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« Foo Fighters to Play Metro Saturday Night Lollapalooza 2011 - Your Guide to the Weekend »

Lollapalooza Thu Aug 04 2011

Lollapalooza 2011 - Stage Clash, Round 3

lolla2011.jpg As you head into the third day of the Lollapalooza trifecta, there's no need to slack off. Get there early, get your sunblock on, and get ready for some tough choices as where to spend your last day of the festival. See our picks for sets to hit (or miss) and the full Sunday lineup.


12:45 - 1:45pm - The Joy Formidable vs. Titus Andronicus
You've got to hand it to the Joy Formidable — even if their name was a little bit jarring for singles like the Bukowski-mauling "My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder Than A Hundred Dead Christmas Trees," they certainly found their sunshine for breakthrough single "Whirring", which was released in 2009 but found traction just this past year. If the Welsh rockers won't get onto quite as many mixtapes as their predecessors Super Furry Animals, then it'd be hard to hold up Titus Andronicus to their Jersey counterpart. (But who on earth dares stand up to The Boss?) Unlike JF, the Titus boys (and girl) aren't quite scoring commercials yet, but their hungry rock is gaining critical acclaim, and last year's The Monitor offers some blazing guitars and vocals somewhere between McClusky and...Springsteen? Alright, too soon, but Andronicus will provide if you want to rock out with a cheap can of beer and some Jersey pride.
- Dan Morgridge

2:30 - 3:15pm - Noah & The Whale vs. Lia Ices
When Noah & The Whale first landed back in 2008 with Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down I was excited and bought into the Neutral Milk Hotel-light sound of tracks like "5 Years Time" and "2 Bodies 1 Heart". The band, led by the vocals and writing or Charlie Fink, had promise. However, if you hadn't listen to a track outside of those two gems let me catch you up to speed. The released their third album, Last Night on Earth, back in March and it is a huge departure for where the band began. Instead of building on folkish-pop sound they possessed on "5 Years Time" they adopted a suburban Top 40s, near adult contemporary sound with a slightly southern tinge. Fink has nothing to write about and delivers this nothing in a bland and unoriginal way. Here is the opening line to "Give It All Back" from the new album. "Oh, well, the world never seemed bigger than the summer of '98. Living out in the suburbs plotting my escape. I grew my hair to my shoulder, formed a band with a couple of friends." What is surprising is that this is the band's first album to chart in the US which leads me to think that there is a fan base out there for Noah & The Whale. There may be a crowd around the stage to hear Fink lament the late '90s when his hair was longer.

Lia Ices released her latest album Grown Unknown back in January through Jagjaguwar. Where Noah & The Whale have become more ordinary, Lia Ices has become more extraordinary. She has managed to create an album that sounds both traditional or classic, and genre-busting or experimental. Lia plays with texture and sound while delivering consistent and graceful vocals. On a track like "Ice Wine", she takes very understated instrumentation and lets it simmer and build around her breathy angelic vocals. The question is will this type of music translate to the outdoor stage, and I think it will. True,there are a lot of quiet and very subtle moment on Grown Unknown, and she will not have Justin Vernon to sing her hit "Daphne" with her. However, I do feel her voice and presence will be strong enough to deliver something amazing this weekend.

Lia Ices - Grown Unknown from Ravenhouse LTD.

My pick for this round has to be Lia Ices.
- Jason Behrends

2:15 - 3pm - Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses vs. Keller Williams
Keller Williams has a vast songbook to draw from, but his performance this afternoon at the Kidz stage will probably not include songs like "Environmental Song" (which includes the refrain "We're all gonna die...someday") or "Doobie In My Pocket", but his stuff has been known to still entertain moms and pops and younguns. Mostly a one-man band of acoustic guitar and electronic pedals for loops, his style of jammy singer-songwriter (occasionally goofball) riffs are great for a summer day out with the family (and don't include a load of Raffi garbage about toes). Williams actually has a whole repertoire for kids including songs about car seats and (see this special website to that effect).

On the other hand, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses may not sound like an ideal set to bring your kids and baby daddy to, but it might surprise you. This Texas native is rich with bluesy Americana acoustic goodness of the sort that I desperately wish got booked at Lollapalooza more often. You might have unknowingly been hooked on his music while watching Crazy Heart (he wrote "The Weary Kind"). His work with backing group The Dead Horses has the added heft that will make the songs pop out of the speakers versus fading into the background like a Potbelly's act. Fans of Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, and The Jayhawks will have a good time. Check out their Daytrotter sessions from last December. (Oh and did I mention their latest album, Junky Star, was produced by T. Bone Burnett? Pure. Gold.) This might be a great set for mom and dad to recharge with an adult beverage and enjoy some shaded blanket time with the kids. Or hey, it's just about nap time, now isn't it?
- Anne Holub

