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Transmission
« Your Lollapalooza 2012 Party Guide Concert for a Cause: Interview with Nelarusky's Lauren McClusky »

Lollapalooza Wed Aug 01 2012

Preview: Lollapalooza 2012 - Saturday Highlights

lollapalooza_stageclash2012.jpgIt's day two at Lollapalooza before you can blink an eye. Don't live with regrets, just move onward into the weekend with some loose plan of attack. To help you out, the Transmission staff has culled together our picks for the most head-scratching sets scheduled for the festival. Here's our take on Saturday's most conflicted sets.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


1:30-2:15pm - JEFF the Brotherhood vs. Bear in Heaven
If you want to start off your Saturday with body slamming and headbanging, head on over to the Playstation stage for JEFF the Brotherhood. This garage rock-inspired guitar/drums duo of actual brothers knows how to rock hard. If you need something a little more mellow so early in the afternoon (or, let's face it, morning for most of us), prog rock/electro group Bear in Heaven will fit the bill over at the Sony Stage. Having caught live sets from both bands, I can say Bear in Heaven and JEFF The Brotherhood are perfect opposites — Bear in Heaven's studio work far exceeds their live performance and JEFF the Brotherhood is exceedingly more enjoyable live than on record. Your best bet is to catch JEFF the Brotherhood and save Bear in Heaven to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
-Stephanie Griffin

4:15-5:30pm - Alabama Shakes vs. FUN.
I have a feeling that a lot of Alabama Shakes' set attendees might be seeing the neo-Soul/Southern indie rock band for the first time, since the group skyrocketed to fame faster than lightning this spring. I was lucky enough to catch them at Lincoln Hall as they made their Chicago debut earlier this year (sadly caught in one of the most chatty and aggravating crowds I've ever been around), a show which left me hopeful that the band had enough talent to keep moving forward, and enough humility to know that what was happening to them was a small miracle that they appear to be very thankful for with each and every show. Surely, you've heard them burn and sizzle with soulful rocking on hits like "Hold On" from their debut Boys and Girls on WXRT, but come out and see the group, and especially the supremely talented lead-singer and guitarist Brittany Howard really belt out some amazing songs. Head to this stage if you want to say you "heard them when" to all your friends, but please, respect the rocking — lord knows that Alabama Shakes does.

On the other hand, there's also relative newcomer fun. to consider. Only formed in 2008, the band has churned out albums featuring their own style of easily sing-a-long-able rock. This might be the set of music where you're belting out one band's hooks against another's. fun.'s style can be heavily produced drum and choral ballads like "Some Nights" from their latest album of the same name, or "All The Pretty Girls" from their previous wildly popular album Aim and Ignite which smacks almost of Queen with lead singer Nate Ruess' pretty spot on Freddy Mercury vocal imitation. These guys know their rock history, pulling keyboard breaks and party-down lyrics inspired by the best of the '70s rock gods, and everything in between. No really, Ruess has pretty much confirmed that he's been influenced by artists from Kanye to Smashing Pumpkins to Paul Simon (a quality that's readily apparent when you listen to more than two of the band's songs). It's kind of like listening to something akin to a supergroup cover band, and I don't say that disparagingly. There's something totally....well...fun about a sound like that, and it might be a great way to dive deeper into Saturday night at Lollapalooza, surrounded by "all the pretty girls," after all.
-Anne Holub

5:15-6:15pm - Tallest Man on Earth vs. tUnE-yArDs
This match up is extremely difficult for me to discuss as they are two of my favorite artists at the current moment, and choosing just one act is going to be rather painstaking. Each puts on a phenomenal live show, and each has forged a musical identity for themselves that cannot be rivaled. Both Merrill Garbus, musical innovator behind tUnE-yArDs, and Kristian Matsson, Dylan-esque Swedish musician known as The Tallest Man on Earth, possess such strong talent and a sheer caliber for music making that you won't be able to take your eyes off them once their first note wails from the speakers.

Garbus will emerge donning her standard face paint, colorful stripes adorning her visage, as she captivates the audience with her unbelievable vocal range, African fusion rhythms, and a set that will have heads bobbing and bodies swaying to her catchy, looped drum beats. Matsson will step onstage with his acoustic guitar, garnering the attention of his audience in a different way; his sweet, simple ballads will capture the hearts of his listeners who will fall in love with his effortless folk sound. Now, if you're forcing me to choose between them right now (which sadly reminds me that I will have to pick during this situation's actual context this weekend), I'd say that you should head over to see The Tallest Man on Earth. His last Chicago concert appearance was back in September of 2010, and he's created new material since then on his fourth album released just this past summer, There's No Leaving Now. Though they will each undoubtedly continue their strong presence within the music scene and mesmerize their audiences during their Lolla set, I just can't move past the thought of missing The Tallest Man on Earth, who will endlessly captivate the audience until Matsson gives his guitar its final strum.
-Sarah Brooks

6-7pm - The Weeknd vs. Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand have played more than enough rock arenas and festivals to know how to put on a good show. Sure, the success of their standout hit "Take Me Out" hasn't been matched again this side of the ocean, but they've continued to draw a large crop of fans to their shows long after many of their contemporaries have called it quits. Not surprising, due to their expansive pop with a kiss of New Wave catalog. Maybe it's the way lead singer Alex Kapranos coolly delivers line after line with an obvious wink and a nod, but there really is something flirtatious, sexy, and fun about Franz Ferdinand.

The Weeknd is one of those overnight sensations that crawl out from music blogs and free mixtapes, suddenly the main act everyone is trading page hits about. Thankfully the product is worth the hype, with an impressive roster of some of the best slickly produced R&B tracks in the past few years. Abel Tesfaye, known to most as The Weeknd, has only played one other show in Chicago. A sold out night at Lincoln Hall earlier this spring delivered an artist still finding his footing live while basking in the obsessive adoration of his devote fans. Despite nerves, The Weeknd delivered a promising set that showcased Tesfaye's vocal range and was testament to just how raw and sexual his songs are live as well as recorded. If you want a good dose of a new generation of baby making music, make sure to catch The Weeknd this weekend.
-Lisa White

8:45-10pm - Frank Ocean vs. Santigold
There is little about Frank Ocean that hasn't been written better by someone else. Channel Orange is certainly one of 2012's most pleasant surprises. But does its style of R&B lend itself well to close down an outdoor festival? I don't doubt that Frank Ocean can bring it live. His voice is terrific. The beats are fresh. The songwriting's top-notch. He's a star. But Santigold's a party. Her electronic/hip hop/pop/whatever else hybrid is ideal for outdoor festivals where you don't need to be 100% locked in. Besides, can't you hustle your way into Frank Ocean's gig at Metro on Friday night? It can't be that difficult, right? (That's a joke; it's going to be crazy to get in there.)
-James Ziegenfus

 
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