Before anything else is said about the madness that took place this past weekend, I will say this, IT WAS AWESOME! First day of Lolla brought us SWELTERING heat (just under triple digits) a new and improved Perry's (used to be tent now a massive stage) and amazing tunes. Thousands of people lined up at the main entrance waiting for the clock to strike 11AM to be let into the grounds. This year Lollapalooza allowed people to carry in empty camelbacks, and two 1-liter empty or sealed bottles of water– lord knows we needed it. Upon entry you stare directly east out onto beautiful Lake Michigan, as you look north and south it seems the exterior of the grounds are an infinite distance away. You have to remember that the grounds are part of downtown Chicago… so Congress Ave is where the main entrance is and serves as a great meetup spot if you lose your friends (which as I found out is very easy to do). Buckingham Fountain serves as the epicenter of the grounds which also is a nice place to meet someone if you have lost them. Trekking from one side of the grounds all the way to the opposite end took a good 15 minutes of walking. Bathrooms, beer and bites tents were located all along Columbus Dr (see map)
I dont know about you guys but this map was helpful while also being confusing as hell.
There were camel back fill stations at almost every stage. being from Chicago, I appreciated that Lou Malnati's slices were $3.00 which was a screaming bargain compared to normal concert prices. Waters ran you $4.00, beers ran you $8.00 for a tall boy and $6.00 for a 12 oz. Saturday people needed to be evacuated because of severe storms. Funnily enough, the week leading up to Lolla there was an article in The Chicago Tribune commenting on what Lolla would do if storms did hit. Lolla were well prepared though, and had News out ASAP on the phone apps that many commented were a great success. For us media people, we were notified via email and it saved us a trip to the grounds. The delay lasted about 2 hours and festival goers were allowed back in promptly at 6PM. Despite the massive puddles of mud, fest-heads still raged on, and so did we.
Zedd @ Perry's 3:15-4:15PM
Zedd Kicked off the party at Perry's tent. German born Zedd plugged a charge into the EDM crowd early in the day and got us all up and jumping around. He played his big tracks- Shave it, shotgun, slam the door and a few excellent mashes. Our team was about 30 rows back from the stage and we were having a blast, the heat couldn't stop the energy that surged through the larger-than-i-expected crowd. Obviously, Zedd closed down his set with a jam sesh of his latest hit Spectrum, which is so far one of the most remixed songs of the summer, partially cuz it's awesome and partially because of the beatport competition. The coolest part was that Zedd, normally known for his electro-house tunes threw down a nice array of heavy dubstep. All in all a really nice warm up to what the rest of the day was going to bring us.
Madeon @ Perry's 4:30-5:30PM
This was one of the sets I was most looking forward to this weekend. And Madeon did NOT disappoint. The french electro-house/Nudisco producer had the crowd in his control from the second he stepped onto the stage. He opened with a sweet spin on Martin Solveig's the night out. Madeon did not hold back at all, throwing all of his big tracks at us. One of my favorite remixes Madeon does is the remix of raise your weapon which was just absolutely spectacular. He needs to release this track on itunes – even if it was 17.00, I'd buy it. Pop culture (which played a key role in his rise to fame) echoed across the park and people lost their shit. Madeon closed out his set with his latest hit “Finale” which was phenomenal. The show ended too soon and I could have listened to him play for another hour easily. But I was super excited for the late night show that he had with Porter Robinson at The Mid later that night.
Porter Robinson @ Perry's 5:45- 6:45PM
Porter was another set that I was super anxious to see. This kid's talent is incredible, it's no wonder why Skrillex signed him to the OWSLA Record Label. Porter really knows exactly how to move a crowd. I got a really awesome video of him teasing Show Me Love by Michael Mind (a club anthem) then he gets the crowd jumping around after he drops his beat, he then teases Ghosts n Stuff/some chords by Mau5 and then drops the beat again and everyone went ape shit. (link here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQruNW0KDoM&feature=plcp) His set was a very fluid combination of both electro-house and heavy dub-step. This set right after Madeon had me more stoked than ever to see their joint show that was planned for later that night.
Nero @ Perry's 7:00-8:15PM
This might be up there with the set of the weekend and I dont think that I am alone in saying that. Nero straight crushed the crowd! The futuristic english dubstep duo (along with their singer Alana Watson who's been with Nero since 2008) had the crowd in a furious frenzy. I think this is the most bass I've ever felt in my entire life, not to mention THE most energy I have seen emanate from a set EVER. No words that any one write about this set will do it justice, it's one of those epic sets that if you weren't there you really can't get an idea how amazing it was. By this point I was thirsty, hungry, and really had to pee, however I will still jumping and raging like an insane person.