3 - 4:15pm - City and Colour vs. Dale Jr Jr vs. Cool Kids vs. Pains of Being Pure at Heart
City and Colour is the solo project of Dallas Green (the former Alexisonfire singer, not the former MLB player/manager) and is simply him doing a Bob Dylan impersonation. It's safe and relatively unchallenging, perhaps a perfect way to followup Noah & the Whale on a nice warm afternoon sitting in the field near the Playstation stage. At the same time on the Google+ stage, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr do their folky electro-pop thing. (If you're on the fence, DEJJ also have aftershows on Thursday and Friday.) Across the way, Chicago's Cool Kids will light up Perry's with an undoubtedly animated hip hop set. If you haven't seen them, they're the Transmission-recommended pick. If you have, though, you may want to check out the twee-pop of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart on the Sony stage. Their new album Belong is a big step up from their debut album — more punch, more variety, better confidence.
- James Ziegenfus

4 - 5:15pm - Flogging Molly vs. the Cars
This choice should be easy, as these are two bands with a canon of work that you are likely at least somewhat familiar with, and with such distinctive sounds, already know which you'd prefer. New wave or Celtic punk? After a long Lollapalooza weekend in the sun, I'll pass on the punk music stylings of Flogging Molly and head over for a more relaxing afternoon on the lawn over at the Music Unlimited stage for The Cars. Besides, Flogging Molly stops through Chicago pretty frequently, but how often do you get the chance to see The Cars?
- Stephanie Griffin

5 - 6:15pm - Portugal. The Man vs. Cage the Elephant
This is one of those matchups where it might depend on your mood when the hour hits: are you feeling laid back or do you need a little aggression? If it's the former, Portugal. The Man is your band. Their Seventies-flecked rock is heavy on reverb and falsetto but keeps the groove steady and sort of chill. Cage the Elephant, on the other hand, should help wake you up for the rest of the night's shows. In concert, Matthew Schultz adds a little Black Francis to his G. Love-y delivery, putting a decidedly different edge on Cage's already high energy live act.
- Andrew Huff

6 - 7:30pm - Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and NAS vs. Arctic Monkeys
If this is even close, you've got pretty interesting taste. Hip hop legend Nas teamed up with son of a legend Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, the youngest child of Bob, for an album of dub-backed rap, 2010's Distant Relatives. The blend works well -- the rhymes are solid (if a bit message-y at times), the beats are fine, and both should translate well to the festival setting. Meanwhile, the Arctic Monkeys are on the other end of the spectrum: jangly Brit-pop with no overarching message at all. The Monkeys' latest stuff isn't as raw as their early work (age tends to take some of the urgency away), but hey, they'll play everything, so it should still be a good time. Personally, I'm more intrigued by Nas and young Marley; we'll have to see if either artist will play from their back catalog, but even if they don't it should be a good and rousing show. Just don't scream out for "Buffalo Soldier."
- Andrew Huff

7 - 8pm - Manchester Orchestra vs. Modeselektor vs. Explosions in the Sky
Manchester Orchestra is a touring machine. They just played Metro in May and they'll swing through Chicagoland with Blink 182 later in August. Unless you're a big fan, you can probably rest easy with skipping them because there'll be chances to see them again. Modeselektor hasn't played Chicago in nearly two years, but the big hook with the Berlin-based electronic duo has been their visual performance. And anyone who went to Pitchfork knows that a great visual performance doesn't really come off so well at 7:15pm. Not that their music is bad at all, but the show does have a little more oomph with the lighting. So let's talk about Explosions in the Sky. Anyone who's seen them, especially those who saw their last Lollapalooza appearance in '09, will gush over their live show. The Austin instrumental rock band weaves intricate guitaring and looks spastic while building thrilling crescendos. They're highly recommended.
- James Ziegenfus

8:30 - 10pm - Kid Cudi (dj set) vs. Deadmau5
Kid Cudi's 2010 sophomore effort Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager was easily one of last year's best hip-hop records. Mescudi himself was quoted as saying that he was doing things like learning to play guitar, and it is clear that the record draws from a deep exploratory well that covers a lot of sonic territory. A Mescudi DJ set could provide an extremely interesting window into some of the music that is ricocheting around in the head of one of the most creative artists in the genre. Deadmau5 is the nom de guerre of electronic producer (don't call him a DJ) Joel Thomas Zimmerman. Sort of like a silly Daft Punk, Deadmau5's shows feature huge light up mouse head helmets and increasingly extravagant stage set ups incorporating lit up platforms and elaborate visual effects. Stage gimmicks aside, however, Deadmau5 has garnered a huge and loyal following with dance music that cuts to the chase and makes you, well, dance. Though Kid Cudi's DJ set could provide interesting insight into his creative palette, better to just shut up and dance, advantage Deadmau5.
- Dan Snedigar

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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