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Lollapalooza Tue Jul 31 2012
Three days of rocking ahead of you, it might prove difficult to figure out how to prioritize your day when you hit the gates at Lollapalooza this year. The Transmission staff has culled together our picks for the most vexing sets of music happening this weekend, and we're more than willing to tell you all about it. We'll start off with Friday's most conflicted sets, and give you a bit more to ponder each day as we head towards the festival's start.
Friday, August 3, 2012
2:15pm-3pm - The War on Drugs vs. Dr. Dog vs. The Black Angels
Maybe Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, but two Philly bands at Lollapalooza will be battling for your attention as the festival gets its momentum started in the early afternoon on Friday. The War on Drugs with their keyboards, harmonicas, and earnest drumming (served with a side of Springsteen comparisons) and Dr. Dog, with their (for the most part) happy-go-lucky DIY lo-fi recording prowess, will perhaps be happy to split the difference of mellower rockers in attendance. Afterall, they'll be up against the neo-psych rock of Austin's Black Angels in the same time-slot Friday afternoon. The Black Angels' gritty fuzz is so thick and syrupy, you'd think you were drinking hot motor oil, not water, as the sun beats down on that free bandana you just tied around your head. Basically, here's how it breaks down: if you're toting your own hula hoop, head for Dr. Dog. If you'd rather pogo around and do some head bobs with alternating fist pumps, head over to The War on Drugs' set. But if you wanna see how that first taste of rock tastes after you've thrown your tie in the trash, kicked off your shoes in the grass, and nodded knowingly at some band new best friends, then by all means, head over to The Black Angels and let them blow your hair back a bit.
4-5:15pm - Afghan Whigs vs. Metric
The Afghan Whigs rose to popularity (at least, among indie circles) in the early '90s grunge era, during the original incarnation of Lollapalooza's heyday. Thus it's only fitting that once the band announced they'd be reuniting for a few shows in 2012, a full decade after they had originally split, the band ended up at this year's Lollapalooza. Metric formed around the same time The Afghan Whigs split — rocking just as hard, but with a lot more synthesizers and glam. Both bands are sure to put on a great live set, so this is a tough call. See The Afghan Whigs if you loved them way back when, especially considering this may be your only chance to see them again. Otherwise, Metric is your best bet.
5-6:15pm - Die Antwoord vs. The Head & The Heart
When stacking these two acts up against each other, their musical classifications could not be more opposite. The Head and the Heart is a gentle six-member indie folk band formed in Seattle, Washington that crooned out beautiful, wholesome tunes for their self-titled debut back in 2011. Die Antwoord is a South African hip hop duo whose eclectic dance rap style has caught the attention of many as they released their second full-length album, Ten$ion, this past year. The Head and the Heart's music video for their first single "Lost in my Mind" features their lead singer strumming his guitar and strolling through a tranquil winter forest, gradually joined by other band members as he is illuminated by the soft glow of lanterns in the background. In contrast, Die Antwoord's music videos have produced some controversy, namely the slightly creepy and definitely NSFW "Evil Boy."
When debating your choice between these two extremely different artists, this is a situation in which you're going to have to base your pick off of how you're feeling in the moment. Do you want to relax before the evening headliner and catch a mellow, soothing folk act? Or do you want to go dance to some zef rhythms and undoubtedly see some crazy things happen on stage that you can recount to your friends for days on end? Personally, I'll head to Die Antwoord for the first few songs of their set ("I Fink You Freeky" is rather catchy), but I doubt that they'll hook me the entire time; I'll race over to The Head and the Heart and remain for their strong folk harmonies, perfect for the Friday early evening festival slot.
6-7:15pm - Passion Pit vs. Band of Skulls vs. the Shins
Passion Pit had a hell of a 2009 when Manners broke. Their set at that year's Lollapalooza was straight-up bananas. (It was also way too crowded; a sign that organizers didn't account for their rise in popularity.) They were lively, charismatic and their bouncy electropop was perfect for an outdoor festival. So far, 2012 is not turning out the same way. They've cancelled numerous shows (this weekend being one of the few that hasn't been axed) and their new album, Gossamer, has come across as Manners, Part 2. But they can still whip a crowd into a frenzy (as they did when I last saw them at Fun Fun Fun Fest in November). For the more rock-inclined festivalgoer, Band of Skulls bring the riffs and will appeal to those who need a headbanging warmup before Black Sabbath. And if you're the type of person who likes bands whose albums keep getting progressively worse, the Shins are playing in this time slot, too.
8:05-10pm - Black Sabbath vs. Bassnectar vs. Black Keys
Were you alive when Black Sabbath was popular? Go see Black Sabbath. Does Black Sabbath mean that dude from The Osbournes to you? Go see Bassnectar (and educate yourself young one). Do you love WXRT and and songs from car commercials? See you then at The Black Keys. Sure, there will mostly likely be some overlap but you might as well go take a peak at Ozzy and Co. It's not like they'll be touring often (at least not that we're aware of yet) and The Black Keys usually pop up in Chicago from time to time. As much as I like the blues rock duo, I'd be lying if I didn't say I prefer them in an indoor setting. Gone are the days of them playing the Metro, so a headlining set from them might be a little bittersweet. Meanwhile Bassnectar is basically your choice of the night if you hate guitars. The headbanger DJ will get the probably barely legal crowd sweaty and in a good groove, as clearly indicated from his impressive light show and incredibly loud set at North Coast festival last year. Overall depending on your musical taste, the answer is crystal clear.