Go here, then there: Navigating Lollapalooza's scheduling demands
Suggestions on who to see and who to skip at this weekend's big fest in Chicago
Where Pitchfork Music Festival is about fewer, curated music choices, the behemoth that is Lollapalooza—launched in 1991 by Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell as a touring fest, and stationed in Chicago since 2005—is all about variety. The annual three-day shindig takes over Grant Park Aug. 7-9, offering everything from Mike's Pawn Shop to Depeche Mode, and spanning multiple genres of music. Of course, to pull off such a feat, the festival has eight stages running almost simultaneously, forcing fans eager to see specific bands to run from one corner of the park to the next. It's a lot to keep track of, so this year lollapalooza.com is allowing ticketholders to create a profile and individual schedule, as well as post their plans on Facebook with friends. In the same spirit of convenience and sharing, we reached out to our sister A.V. Club site in Chicago to find out how their schedules are shaking out for Friday, Aug. 7, Saturday, Aug. 8, and Sunday, Aug. 9.
Steve Heisler, Chicago Assistant City Editor
I'll be heading over to the fest early Friday to catch Hockey (11:30am, PlayStation). The Portland band's Arctic Monkeys-like debut Mind Chaos comes out Aug. 25, and the album's tracks bode well for its set here. Rather than scope out high-energy local Hollywood Holt (3:45pm, Perry's) or the buzzed-about concert-snoozers Fleet Foxes (5pm, PlayStation), I'm going to hit up Ben Folds (4pm, Budweiser); he plays often, but always engages the audience with sing-alongs and plenty of stage antics—great for fests. Same goes for master maestro Andrew Bird (7pm, PlayStation).
Saturday will find me skipping the Animal Collective DJ set (2:30pm, Perry's) to see Los Campesinos! (2:30pm, Budweiser); the group's last stop in town was one of the most affable concerts I've ever seen, rife with sweet harmonies and multi-instrumental jams. But that's not to say other DJ sets aren't appealing; next up I'm seeing Hercules And Love Affair (5pm, Perry's) and Diplo (7pm, Perry's). While I'm saddened the Beastie Boys won't be playing, their replacement the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (8:30pm, Budweiser) should be entertaining and way less crowded/overwhelming than Tool (8:30pm, Chicago 2016) across the field.
Things get tricky at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with The Raveonettes (PlayStation), Dan Deacon (vitaminwater), and hometown faves The Hood Internet (Perry's). Deacon promises to be mobbed, and since the Hood plays here a lot, I'll be sticking with The Raveonettes for some lo-fi, fuzzy rock. Afterwards I'll high-tail it over to Neko Case (4:30 p.m., Budweiser) rather than the perky Vampire Weekend (4:30pm, Chicago 2016); in the festival setting, sometimes it's nice to just plop down on the grass, close your eyes, and let some field-sized vocals wash over you—some much-needed pause to a hectic weekend.
David Wolinsky, Chicago City Editor
My Friday easily starts with laid-back New Orleans-via-Hollywood rappers The Knux (1pm, Citi). The duo's weaving, genre-bending instrumentation hooked me before I even heard the end of "Cappuccino," off last year's debut Remind Me In 3 Days. From there, I'll exchange the subdued vibes for fist-pumping ones with rising indie-punk band The Gaslight Anthem (2pm, Chicago 2016). Then, I'll finally see Ben Folds for the first time ever. The idiosyncratically literary The Decemberists (Budweiser, 6pm) and the theatrical Of Montreal (7pm, vitaminwater) should provide a nice revving up of the night to head home and rest up for more fun over the rest of the weekend.
Saturday is where things get a little tougher, but I think I can live if I don't get to Grant Park at 11 a.m. when the fest starts, instead holding off until Los Campesinos!'s set. Animal Collective's DJ set and Atmosphere (2:30pm, Chicago 2016) are tough to pass up, but, well, AC is playing later in the day (7:30pm, vitaminwater), and I'd really only want to hear Slug perform "Abusing Of The Rib" anyway. The next tough call comes at the end of the night, and while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are incredible live, I'm much more interested in seeing what Tool has up its sleeve. The band is notorious for its long hiatuses, but even more so for its unorthodox stage setups and elaborate light shows. The fact that it hasn't been around for a while will make this unexpected Lolla set all the more invigorating.
Like Steve, I'm faced with a somewhat hard decision come Sunday at 3:30 p.m., but I'll be opting for Dan Deacon instead. I can see the amazing The Hood Internet just about any month; spastic producer/performer Deacon is the one to watch for me here. His "normal" shows are famous for being insane and involving the audience, which means it will be infinitely crazier at Lolla. Neko Case and Dan Auerbach (5:30pm, PlayStation) will then both serve as excellent warm-ups to one of the bands I'm the most excited to finally see: Silversun Pickups (7:30pm, vitaminwater). Here's hoping their sound won't be marred by an unforgivably crappy mix yielding an overall thin sound like at Lolla 2007.
Evan Minsker and Sarah Collins, interns
To start Friday off, we’re skipping lukewarm indie rappers The Knux for Spoon-championed soulsters Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears (1pm, vitaminwater). After that, we’ll sprint to hoedown masters The Builders And The Butchers (1:45pm, BMI) instead of staying close to catch The Gaslight Anthem. Once our blood's sufficiently pumping, we’ll get our dance on with the off-kilter pop and garish costumes employed by Of Montreal.
Feisty Norwegian pop songstress Ida Maria (2:15pm, Citi) gets our Saturday rolling; she manages to be cuter than Los Campesinos!, and more energizing than Atmosphere. And although one could make a good case for Lykke Li (6:30pm, Citi), Diplo, and Rise Against (6:30pm Chicago 2016), we’re making our way to catch some sweet, David Bowie-esque indie rock with TV On The Radio (6:30pm, Budweiser), hoping the band gets the crowd moving with dance-worthy Return To Cookie Mountain tracks.
The toughest hour on Sunday pits Lou Reed (6:30pm, Budweiser), MSTRKRFT (7pm, Perry's), Deerhunter (6:30pm, Citi), and Snoop Dogg (6:30pm, Chicago 2016) against one another. And although we’re fans of all of them, we have to see Lou. Sure, he can’t blow the doors down or hit the high notes like he used to, but his 2007 film Lou Reed’s Berlin proves that he can still conjure an emotional, sincere performance that’s definitely worth catching. We may not really be into house music, but three days of sunshine and dehydration is driving us away from the crowds at night-closers Jane's (8:30pm, Buweiser) and The Killers (8:30pm, Chicago 2016) and right to Deadmau5 (8:30pm, Perry's)—a man DJing in a giant mouse helmet with strobe-light eyes is a sight not to miss.