Friday, July 27, 2012
Today we'll continue our Lollapalooza countdown with part five.
#2: Sigur Rós
There have been very few artists as consistently remarkable as Sigur Rós throughout the years. With every new album (and side project), the band's enigmatic status continued to grow, with hauntingly emotional expansiveness made all the more surprising considering the fact that they sing in another language.
There's a distinct fan-fare for the band, despite its Icelandic roots. In a niche entirely its own, Sigur Rós exists as an anomaly. The songs are lengthy and touchingly atmospheric, without connecting any certain meaning to its large English speaking fan base. But that insatiably memorable sound on standout tracks like "Hoppípolla" from 2005's Takk... and "Svefn-g-englar," the song most of us were introduced by from the group, is what keeps the legendary status of the band growing.
Word of the band's live performances sound almost cult-like in their absurdity. One description heard fairly often when viewing Sigur Rós is that it brings fans to tears. Literal tears. Would you miss an opportunity like that? I won't.
The band will be performing at 4 p.m. on the Red Bull Soundstage, Sunday, August 5.
Sitting at the top of my "must-see" list even before Lollapalooza became a staple in my life, French electro duo Justice could easily be the show of the weekend. Known for their chaotic light shows and live experiences, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay are the next in line to the fellow France natives Daft Punk (not quite there yet) for their crowning live electronic music experiences.
The only unfortunate circumstance of Justice performing this year is that fans will have to decide between them and Jack White, who will be performing at the same time Sunday night, August 5. Considering I've seen White in various live forms already, I'll venture to the North side of Grant Park for what's sure to be a memorable party.
The band will be performing at 8:30 p.m. on the Budlight Stage, closing the festival.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Today we'll continue our Lollapalooza countdown with part four.
#4: The Tallest Man On Earth
Obsession doesn't necessarily explain my recent fascination with The Tallest Man On Earth. Of course, I have an absolute urge to hear anything and everything Kristian Matsson creates, and I'm fairly confident saying that he's my favorite new artist in the past several years - but obsession is a strong word. In reality, I'm just very sure that he's one of the best artists working today and his ultra-romantic folk music is otherworldly.
Matsson will be performing at 5:15 p.m. on the Playstation stage, Saturday, August 4.
Even before 2011's utterly spectacular Hurry Up, We're Dreaming was released, M83 were something of a joyful enigma. The work of Anthony Gonzalez hasn't appeared at Lollapalooza since 2005 - the first official year the festival was stationed in Grant Park, standing with smaller festivals and venues for a few years.
However, after the band's last album and standout single "Midnight City," the band has become a full-tilt must see act, growing in popularity faster than ever before. And after their celebrated performance at Coachella, it's hard to say that M83 isn't one of the biggest non-headliners this year.
Gonzalez and the band will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on the Sony stage, Friday, August 3.
We'll continue with Part V tomorrow ...
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Today we'll continue with our Lollapalooza countdown with Part Three.
#6: Frank Ocean
He may not technically be a headliner, but no single act at this year's festival has received more of a media push than Frank Ocean in the past few weeks. This month's studio debut Channel Orange was a mega critical and commercial hit, which made even more news considering Ocean's recent coming out.
As one of the festival's very few R&B acts, Ocean's upcoming performance should be one of the more unique experiences of the August weekend. He'll be headlining the smaller Google Play stage at 8:45 p.m., Saturday, August 4. Catch him before it becomes impossible.
#5: The Shins
Remarkably, James Mercer managed to completely reform The Shins from 2007's Wincing The Night Away to this year's Port Of Morrow with the same stellar results. While it may not be the same band that indie-philes fell in love with during the intro of "Caring Is Creepy" on Oh, Inverted World, 2012's version of The Shins still captures Mercer in the same romantic light.
The band will be leading into the Friday, August 3 headline performance of The Black Keys on the Red Bull Soundstage at 6:15 p.m.
We'll continue with Part IV tomorrow ...
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Today we'll continue our Lollapalooza countdown with Part Two.
Lorin Ashton has become a regular electronic mainstay for major music festivals in recent years, performing at Lollapalooza as recently as 2009. Despite his career beginning over 11 years ago, the San Francisco native has been riding the ongoing wave of popularity that basically any big name in the electronica scene has been getting. Now, with tremendous stage shows and seizure-educing light extravaganzas, Bassnectar has earned a reputation as one of the genre's 'must-see' acts.
You can catch Bassnectar headlining at Perry's, on Friday, August 3 at 8:45 p.m.
#7: The Weeknd
Because I haven't talked enough about Abel Tesfaye over the past year and a half, now I finally get my chance to catch the much-hyped Canadian singer in a huge setting.
The Weeknd has no immediate plans to release anything new following up his super-acclaimed three free mixtapes; House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echo of Silence. But since his April performance at Coachella, he's been getting even bigger, selling out shows with relative ease.
You can catch Tesfaye performing at the Red Bull Soundstage, Saturday, August 4 at 6 p.m.
We'll continue with Part III tomorrow ...
Cast on a tiny stage, Danish punk four-piece Iceage made a more lasting impression last Monday night at Johnny Brenda's than fans may have anticipated.
Following a somewhat confusing short set from Brooklyn duo LAW, and a calmly chaotic performance from Dirty Beaches (Alex Zhang Hungtai), Iceage cast a fast-paced 30 minute set in front of a mixed audience. While most were clearly there for the headliner, some had stayed behind for Hungtai. So for some, the frenzy was a little centralized.
The band, although only a year or so into their post New Brigade LP careers, has earned a not so welcoming reputation for its lives performances. Lead-singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt dictates a decent amount of energy on the crowd, although most seem slightly inaudible. His three counterparts, however, play through shorts jolts of energy some methodically that to them they appear almost completely separate.
Although only 30 minutes, the band has limited material to work from. That in its own gives the band a pass, because the more the show went along, the better and better the energy transferred around the room. The set's closer, "You're Blessed," seemed to resonate extremely well, despite its abruptness.
With more source material, the band should be bigger in a few short years. As for now, New Brigade will carry them as far as they can go.
Monday, July 23, 2012
By the fifth year in a row, I'm used to this.
With less than two weeks to go before the August 3-5 Lollapalooza festival begins in Chicago, I'll be providing my annual top ten countdown of 2012's Must-See Artists. Last year, headliners My Morning Jacket and Deadmau5 rounded out the top two, with regular Bears and Bullets favorites Black Lips and Titus Andronicus also landing in the countdown.
As it is every year, seeing every act - notable or otherwise - is impossible. So for those waiting through the list to see Jack White, unfortunately, won't be seeing him. Regardless, let's start with #10.
#10: Jeff The Brotherhood
Despite officially beginning their careers in 2001, Nashville brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall didn't really catch anything close to buzz until their 2009 album Heavy Days. Pulsed with fuzzy blues and cool garage punk, the recently released Hypnotic Knights LP finally gave some more ground for the band to walk on. Amid an extremely extensive touring history, the band has finally reached the major festival circuit. And, more than likely, they'll be returning very soon.
You can see Jeff The Brotherhood early Saturday, August 4, at 1:30 p.m. on the Playstation stage.
#9: At The Drive-In
The first project of Mars Volta figureheads Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López made huge news earlier this year after announcing their 2012 reunion. Rodríguez-López has already declared that At The Drive-In would not be recording new material, despite finally returning after more than ten years. Their April performance at Coachella marked one of the very few appearances for the band, so having them perform at Lollapalooza should be considered extremely rare.
Catch the band one last time (probably) Sunday, August 5 at 6 p.m. on the Red Bull Soundstage.
We'll continue with Part II tomorrow ...