Review: Lollapalooza Paris 2019 – Sunday

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Day two of Lollapalooza Paris was an embarrassment of riches. When you've got artists stage diving at 3pm and The Strokes headlining, what else could you call it?

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Sunday 21st July – Day Two

It definitely heated up for day two of Lollapalooza Paris, but it wasn’t just the sun that was blistering. With acts like Biffy Clyro and The Strokes playing, a more rebellious and riotous rock element came into play and was more than welcome among the Lolla’ crowds.

First off, Judah and the Lion made an appearance on Main Stage 1 and it was a total blast. They definitely proved their Main Stage-iness and drew many of the early festival goers in with their energy and antics. The three core members of the folk-pop band (Judah Akers, Brian Macdonald, Nate Zuercher) were joined by a bunch of others (including two drummers!!), and with their mismatched-matching sports gear, their set was such a welcome surprise it distracted us from the soaring temperatures and even made us want to jump around in it too. Being the first band on stage of the day and achieving a stage dive is no mean feat, but that’s just what lead singer Judah did during their finale, ‘Take it all Back’. They all ran and danced about the stage as the drummers really let the crowd have it. There was audience participation, the obligatory banjo and a whole lot of humility and in their wish to show the audience that they’d made the right choice by choosing team Judah. This independent band are currently midway through their first headline tour and they are a band that must be seen live.

The two-pronged main stages came into effect here for the crossover to Clean Bandit on Main Stage 2. The crowds had grown considerably during Judah’s set and in anticipation for Clean Bandit and the energy didn’t let up. They had a whole host of guest singers take to the microphone for their endless list of hits, including ‘Solo’, ‘Rockabye’, ‘Symphony’, ‘Mama’ and, of course, ‘Rather Be’ and vocals were flawless. Their unique blend of classical and dance elements were both flawlessly executed and provided irresistible dance material.

While took over duties on Main Stage 1 with her ornate staging and danced and sang her way through the set, South London band Shame were providing their post-punk energy, equal parts agitated and riotous, to lyrics like “I like you better when you’re not around” from ‘Tasteless’ on the Alternative Stage. Following in Judah’s footsteps, MØ completed a well-deserved crowd surf during her last song, ‘Final Song’. The summer vibes of both Clean Bandit and MØ’s dance/pop music were spot on, and both groups’ sound matched and in some cases transcended the studio recordings.

French electronic music band Caravan Palace pulled in quite the crowd for their set mid-afternoon. With a bit of jazz, swing and pop, Zoe Colotis owned the stage, accompanied by musical instruments of various shapes and sizes. As well as their own songs, they nailed a couple of covers including Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’.

Now it was time for Biffy. After seeing them headline TRNSMT back in 2017, alternative rock band Biffy Clyro’s staging was a more modest affair as they took to the Alternative Stage, but their performance was anything but. Fist punching, singalongs and moshes were the order of the day, and the French crowds even managed a rowing pit during final song ‘Stingin’ Bell’. After starting with one of their latest releases, ‘Balance, Not Symmetry’, the three-piece filled their set with songs spanning their eight-album discography. ‘Howl’ and ‘Mountains’ were an early high, but every song they played was screamed right back at them and then some. After so many evolutions and so much life, Biffy are still at the top of their game.

After a brief taste of The 1975, the only gripe of the weekend had to be missing their set at the Alternative Stage to make it in time for headliner The Strokes. We caught a few songs from the indie pop group from their latest album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, including Joy Division-inspired ‘Give Yourself A Try’, ‘Too Time’ and ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’. After witnessing a disappointing set of theirs a few years back at that same TRNSMT festival, Matty Healy has become the entertainer he was born to be. Floating around the stage and casually synchronising with their on-stage dancing duo, Matty was in his element and the audience were lapping it up. Fun and joyous, I have no doubt their set continued unabated long after we’d left the peripheries.

The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas was just as much of a rockstar as I thought he’d be (complete with sunglasses and interesting mullet-like haircut). Infinitely cool and casual, technical difficulties nor the French-speaking audience phased him or the rest of the band. They were all nonchalant, wandering around the stage and sorting any problems as they went along with Casablancas standing at the mic as if he was leaning against a bar. Their star quality was confirmed by such a solid performance. There was a little kafuffle at the start when Migos ran over on Main Stage 2 – one disadvantage, then, of the two-pronged main stage approach. With some fans having waited well over an hour for The Strokes, everyone was unsurprisingly getting a little aggy. After an audience rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ (well, the bits that we knew, anyway), many would have admitted to feeling such sentiments about the band itself. Everyone seemed to be treating the performance as a rare and special one, and indeed it was, since this game-changing rock band hadn’t played in France since 2011. They played some songs, including ‘Heart in a Cage’, ‘Ize of the World’, ‘New York City Cops’, ‘Hard to Explain’, ‘On the Other Side’ and ‘Razorblade’, before faking an encore so they could squeeze in ‘Someday’, ‘Is This It’ and ‘Last Nite’ and that was that. All these honest lyrics written by Casablancas filling you with pockets of nostalgia for the early 2000s or just whenever it was that you’d felt the same way.

The day before I’d spoken to some German girls who’d said that they’d considered going to the Berlin edition of Lollapalooza, except that the Berlin edition hadn’t had The Strokes. I think they’d made the right call.

Lollapalooza Paris will return to Hippodrome ParisLongchamp on 18th and 19th July 2020.

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Fourth year French and English student and 2018/19 Live Editor for The Edge.

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