Meg Myers and kids on molly: The highs and lows of Lollapalooza 2014
The fans of America's largest music festivals all have reasons for their loyalties, but the reason I'll take Lollapalooza over Coachella or Bonnaroo isn't the fact that it's closest to home. It isn't the fact that the stunning Chicago skyline backdrop makes Grant Park a perfect home for the festival. It's the fact that I - and, hopefully, most of the attendees - can take a shower and sleep in a warm bed after each of the fest's three days.
Even with the amenities of urban life, Lollapalooza is an exhausting affair. With about 10 hours of music a day on eight stages (over 130 acts total this year), it's sensory overload in every sense. Here's what stood out from a rain-and-bass-soaked weekend in Chicago.
Meg Myers' primal screams in the afternoon
I've been preaching the gospel of Meg Myers to my friends since I heard her single "Desire" in March (seriously, they want me to shut up about her already), and I was hoping her live show would live up to the intensity of her recordings. Well, during her set, I compared her performance style to Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Tool's Maynard Keenan. If you know me at all, there's not much higher praise I can offer. In a year or two, a lot of people are going to look back and kick themselves for missing her midday set at The Grove. Thankfully, I won't be one of them. (Look for more from me on Meg in the next day or two.)
The feminine side of Lolla
Meg was just one of a slate of female-led acts that stole the show from the bros. Obviously, half the park was trying to see Iggy Azalea at Perry's Stage on Friday (a fairly middling performance, from what little I caught). While there wasn't technically a female headliner (shame of you, Lolla), Lorde's Friday set was probably the biggest draw in the daylight, and CHVRCHES also filled the south lawn. My schedule included Likke Li (amazing), Phantogram, Courtney Barnett and Jenny Lewis. I rushed from Meg Myers to catch the last couple songs of the raucous pop party that was being hosted by Kate Nash. Oh, and the highlight of Eminem's Friday headlining set was easily the three-song slate where Rihanna joined him onstage (including handling the Dido vocals on "Stan"). You could carve out a hell of a festival without ever seeing a dude fronting the stage.