The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Noah Kahan opens up to fans in emotional Lollapalooza set

James Hoeck
Folk Pop singer Noah Kahan starts his performance at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage during the first day of Lollapalooza on Thursday.

Folk-pop singer Noah Kahan packed the Tito’s Homemade Vodka Stage on the opening evening of Lollapalooza with an emotional set.

The singer’s hour-long performance began at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. With a simple set up of a guitar and some lighting, Kahan sang to an enormous crowd.

“I just want to say thanks to all the people who showed out today,” Kahan said. Kahan expressed thanks to his fans after nearly every song he performed.

“I’m coming down to say hi to whoever’s in that front row,” Kahan said in the middle of his set, leaving the stage to show thanks to fans who arrived especially early. “Whoever was waiting in that f—ing row, I’m coming down, hang on.”

Kahan’s first Lollapalooza performance was in 2018, where he played a small set alongside a DJ. 

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    “I was so nervous, and I don’t think anybody knew who I was,” Kahan said, reflecting on his history at the festival. 

    Now, Kahan’s set was one of the largest of the festival’s opening day. The singer created a massive choir of his fans, who enthusiastically sang along to hits such as “New Perspective” and “Northern Attitude.”

    Kahan’s single “False Confidence” stirred up a particularly strong reaction from the crowd, who broke out into dance as soon as the first chorus hit.

    Though Kahan’s music varies in message and style, the singer brought some especially mature themes to the stage by singing about struggles with addiction and mental health.

    “When I was eight, my parents put me into therapy, I don’t know what I did wrong at eight years old,” Kahan said. “I lied to my therapist for like, 15 years straight…because it was easier than being honest. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I started being honest.”

    Kahan used this story to introduce his song “Growing Sideways,” which premiered on his 2022 album “Stick Season.”

    “I’m 26, and when I was 23, I started telling the truth, and I started feeling happy for the first time in my life,” Kahan said. “And it was awesome.”

    Kahan performed “Orange Juice,” which he openly stated was written about his past struggles with addiction.

    “Anyone struggling with alcohol, I hope you get through it. I hear you, I see you,” Kahan said as he introduced the song.

    A Vermont native, Kahan paid heavy respects to his home state, especially with his performance of “Homesick,” which he has been told has “midwest energy.”

    “I grew up in a town where I would drive home from school on dirt roads named after childhood friends’ grandparents,” Kahan said. “Everyone knew everybody. I spent my whole childhood wanting to leave…and then I left, and now all I want to do is go back home.”

    For Kahan’s final song, he brought on a little boy to help perform his most popular hit, “Stick Season.”

    “Things have changed in my life because of this song, and I’m so grateful for it,” Kahan said. 

    The song earned the strongest reaction of all from the crowd, with the majority of concertgoers singing along to every word.

    “Lollapalooza, what a f—ing dream, thank you so much,” Kahan yelled to the crowd.


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    About the Contributors
    Maaike Niekerk, buzz Editor
    My name is Maaike Niekerk, and I am a sophomore majoring in English with minors in music and journalism. I began working with The Daily Illini during the fall semester of my freshman year as a buzz staff writer, and joined the editorial team last summer. I love bringing live event coverage to you from Champaign-Urbana’s vibrant music scene and sharing stories of local artists and musicians. Outside of The Daily Illini, you’ll find me performing at every football game with the Marching Illini or cycling with the 2024 Illini 4000 bike America team.
    James Hoeck, Photo Editor
    Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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