Lollapalooza is officially underway, and the first day brought some heat! With so much happening at Grant Park, it’s only natural that we’d miss a few things, but we caught as much as we possibly could. So what did Day 1 of Lolla 2023 look like for us?
Well, our first day really started Wednesday night at Sleeping Village. Franc Moody played an official Lollapalooza Aftershow (though, if it’s the day before, wouldn’t it be a pre-show?) to a sold-out crowd that just wanted to dance before the weekend got going. If you paid attention to our Outside Lands coverage last year, you’ll know how much we were blown away by these guys a year ago, and they somehow surpassed our lofty expectations. Right from the beginning, the band was on it. The sound was immaculate. There was a disco ball. Truly one of the best pre-shows ever.
And then came the real first day! Walking into Grant Park early in the day is always a beautiful thing. The crowds haven’t fully descended yet, the lake breeze is hitting Buckingham Fountain, and it’s easy to take in the sheer scale of Lollapalooza as a festival. Since 2005, Lolla has called Chicago home, and it’s grown exponentially in those 18 years. Certain recent changes have been disheartening (mainly the decision to take an entire half of each main stage and dedicate it to VIP), but one thing we’ve learned is to always trust the process.
After wandering Grant Park for a while, we finally headed down to the press lounge. Why did we do that so early in the day? Because we had an interview scheduled! We got to sit down with Ned Franc and Jon Moody to discuss their history and the future of Franc Moody. Be on the lookout for that interview to be published next week after the festival!
Finally, it was time to head into the fray again. Lovejoy took the T-Mobile Stage at 3 PM, and they were electric from the start. Several times, frontman Wilbur Soot noted how many people were in the crowd. It turns out this was their first time playing in Chicago (technically, as their first Chicago set was at an official Lollapalooza Aftershow the night before), and they truly seemed overjoyed to be here. “You got great pizza and a great Bean, what more could you ask for?” Seemingly the heir apparent to The Kooks, Lovejoy is poised to continue tearing up stages for years to come. We’re super stoked to see what their debut album ends up like.
Of course, we had to sprint over to the north end of Grant Park to catch Franc Moody at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage. Though the crowd around us was questioning when Noah Kahan came on before they took the stage, once Franc Moody was up there, the crowd was in it. How they managed to put out a performance of the exact same quality as the night before on limited rest, I will never understand, but that’s why they’re professionals. We honestly didn’t take many performance notes here, and we just let the music take us away. For a full hour, Franc Moody was moving the crowd, and in the hot Chicago sun (particularly on the Tito’s stage, which is the only stage where the crowd is on concrete), that is no easy feat.
Now is where we must note how woefully unprepared we were. Admittedly, we expected the heat to be a bit lighter than it was, and we forgot to hydrate. Thankfully, we have access to an air-conditioned tent. However, most festival attendees do not. Stay hydrated out there. Get to shade when necessary. Don’t try to just power through, because that’s how you end up getting taken to the hospital. Take care of yourselves and each other out there.
After a brief respite, we were all over the place, first starting back at T-Mobile for Portugal. The Man’s return to Grant Park. In 2014, they played the mid-day set at T-Mobile and absolutely crushed it. Four years after that, they sub-headlined for Jack White at T-Mobile and put together one of the best performances we have (arguably) ever seen. Last night, they sub-headlined for Billie Eilish at T-Mobile, and it reminded us just how incredible this band really is. While they reused the Beavis and Butthead introduction video from 2018, they opened with “All Your Light (Times Like These),” and that set the tone. The reintroduction of “Noise Pollution” into the set was unexpected and amazing, and by the time they got to “Creep In A T-Shirt” and “Modern Jesus,” the crowd was fully invested. They could do no wrong, and they did no wrong.
We did, however, need to sprint again following Portugal. The Man. Dom Dolla took the Perry’s Stage and burned the house down, but it was what he did at the end of the set that had drawn a massive crowd to that field. See, Dom Dolla released a collaboration with Nelly Furtado two months ago called “Eat Your Man.” And sure enough, he brought the Canadian goddess out to perform that collaboration as well as a few other songs from her insanely stacked discography. Though it was her first appearance on stage in the US since 2017 (according to setlist.fm), it was apparent that Nelly Furtado hasn’t lost a step. Go listen to Loose. We’ll wait.
To end the night, we did a bit of a split. We stayed at Perry’s to catch the beginning of Diplo’s set, and it was full of pyro, dancing, and strobes. Not an easy set to leave early. Though some of his recent releases have not landed for our on-site journalist, this set proved that he’s still got it. When it comes to his live performance and production, Diplo is right where he’s always been.
And then came the headliner of Lolla Day 1: Billie Eilish took the T-Mobile Stage, and nothing was the same. Without question, it was the most packed Lollapalooza has been for a Thursday night headliner since expanding to four days in 2016. She played everything any fan would want, from “Therefore I Am” and “ocean eyes” to the live debut of “What Was I Made For?” and, of course, “bad guy.” The production was amazing, her performance was excellent, and it was the best way the weekend could have started for everyone in that field.
If there’s anyone we missed on Day 1 or anyone you think we should see in the next three days of Lollapalooza, feel free to let us know! Keep your eyes here for more Lollapalooza coverage throughout the weekend!