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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The 9 best things we saw on Friday at Lollapalooza

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

1. BadBadNotGood jazzing up the afternoon

It's a little strange hearing cosmic jazz wafting from a stage at Lollapalooza. During a short set on the Pepsi stage, Canadian trio BadBadNotGood forced teenagers to wrap their minds around cascading keyboard solos and odd time signatures. Thankfully, the young musicians catered to their audience, slotting free jazz covers of tracks by Flying Lotus and Gucci Mane into an enthusiastic early afternoon set. - Zach Long

RECOMMENDED: Check out more photos from Friday at Lollapalooza 2015

2. Preemptive mulching

Anyone who has sacrificed a pair of shoes during the fallout from an inevitable downpour at Lollapalooza knows that Grant Park has a tendency to become a muddy mess. That's why we were happy to see patches of mulch already covering low lying areas near the Pepsi stage and in the north and south fields. It's unlikely to prevent the mud people from showing up, but it may help preserve the grounds (and a few pairs of sneakers). - ZL

3. Father John Misty's bored banter

Father John Misty spent about one song trying to make up for his lost voice with signature shimmies and coy looks at the crowd before giving up. "I'm depressed. How's that for onstage banter?" We can't really remember a time when FJM wasn't acting over it, but today really took the cake. "Sometimes I feel like a grotesque cabaret act of myself. I can't even bring myself to dance like a moron." (That's what he's best at!) "Then I look up and see that giant Bud Light sign and I think, the show must go on." And on it went, with Misty waxing poetic (read: not singing songs) about butts ("I've never seen so many—they're starting to look like just another body part"), brunch ("Yeah, I don't eat brunch. I eat lunch twice. Let's hear it for that.") and condoms (we'll spare you). The more lackadaisical Misty's performances get, the more people seem to love him. We can't deny that he's hilarious; the lyrics to "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment" are pure gold, and at one point he reprimanded some squealing lady fans mid-song with "Shh! My feelings!" But we miss the gusto he performed with when I Love You, Honeybear was new and he gave (more of) a shit. - Kate Wertheimer

4. The giant Paul McCartney blanket

There's no shortage of pricey merchandise at Lollapalooza, but there are few festival status symbols as ostentatious as this $85 blanket (it's also available online). Sporting the visage of the cute Beatle, this woven throw will tie together your Macca-themed man cave. The more of these we buy, the longer Paul will be able to maintain that eternally youthful face of his. - ZL

5. First Aid Kit goes hard

It’s been a pleasure watching Johanna and Klara Soderberg blossom as performers and ladies, and today’s set saw them looking svelte, confident and happy. It was a folksy, family-friendly scene—that is, until the drop of a drumbeat we recognized…and all of a sudden, the sweet songstresses were harmonizing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” They’ve the voices of angels, and to hear them sing about Satan laughing, spreading his wings—well, it was fucking perfect. Draped in gauzy white, they headbanged and paid heavy metal homage to Sabbath’s 1970 antiwar classic. - KW

6. Gary Clark Jr.’s sign language interpreters

Lolla always has great sign language interpreters. They’re amazingly talented, know all the words, have all the moves and infuse an emotion into the music that’s infectious. Gary Clark Jr.’s music has a lot of emotion—and a lot of attitude—already, but he plays it cool onstage, so if you can’t hear his inflection, you’re missing half the show. That is, unless you’ve got a great interpreter; and this audience was treated to three. Each one was on point, performing lines like “I don’t owe you a thing, baby” with panache and a hell of a lot of style. - KW

7. The dragonflies keeping everyone itch-free

As the sun began to set over Grant Park, an army of dragonflies emerged in a spectacle that looked like a miniature version of the Battle of Midway. In case you weren't aware, the big ol' insects are famous for gobbling up mosquitoes, which was a godsend for festivalgoers who didn't think to bring a bottle of bug spray. The exhibition of thousands of dragonflies fluttering in front of an orange sky was one of the few times we've been happy to see a swarm of bugs—it was fucking magical. - Clayton Guse

8. Flying Lotus' surreal visuals

Flying Lotus, the grand-nephew of esteemed jazz icon John Coltrane, put on a show worthy of his family’s name updated for the current era. FlyLo did not stick to playing a song in its entirety, rather, the Los Angeles DJ opted as he usually does, to splice one song into the next from his vast catalog of beats, mixes and popular songs. He hid behind a thin screen of near-hallucinogenic visuals projected before his DJ stand. The surreal visual show paired with the bump and grind of the music was nothing less than an journey into the consciousness of the artist himself. To see Flying Lotus perform is not to experience an album or a song, but the quintessential whole of his oeuvre. - Nick Kotecki

9. Paul McCartney’s inadvertent mashups

The thumping bass at Perry’s stage was audible during the more subdued moments of Paul McCartney’s headlining set, but the former Beatle took it in stride. After turning in a delicate rendition of “Blackbird” that struggled to rise above the beats of Kaskade’s nearby performance, Macca quipped that he was "making a mashup." Thankfully, rollicking numbers like “Lady Madonna” and “Back in the U.S.S.R.” managed to rise above the cacophony. Here’s a free idea for some ambitious music festival organizers: Book McCartney and Danger Mouse on adjacent stages and we might finally hear a live performance of The Grey Album. - ZL

Photographs via Kate Wertheimer and Jaclyn Rivas

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