photos by Brigid Gallagher, words by Zack Baker

Lollapalooza 2016 kicked off with a rainy Thursday and continued with a rainy Friday, but the third day (Saturday, 7/30) finally added sunshine.

The Joy Formidable were the first band I caught on Saturday, bringing a genuine and enthusiastic attitude to the festival. I'm not all that familiar with the band but I really dug the intense, loud (really loud!) guitar work paired with earnest stage banter and the ability to laugh at themselves a bit. After one song suddenly grinded to a halt the band's drummer yelled out that lead Ritzy Bryan came in too late which was met with a chuckle and a muttering that she "could have fallen back in." The band made for a stellar introduction to a day full of genuinely charming artists.

From there I made my way over to The Front Bottoms' set at the Lakeshore stage. It's a big stage, but the New Jersey band's fanbase has only been growing and an appearance on bass and backing vocals from Kevin Devine couldn't have hurt either. The Front Bottoms' fans are rarely the kind to cross their arms and nod, but I was still shocked at just how much of the crowd was bouncing and shouting along to every word. The Front Bottoms have a massive and tenacious fanbase that they deserve purely for how much fun they are on stage. Frontman Brian Sella later told everyone in the crowd to tell all their friends about the band but I imagine most of them already had.

Big Grams (the Big Boi and Phantogram amalgam) played right as the day was at its hottest, and repeatedly promised to only up the heat from there. As good as the rest of the set was, the highlight was easily their mashup of "Ms. Jackson" and Phantogram's "Mouthful of Diamonds" which the crowd went absolutely nuts for.

I managed to catch the very tail end of Leon Bridges set and I'm glad I did. The throwback crooner covered Ginuwine's "Pony" and I don't know if I'll ever get to hear Bridges' sing the words "break you off" again but I'm certainly glad I saw it and the gyrating crowd it generated.

The Front Bottoms played another set to a packed house at the Toyota Music Den. As much as I thought the crowd at the Lakeshore stage knew every word, the tent was constantly on the verge of drowning out Sella's actual vocals. The band covered songs from their entire back catalogue, and their fans still were shouting along to even their oldest songs ("Father" in particular seemed to be a favorite).

After The Front Bottoms I saw the back half of Jane's Addiction's set. As they usually do, they filled their set with scantily clad women swinging with hooks in their skin. In case you weren't sure how real it was, the rigs lifting them up also were outfitted with GoPros to show overhead closeups of just how real. Yeah. The band was totally competent, but even Dave Navarro was looking bored during their closing performance of "Jane Says" with Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Tom Morello was there too (for "Mountain Song").

Grimes was up next with a stellar set that left a much better taste in my mouth than Jane's Addiction. Claire Boucher was joined by Hana Truly for instrumental help and backing vocals as well as two dancers who were outfitted with ribbons, gloves with lasers on each fingertip. The set revolved around Art Angels hits showcasing Boucher's ability to shift from bubblegum vocals to guttural roars and shrieks, with a great rework of "Genesis" added into the mix as well as a Russian version of "Scream" since Boucher doesn't know the song's usual Mandarin. Even with two twisted ankles and a "fucked up" throat, Boucher managed to absolutely annihilate my already-high expectations.

Saturday also had sets from Baio, Mutemath, Nathaniel Rateliff, Nothing, Potty Mouth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vic Mensa and more. Pictures are in the gallery above.

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