Our 2012 Lollapalooza Faves: Friday

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 2, 2012 4:00PM

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Purple Apple. Photo from their Facebook page.

The first day of Lollapalooza is always the same; the fields fill throughout the day with excited attendees eager to tackle the weekend. And this is a mindset that is difficult to argue against. The festival is what you make of it and fresh-eyed optimism is not a bad way to kick off any weekend. We realize the choices may be overwhelming so our staff has highlighted some bands you may want to add to your schedule (and one that you should strike, should you agree with that correspondent’s reasoning). - Tankboy

Animal Kingdom
12 p.m. on the Google Play stage

Some bands on the schedule intrigued us on name alone, and sometimes it paid off. Animal Kingdom is an ethereal rock trio that comes to us from across the pond. England has a history of producing stadium sized atmospheric acts, and this band is no different. They just released their sophomore album, The Looking Away, in May and the lead single, “Strange Attractor,” drips of big dreamy pop. Fans of Stars, The Naked and Famous and even Metric have a reason to get to the festival early on Friday.

Animal Kingdom also have a free acoustic show at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue on Thursday at 6 p.m. - Michelle Meywes


First Aid Kit
12 p.m. on the Playstation stage

The first in a string of European bands at this year's fest that deliver a heartier folk/Americana sound then their Stateside counterparts (see also: Tallest Man on Earth and Of Monsters and Men), First Aid Kit is a Swedish duo who deliver soaring harmonies while also delivering an emotional punch like the best folk does. The duo's latest LP, The Lion's Roar, is a collection of tangy, steel-guitar-laden gems that sound like they came from the heart of Tennessee, not the home of ABBA. Their dusty acoustic strums stand up alongside the aforementioned similar acts and are a great way to ease into what will be a long, hot weekend. - Marcus Gilmer

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Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo by Samantha Abernethy.
The Growlers
12:45 p.m. on the Red Bull Soundstage

The best way to describe The Growlers is to say: They're from California. Their look, their sound ... it's like they rolled out of a tent on the beach and rode their surfboards to Chicago. The singer mumbles and groans and, well, growls over familiar surf sounds drenched in psychedelic reverb. Their music is simultaneously dark and danceable. It'd make the perfect soundtrack for a film about ghosts going surfing. Samantha Abernethy

Kevin Devine
2:10 p.m. on the BMI stage

It’s been a long road for Kevin Devine. In 2006 the singer/songwriter got what he thought was his big break when Capitol Records released his album, Put Your Ghost to Rest, but he was subsequently dropped from the label during their merger with Virgin. So he hit the road with his Goddamn Band (his descriptor, not ours), and instead built a fan base through nonstop touring.

The New York native is now on his sixth studio album, Between the Concrete & Clouds, on which he’s shifted his writing focus from words first to music first, resulting in shorter, tighter pop songs. Devine has always had a diverse palette, and this record gets raw, but stays melodic. The title song, which started out as a 7-inch single, is the perfect example. “It was this plaintive, acoustic thing,” he says, “and then we thought that it should sound like it’s on In Utero, and opened it out to this gnarly guitar solo and shrieking feedback, but kept the vocal performance where it’s not screaming your lungs out.”

Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band also open for Dr. Dog in Thursday’s sold out official Lolla aftershow at Lincoln Hall. - Michelle Meywes


Purple Apple
2:30 p.m. on the Kidz stage (and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. on the Kidz stage)


Purple Apple is three Chicago-area girls in their very early teens and their babysitter on drums. We know this sounds like some sitcom dreamed up by the creators of The Partridge Family but we swear this combo is legit. They hit the scene a few years ago playing simple but incredulously catchy power-pop and have since turned into a tight, rockin’ unit grizzled by years on the road. O.K., we made the “years on the road” part up, but we have enjoyed watching this quartet grow from a slightly timid stage presence into self-confident commandeers of the stage. They may be playing the Kidz Stage, but Purple Apple is the kind of band we think every little girl and boy should see to get them fired up about their own potential to be rock stars, and every adult will appreciate, mouths agape, since these girls are talented beyond their years. - Tankboy / Jim Kopeny


