Tag Archives: Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza 2017 lineup: Look familiar?

When you look at the 2017 Lollapalooza lineup released yesterday, a lot of those names might look familiar. Of the nine BIG FONT headliners only one (Blink-182) has never played Lolla before. Extending that to the 22 artists comprising the top five rows adds three more newbies: Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, and Liam Gallagher.

If you’ve gone to Lolla over the past several years, you’ve probably already seen 18 of the top 22 acts. That’s 82%. Adding in the next three rows brings us to a total of 39 artists; 28 of them (72%) are Lolla veterans. This year will mark the Killers’ fourth Lollapalooza and it’ll be the fifth time for Cage the Elephant, Kaskade, and our beloved Spoon.

The undercard consists of an additional 21 groups that have played Lolla before and 108 that haven’t. So if you’re looking for new experiences, get there early!

I realize people don’t necessarily go to Lollapalooza every year and there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeing the same band a bunch of times. And you can’t blame the artists for cashing in on the festival circuit gravy train. But if you’re starting to feel a little deja vu when these lineup announcements come out, it’s not just your imagination. We have all been here before.

Big font headliners

CHANCE THE RAPPER: 2013
THE KILLERS: 2015, 2009, 2015
MUSE: 2007, 2011
ARCADE FIRE: 2005, 2010
THE XX: 2010
LORDE: 2014
BLINK-182: n00b!!!
DJ SNAKE: 2015
JUSTICE: 2012

Medium font rows 3-5

ALT-J: 2013, 2015
RUN THE JEWELS: 2014
CAGE THE ELEPHANT: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
WIZ KHALIFA: n00b!
BIG SEAN: n00b!
THE HEAD AND THE HEART: 2012, 2014
FOSTER THE PEOPLE: 2011, 2014
THE SHINS: 2006, 2012
RYAN ADAMS: 2006
KASKADE: 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015
PORTER ROBINSON: 2012
ZEDS DEAD: 2012
LIAM GALLAGHER: n00b!

Continue reading Lollapalooza 2017 lineup: Look familiar?

Lollapalooza 2016: Has it really been 25 years?

It’s been 25 years since Perry Farrell kicked off the annual freak show of Lollapalooza. The definition of “freak” has changed a lot since then. Back in 1991 it was still strange to have blue hair and a bunch of tattoos. All of the imagery that made Jane’s Addiction so outlandish back in the day has gone mainstream. Sorority girls watch porn. Bachelorettes get lap dances at strip clubs. Housewives openly read 50 Shades of Grey at the country club swimming pool. Nothing’s shocking.

It takes a lot to freak us out these days. And we certainly don’t expect to see anything genuinely disturbing at a summer music festival.

This year Lolla expanded to four days with 175 artists. The slogan of Lollapalooza in its original touring incarnation was “Take the whole day off,” but now they’re expecting grownups to take off both Thursday and Friday? That’s ridiculous. Then again, passes sold out immediately just like they always do, so what do I know?

Well, one thing I know is that with 175 artists there ought to always be something great happening on at least one of the seven stages. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. More is not always more.

Continue reading Lollapalooza 2016: Has it really been 25 years?

Perry Farrell changes his tune on EDM at Lolla

Good old Perry Farrell has changed his tune on EDM at Lollapalooza. Back in 2011 he told USA Today:

“My mission is one day there’ll be live music on one side and electronic music on the other side,” Farrell says. “It looks like the world is really going in that direction where dance music is the new punk rock. I’m going to tell (event producer C3 Presents) next year it should be half and half. So expect it in three years.”

But this year Farrell told the Chicago Tribune:

“When they said they wanted to name a stage after me (when the festival relaunched in 2005), I was honored,” he says. “I like the adulation. But now you say, ‘Perry, what’s going on with your area here?’ Believe me, I’ve got questions myself. I hate EDM. I want to vomit it out of my nostrils. I can’t stand what it did to what I love, which is house music, which was meditative, psychedelic — it took you on a journey. … I sometimes cringe at my own festival.”

I can’t say I disagree. Back in 2011 Perry’s stage was very obviously the most exciting part of Lollapalooza. That was the year I suggested that “Perry’s made the rest of Grant Park feel like a tired twentieth-century throwback to a place where bearded old cavemen rubbed pieces of wood together hoping to make fire.” It was the same in 2012 and 2013, but Perry’s stage has been going downhill since then. I’m no expert on dance music, but maybe it’s just not that cool anymore? I guess we’ll see this weekend…

Photos: Father John Misty at Lollapalooza 2015

Father John Misty is one of my favorite artists of the past several years. His two albums are both awesome, and he played my favorite set at Lollapalooza 2013. I already bought my tickets to (finally) see him in a non-festival environment in September. So I was definitely excited for his set this year. But he was in a foul mood and I left disappointed.

