It’s a wrap. On Sunday, the fourth and final day of Lollapalooza 2022 commenced in Chicago’s Grant Park, and it was a day that made history, literally. Headliners included J-Hope, Green Day, and Denzel Curry, and surprise guests who made appearances throughout the day included Billy Corgan, Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Becky G.
J-Hope Makes History
Fans of BTS member J-Hope staked out spots for his 8:50 p.m. headlining set pretty much as the gates opened to the festival at 11 a.m. Army doesn’t play; they weren’t going to miss history being made as J-Hope became the first South Korean act to headline a major U.S. festival mainstage. In an interview backstage prior to his set, he told Rolling Stone he was excited to perform his new singles “More” and “Arson,” difficult numbers because they are “styles that I haven’t performed before.” Still, whether he was charismatically delivering the explosive “More” or the foreboding “Arson” from his brand new debut concept album, Jack in the Box, or tapping into his arsenal — spanning mixtape material like “P.O.P (Piece of Peace), Pt. 1” and familiar jams like BTS’ vibrant “Dynamite” — he was in his element as he showcased his range and versatility. He capped-off his rousing set with “Chicken Noodle Soup” featuring surprise guest Becky G and “Future.”
Djo Beams in a Spacy Set
Metallica brought Stranger Things clips to its set on Day One — and Djo brought an actual Stranger Things star to the fest a few days later. Joe Keery, a.k.a. Steve, is one of the best things about the hit Netflix show, so it doesn’t matter that his band Djo came off as a pretty low-stakes affair. The group’s very gentle psychedelia coasted on stylishly stoned vibes that were a little self-indulgent — but songs like “Tentpole Shangrila” drifted just right in the hot summer air, with the mild funk of “Keep Your Head Up” a nice alternative to Djo’s mostly midtempo chill.
Horsegirl Make Chicago’s Local Music Scene Proud
Horsegirl were a relative rarity on the Lollapalooza lineup, having built support through hard work and actual DIY shows. Guitarists Penelope Lowenstein and Nora Cheng sang lilting vocal harmonies with a suave aura while drummer Gigi Reece added flair to songs from their recent debut, Versions of Modern Performance. Fan favorites “Sea Life Sandwich Boy” and “Electrolocation 2” earned cheers as a cloud of fog enveloped the Chicago indie rock trio. Horsegirl ended their set by inviting musicians from their community onstage to whack tambourines and floor toms during “Billy.” Together, they built a momentous crescendo brimming with emotion and made Chicago proud.
Charli XCX Is a Full-Blown Pop Star
With a white, Roman-style platform onstage and two skilled dancers by her side, Charli XCX worked through Crash cuts like “Beg for You” and “Baby” while effortlessly performing nonstop dance choreography. Older singles “Boys,” “Vroom Vroom,” and her Icona Pop collaboration “I Love It” got huge reactions, but the most impressive part of the set was Charli’s remarkable breath control. Despite all the dance moves and speedy verses, she never missed a note.
The Marias Hypnotize With Hazy Indie Pop
Following their feature on Bad Bunny’s new album, the Marias were ready to level up. The Los Angeles band puts a smoky, jazzy, lush spin on indie pop, and that sound translated surprisingly well alongside festival-volume bass. Singer María Zardoya and drummer Josh Conway were joined by additional bandmates, giving them space to focus on their hazy delivery as they alternated between English and Spanish lyrics instead of stressing how to replicate their intimate production live. The result? Picks from their 2021 debut album, Cinema, like “Spin Me Around” and “Hush,” were as entrancing as their Britney Spears cover.
Green Day Go Big Before Everyone Goes Home
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that rock veterans like Green Day know how to put on a show, yet after a weekend of hits and misses, it still felt like a refreshing treat. On the heels of their already lionized Metro aftershow, the East Bay pop-punk icons tore through American Idiot songs and Nineties classics like a well-oiled machine while pyrotechnics and fireworks rocketed from the stage. Midway through covering Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge,” Armstrong invited an audience member named Abby to play guitar and led the crowd in chanting her name. It was a personalized highlight in a headlining set that was otherwise larger than life.
