Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lollapalooza 2012 Coverage: Preview

It still amazes me that I am going to Lollapalooza this year in Chicago. And now it's only a mere two weeks away. So it is my journalistic duty to attempt to encompass everything that I will be doing that weekend - from the food and drink, to the after parties, to the shows themselves. This will be a weekend to remember, and it's needless to say I probably won't be getting too much sleep from August 3-5.

Buckingham Fountain
Lollapalooza is held in Chicago, at one of my favorite parks in the nation: Grant Park. Spread out over 115 acres in the heart of downtown Chicago; the beautiful Buckingham Fountain serves as a welcome mat as you walk in to the festival grounds (you know the fountain: it was in the opening credits for "Married With Children"). The fountain also serves as a meeting ground for incredibly drunk festival-goers to end their night with a quick dip, which is immediately followed by a quick handcuffing from the local police. Every year, I see at least 6 people get into the fountain, and they can stay in there as long as they want, but anxious police officers are awaiting them as soon as they exit. Seriously folks, it's not worth it. You'll definitely be slapped with a heavy fine, and I can only imagine that the capable and kind officers of the law will strip you of your "right" to return to the fest the following days.

Things got a little muddy last year... 
Aside from an incredible lineup year in and year out, Lollapalooza continues to improve its on-sight entertainment and offers attendees unique hands-on experiences throughout the festival grounds. And the food carts are typically to die for, just make sure you stop at non-peak hours, or you might miss an act just waiting in line for food. This year seems to have even more options for patrons, so maybe the lines will be a little more spread out than years past. I'll indulge you with a quick list of grub that I recommend you check out, if you're lucky enough:

Chubby Weiners - The self-proclaimed "Greatest Hot Dog Stand The World Has Ever Known"
Kuma's Corner - Amazing food found in Chicago, can't wait to try to the food cart version
Goose Island Brewpub - Again, one of my favorite breweries, going to have to indulge in some Sofie or Matilda. Seriously delicious brews.
Puffs of Doom - Can't go wrong here. A part of the new "Farmer's Market" (or at least new since I've last been to the fest), I'm going to bury my face in a cream puff or six this weekend.

Alright, now that I've got my taste buds anxiously awaiting the edible joys of Lollapalooza, it's probably time I get down to the real deal: here's my CAN'T MISS show list for the weekend. This is a rough schedule, as I will be trying to catch as many of the shows below that I can, but as anyone who has been to Lolla knows, it can be tough getting from stage-to-stage. But, here goes.

  • Yellow Ostrich - 1:30 pm - Sony Stage
  • Dr. Dog - 2:15 pm - Redbull Soundstage
  • Sharon Van Etten - 3 pm - Playstation Stage
  • Metric - 4 pm - Bud Light Stage
  • Die Antwoord - 5 pm - Playstation Stage
  • Passion Pit - 6 pm - Bud Light Stage //
  • The Shins - 6:15 pm - Redbull Soundstage
  • M83 - 7:30 pm - Sony Stage
  • The Black Keys - 8:30 pm - Redbull Soundstage //
  • Bassnectar - 8:45 pm - Perry's Stage

I will be starting the weekend off by checking out Yellow Ostrich at 1:30, followed immediately by Dr. Dog at the Redbull Soundstage at 2:15. I recall being unimpressed with Dr. Dog's latest studio effort, saying that they stuck too much to an unabridged "live set" feel for an album. So it only makes perfect sense for me to check out this set.

Sharon Van Etten is next at 3, followed by a little bit of Metric at the Bud Light stage at 4, and probably a quick bite to eat at the Lolla Chow Town.

Die Antwoord is one of my top acts to check out on Friday. Although I've never been fully into their music, I hear they put on an amazingly entertaining set. After seeing the "Baby's On Fire" video this year, I can't pass up the chance to see them.

