After two rainy days, The Strumbellas were set on one thing: having the sun make an appearance. The band’s sunny disposition was best heard on several of their tracks, save for their heavier hit “Spirits,” which has catapulted them into the mainstream as evidenced by the unusually large crowd for their noon set on day three of four. The band proved to be far from a one hit wonder, as they filled their set with good-humored and catchy pop rock tunes that had many singing along, they even joked about throwing a Jane’s Addiction cover into the mix. Early in their set they sang, “We all know that the sun will shine,” off the track “Wars,” and by the end, despite the forecast, it did. The acts that followed, namely The Joy Formidable and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats both commented on the beautiful weather, and in turn delivered equally beautiful sets.
Considering the last time The Joy Formidable performed at Lollapalooza they were rained out, it seemed as if they were making up for that lost time by packing as much punch as possible into their performance. Frontwoman Rhiannon Bryan often introduced a song with inspirational insight on topics such as self-acceptance and bravery before bursting into an electric tizzy, and aside from a minor technicality in terms of timing — “live music, everybody,” Rhydian Dafydd said — the heart-pounding set carried on unhinged, making for an easy transition to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ set one stage over. The vigor and jubilation they brought to the stage was undeniably contagious as Rateliff sang with more husk and edge to his voice, delivering a healthy dose of invigorating soul while his band fleshed out the instrumentals, giving each song a new (and longer) life. Before playing “Howling At Nothing” Rateliff cautioned the crowd, “We usually play this at night,” though their sound and energy are welcomed anytime.
The seamless transitions between sets on the northern stages continued into the early evening, with back-to-back performances from Leon Bridges and Chris Stapleton. Bridges showed he can cater to any audience as he offered up a down-tempo rendition of Ginuwine’s 1996 hit “Pony,” while Stapleton’s performance weighed heavy on rock, albeit southern rock, proving he can’t be pigeon-holed. The Grammy award-winning singer may have won for Best Country Album, though it became clear his sound transcends the genre’s typical twang, allowing for it to appeal to a much larger audience as evident by the thick crowd that had gathered.
It was (obviously) no match when compared to the crowd for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ headlining set, which may have debatably been larger than Radiohead’s. RHCP also managed to outdo Radiohead in terms of set length as well, as Lollapalooza’s 10 p.m. curfew was put to the test yet again with a performance that ran 15 minutes over. But while Radiohead’s set was heavy on deeper cuts, the Chili Peppers’ set ran much like a best hits show as they included most fan favorites and only performed four songs off their latest, The Getaway. Additionally, they performed a cover of Jane’s Addiction’s “I Would For You,” an homage to the band responsible for the existence of Lollapalooza (side note: Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro is a former member of RHCP, though his stint in the band was short lived).
Festival founder Perry Farrell, who fronts Jane’s Addiction, performed with his band on the main stage prior to the Chili Peppers. Their lively set, which included a guest appearance from Tom Morello, waxed nostalgic as Farrell’s love for rock and roll’s heyday was well on display, apparent by the half-naked women dancing on stage and his wildly entertaining antics. Jane’s Addiction hasn’t released new music in five years, but considering Lollapalooza stemmed from their initial farewell tour , it only seemed fitting they perform in celebration of what it has blossomed into 25 years later.