Lollapalooza Preview: Sunday August 3
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 31, 2008 7:00PM
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, but throughout the weekend 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.
Sundays at Lollapalooza are always interesting crowd-watching-wise. You'd think folks would be too exhausted to even think by this point, and sure, when the gates open people groggily stream in, but right around noon people seem to get their second wind and it is ON. By this point the drill is down; hydrate, rest, sweat like mad, hydrate, hydrate, sweat, hoot holler and cheer, hydrate, repeat. So what band's do we suggest that you hoot, holler, and cheer for? Read on for our Sunday picks.
Ha Ha Tonka (11:15 a.m. at the BMI Stage)
A few months ago we were flipping through the late night television options and stumbled across an episode of JBTV. Some band we had never hear of was about to perform, but that wasn't odd since JBTV rarely books any band ANYONE has heard of. Anyway, the band plugged in and started blasting out this rootsy rock and/or roll that reminded us of the good ol' days of "insurgent country," back when it was used to describe bands that were more punk than country, and when bands within the genre hadn't hammered the formula so hard that they were immediately derivative of each other. Who was this late night fire breathing combo? Ha Ha Tonka. They should be the perfect mixture to help shave away your hangover Sunday morning.
Kid Sister (12:15 p.m. at the AT&T Stage)
More love for Chicago's breakthrough hip-hop artists. We're all familiar with "Pro Nails" by now (her first LP, Dream Date, has been pushed back to an October release), but this set should prove a good primer for Kanye's headlining set later in the evening. Is it too much to hope for a Kanye appearance? Probably, but that won't keep us from hoping.
- Marcus Gilmer
What Made Milwaukee Famous (1 p.m. at the Citi Stage)
The opening "Blood Sweat and Fears" off What Made Milwaukee Famous' latest disc, What Doesn't Kill Us, is a minimal opener, but it's stuffed full of drama as it pulses relentlessly forward. At one point we might have compared them to earlier Jimmy Eat World, but feel that now the band has grown beyond such comparisons offering disarmingly mature rockers that never sound aged.
The Weakerthans (1:15 at the PlayStation Stage)
We're suckers for anthemic hook-filled indie punk-pop and we won't apologize for it. This Canadian band bangs out catchy songs (fave: "The Reasons") that stick in our brain and have us humming them repeatedly for days on end. But you don't have to take our word for it: the band's most recent LP, 2007's Reunion Tour has been nominated for the 2008 Polaris Prize.
- Marcus Gilmer
The men of Tally Hall are incredibly gifted musicians. They sing exceedingly well, are masters of their instruments, and ooze charisma. They may, however, just be too smart for their own good. We found ourselves appreciating the complexity of their songs while wishing that they would stick with one genre longer than a few measures. More than once we found ourselves exclaiming, "Why can't they just stick with THAT!" just as a power-pop chorus would deconstruct into a mall-inspired Ben Folds-ian rap before finally segueing into a Biz Markie cover.
It's been two years since then and we're very excited to see how the band has progressed. We're hoping for big things from them.
Amadou & Mariam (3:15 p.m. at the PlayStation Stage)
This blind musical duo from Mali creates bewitchingly engaging swirling songs featuring the distinctive intertwining of the vocals of Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko. They take traditional Mali music and infuse it with instruments from both the East and the West to create a sound that seems like a familiar call from a far off land.
Iron & Wine (4:15 p.m. at the Bud Light Stage)
Like a few other bands on this year's bill, our primary concern about Iron & Wine's performance is whether or not the expansive, mega-festival setting will overwhelm a performer who thrives in an intimate setting. That said, the last few times we've seen Sam Beam & Co., aside from a few solo moments or a duet with sister Sarah, Iron & Wine has actually been kind of...loud. As Sam continues to expand the band's sound and breadth (such as on the most recent LP, The Shepherd's Dog), so, too, has the live experience grown. If you've avoided this band before because you thought they may be too quiet, now would be a good time to check out the new lineup out.
- Marcus Gilmer
Love And Rockets (6:15 p.m. at the Bud Light Stage)
The last time we saw Love And Rockets play the Pixies opened for them at the Aragon Ballroom.Yeah, it's been a while. But these fathers of alt-rock -- c'mon, they were the first to take the "underground" sound in the '80s and make it palatable for the masses -- are still in fierocious live form judging by their Bauhaus reunion performances a few years ago. To the uninitiated, and we are sure there are plenty of those folks, L&R is a band beyond their biggest hit "So Alive," indeed they are better known for mixing psychedelic pop with ear numbing fuzzed-out guitar and sweet vocal harmonies. This trio should have played Lollapalooza in its first incarnation, so we're happy to see them near the top of the bill on the fest's final night.
Girl Talk (6:30 at the Citi Stage)
One of the sets we're anticipating the most. By now, you've read what makes Gregg Gillis tick (and if you haven't, do it post haste) so you know what to expect, right? Well, we still expect plenty of surprises from what promises to be the fest's biggest and most frantic dance party.
- Marcus Gilmer
The National (7:15 at the PlayStation Stage)
If you're looking for us, we'll be sprinting across the grounds from the Girl Talk set to this one. Boxer was one of our favorite records of 2007 and we've been delighted to see the band live in their trips to Chicago, including their recent opening slot for R.E.M. in June. Their moody, chugging rock has plenty of sublime moments and it's hard to equal the way front man Matt Berninger goes from crooning to shredding on a dime.
- Marcus Gilmer
Lollapalooza takes place in Grant Park August 1-3, and tickets are still available
You're kidding, right? Really, you're still going? We applaud you.
Photos are of Ha Ha Tonka, Weakerthans, and Love And Rockets