Next up comes the first really tough decision of the weekend: The Shins vs. Passion Pit at 6(ish). I'm leaning towards The Shins in this close battle, mainly because I will get a chance to see Passion Pit when they come to Milwaukee later this year. However, I saw The Shins the first year I went to Lollapalooza back in 2006, and was thoroughly disappointed in their sound. It just wasn't loud enough for a festival setting. Putting this aside and giving them a chance, as the band itself has changed quite a bit, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'm ditching out if I can't hear James Mercer and company again.

...Really excited to get a chance to see M83 Friday evening, who put out a stellar album last year, and are heralded as putting on a spectacular live set. Followed by a little bit of a mix between Bassnectar and The Black Keys. Sorry, but the Friday headliners aren't quite for me, especially after being incredibly disappointed in The Black Keys efforts in Milwaukee earlier this year. Then, it's on to the after party (more on those later!).

Frank Ocean
  • JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound - 12 pm - Sony Stage
  • Delta Spirit - 2:15 pm - Bud Light Stage
  • Empires - 3 pm - BMI Stage
  • Alabama Shakes - 4:15 - Bud Light Stage
  • The Tallest Man On Earth - 5:15 pm - Playstation Stage
  • Washed Out - 6 pm - Google Play Stage//
  • The Weeknd - 6 pm - Redbull Soundstage
  • Bloc Party - 7 pm - Sony Stage //
  • Calvin Harris - 7 pm - Perry's Stage
  • Avicii - 8:30 pm - Bud Light Stage //
  • Frank Ocean - 8:45 pm - Google Play Stage

Wow. Saturday looks like a wild, eclectic day. 

Definitely gotta check out Delta Spirit's and Alabama Shakes' sets earlier in the day. Then, some tough decisions must be made: do I chillwave my brains out with Washed Out or get my Baby Makin' Music fix with The Weeknd?! This will be a tough decision that I'm sure won't be made until the day of. 

To make matters worse, I will have to decide between Bloc Party, who put out one of my favorite albums of 2005 (and a few decent LPs since), or check out Calvin Harris, who has been making a name for himself as a top-notch producer. I'm also not going to miss out on seeing Avicii, who will undoubtedly put on a spectacle of a live set, but I know I can't miss a minute of Frank Ocean's set, who has won me over the past few weeks with his beautifully raw debut studio LP, channel ORANGE.

At The Drive-In
  • Kid Color - 12 pm - Perry's Stage
  • Polica - 1:30 pm - Sony Stage
  • The Walkmen - 3 pm - Sony Stage
  • Sigur Ros - 4 pm - Redbull Soundstage
  • At The Drive-In - 6 pm - Redbull Soundstage
  • Miike Snow - 7:15 pm - Sony Stage
  • Jack White - 8:15 pm - Redbull Soundstage //
  • Justice - 8:30 pm - Bud Light Stage

A little bit of a smaller list for me to see here, but there is no doubt in my mind that if I'm going to die from elation this weekend, it'll be on the Sabbath. I'm going to start the day by getting my blood flowing with Kid Color and Polica, two acts I've seen this year. But after Polica, my time will be spent scooting forward to take part in another amazing set from The Walkmen, who have been one of my favorite bands for the last few years. Not to mention the fact that I will have the rare opportunity to check out Sigur Ros at 4, a show I will probably lose myself in, and think about for months to come. 

Then, in a total "Holy Shit" moment, I get to check out one of my favorite bands of all time: the reuniting, post-hardcore At The Drive-In. I will then be able to gather myself whilst watching Miike Snow, followed by making the toughest decision of the weekend: Justice vs. Jack White (!??!).

Stay Tuned party people, this is gonna get interesting!

Side note from Kellen
Believe me when I say that I am incredibly grateful for the privilege to be covering Lollapalooza for Fake Plastic Tunes. A big (preemptive) THANK YOU to Brittany Pearce and everyone over at Fresh Clean Media for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to covering the festival for YOU the reader, and will do my best to give you a full recap of what the Lollapalooza experience is all about. Keep an eye out for me on the grounds, and feel free to do the Twitter thing, follow me that weekend -- @KellenYouSoftly -- and tweet at me if you think I'm missing out on anyone in particular!

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