|« De La Soul - Much More (Than A Classic Debut)||BUSH at the Cubby Bear Tomorrow »|
Lollapalooza Sun May 27 2012
Summer is officially here, which for many of us means the kick off of festival season here in Chicago. Whether you are buying Mexican popsicles over the fence while hiding in the shade at Pitchfork or making bad decisions while dancing in a football stadium to Skrillex, whatever poison you pick guarantees you'll have many a fun summer night. And if you didn't sleep on it, you'll probably be attending Lollapalooza. Tickets officially sold out this past week, so if you plan on spending early August in Grant Park, I suggest you plan on standing outside with a sign asking to buy an extra ticket. But if you planned ahead, you are probably starting to check out the acts playing that you aren't familiar with (or you should be doing this), and that's where we come through with some suggestions. Sure, we'll take a deeper look closer to Lolla, but why not plan early? There are the obvious bands to see, the reunited darlings (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party), the band that always makes me cry live (Sigur Ros), the best live act around right now (M83), and the acts that always put on solid shows (Justice, The Black Keys). But we've got some deeper picks and surefire good acts to suggest checking out now so you'll be ready to enjoy come August.
JEFF the Brotherhood
It's a shame that JEFF the Brotherhood isn't playing the same day as Black Sabbath. They would have been a shoe in for the top act for Sabbath fans to check out. The Nashville duo (also actual brothers) are a heady and swampy mix of psychedelic and garage rock that would have fit perfectly into any 70s rock record collection. While their music is an enjoyable throwback sound to a bygone era, it's their live show that shouldn't be missed. I was able to catch them do a small backyard patio show at Beauty Bar in Austin during SXSW '11. It was just a tent and small stage, nothing special. Most of the acts were lazy sunny pop bands that were perfect for a hot afternoon. Suddenly JEFF the Brotherhood took the stage, cranked up a fog machine, and completely assaulted the entire audience with pure and simple loud noise. More fog burst forth, and some of the crowd started to bang their heads in time. It was a perfect stoner rock moment, just loud heavy guitars and driving drum beats whipping a lazy crowd into a frenzy. Fun fact: this is also the band that provided the music on the Jack White produced Insane Clown Posse cover of Mozart's "Leck Mich Im Arsch," one of the most strange and horrible song to ever exist.
The Doomtree collective, or really a family in this case, is a collaborative effort of seven artists that are part of the stellar Minneapolis hip hop scene. Sure, some of these artist are amazing on their own (P.O.S. and Dessa are my personal favorites) but together they really show how much love goes into this community affair. Guesting on each others tracks is one thing, but getting the whole crew together on one stage guarantees a family affair. It doesn't hurt that Doomtree artists are spitting out some of the most thought provocative wordplay around. If you know a young girl that needs a role model, I highly suggest Dessa from Doomtree. The girl spills honesty, heartbreak, wisdom, and strength into every song she creates. Not to mention she has one of the most peaceful calming voices in hip hop, I could honestly listen to her talk about anything and be just fine. If you want an understanding of why some of the best Midwest hip hop is coming out of Minneapolis, and how important a community for musicians really is, check out Doomtree. Fun fact: Remember that Wugazi (Wu-Tang Clan and Fugazi) mash-up that exploded online last summer with much blogger and music nerd fanfare? That was courtesy of some of the Doomtree crew.
If you've gotten wasted at a club in Chicago (especially past the two in the morning mark) chances are your soundtrack was DJ Zebo. He's been a staple in the Chicago DJ scene since the late 90s, starting in the rave and loft party scene and moving into the late night club circuit with residencies all over the city. His sound has evolved from strictly jungle and house to a mix of different genres (juke, b-more, top 40), especially depending on the venue you see him in. That's one of my favorite things about Zebo, he knows how to mix it up for whatever venue he is in. He won't just stick to his style if the crowd wants something different. The best example of this is when I saw him open for Devo a few years ago at a Lollapalooza weekend show. The venue had fibbed a bit on when the band would start vs. doors open time, so the crowd of Devo fans were antsy and not in the mood for any club bangers. After an angry rejected electro set from another Chicago act, Zebo took the stage, stated something to the affect of "you all don't want to hear this shit" and spun nothing but New Wave classics and Devo contemporaries. The crowd loved it and instantly the angry mood lifted. I still to this day credit Zebo for keeping the anxious, annoyed, and angry crowd at bay. If you haven't seen DJ Zebo spin, you can't call yourself a true Chicagoan. Make sure to stop by his set for a hometown break and a sure bet for a dance party.