Chicago Shines Bright On 4th Day Of Lollapalooza

Recap by: Dennis M. Kelly – Chicago Made Showcase by Ismael Quintanilla III for Lollapalooza 2022

Lollapalooza started off a bit earlier on Sunday (11:45) for those who were at the Discord stage to catch the Chicago Made Showcase, presented by DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) and Juan And Only, hosted by DJ Mike P. and featuring Rex Hardy Jr. as music director. This is the second year now that Lollapalooza featured this event and I would very much welcome an expansion on this to either be a longer set or designated to a specific stage happening all day. It was that good!

Premiere DJ, DJ Mike P started things off by spinning some great tunes, then introduced Chicago’s Best Artists starting with GRAMMY nominated, D. Lylez who was preceded onto the stage by some wonderful dancers. With this year being the Year of Chicago Dance, it was so appropriate to highlight the dancers in this showcase.

Raised in a church environment, Lylez sites his father as his main vocal inspiration who sung with Sam Cooke a few times, but of course, Marvin Gaye, Usher and Bobby Caldwell are also inspirations that he draws on in his music. He has worked with artists like Changes, DJ Gianni Blu, and Chicago’s 2nd Nature and his voice on this past Sunday was smooth as silk while he danced with the four other dancers.

The genres of music performed were mainly on the soulful, rap and hip-hop styles with a splash of rock thrown in by Algonquin’s Kaeyra, who displayed her vocal power and range with grace and eloquence and then for her second song, picked up a bass and kicked up the pace.

You’ve very likely seen or heard of Kaeyra, she had performed on Windy City Live back in 2017, has been on America’s Got Talent and has won awards and competitions in the US, Poland, UK and Ireland. She now resides in Los Angeles, but we’re happy to have had her on the stage for this showcase.

Shaylin B. followed up Kaeyra’s performance and was joined by two male dancers, covering all sides of the stage with her amazing beauty and presence. Her vocal range, angelically high while commanding a strength and depth that were all within her power to easily bestow on the eager audience; soaking up every bit of her performance.

She just release the video for her song called, ‘Magic’ on July 25th and performed it for us as her second song and it was like, what can I say.. magic.

From the south suburbs of Chicago, Queen Key brought her unique flavor of rap, belting out her vocals with precision and skill. A recent mother to triplets, you’d never know it. She was looking and sounding phenomenal on the stage!

King Louie rounded out the final spot of performers for the showcase. Known as the ‘Godfather of Chicago Drill rap’, he had the audience at full attention, waving their arms and fully at his command.

As stated at the top, I would very much welcome more Chicago Made showcases, not just at Lollapalooza, but perhaps other festivals or venues around Illinois. Musicians need goals to strive for and people are always in need of inspiration. Chicago Made is a great way to provide it.

Nashville’s Trella was the opening act on the shady BMI stage, hair and dress blowing in the cooling Lake Michigan breeze with her light and airy vocals bouncing over the pop music from her band. ‘Takin’ It Back’ off of her 2020 EP ‘Waiting Games’ was her opening song of the set and it couldn’t get much better than that for a Sunday afternoon.

Checked out some of the rest of Lollapalooza thanks to their streaming partner of two years now, Hulu, which I am a subscriber of. I must say, Charli XCX’s performance on the Bud Light Seltzer stage was a bit underwhelming for an artist of her status. Just her, two backup dancers, canned backing vocals and no band. Probably the only highlight was her performance of ‘I Love It’, sorry Charli XCX and fans.

Hannah Rad was once again hosting the coverage and conducting interviews interspersed between some of the performances. Hannah has always been a great host and has hosted coverage of other festivals before too. Very good questions, great personality and makes the artists feel immediately at ease.

In this day and age of on-demand living though, I was disappointed with how the coverage was made available to subscribers; it was pretty limiting and I’ve heard no word on any repeat viewing option either. There were some artists I would have loved to see, but couldn’t and it would have been nice if you could go to your Hulu channel and select the performance or interview and watch it as often as you’d like, at least for a week or two anyway.

I was glad I was able to get to see Beach Bunny’s set and after hearing that Lili had lost her voice the day before, I was relieved that a day of not talking got her right back on track and sounding great! Beach Bunny played Lollapalooza before, but this time, to a much larger crowd and deservedly so. It was another example of great Chicago representation and appreciation by the fans.

Banks returned to Lollapalooza once again and like Charli XCX, I was not all that excited with the performance. Her music is great; for sure, but so many other artists put so much more into their sets with regards to their performances and hers was very minimalistic and her great music couldn’t save it, unfortunately.

Sunday’s word of the day, heard over and over was, J-Hope, J-hope, J-Hope, from the opening of the gates at 11am throughout the entire day and with good reason, this was a monumental event having J-Hope headline Lollapalooza and it was easy to see, a vast majority of attendees were there for him.

Prior to the set however, Perry Farrell and Mayor Lori Lightfoot came out on stage to share some very exciting news that many people were waiting for. An agreement had been reached to allow Lollapalooza to return to Chicago for another ten more years

J-hope left all his fans clearly satisfied throughout the set, and it is safe to say that there will be much more variety going forward in Lollapalooza lineups. I hope this expanded variety will also include heavy artists like Lorna Shore as well, but we will have to wait and see with the next Lollapalooza coming on August 3rd-6th, 2023.

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