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Lollapalooza Tue Aug 02 2011
We get going with a set of posts this week to help you decide how to spend your three days at Lollapalooza this weekend, August 5-7, 2011 in Grant Park. Today's breakdown pits bands in clashing time slots on Friday, and helps you decide where to point your flip-flops. See the full 2011 schedule options.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5th
12 noon - 1pm TAB The Band vs. Wye Oak
You may want to ease into what will be an epic festival weekend in Chicago this weekend, but that doesn't mean you necessarily want to start out quietly. While grabbing some (yet untrampled) grass by the Sony stage and enjoying Lollapalooza opener Wye Oak would garner you some sweet songs by this dreamy duo, that may or may not be how you want to go. The Baltimore band (whose name, incidentally, comes from the official state tree of Maryland) has occasional fuzz and drums and powerful lyrics, but at the end of the day they are pretty (often very pretty) but not rock n' roll dirty. TAB The Band, on the other hand, might just be the drink of choice as you're psyching yourself up for what's a marathon, not a sprint. While their lead singer/bassist is a member of a royal rock family (Adrian Perry is Aerosmith Joe Perry's kid), he's also got a backup career option that has nothing to do with his ability to play bass &mdash he's an attorney. Adrian's brother, Tony Perry, is also in TAB The Band and the group's 2010 release, Zoo Noises, brings a kind of Southern Rock sensibility to the stage, with some loud harmonies and amplified jangly lyrics. It's likely to be the stage where you first feel the bass in your collarbones this weekend, and that goes a long way to making you wake up, now doesn't it?
- Anne Holub
3 - 4:30pm - Smith Westerns vs. Le Butcherettes vs. Foster The People
Hometown buzz band Smith Westerns have found some mix reaction to their sophomore release Dye It Blonde which was released back in January by Fat Possum, and found the very young trio stepping into a professional studio for an established label. The end result was a much more polished sound that has turned off the fans of the raw basement-surf that they present on 2009 self-titled debut for the local label HoZac Records. Say what you will, but when the opening of "Weekend" kicks in I can't help smile and start nodding my head. Yes, the sound is more polished, and the young trio is still experimenting with different influences and sound, but the Smith Westerns still rock. They have now toured all over the place and will also bring a more polished live set.
Now if you just can't get past the polish on the Smith Western sound then your alternative is raw energy and fierceness of Le Butcherettes. This garage-punk trio original from Guadalajara, Mexico, and now based in LA is led by the wild Teri Gender Bender. The band released their debut full-length, Sin Sin Sin, back in May through Sargent House and have opened Mike Watt, The Flaming Lips, Jane's Addiction, The Deftones, The Dead Weather, Omar Rodriguez Lopez and others. The band has become as much known for the sound as they are for their live performances. It is onstage the Bender seems to transform into a mad women captivating sold out crowds where every so goes. That is not says her songs can't speak for themselves though. My favorite line from the track "Henry Don't Got Love" is "Henry Miller goes in deeper, deep like scab and rich like a knife".
If garage rock and raw primal energy is not what you are looking for then you might want head over to Foster The People. This band is also based in L.A., and released their debut album, Torches, in May. However, their sound is very different than that of Le Butcherettes. Foster The People perform live dance-pop that is filled with catchy beats and lyrics. The big is "Pumped Up Kicks" and it is track that will haunt your thoughts and you will like it. This is a set that is sure to bring on wild fits of dancing, smiles, and a few giggles. Say what you will about Foster The People, but when you find yourself performing on Jimmy Kimmel the night your album is released you know you're doing something right.
My pick for this clash has to be Le Butcherettes.
- Jason Behrends
4:30 - 5:30pm - The Kills vs. Cults
The Kills is Alison and Jaime. Cults is Madeline and Brian. Yes, two bands that sport two band members, and both with a boy-girl dynamic. The Kills deliver a great live show — Alison is a wildcat onstage, and Jaime is cooler than you'll ever be. Musically, while I'd normally argue that Cults' single, "Go Outside," was far lighter fare than anything the Kills could dish out, their video for the track certainly gives me pause. It's sunshine pop, to be sure, but it's filmed to appear as if the band is performing at a Jim Jones church service. That's a little effed up, y'all.
So there you go. Personally, I love The Kills' dark 'n dirty animal magnetism, so that's where I'd head. But if you check out Cults instead, well, I wouldn't blame you.
- Kara Luger
5:30 - 6:30pm - The Mountain Goats vs. Black Cards
As much as some might disown him, Petey Wentz is a Chicago boy. Fall Out Boy is a thing of the past, the Prairie Cartel never became the next big thing, and he did kinda say he was done with music and just planning to be a family man. Instead, Wentz apparently got bit by a reggae/ska bug, and decided to amp those styles up with some '80s via '00s electro-schmaltz, and created something not unlike a zombie version of No Doubt sans the punk energy. Behold: Black Cards. Frontwoman Bebe Rexha might look like a supermodel and have some fine pipes, but a Stefani she ain't. So is it awful? An impressive new experiment for the pop world? If you're a
lovelorn acoustic-guitar-loving English major Mountain Goats fan, you probably couldn't care less. Unless of course, they write the next Ignition (Remix), in which case John Darnielle will proselytize so hard you'll forget what ironic enjoyment is.
- Dan Morgridge
6 - 7:30pm - Bright Eyes vs. Skrillex vs. A Perfect Circle
My original choice for this matching was Bright Eyes, but after speaking to several friends who have seen them in the past, I started to have my doubts. I've heard nothing but negative things about Conor Oberst's live show, from him being so drunk he could not remember his own lyrics to the show just being plain boring. Bright Eyes and A Perfect Circle are two acts that reached their peak almost a decade ago, so their biggest appeal would be if you loved them back when. However, I have a feeling the crowd at Skrillex will be filled with drug-addled early twenty-somethings, and that's not really my scene. Your best bet would be to catch A Perfect Circle at the Music Unlimited stage, if only by default.
- Stephanie Griffin
7:15 - 8:15pm - OK Go! vs. Crystal Castles
If you don't know who OK Go! is by now, then you clearly don't have the Internet (and thus aren't reading this article — but I digress). Originally hailing from our fair city, the band left for sunnier climes and continue to build their reputation as one of America's most popular video bands. Crystal Castles is a Canuck duo that has mastered the art of low-fi dance music accompanied by breathy female vocals. This choice boils down to your mood at this time in the evening: Do you feel like upbeat indie pop or noisy electro dance? Do you want choreographed dance moves or throngs of hipsters bopping with their bangs in their eyes? Choose wisely, friend.
- Kara Luger
8:30 - 10pm - Coldplay vs. Ratatat vs. Muse vs. Girl Talk
If, for some reason, a person liked all four of these acts, it might actually be feasible for all of them to be seen during this time slot. But first, when and why did Muse blow up to a point where they had a bigger stage than Coldplay? Sure, the last couple Coldplay albums have been a complete bore, but would you say anything different about Muse? Anyway, start with Muse at the Music Unlimited stage and stick around for a half-hour. Then walk over to Perry's for Girl Talk. The thing with Girl Talk is it's a party, but it's always the same party and you've seen/heard it all if you've seen/heard 10 minutes. Once you've had your fill of song clips (oh, a hip-hop beat underneath a lyric I heard on "120 Minutes" in 1994?), walk up Columbus to the Google+ stage for the loud and abrasive instrumental electro-rock of Ratatat. And cap off the evening with Coldplay on a beer sponsor's stage for their finale, which is sure to include songs that feature the best that wuss-rock offered in the last decade.
- James Ziegenfus