Published on August 21st, 2012 | by Tyler Scheid0
Lollapalooza 2012: Weekend at Perry’s
Lollapalooza will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was in 2010, at my first Lolla, that I wandered across a small EDM stage called “Perry’s.” Although I had previously seen a few shows at Pacha in New York City, I had never seen EDM in this kind of environment and despite my inexperience I knew I was hooked from the start. I danced to Kaskade, Rusko, Wolfgang Gartner, and many others (although I didn’t know their names at the time) alongside an extremely small crowd. In two short years however, this small crowd has outgrown a tent (Lolla 2011) and now calls one of the largest and most-heavily attended stages of the festival home. It has been an incredible experience to witness this growth firsthand, and Perry’s is the true embodiment of the meteoric rise of EDM in the USA.
Although Lollapalooza offers 8 stages, I spent the majority of my weekend at Perry’s (shocker I know). I was really excited about the Friday lineup, and I was not disappointed by the electro house sets of Zedd, Madeon, and Porter Robinson. These guys showed why they are the young guns to keep an eye on and I can’t wait to see what festivals they are headlining in the near future. I also attended the Madeon and Porter Robinson after party at the Mid, and I was really impressed with their live mixing skills as I watched them both from the second floor balcony. Madeon’s performance of “Pop Culture” on his Launchpad was incredible, and no one can argue whether he is “really doing anything up there.” Porter Robinson was equally impressive, mixing the best of both progressive/ electro house and dubstep for a set of bangers that made my calves sore.
However, while I had a great time at the after party and thoroughly enjoyed the late afternoon sets, I was disappointed with the first day Lolla crowd. The star studded lineup attracted a lot of casual fans who didn’t seem to know how to respond to the massive bass that had diverted them from the main stages. It wasn’t until Perry’s turned dubbier, with NERO and headliner Bassnectar, that the crowd morphed into the group of crazy glow sticking wielding ravers I know and love. The crowd was deep with BassHeads and many took advantage of two massive back screens to have a little more space to enjoy the show. Bassnectar never fails to impress me with the power and weight of his sound and he put the proper cap on a great first night of the festival.
Saturday was a much different experience. In the middle of the day, extreme lighting and wind led to a mandatory evacuation of the festival grounds, but luckily I hadn’t left my apartment when I was notified of the evacuation. Thank you extremely late after party and Lolla app! The weather must have allowed for more intense pre-gaming than Friday because the crowd at Skream & Benga was really getting after it. The intense rain turned Grant Park’s softball fields into the now annual “Lolla mud pit,” and I saw more than a few high schoolers stumbled out of the crowd covered in filth from head to toe. Unbeknownst to me, during the weather delay Perry Farrel and the Lolla crew had made a deal with the city to let the festival run 45 minutes later than its normal 10pm curfew. I left Calvin Harris prematurely because my festival companions were nervous about missing Avicii but on the walk there I was really impressed with Perry’s soundsystem. Even after a 10 minute walk in the opposite direction, I could still make out Calvin Harris’s bangers and it just further emphasized Lolla’s commitment to making EDM a critical component of the festival.
Leaving early was not a total loss as I was rewarded with a great spot for Avicii’s set at the northern most stage of the festival grounds, which hosted a rain soaked Deadmau5 just a year earlier. The field’s slight natural bowl around the stage gave even the shorter fans a great glimpse of Avicii’s now famous “face” DJ booth. Although my Avicii obsession had been steadily dwindling since he underwhelmed me at Ultra, I was really pleased with his set and visuals. The coordinated blinking lights on the face during “Superlove” are burned in my mind, I regret ever doubting it was good DJ booth idea. While I was expecting a little more from the setlist after hearing what he played at Tomorrowland just a week earlier, he played what the crowd wanted to hear and it was an amazing party. The fact is, despite the desires of EDM snobs like me, people want to hear “Levels” open and close the shows, and the loudest screams of the night were probably for the “Somebody I Used to Know/ Levels” mashup.
Waking up on the third day was the most painful (per usual), but may have been the best overall day. I saw Doctor P’s heavy dubstep drive away the “pass by spectators,” leaving behind only the truly committed ravers for Big Gigantic’s incredible performance. I was incredibly impressed by Big G at Ultra but they really took it to the next level at Lolla. If you have never seen a Big G show or a show that incorporates live drumming alongside a DJ, add a new bullet point on your “to do” list. It is impossible to recreate the crash of a live cymbal on a prerecorded track and the tenor sax solos really give Big G the jammier sound that I believe is sure to gain more popularity in the future. The weekend came to an end with Kaskade’s “Freaks of Nature” show and it is hard to argue it wasn’t the best set of the weekend. His combination of euphoric and hard hitting house drove the massive crowd into a frenzy and sadly he was cut off right at 10.
As I walked out of the festival for the last time, alongside the crowd of nearly 90,000, it really hit me how massive and well run this festival is. Perry Farrel’s dedication to bringing in bigger EDM artists year after year makes me happy to live in Chicago and know I will always have a home 3 days every summer at Lollapalooza.
Article by: Tyler Scheid
About the Author
Tyler Scheid A Pittsburgh native and a committed EDM fan since 2009, Tyler currently resides in Chicago where he is in his second year at the DePaul College of Law. Although a regular club attendee, Tyler prefers festivals and holds a special place in his heart for Ultra, Lollapalooza, and Chicago's North Coast Festival. In his spare time, Tyler obsesses over fantasy football and wishes he could grow a beard.