As Lollapalooza 2023 continued on Friday, day 2 offered a number of standout performances. And while the day included many great artists, with Thirty Seconds to Mars, Declan McKenna, Sabrina Carpenter, Foals and more, there were definitely a few who made a greater impression.
For day 1, go here. For more on day 2, see below.
Early in the day, Japanese rock outfit Band-Maid were quick to capture the crowd at Coinbase, as Saiki Atsumi, Miku Kobato, Kanami Tōno, Misa and Akane Hirose had everyone mesmerized—and perhaps a little surprised—at the firepower of their set, which was most definitely the biggest, best rock 'n' roll show of the day, hands down.
Sudan Archives has been on a tear since last fall with the release of her stunning new record Natural Brown Prom Queen. Her set at the T-Mobile was equally as riveting, bringing to life her new music and holding nothing back. Literally. In fact, at one point, she lifted up her shirt and exposed her breasts, with the crowd erupting in cheers. It was exactly the uninhibited energy the park needed to launch into an exciting day.
The Filipino-English singer is seeing her star rise lately, and for good reason. She's a bop queen, and there's something so tangible about the connection between her and her fans, as evidenced Friday by the live performance at the Tito's Handmade Vodka stage, where bea had the crowd entranced. It was clear many of those audience were true believers and knew every word of her songs. While the sun was beating down on those of us in front of her, it didn't matter, because what was happening on stage was truly special.
The Canadian artist was the highlight of the BMI stage for Friday, delivering a blend of bold, thrashing rock and sweet pop, instantly winning over the uninitiated as hundreds of people hung out under the surrounding trees enjoying his artistry unfolding on stage. Near the very end of his set, he performed his fast-rising hit "Run Away to Mars," his pandemic anthem which is bursting with emotion. And the way the crowd was singing along with him, it was such a magical moment, tucked in this lovely, intimate corner of Grant Park.
You probably already know we're longtime fans of Jessie Reyez. And while her Coinbase slot did lean into Kendrick Lamar's performance across the way on the T-Mobile stage, what Reyez offered was equally headliner worthy. And even before she took the stage, the energy in the crowd felt like that of a headliner as the excitement built. Moments before she walked out, cameras caught a glimpse of the singer's team (and perhaps family?), and the crowd cheered. The aura from the very first seconds of the set was breathtaking. And it was so overwhelming even Reyez had to take a pause just minutes into her set, after the crowd joined in singing one of her new songs "Break Me Down." "I wasn't expecting that," she said, showing true emotion and a level of earnestness which was a rarity so far this weekend.
The final performance of the night came from Kendrick Lamar, who in all honesty, probably could have closed out the festival on Sunday night rather than on Friday, because he attracted such an epic crowd, unlike anything we've seen at Grant Park. So rarely, if ever, have we experienced a Lolla where a great majority of the crowd has made their way to either the Bud Light stage, where The 1975 was closing it out, or the T-Mobile stage, for Kendrick Lamar, and truly settled in for the night. But that was exactly what seemed to happen on Friday, with the bulk of the attendees choosing Lamar.
As the rapper performed a slew of tracks, new music and old fan favorites, the grounds surrounding the T-Mobile stage were full—overflowing into the street, in fact. Every tiny crevice seemed to be filled with bodies, as it appeared the crowd recognized, even subconsciously, that they were witnessing an icon. And that's exactly what we were experiencing.
See photos from day 2 below.