Maybe it’s just because I’ve been watching promo videos for Lollas present and past, or maybe it’s just this 25th anniversary four-day festival, but I am absolutely PSYCHED for Lollapalooza this year.
Now, while I realize there are a great many bands/artists of extraordinary talent at this year’s festival, there are a few I am exceptionally excited to see.
So, in something of a particular order, here’s a brief rundown of my personal top ten must-sees.
#10.– Kurt Vile and the Violators
While there are moments on “b’lieve im goin down…” that are just a bit too mellow for my taste, I think the early dusk performance time (6 p.m. to 7 p.m.) will fit perfectly with the band’s ambient, lo-fi and all-around chill sound. I’m anxious to see how their relaxed swirling grooves and fingerpicked riffs translate to the big stage.
#9.- The Struts
OK, I have to put these guys on here. Not only are The Struts cranking out great alt-rock anthems that were basically made for a festival stage, but I also love screaming along with the words to “Kiss This” when it comes on the satellite radio. I just can’t help myself.
#8.- Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit has a way of creating acoustic-based songs that make me want to jump to my feet, throw my arms open and sing my heart out. Is it frontman Scott Hutchinson’s deep soulful voice and Scottish accent? The simple, yet wonderfully powerful lyrics? The steady drum beats that remind me of a heavy heart burdened with the world’s struggles? I guess I shall have to wait and see. Really hoping for “The Oil Slick” and “Old Old Fashioned.”
Before “What Went Down,” my knowledge of Foals was limited to singles like “My Number” and “Inhaler.” I now see it’s time to change that. I love the production and the spacey effects on frontman Yannis Philippakis’s voice on this new record, and while I know studio sound doesn’t transfer exactly to the stage, I’m still eager to see what Foals can do. And, let’s be real, “Mountain at my Gate” is going to be CRAZY live.
In a past life I used to be one of those people who got ticked off when something they found first became “popular,” but thankfully I’ve outgrown that. The Haim sisters must be doing something right, because their instant catchiness and appeal to the masses makes me like them even more. Plus, their lyrics are the perfect amount of both sarcasm and honest reflections on life. I’m pretty pumped for this early dusk show (6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.).
#5.- Two Door Cinema Club
I first learned about these guys in the summer of 2011 when my cousin recommended I listen to “Tourist History” and ever since I’ve found myself cruising along with my windows down blasting “I Can Talk” more and more. I’ve wanted to see Two Door live since 2013’s “Changing of the Seasons” EP (which featured some excellent production from Madeon which definitely influenced their more recent sound but that’s a story for another day), and I’m pumped I’m finally getting the chance.
#4.- The Joy Formidable
I actually screamed in excitement when I saw The Joy Formidable in the Lolla lineup. My roommate had to ask me what was up. I have been wanting to see this band for YEARS. Their ability to craft layered, controlled-chaos rock songs (the perfect accompaniment for frontwoman Ritzy Bryan’s deliberate, blunt yet beautifully poetic lyrics and vocals) is unbelievable. And come on, a frontwoman in indie rock is rad. Plus, their Instagram feed is adorable. I can get behind almost any band who reads. I just wish their set time (2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.) was later in the day. Oh well.
#3.- Red Hot Chili Peppers/Jane’s Addiction
Something tells me both these shows are going to be pure unadulterated fun. I missed out on my opportunity to see RHCP in 2012 (because of this thing we call work), but I’m actually quite thankful my first live experience with the Chili Peppers is going to be at a festival. And the same goes for Jane’s Addiction. To be honest, I love the work of both these bands, but the nostalgia factor is what’s really getting me excited to see them. It’s going to be like a throwback to the 90’s Lollapalooza where my dad and his friends had such a great time. And the fact I’m going to this year’s 25th anniversary Lolla with my dad and his friends is going to make the shows even greater. Music transcends time, my friends.
Of course Radiohead are in my must-see list. They’re Radiohead. But aside from the plethora of general reasons I have (lyrics that make you sob with the injustice of modern life, “A Moon Shaped Pool” being a gorgeous modern masterpiece, the sheer tortured brilliance of Thom Yorke, etc.), I want to tell a bit of a personal story. The first time I ever heard “High and Dry” (July of 2012, in the passenger seat of a Honda Accord parked in a gas station in my hometown), I was completely floored. We’re talking, there were times the following day where I had to stop what I was doing and recall each line of the song, and my favourite parts, and favourite lyrics, and how beautiful and simple and SAD it all was. The song crept its way into my mind, weaving its way through my nerves, shaking into my soul and asking me, “What does it mean?” And I can’t help but feel like that’s exactly what Yorke wanted. So maybe this show will finally show me. Or give me more questions. Oh, and if they play “Optimistic,” my brain may explode.
#1.- LCD Soundsystem
The band is back together, and OH MY LORD am I excited. This show is going to be madness. LCD Soundsystem not only never shies away from another layer of synths, not only has some fantastically witty lyrics, not only has infectious danceable rhythm, but also creates some of my favourite pieces of electro-pop music. Just listen to lyrics on “All My Friends” and “Someone Great.” It’s like a heartfelt page from the journal of someone fed up with getting older and longing for times when they could just kick back with their favourite people and enjoy life. Please forgive the corniness of my next statement, but I know where all my friends (and family) will be on Sunday night from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. We’ll be having the time of our lives watching LCD Soundsystem on the Samsung stage with the Chicago skyline behind us.
Local Natives, because I’ve always liked their percussion work and their new material has some simple but beautiful vocal harmony. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, because their music is complete upbeat fun and I want to turn it into an a capella arrangement. The Strumbellas, because I’m a sucker for some happy music wannabe “hipsters” put in their Spotify playlist titled “Summer Sunshine Jams <3.” Bastille, because, in case you haven’t noticed, I sometimes enjoy modern alternative rock with wide appeal and I also like their percussion style.
Thanks for reading, friends! Let me know what your Lolla must-sees are. This ended up longer than I intended, but cut me some slack. I’m barely able to wait until July 28th.
Thanks again, and God bless.