Bassnectar @ Perry's 8:45-10:00PM
Before Lorin came on and after Nero was done Team womp had a little time to kill, we emptied our bladders, re-upped on beers and got our game faces on for the one and only Bassnectar. This set got off to a little bit slower start, per usual Lorin upped the ante and really hit us hard. At one point in the set he began to speak about the unfortunate shootings in his home state of Colorado. He spoke of those who have passed on and he wanted to play this track to cherish their lives and remember them. He played a rock song asked the crowd to join if they knew the words (i didn't know them #oops) and towards the end of the song he hit us with BASS IN YOUR FACE ! (the matrix) Of course Lorin was up on stage throwing his hair back and forth and jumping around like he always does. Here is a video I took from that moment, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw_qAuZ4lko&feature=plcp. As Lights always does to crowds, it brought out everyones lighters to sway to one of his more well known tracks, which was a beautiful moment for everyone. Kinda emotional. Great way to end day one of Lollapalooza.
Unfortunately saturday brought lolla grey skies, and gruesome storms. Some early acts got their sets in and finished, some others weren't so lucky. Among them Paper Diamond who started his set but was told to he had to pull the plug and the grounds needed to be evacuated. Lolla did a great Job of getting the word out, they also let everyone know that sets were being pushed back about two hours. When the storms had cleared, the temperature had dropped significantly but was still very comfortable to be on the grounds. Team Womp headed over to the first set of the day which was Skream & Benga.
Skream & Benga @ Perry's 6:30-7:30PM
First set of the day, must say it was a perfect warm up! Skream & Benga English dub-step producers threw down super hard. I wasn't familiar with their stuff going into the set so I didn't know what to expect from them. ROWDY, sums it up, it was a quazi-comical set though; the two would announce who they were after every song and also would comment on how rowdy we were as a crowd. They kept on saying that we were all going “mental” due to their thick accents though it sounded as though they were saying “you guys are mento!” We all got a little kick out when they would speak to the crowd. Audience seemed confused, but hell, it was fun and I'd love to see another show of theirs.
Avicii @ Bud Light Stage 9:15-10:45PM
I wish I could put into perspective two things for you guys, A. How big the stage was and B. How many people were at this set. It seemed like a never ending sea of people gathered to watch one of the biggest DJ's in the world throw down. His set was more that I could ever expect, Avicii and his production team put on a very impressive event. The face DJ booth lit up with intricate color patterns, his back drop at time seemed as though it was a live feed from him spinning in space. The only negative I can possibly think of, is that he played le7els twice. Other than that, he had the crowd moving from the second he touched his equipment all the way though to the second he stepped off the booth. Overall I dont think I am alone in saying this, but his set blew me away!
Doctor P @ Perry's 4:30-5:30PM
Drained and deprived of decent sleep, I was desperately needing a pick-me-up to make it through the day on sunday. I felt like I needed a piggy back ride for the short two block walk from the train station to Perry's, and then I heard the pounding bass… Doctor P English dubstep producer or as I like to call him Flux Jr was on the decks crushing the crowd. This was exactly what I was searching for, walking up to Perry's hearing the pounding bass, the tense build ups, and the in your face drops brought me back to life. Team Womp was in womp heaven. My favorite part of the set was a ten minute period, where he went with back to back to back flux hits. He started with Louder which is a collabo of Doctor P and Flux,then threw down I Can't Stop. The crowd went into a frenzy singing along, then he went into cracks which is one of my favorite Flux songs. I got a good video of that combo of songs right here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t73mD3-bSNo&feature=plcp This was definitely up there for top 3 sets of the weekend.
Big Gigantic @ Perry's 5:45-6:45PM
Set of the weekend right here. Dominic and Jeremy stole the cake with this set, high energy all the way through. The saxophone is so good it sends chills through the body. Their visuals were excellent, at one moment while playing their remix of Kanye's get em high, Big G had a fly by of the City of Chicago on the massive screens. Big G covered a few of the big tracks in the EDM scene at the moment, their rendition of Kanye's Mercy was on point! They also threw down a sick remix of Madeon's Finale with some sexy sax that was very impressive. Along with all the bangers Big G threw down, came the news of their return to Chicago for New Years for a second year in a row this time at the Aragon Ball Room. This News made the crowd erupt in cheers and chants. Can't wait to party with them on New Years !
Kaskade @ Perry's 8:30-10:00PM
This was kind of a nostalgic set for me, being that it was the last set of the weekend. And what a set it was! The Northbrook Illinois native had a very impressive size crowd considering he was up against Jack White and prominent EDM group Justice. This was a very special set for him given that he was playing before his home crowd. At one point, he was telling the crowd how he used to come down to Grant Park and skateboard on the same sidewalks he was now playing his set on (#Touching =). The Unfortunate part of this set was at his finale, he had us all in a deep trance and we were all loving it, with the flick of a switch it seemed like, they pulled the cord and the music/lights were cut off promptly at 10PM. Apparently he was not the only one that suffered the same fate, it was super lame on Lolla's part to do that the artists…
Lollapalooza 2012 was a great success. I loved that they expanded Perry's from a tent to a massive sound stage. I love Chicago- the venue is perfect, right in the heart of the city. The sky line behind these stages was a breathtaking sight to see at nighttime, with the lights and the darkness. The massive grounds allows for well over 100k visitors per day, it is very easy to lose people though so be warned. We'd like to thank Brittany at Fresh Clean media for allowing us to cover lolla 2012, it was an incredible event. Also, I'd like to shout out to team womp for a second awesome festival, and I cant wait to be come back to Grant Park next year for Lolla 2013 !