Beach Bunny Charms at Homecoming
Beach Bunny frontwoman Lili Trifilio said it was probably the biggest show they had played to date, as the Chicago band performed during Lollapalooza for their second time. It was also a family affair, with the band shouting out their kinfolk in attendance and even Trifilio’s brother Steve taking a turn onstage for a couple tunes on guitar. Mining those moments between crushing-out and crushing heartbreak and wrapping them in buoyant melodies on songs like “Promises,” “Rearview,” and “Six Weeks,” Beach Bunny charmed the crowd, with adoring fans shouting along to Trifilio’s open-hearted lyrics. The fest setting likely earned them well deserved new devotees as those wandering by stopped to listen.
Erica Banks Gets Low
Never underestimate the power of a viral TikTok hit. The gleefully filthy sex rap “Buss It” (and its attendant challenge) helped put Erica Banks on the map, and at Lolla the Texas rapper leaned into the novelty. Her short set felt like little more than a layup to an epic twerk-off. It was, admittedly, a pretty funny, self-proclaimed “nasty” contrast to some of the more chaste acts at the fest.
Peter CottonTale Brings Out Pals Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa
“I’ve never really seen a gospel act at Lolla,” said Peter CottonTale, looking out at the crowd. He’s probably not wrong. Well, consider that oversight corrected thanks to his spiritual (if a tad meandering) set, which made great use of horns and an honest-to-goodness choir. Oh, and also good friends Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper, who swooped in for brief cameos paying tribute to the Chicago-based collaborator, with Chance dropping a few quick verses of “Family For.”
Lølø Keeps the TikTok Trend Going
By Sunday, the BMI stage had established itself as the place for TikTok teens and children of celebrities to play dress-up, showcasing a lot of up-and-comers. Lølø falls under the former category. The Canadian singer-songwriter went viral with reimagined versions of popular songs. At the festival, however, Lølø focused on original material, singing “Debbie Downer,” “Death Wish,” and “The Floor Is Lava!!” with catchy but forgettable hooks. “For the next 35 minutes, I’m going to do a lot of oversharing. Is that cool?” she asked. The audience, of course, said it was.
Perry’s Porno for Pyros Returns
Lolla’s nominally Perry Farrell’s party, so prime placement for one of his projects was never in question. Granted, Porno for Pyros is no Jane’s Addiction (who are touring with Smashing Pumpkins later this year), but the band’s surprise reunion justified the platform, even if the crowd turnout was surprisingly light. Those that made it lucked into a guest appearance by Billy Corgan on guitar, helping the band stomp through a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.”
PinkPantheress Goes From the Bedroom to the Festival Stage
Before PinkPantheress took the stage, an opening DJ hyped up the crowd with selections from Azealia Banks, Rosalía, and the organ theme from Dracula. It was a confusing intro for the U.K. artist’s blend of bedroom pop, jungle, and hyperpop — a combo that’s mellow and focused, not energetic and aggressive. Turned out it was a fair preview of PinkPantheress’ set, which aimed more for festival-sized crowd movement than the low-key, introspective groove that makes “Break It Off,” “Pain,” and “All My Friends Know” so hypnotic. When at Lolla…
The Kid Laroi Grows Into the Spotlight
Young Aussie singer/rapper Charlton Howard, better known as the Kid Laroi, has gained a lot of fans based on the company he keeps, from the late Juice Wrld to Justin Bieber. Past guest spots and collaborations can only carry you so far when you’re by yourself — but the Kid Laroi acquitted himself just fine holding court solo. Songs like “Savage” and “F*ck You, Goodbye” capably picked up the wounded emo-rap mantle from his mentor Juice, and of course “Stay” elicited a huge response even without his buddy Biebs for backup.
Denzel Curry Burns Bright
You can get lost in the weeds trying to pin down a clear definition of mumble rap, but in the end it’s all about delivery and flow, which is to say, personality. With that in mind, is it any surprise Florida rapper Denzel Curry has risen to the top of his particular pyramid? “Give me your energy!” he repeatedly screamed midway through his performance, but Curry was already burning brighter than a bulb, delivering tracks like “Black Balloons,” “Walkin’” and “Clout Cobain” with such focus and intensity that the set’s mandated end time took him by surprise. “And … I’m done,” he said, somewhat defeated, because Curry knew as well as anyone that he was just getting started.