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Feature Mon Aug 03 2009
I've often said that music festivals are a marathon, not a sprint, and should be eased into with much pre-festival calf stretching. That being said, we're going to give you a full week of Lollapalooza performer previews, each geared to help you choose which stage to spend your time during which set. We're not going strictly chronological here, but we're kind of teasing it out each day this week so check back often.
OK, here we go: It's Lollapalooza 2009: Band vs. Band!
Round 1: Friday night
Fleet Foxes vs Asher Roth vs Crystal Castles: Friday 5-6pm
Who exactly do you choose between a rich kid that raps about typical life on a university, two prissy rich kids that never manage to play a full set time, and the ethereal Fleet Foxes who can harmonize like folk-y Beach Boys. Right away you can count Crystal Castles out, who knows if they'll even show up to play. The duo is notorious for angering fans and not delivering on expectations (read up on their last Dallas show.) While Asher Roth is fun to blast while playing a game of beer pong with your frat buddies, I'm weary about a live performance from the newest addition to whiteboy rap. So, the choice is easy. Head on over to the Playstation stage where Rob Pecknold and gang will harmonize you into momentary bliss...it's that good.
Fleet Foxes perform on the Playstation Stage, Asher Roth performs on the Citi Stage, and Crystal Castles perform on the vitaminwater Stage from 5-6pm Friday.
The Decemberists vs. A-Trak vs. Thievery Corporation: Friday 6-7pm
A-Trak is spinning at Sonotheque on Friday, so check him out then. I think he'll be better in a club setting anyways. If you're a fan of lush layered world music, then check out Thievery Corporation. I've personally never gotten into them, so my pick is the intellectual indie rock gods The Decemberists. The band is playing at the Metro, but chances are you didn't get a ticket to the immediately sold out show. Which is a shame, because I saw them at the Metro, and it was one of the best shows I've seen. They still hold it down in an outdoor setting though, and leader Colin Meloy is charismatic and witty as he leads the band through their witty and well-crafted gems.Their set should be fun, light and breezy, and a sure bet for an enjoyable set.
The Decemberists play on the Budweiser Stage, A-Trak is on Perry's Stage, and Thievery Corporation performs on the Chicago 2016 stage, Friday from 6-7pm.
Andrew Bird vs of Montreal vs Peter Bjorn & John: Friday, 6:30-8:15pm
Andrew Bird and of Montreal are two of my favorite artists period, so seeing that they were playing at the same time was no less than heartbreaking. Then throw Peter Bjorn & John into the mix and I had a real quandary on my hands. Let's see here... they both play in the 7pm time slot on opposite ends of the fest. Peter Bjorn and John's set overlaps them by a half hour, but is on the south end near of Montreal. I've seen all three acts live before, so the dilemma cant be solved there. For a lot of you, whatever headliner (Kings of Leon or Depeche Mode) you are choosing to see that night will play into your decision, but for me, the 7 o'clock time-slot will determine where I end my evening. Then there is the obvious part-of-two-shows versus all-of-one. If you were lucky enough to get tickets to Andrew Bird's Thursday night show at Schubas, this one is easy--go for the other two. But even if you didn't (which I did not--sadface), I'm going to have to go with PB&J plus oM here. Both bands are livelier, more festival appropriate acts than Bird is, and it might be worth it just to see what tricks oM will pull out of their sleeve this time around. (Plus, if you aren't apmed for either headliiner that night, you can go hang out with Peter Bjorn & John and Andrew Bird at the f.y.e. Autograph Tent instead.)
Andrew Bird plays on the PlayStation stage from 7pm-8:15pm, of Montreal performs on the vitaminwater Stage from 7-8pm, and Peter Bjorn & John play on the Citi Stage from 6:30-7:30pm on Friday.
Kings of Leon vs Depeche Mode: Friday 8-10pm
Depeche Mode brings 30 years of synthpop experience to Lollapalooza on Friday night. They've had influence far and wide among modern bands blowing up on pop charts. Despite their last few albums not being so well received (at least on this side of the pond), they still draw remarkably well without appearing like a novelty act. Part of the reason for that (and why they are perfect for Lollapalooza) is that they are built for enormous stages. Dave Gahan is a master frontman. From the heroin addiction to the famous suicide attempt to the failed marriages to that distinct baritone voice to the command he can have over tens of thousands of people at once, there is no denying that the man is a bona fide rock star. But more importantly, he's an entertainer. And festivals like this are owned by those who entertain.
Kings of Leon play on the Budweiser Stage from 8:15-10pm and Depeche Mode perform on the Chicago 2016 stage from 8-10pm on Friday night.