In 2013 he was mean but funny, making fun of meatheads in the back of the crowd as well as the douchebags in the VIP sections. This year his shtick was more of a whiny crybaby, bitching about his lousy time slot (Friday at 2:30, an hour earlier than in 2013 and on a crappier stage — the Petrillo shell has no jumbotrons) and griping about how he doesn’t sell a lot of albums. He just seemed grouchy. And we knew he had abandoned “the demonic clown thing” but it was a bummer to watch him half-ass his way around some ironic “robot” moves. He just didn’t appear to be having any fun.

You used to be able to watch three songs from the livestream, but those have been unceremoniously yanked. No idea why. Maybe because he was such a grumpalumpagus.

I’m hoping he’s in a better mood on his tour in September. In the meanwhile, check out some of GLONO photographer Jolie Brown’s pictures of the set.

Father John Misty Lolla 2015 001

Father John Misty Lolla 2015 002

Father John Misty Lolla 2015 004

Continue reading Photos: Father John Misty at Lollapalooza 2015

Photos: Charli XCX at Lollapalooza 2015

Charli XCX is a rock star. Or at least she should be. She’s got a badass all-girl band who stole their look from the Runaways and play crunchy power pop to match. Charli looks and acts like a snotty club kid. Her records have the glossy sheen to sneak into mainstream pop radio, but live in concert, her sound is way more tough. Either way, I love it. Her music is rebellious and dangerous in the classic way that makes parents shudder but is ultimately harmless. “Oh dad, it’s just a song.” Whatever kid, just stick to the Kidz Bop version.

She played Schubas in 2013 (capacity: ~165), which would have been great to see. But even in the bright daylight of a packed Lollapalooza field she controlled the crowd, demanding more people up on shoulders. The crowd complied. It was awesome.

You can watch a couple of songs from the official livestream:

Video: Charli XCX – “I Love It” (live at Lollapalooza)

Video: Charli XCX – “Break the Rules” (live at Lollapalooza)

GLONO photographer Jolie Brown got a bunch of great pictures of the set. Here are some of the best.

Charli XCX Lolla 2015 008

Charli XCX Lolla 2015 004

Charli XCX Lolla 2015 005

Continue reading Photos: Charli XCX at Lollapalooza 2015

Photos: Gogol Bordello at Lollapalooza 2015

Gogol Bordello is a fun, fun band. It’s impossible to not get wrapped up in their enthusiasm. They played Lollapalooza in 2010 and my college-age cousin who was staying with us and watching our kid that summer highly recommended them. But like most grouchy older dudes, I stupidly dismissed the opinions of a young girl. But I ended up catching the last 15 minutes of their set that year which was enough to convince me that 1) Gogol Bordello is a hell of a band, and 2) young girls are way cooler than grouchy old dudes. I’m learning. It’s a process.

So this year they were near the top of my “must see” list. And they delivered. What a show. Frontman Eugene Hütz crashed onto the stage chugging and spilling a bottle of red wine, his guitar flailing around his body on the world’s flimsiest strap, and he sang in a thick Russian accent with conviction and charisma.

If you’re unfamiliar with their music check out their NPR Tiny Desk Concert or just download “Wanderlust King” from a BBC session.

GLONO photographer Jolie Brown got a ton of great pictures of the set. Here are some of the best.

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Continue reading Photos: Gogol Bordello at Lollapalooza 2015

Lollapalooza 2015: I Don’t Care, I Love It

Remember when Lollapalooza was alternative?

You’re forgiven if you don’t. They gave up on that idea by 1996 when they first booked Metallica as a headliner.

Remember when fests had their own identities? Bonnaroo was a rootsy jam band festival, etc. These days bands just rotate through the major summer music festivals, year by year. Cocahella last year, Bonnaroo this year, Lollapalooza next year. Repeat ad infinitum.

Just in Chicago if you attended Lolla, Pitchfork, and Riot Fest, you’d have the opportunity to see pretty much every band who’s currently touring. Sad you missed missed Run the Jewels and Courtney Barnett at Lolla last year? They both played P4k this year. Chances are they’ll both have a nice big font on the Riot Fest 2016 poster.

