Lollapalooza 2022 Day Three: J. Cole thanks Day Ones, Willow ends early, TXT Test Waters

Lollapalooza 2022 Day Three: J. Cole thanks Day Ones, Willow ends early, TXT Test Waters

The penultimate day of Lollapalooza 2022 ended with headliners Willow and J. Cole. Day three also featured Chicago-raised Lil Durk and South Korean K-pop group Together x Tomorrow, two acts who recently joined the lineup and rounded out Saturday’s celebrations at Chicago’s Grant Park.

Alexander 23 brings his music home
“I’m from Chicago,” said Alexander Glantz, who goes by the nickname “Alexander 23” and has become a popular industry contributor. “So that’s very special to me.” Funny, Glantz’s harmlessly generic pop-rock didn’t feel all that special. Glantz was at his best with power ballads like “Cry Over Boys” and “Somebody’s Nobody,” but the most memorable moments of his set were the safe covers of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” and Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone.

Meet Me @ the Altar ushering in the next generation of pop punk
Amidst a cast that included Willow and Machine Gun Kelly, Meet Me @ the Altar showed that pop-punk isn’t just for big-label headliners. The lively emo group formed online in 2015 and wrote songs together while living apart in Florida, Georgia and New Jersey. On stage, vocalist Edith Victoria, guitarist/bassist Téa Campbell and drummer Ada Juarez thrived on their natural chemistry and bubbly energy from their 2021 EP Model Citizen dodging the tearful tone that plagued the genre, and her neon green and turquoise updo blurred as she moved.

Fletcher @ Lollapalooza

Steven Nunez for Rolling Stone

Fletcher flaunts impressive pop vocals
Fletcher can sing. The New Jersey-born rising pop star could have rolled out with the furor fans sang “Undrunk” and “Becky’s So Hot.” Instead, she earned her place on the main stage with a mashup of “Fuck You for Ruinin’ NYC for Me” and Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever”. As she reached the vocal peak of the single, Fletcher went toe-to-toe with Eilish, letting her voice soar in strength and tenor. With flushed cheeks and modest surprise at the size of her crowd, she was no doubt building anticipation for Girl of My Dreams, her forthcoming debut album.

Dashboard Confessional attempt at nostalgia
As a popular emo band, Dashboard Confessional are used to wallowing in nostalgia. Frontman Chris Carrabba led the Florida group through a string of iconic singles (“Vindicated,” “Stolen,” “Screaming Infidelities”) and deep cuts (“The Brilliant Dance,” “Again I Go Unnoticed”) that resonated with the crowd ended up singing along, the lyrics embedded in their brains. “I think some of you are way too young to know these songs,” Carrabba said. As if determined to prove him wrong, viewers sang along affectionately to older hits including the fan-requested “Saints and Sailors” and the closing “Hands Down.” Old and young fans were equally enthusiastic.

Lil Durk is going back to his roots
Growing up on Chicago’s South Side gave Lil Durk a lifetime of stories to draw from, and all these years later the rapper’s latest 7220, which chronicles multiple personal tragedies and setbacks, explores just how hard it can be of attraction to escape the streets . So many people thronged in to hear songs like “Shootout @ My Crib” and “What Happened to Virgil?”, both of which hung on Durk’s trademark auto-tuned mix of vocals and rap, that the show hit more than once had to be interrupted to give the crowded crowd some breathing room.

Lil Durk @Lollapalooza

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Wallows offer victorious indie
Wallows’ Dylan Minnette and Braeden Lemasters have been making music together for about as long as they’ve been in Hollywood, which is quite a while at this point. A recent hit like “13 Reasons Why” (Minnette starred in the series of the same name) and the TikTok magic required certainly doesn’t harm prospects, but if you only knew about the band supporting self-assured Californian indie-rock gems like “Scrawny ‘ and ‘Pictures of Girls’, you probably wouldn’t guess that the group still has day jobs.

YG loves a questionable peep show
YG split his set between rapping hits and women flashing him. The Compton rapper broke out “BPT,” “Fuck Donald Trump,” and “Big Bank.” However, when minutes went by with nothing but music, YG demanded “more tits.” “We love to see it,” he said, but he turned down one girl because she had “mosquito bites” and taunted another, saying “her shit looks like she’s ready to be milked.” One of the largest slices of Lollapalooza’s demographic pie chart is high schoolers. After a long stretch screaming boobs, a shirtless guy yelled, “Dude, mine’s out!” YG then clarified that he wasn’t interested in male nipples.

Idling sets the stage for revolution
Idles singer Joe Talbot looked like he was ready for a fight before the band played a note. No question, the British group enjoys their confrontational reputation and revels in making a big noise that at times seems teetering on the brink of chaos. In fact, most of the band was already drenched in sweat after just a few songs and the unassuming but energetic crowd was raging in front of the stage. Talbot seemed to really appreciate the eyes and ears between songs, taking some time to punctuate the painful fight-for-life messages and political themes that run through the unrelenting post-punk assault.

Turnstile carried on the hardcore torch
Hardcore is rarely represented at major music festivals. As the chosen crossover act, Turnstile carried that torch with aplomb and passion to seize the opportunity. Glow On songs were greeted by a surprising amount of sing-alongs and mosh pits that turned into pogo pits, with beers erupting like volcanoes in the air. While his bandmates switched between tracks with shoegaze drones, lead singer Brendan Yates waved the microphone stand in the air and got people dancing. Most impressively, Turnstile released “Canned Heat” off their 2013 EP Step 2 Rhythm, perhaps in a strategic move to further immerse newcomers into the hardcore world.

TXT @ Lollapalooza

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TXT start
The screams preceded Tomorrow x Together on cue. Not yet as well known in America as their friends BTS (member J-Hope headlines on Sunday), Tomorrow x Together tested the waters to see if there’s room for another Korean boy band here, and their brief nod to a set came up just weeks after the group embarked on a whirlwind US tour in Chicago. The five-piece group’s perfectly orchestrated Lolla performance, who like wholesome ready-to-go pop juggernauts like “Good Boy Gone Bad,” the English-language “Magic,” and “Valley of Lies” (starring Iann Dior) felt as much branding as they did Perfomance.

Willow Leaves fans want more (literally)
Greeted by a crowd chanting her name, Willow opened her headlining set with “Transparent Soul.” The 21-year-old daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith shook the confidence of an artist twice her age; she has an incredible voice. However, after sifting through her catalog (“Lipstick”, “Wait a Minute”, “ it’s my fault”) and charmed the crowd with jokes (“The government is coming! I knew they were coming!”, she laughed as a helicopter flew overhead ), Willow finished her set 15 minutes early, despite a discography four albums deep. It had the presence of a headliner but the setlist of an opener.


Griffin Lotz for Rolling Stone

J. Cole Season on the main stage
With six studio albums, all six of which reached number one, J. Coles Bonafides has long established himself as a Lollapalooza headliner. Still, like the inspiration for much of his music, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Like fellow headliner Dua Lipa the night before, J. Cole recalled a side stage at the festival, a “special stage” where emerging artists and fans come together and Day Ones are cemented. He opened with a set of songs from his latest 2021 album The Off-Season, and his subtle skipping as he dropped his verses reflected an athlete’s warm-up, fitting with the LP’s themes. He also shared the spotlight with his Dreamville cohorts, bringing out Bas on “'” and later JID joining them on “Down Bad” and “Stick”. Other highlights included his performances for the Day Ones, which filled the main stage, including “Nobody’s Perfect”, “Power Trip” and the rousing “No Role Modelz”.