Posted August 4, 2018 by Jeff in Tunes

2018 Lollapalooza Day 2 – Loaded with Style

Lollapalooza 2018 Day 2
Lollapalooza 2018 Day 2

The major attraction of Day Two of this year’s incarnation of Lollapalooza at Chicago’s Grant Park was clearly Bruno Mars. Much like Prince and/or Michael Jackson, Mars mixes rock, funk, soul and R&B. He’s a decent dancer, a solid guitarist and a terrific singer. And he knows how to put on a show.

Mars doesn’t quite have the stage presence or gravitas of the aforementioned Prince and/or Jackson, yet he effortlessly shifted from shimmering pop tunes like “24K Magic” to funk workouts such as “Chunky” and R&B ballads like “When I Was Your Man.” The set wasn’t without its missteps. An extended keyboard solo sucked the life out of the place, and Mars should’ve known better than to insert a snippet of a Prince guitar riff into the sappy “Marry You.”

Fireworks shot off from behind the stage as Mars, who wore a vintage Bulls jersey, a red hat and matching red shorts, led the audience through a variety of cheers (at one point, he separated the left and right side of the crowd and pitted fans against one another).

Other highlights from the day included Welshly Arms, the Cleveland rock band that plays garage blues. The band really benefited from having Bri Bryant and Jon Bryanton backing vocals. The husband-and-wife duo not only provided some great vocal harmonies, but they also danced in unison and provided a dynamic visual element as they smiled and laughed throughout the performance. The group opened its set with the Black Keys-like “All the Way Up” and vigorously jammed on tunes such as “Love In a Minor Key” and “Indestructible,” the latter of which included a snippet of the Bob Marley classic “Get Up, Stand Up.”

The hard rock act Greta Van Fleet lived up to expectations with its anticipated performance on a side stage. Led by powerhouse singer Josh Kiszka, who evoked classic rock stars of yesteryear in his black leather pants and matching vest.  The band came out strong with “Highway Tune,” a track that featured a song closing jam. These guys rocked hard, and even the ballad “Flower Power” had a heaviness to it thanks to some ominous sounding organ. Playing right before Bruno Mars’ set, Børns had no trouble attracting a big crowd, and his falsetto vocals gave his music a post-disco feel. Shirtless by the set’s end, he possessed an androgynous quality that made him particularly appealing.

The alt-rock outfit Walk the Moon also fared well in the festival setting. The band’s hour-long set included its rousing hit “Shut Up and Dance.”

While rapper Tyler, the Creator drew a large crowd, his set suffered from sameness thanks to the fact that he rapped over a backing track of beats and backing vocals. Wearing a bright orange and yellow shirt and bright orange shorts, Tyler, the Creator regularly pranced across the two-tiered stage as he encouraged fans to put their hands in the air. Tyler, the Creator performed with real intensity, but the songs didn’t resonate on an emotional level. And speaking of not resonating, singer Clairo came off like she was performing at a high school talent show. Out of sync with her band, tepid backing vocals only contributed to the problem.

Want to see some photos from Day 2 (minus Bruno Mars who wasn’t allowing Lollapalooza photographers)? Click here.

For scenes from Day 2, click here.


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected]