Lollapalooza Preview: Friday August 1
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 29, 2008 8:00PM
Lollapalooza, the biggest festival to overtake Chicago each year is about to land this weekend, and as usual we want to share some of the fest's highlights to help folks make decisions on which stage to hit when. We know most folks probably have already made their own decisions about the headliners so it seems kind of silly to say something like, "You MUST see Radiohead," doesn't it? But throughout the three days of Lollapalooza there is so much good music going on we reckon there's no way all of you are familiar with every band, so we're going to do our best to fill in the cracks.
Today's recommendations are going to center around the Friday line-up, and we admit we see ourselves doing a fair amount of running from stage to stage, sometimes for distances longer than we might wish in 90+ degree heat. But when there's this much good music going on, we're willing to put our lives on the line in the hope of catching it all!
Bang Camaro (11:30 a.m. on the Myspace Stage)
We saw these guys at Double Door a few months ago and admit we went into it thinking the band was a joke. How could a metal band with 15+ lead singers NOT be a joke. Well, we were wrong in our assumption and can assure you Bang Camaro is dead serious about both its songs and having a good time. They are surprisingly good and shockingly entertaining. It's a helluva a way to kick off the weekend.
Holy Fuck (12:15 p.m. on the AT&T Stage)
Why do bands with such off putting names create such beautiful music. A particular case in point would be Holy Fuck's "Lovely Allen," one of the prettiest and most emotional songs we've heard all year, and this is made all the more remarkable due to it's lack of vocals and repetition of a rather simple little riff that just expands and expands until it sucks all the air out from around you. Synths, guitars, circling drums, and the resulting mesmerizing compositions will have us propped at the foot of this stage.
Black Lips (12:15 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage)
Atlanta's "flower-punk" band, once known more for their stage show than their actual music, have since matured and not a moment too soon. On the heels of successful 2007 single "O Katrina" and an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the band is making its play for a larger audience and there's no bigger stage than Lollapalooza. The bands woozy brand of psychedelic garage rock sounds like a perfect way to open this year's fest.
- Marcus Gilmer
Manchester Orchestra (1 p.m. on the Citi Stage)
Manchester Orchestra creates music that's is plaintive yet rejoicing, and we find the mixture alluring. The band borrows the nasal whine of glam rock and injects it into a bed firmly rooted in the indie rock that rules the CMJ college set. This creates songs that often feel like they're tripping over themselves with a sense of urgency as they try to convey their own inner truths and emotions through nothing more than a couple musical instruments. This is music that is earnest but never cloying.
Rogue Wave (1:15 p.m. on the MySpace Stage)
The California indie rockers have continued to churn out quality music while simultaneously expanding their sound. The shift has given the band a broader appeal (you've probably heard a few of their songs in commercials) without betraying their psych-pop roots that attracted us in the first place. The shimmering guitar parts and soaring harmonies are still at the center of their music, which shouldn't surprise us given the band's California origins.
- Marcus Gilmer
The Go! Team (2:15 on the Bud Light Stage)
Is it just us or has the one-time "It" band faded from listeners' memories? While reaction to their last record, Proof of Youth, was a bit luke-warm, we still fire up their jams on a regular basis. Their hook-filled rock-dance mash-ups are the perfect soundtrack for a festival, as they proved at their ridonkulously awesome 2005 Intonation set. The band doesn't make it onto these shores as often as many of the other bands appearing, so their set is definitely worth catching.
- Marcus Gilmer
Duffy (3:15 p.m. on the PlayStation Stage)
This year's winner of the "Female White British Soul SInger with a Big Voice" is Duffy, a slightly confounding figure embraced my both the bloggerati and the pop manistream. She creates the same sort of backward-looking polished soul we've heard most recently from other singers like Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone, only Duffy doesn't seem ready to self-destruct under either the burden of fame or in the attempt to grow up in the public eye. Her debut, Rockferry, does an excellent job of mining her inspiration's source material and then updating it with brand spankin' new studio gloss. She gets our pick as an act to see primarily because we want to see if she can grit it up onstage and break the songs wide open to our ears.
Cat Power (5:15 on the PlayStation Stage)
By now that artist also known as Chan Marshal hopefully needs no introduction. Her sultry voice has wooed us many a-time and we're excited to catch her at this year's fest. As she's proved time and time again over the past four years, those shaky live performances are a thing of the past, replaced by a new-found confidence. Our only fear is that the intimacy and vulnerability of her Dusty Springfield-esque performance may be swallowed by the mega-festival setting, so we'll be working our way up front for this set.
- Marcus Gilmer
Cool Kids (7:00 p.m. on the BMI Stage)
We're excited not only to see this band, but for this band. For all the recent backlash against hipster-hop, we're happy to see this outstanding Chicago duo get their due and spot at such a large festival. Their sparse, old-school beats and clever rhymes are a breath of fresh air from a genre that has never heard the term "over-production." Let the haters hate; Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish have our support and our ears.
- Marcus Gilmer
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (7:15 p.m. at the MySpace Stage)
Aside from the fact that Stephen Malkmus has the good fortune to be playing on the stage closest to the one Radiohead will be headlining just 45 minutes later, there are several good reasons to cat Malkmus and his current band live. Reason number one is drummer Janet Weiss, who brings a powerful mixture of jazz tastefulness and drum-skin destroying thunder to Malkmus' songs, often rescuing tunes that would otherwise wind down into neo-hippie jams and turning them into virtuosic powerhouses for the entire band to feed off of. Another reason? Stephen Malkmus is indie rock royalty, with a boggling history of songwriting both groundbreaking and breathtaking. Also, did we mention Radiohead was next?
Lollapalooza takes place in Grant Park August 1-3, and tickets are still available