It’s quite a time to be a music fan. Then again you might ask yourself whether an outdoor music fest is the best way to experience live music. There are certainly a lot of hassles at these kinds of fests (comfort, sound, food, toilets, and on and on). But if you’re the type of person who likes to make a notch in your belt for every band you see, festivals can help you out with that.

I’ve always enjoyed Lollapalooza. It’s fun to enter into the mayhem for one weekend per year. For me, the fun has always outweighed the hassles. Then again I also don’t mind going to IKEA once in a while. Your mileage may vary.

Highlights this year were Paul McCartney, First Aid Kit, Charli XCX, and Gogol Bordello.

Surprises were Alabama Shakes (way more fun than I expected), Metallica (ditto), and Twin Peaks (I had avoided them because of their dumb name but they’re exactly the kind of band I love).

Disappointments were Father John Misty (grumpy), Lame Impala (I think I stole that joke from Twitter), Albert Hammond, Jr (sang like the guy from Midnight Oil), and the disappearance of the falafel vendor who kept me alive for the past seven or eight Lollas.

Scheduling conflicts made me miss Tove Lo, War on Drugs, Bully, and Shakey Graves.

Continue reading Lollapalooza 2015: I Don’t Care, I Love It

Lollapalooza 2005 Map and Schedule

While I was researching my Lolla 2014 piece I was surprised and disappointed that I could not find the original 2005 Lollapalooza map online anywhere. I stumbled across Jim DeRogatis’ 2006 news item about the fest’s expansion for its second year, which reminded me that in 2005 everything had been crammed south of Buckingham Fountain. I had completely forgotten that.

So I dug through my personal archives and discovered my original program and scanned it. You’re welcome. It’s a little wrinkly and messed up because it lived in my pocket for a couple days as I stumbled around getting loaded and eating smuggled KFC.

Continue reading Lollapalooza 2005 Map and Schedule

Lollapalooza 2014: Drives You Crazy Getting Old

Ten years. Ten Lollas in Grant Park. I had a cutting edge mobile phone in 2005 — the Motorola RAZR — but I didn’t know how to text properly. There were no iPhones, no Twitter, YouTube hadn’t officially launched yet, and Facebook was still exclusive to college students.

Lollapalooza 2005 seems quaint in retrospect. It was only two days long, there were less than 60 bands, the whole thing took place south of Buckingham Fountain, all four main stages were crammed onto Hutchinson Field… And yet this year’s event would hardly seem unrecognizable to a time traveler from 2005. It’s still, as I said back at the time, “an event as corporate and branded and manipulative as anything any marketing genius could ever devise.” And despite that, with the right attitude, it can still be a lot of fun.

Over the years I have seen so many memorable performances at Lollapalooza. Would most of these have been better suited to a dark club as opposed to a big, sweaty field in the middle of the day? Absolutely. But let’s be honest. I cram more bands into three days at Lolla than I go out and see for the rest of the year combined. Is that pathetic? Maybe so, but I’m busy. I’m a grown up. And a big festival provides me with the opportunity to stumble across something unexpectedly great that I never would have sought out on my own. So I return to Lolla every year in spite of the weak lineups that — looking back — I’ve publicly bitched about almost every year.

Continue reading Lollapalooza 2014: Drives You Crazy Getting Old

Lollapalooza 2013: Fun Times in Babylon

Lollapalooza

Friday

There’s something thrilling — maybe even masochistic — about entering a big music festival on the first day. So many people at the gates, squeezing in, getting hassled by security goons, all intent on making it inside. Once you’re finally in, you can take a deep breath and get your bearings. Bar, porta-potties, stages. Check, check, check.

I showed up on Friday at Lollapalooza excited to see Father John Misty, and Josh Tillman’s band did not disappoint. Tillman is a charismatic front man, poking fun at both the VIPs in the platinum section as well as the “idiots in the back.” The band was tight and since they only have one album, they played all my favorite songs. It was such a great show that I was afraid nobody would be able to top it for the rest of the weekend.

Father John Misty
Father John Misty
Crystal Castles had me thinking how the electronic stuff that used to be relegated to Perry’s tent/stage has spilled over on to the main stages. I was coming up with a theory about EDM’s recent influence on indie rock…when New Order came on and reminded me that this has actually been going on for at least 30 years. Beer can make you a little slow.

Continue reading Lollapalooza 2013: Fun Times in Babylon