From Lollapalooza 2018: Børns Leads Lolla into the Night

Perhaps unsurprisingly for an artist who toured with Lana del Rey, Børns is a creature of the moon. For every degree the sun sank on Lollapalooza during his hour-long 7:30 p.m. set, he seemed to gain in power. Lollapalooza’s Lake Shore stage, decked out with his psychedelically patterned backdrop and covered in fog lit up by stage lights, increasingly dominated its surroundings like a Sidney Lumet character.

Some of this was circumstantial: Walk the Moon had run a bit over their allotted time with their (excellent) set on the Grant Park main stage, facing Lake Shore across the park’s massive southern field, and before fans could adjust their location, Børns’s show was underway. Lolla-goers migrating from Post Malone’s set on the other side of the festival, which ended at 7:45 p.m., to mega-headliner Bruno Mars’s 8:30 p.m. set at the main stage gradually swelled the attendance. By the end of the set, Børns was singing to a crowd that stretched across the field and feeding off their energy. Back-loading the set made for a transcendent rendition of “Electric Love,” enlisting a chorus numbering in the high five figures for the anthemic refrain.

But Børns, a performer since age 10, probably would have come to rule the Lolla grounds no matter the time of day or timing of co-performers. With a silky, Robert Plant-esque physicality, Børns made full use of the stage, bounding up the stairs to the drum set during “Holy Ghost.” Despite the kinesthetics and the demanding range of his material, Børns’s voice soared to hit the high notes on “We Don’t Care” and added effortless flourishes to the melody of “Sweet Dreams,” even improving on his impressive studio performances.


Following the pulsing, near-manic Walk the Moon set, Børns gave his setlist a pleasant texture, with dreamier tracks sandwiched between the higher-octane “American Money” and “Faded Heart.” The closing numbers—his two biggest hits, “Past Lives” and “Electric Love”—combined these moods, leaving the end-of-day-two crowd on a relaxed but upbeat note as the final streaks of sun vanished and Bruno Mars’s set pieces appeared across Grant Park.

—Staff writer Trevor J. Levin can be reached at


Recommended Articles