2012 Lollapalooza Wrap-Up (BOAC Festival Review)
Lollapalooza is one of the most anticipated outdoor music festivals and this year didn’t disappoint. The day got started when I was able to gain access to backstage of Wale’s set. His set started 30 minutes late but it had absolutely nothing to do with him. Have you ever seen a sound crew that couldn’t hook up equipment? It clearly pissed off Wale as he took the stage, bearing an American flag, saying turn my mic up, we’re professionals, we want to give these people a real show. After the drama cleared Wale gave the people what they wanted performing a melody of his new and hits. The crowd went nuts when he played “Chain Music” I was fortunate to get some good footage of his performance from my phone and he came within distance of me. Shortly after “Chain Music” Wale proceeds to go through the remainder of his set as his band stands there. Weird right? No clue why that happened but the crowd seemed unaffected.
J. Cole’s set was much more put together then Wale’s. There was a theme, interludes and Cole interacted with the fans more. Wale just seemed to play a 30 minute set and bounce. One of Cole’s best interludes was giving his DJ a set in which he showcased his ridiculous DJ skills. He had the crowd going nuts as he gave his rendition of “Ass” by Big Sean. Cole’s interludes and overall stage presence kept the crowd very involved in his show. You can definitely see the growth in Cole over the last two years. Two years ago, his performance was mediocre at best, barely putting together a 30 minute set and not living up to the hype of being the first Roc Nation signee. What a difference two years can make. You could hear Cole’s hunger as he rapped his lyrics from “Rise and Shine”. He then performed some of his older tracks including the critically acclaimed “Simba.” He closed out his set with “Can’t Get Enough” rapping the lyrics “I’ll beat the pussy up that’s a hook right thurr” [sic] before jumping into the song. Cole’s definitely a force to be reckoned with and in two years he’s grown up before Lollapalooza’s eyes.
Frank Ocean took a bold step when he announced via his blog that he was gay. Well, he never really said he was “gay” but if you read between the lines in the story he told about another guy you can conclude that he came out of the closet with the post. Given how the hip hop and American community as a whole are homophobic some felt it was step in the wrong direction and Ocean should have kept his sexual orientation private. However, his announcement, at least this far, has not backfired. In the short term it doesn’t seem like it will with the likes of rappers Jay-Z making positive statements about the singer. The lolla crowd surely wasn’t phased by the announcement and there was a huge crowd rocking along to Ocean. His performance started off farely mediocre with Ocean seeming a bit out of tune, however, after his first three songs all seemed well. He turned it up another level with his song “NovaCane”. The crowd went wild when he started performing his latest smash hit “Thinking About You.” The only bad thing about Ocean’s performance is it was at the same time’s as Santigolds so while I wanted to stay for his full performance I had to see some of Santigold’s set. I mean it would be sacrilegious to miss her performance right?
Making the move to Santigold’s set was a very wise decision because she had the best set out of everyone I watched. If you’ve heard her perform live you know why its so easy to get caught up in her rhythmic melodic melodies over bassy tracks. She gained popularity outside of the indie circle when Jay-z sampled her on “Brooklyn We Go Hard.” Ironically, she’s now signed to Jay-z’s Roc Nation label so Jigga clearly is a fan of her work. The highlight of the night is when she pulled up 30 fans and let her rock out with her. She went through a varity of her hits including “Starstruck,” “Look At these Hoes” and “Disparate Youth.” Energy was not lacking in the performances and the crowd was very into her performance rocking out with her.
The highlight of Lollapooloza weekend was an event called Rolling Stone’s Women Who Rock that took place at Paris Club. The event was between Rita Ora and the internet sensation Karmin. Karmin took the stage first and was full of energy. Although they’re an overnight sensation from their cover of Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” which has over 80 million videos they have already went platinum with their song “Broken Hearted.“ They performed a melody of their songs in a 30 minute set and amazed the crowd.
Next was Rita Ora, one of Jay-Z’s latest signees from London. She seemed like a newbie compared to Karmin. Her show lacked the energy, the crowd was not into her set as much and she had mishaps (wearing a leather vest then not being able to take it off when she got hot). Interestingly enough, if you want to play the twitter “popularity” game she nearly has ten times the followers of Karmin putting her close to a million. So clearly she’s getting a lot of love. However, I’d have to give my vote to Karmin. It was kind of like watching the Jay-z and R. Kelly Best of Both World’s tour. Both acts were great but Jay-z’s “Big Pimpin’” will get the crowd hyper than “Seems Like You’re Ready” a slow melodic classic R&B record. Combine that with the amateurish set that Ora put together and you have my vote.
See you next year at the 2013 Lollapalooza, to be held on August 2-4, 2013.