Lollapalooza 2021 Friday: boy pablo, Omar Apollo, Tyler, the Creator enliven audiences on day two

Lollapalooza 2021 Friday: boy pablo, Omar Apollo, Tyler, the Creator enliven audiences on day two

By Carolina Garibay

Friday came to Chicago in a swirl of traffic jams, rapid COVID test popups and temperatures in the 70s. At Lollapalooza, this meant a beautiful start to day two, with performances from icons like Gus Dapperton, Marshmello and Tyler, the Creator. 

It’s safe to say the second day of Lollapalooza was one for the books as festivalgoers flocked to Grant Park’s seven music stages in tastefully tacky outfits. 

ROOKIE remains playful despite performance pressure 

Lollapalooza is no small festival, and the pressure that its artists experience should not be underestimated. If you took a glance at ROOKIE’s set, however, this pressure is nowhere to be seen. Playful, fun and engaging are all words to describe ROOKIE’s early afternoon set on the Tito’s Stage. The band transitioned from song to song with clever phrases, saying things like, “I see you Chicago with your sunglasses on,” before launching into their tune, “Sunglasses.” As the five-member band performed, more and more people gathered to hear them play. A few times, there were fun guitar solos that demonstrated the players’ skills without being excessively flashy. ROOKIE also used some guitar effects pedals, like perhaps a reverb or wah pedal, adding cool effects to their already rockin’ performance. 

Tobi lou returns to hometown for killer performance 

Raised in Chicago, rap and R&B artist tobi lou dominated the Lake Shore Stage early Friday afternoon, playing crowd-favorite hits like “Buff Baby,” “Darlin’” and “I Was Sad Last Night I’m OK Now.” After literally running onto the stage in football shoulder pads, he spent the rest of his set bouncing around the stage, spinning and even high kicking. It’s unclear who was more excited to be there, tobi lou or the crowd. Multiple times throughout his set, he taught the crowd chants where he would use a thumbs-up or middle-finger sign to prompt the audience to say either “tobi lou who are you” or “tobi lou f— you.” His facial expressions and body movements showed his dynamic, high-energy performance style, and many of his songs’ choruses were repetitive enough to be inclusive for all members of the crowd to sing along to. 

JAWNY makes festival debut on Lollapalooza’s Grubhub Stage

JAWNY made his festival debut on the Grubhub Stage Friday, but from the way he performed and interacted with the audience, no one would ever have guessed that he was a festival rookie. The only evidence that this was JAWNY’s first time in front of a festival crowd was his verbal surprise at how many people showed up for his set. The audience was more than receptive to everything JAWNY said, jumping when he said “jump” and putting their hands up when he said so. Besides playing his most famous song “Honeypie” not once but twice, he also played “Trigger of Love,” “Tombstone Grey” and a cover of “When You Were Young” by the Killers, which suit his voice perfectly. JAWNY performed like a rock star, and although he was surprised by the number of people that showed up and their energy, his performance proved that he earned that audience.

Boy pablo delivers incredible, high-energy performance 

One of the best performances of the day was from boy pablo, Chilean-Norweigan indie singer-songwriter, whose set was on the Grubhub Stage. Though he had to perform solo because his band couldn’t obtain visas, he still delivered on every single aspect, including vocals, energy and crowd interaction. Boy pablo’s audience seemed to be one of the biggest of the day, besides the headliners, and he clearly drew off of their energy, dancing and jumping around and speaking to them after each performance. He seemed shocked at the audience’s energy, but it obviously hyped him up and helped him deliver an amazing performance. He started his set with “i hope she loves me back” and followed with some favorites, including “Feeling Lonely” and “hey girl,” and he ended the show with a beyond satisfying performance of “Dance, Baby!”

Omar Apollo blends alternative, indie, funk into new genre 

If funk, alternative and indie music had a baby, the result would be Omar Apollo’s 9 p.m. set at the Grubhub Stage. Rotating between acoustic and electric guitars, Apollo showcased his musical talent and dance moves, even strutting and twirling around the stage during multiple tunes. Some of his audio levels were imbalanced, though, leading to the instrumentals dominating over Apollo’s voice, which was a huge bummer, especially during his falsettos. For one flamenco-inspired song, the lead guitarist displayed his finesse with impossibly quick and featherlight melodies. Apollo’s show occurred at the same time as Marshmello’s and Tyler, the Creator’s sets, so his crowd was a bit smaller, leaving room for listeners to sit on the grove area, which, overall, was a pretty relaxing way to conclude the day’s events. 

Tyler, the Creator leaves audience in awe with layered theatrical performance 

Tyler, the Creator’s show Friday at the T-Mobile Stage was both a performance and treat for the audience. He entered the stage in a bellhop uniform, pushing a hotel luggage cart on stage, making the audience wonder what exactly the rapper had in store for them. Throughout the performance, it was clear that Tyler was not only focused on giving a great performance musically but aesthetically, as well. His set was more of a production than a performance as he used props like a boat and suitcases in the show. It almost felt like watching a Broadway show at points, and honestly, for Tyler that makes sense. He kept the crowd engaged by joking around with them, like asking, “Y’all like my boat?” after performing inside of the boat he brought on stage. He brought out some crazy dance moves, too, flailing his arms around and moving around in ways most probably can’t. After Friday’s performance, Tyler made clear that he has the ability to do it all: sing, dance, act and most importantly, perform.