Tame Impala
3:15 p.m. on the Sony stage

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Tame Impala. Photo from their Facebook page.
Tame Impala may only have one full length album to their name, but it’s an otherworldly powerful wash of music. From that description it’s probably not too hard to guess that we’re talking about a psych-rock band, but these young Aussies are doing it better than the rest. Some of that magic may be thanks to Dave Fridmann, who not-so-surprisingly has also produced albums for their friends MGMT and The Flaming Lips. Fridmann returns for their next album, Lonerism, which is due out this October. Bandleader and songwriter Kevin Parker tells us that Lonerism "represents a departure from his previous work by incorporating an expanded sonic palette, more emotional songwriting, and a more pronounced narrative perspective." The preview we’ve gotten in the single “Elephant” is reflective of that, delving hard into classic rock while keeping that psychedelic base.

In the past when we’ve seen them live, though, that mind-blowing intensity didn’t translate to the stage, which makes us think they might struggle in the open air of the afternoon. But you can bet that we’ll be there hoping that a couple years of touring has cut their performance chops. - Michelle Meywes


Die Antwoord
5 p.m. on the PlayStation stage

No words can really accurately describe the weird brilliance of Die Antwoord. The first time we heard a song by Die Antwoord, we thought it was a joke (it’s definitely not a joke). The South African “rap-rave” (how’s that for a genre of music?) group has definitely turned heads with their unique and in-your-face sound. Die Antwoord doesn’t apologize for anything, and their set is sure to reflect their badass attitude. Die Antwoord released their latest album, Ten$ion, in January 2012 and show no signs of stopping. We hoped that their set would be a bit later in the day, but we’ll take what we can get. If you have a taste for something bizarre, loud, and unconventional, this is your set to catch. You might walk away from the set a bit dazed and confused, but when else will you get to listen to South African rap-rave? - Soyoung Kwak


Passion Pit
6 p.m. on the Bud Light stage

The shimmering, burbling electro-pop of Passion Pit's new LP Gossamer is the perfect summer soundtrack. Not only has the band found confidence since their debut, 2009's Manners, but they perfectly strut the line between breezy pop and the kind you can dance to. Of course, if you want to keep the good times rolling, maybe don't focus too much on the pathos of Michael Angelakos' dark lyrics and, instead, just listen to the brilliant melodies while breaking down Angelakos' subject matter in your LiveJournal after the fest. Marcus Gilmer

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The Black Keys. Photo by Jim Kopeny
The Black Keys
8:30 p.m. on the Red Bull Soundstage

If you haven't seen The Black Keys before, you should. They're wildly talented—Patrick Carney is a madman on the drums, and Dan Auerbach knows how to keep your attention. The thing is, you probably have seen them, and that's why we recommend you skip them. They have saturated the scene with their sound so much, and they haven't evolved. So many bands are riding their coattails and copying their sound that the Black Keys are just buried. Plus they've been touring relentlessly, always on the festival circuit, and that's just the live act. You can't escape them elsewhere in radio play and TV commercials. The song “Gold on the Ceiling” was featured in a NCAA commercial during March Madness, so we’ve heard it more times than “Call me Maybe.” That popularity has also brought them a fleet of bros as followers, and we predict a field full of Cubs caps at their show. We love you and your gritty garage Akron-ness, Black Keys, but we want you to take a break and hit us with something different. Samantha Abernethy


Black Sabbath
8:05 p.m. at the Bud Light stage.

Original drummer Bill Ward isn’t with the band this go-round, guitarist Tony Iommi is returning from treatment for lymphoma and Ozzy Osbourne is still Ozzy Osbourne. (He’ll outlive us all). But there’s still more than enough reasons to catch the grandfathers of heavy metal in their Lollapalooza debut. If clips we’ve seen from Sabbath’s appearance at England’s Download festival are an indication they’ll have something to prove when they take the stage. Iommi’s guitar tunings, already among the lowest in rock, sound even sludgier now that Osbourne can’t hit the high notes he could in his younger days. Expect the same set Sabbath has played whenever they’ve reunited with Osbourne, which should be heavy on their best-known songs along with underappreciated gems like “Into the Void,” note for note possibly the band’s heaviest song of the Ozzy-era. Chuck Sudo

OTHER 2012 LOLLAPALOOZA PREVIEWS:
Saturday
Sunday
Perry's Stage