand the conditions dealt them.
Though their PA stacks and video screens were lowered down and their set was cut short by 15 minutes to ensure that headliner Florence + the Machine would be able to perform a fuller set, the band delivered. This was a career-spanning for all the diehards packed in up close. Opening up with 2003's "Young Liars," Tunde Adebimpe roamed the stage with Dave Sitek and Kyp Malone shredding away on guitars behind him. From then on, the band played hopscotch between songs from their many LPs, buoyed by the strength of singles like "Happy Idiot" from latest album Seeds and "Golden Age" from 2008's Dear Science.
As TVOTR wrapped up with a high energy trifecta of "Wolf Like Me," "Repetition," and "Staring at the Sun,” the fans clamored for more.
"Julian!" someone yelled out from the crowd near the end of Albert Hammond Jr.'s set late afternoon on Sunday. Sorry dude, wrong Stroke.
When you're in a famous rock band, it can be a tough thing to shake. Albert Hammond Jr. is a guitar virtuoso, but he's also an incredible songwriter. His songs are impeccable and catchy. At Lollapalooza, he showcased his own talents. Buoyed by two other guitar players, Hammond let his vocals shine while allowing room for his players to double up on Ratatat-esque leads. But make no mistake, Hammond’s still let his guitar do a lot of the talking as he put on an absolute shredding clinic with every mind-numbing solo he took.
Bully's breakthrough Feels Like is excellent from top-to-bottom masterpiece and it feels as honest as it actually is. This much was self-evident in Bully's torrid late-afternoon set from the BMI stage on Sunday.
With the lake behind them in the gathering darkness, the band appeared as silhouettes and tore through songs from their 11-song debut without the aid of any lighting whatsoever. Perhaps no other band on the Lollapalooza lineup could pull this off as well as the Nashville rockers, as their music requires no pomp and circumstance. Bully is raw, direct, and catchy. No need to gussy it up.
Alicia Bognanno manages to be intense and melodic while singing, but humble and sweet when addressing the crowd and her bandmates. Her screaming passages carry this unbridled and totally satisfactory ferocity, but it's her lyrics that speak volumes.
At the north end of Grant Park on Sunday evening, A$AP Rocky gave Chicago hip-hop fans a guest to cheer about. After dropping a shoutout to Chicago native Chance the Rapper, A$AP Rocky pulled switcheroo and brought out another Chicagoan, Vic Mensa, for "U Mad?" instead, and the crowd was eating it up.
“Storms seem to follow me around and they seem to have found me again,” said headliner Florence Welch with a special gleam in her eye ahead of “St. Jude” as lightning forked across the sky in the distance. Mother Nature seemed ready to put on a show, but it was Florence and the Machine who were truly electric. Barefoot and dressed in grey, Florence conjured up a truly magical set that sent her running up and down the pit inside the barricade through gems like “Ship To Wreck” and “Shake It Out,” singing with fans, and sending that magical voice straight into the souls of everyone listening. Just 50 minutes in as the storm bore down, Florence was at the mic announcing, "The storm has won, we've been asked to leave the stage but we've got one more." And with that, closer “Dog Days Are Over” bloomed into the night, and Florence took off her shirt and ran into the crowd in her bra as many thousands of people sang along.