Concert Preview: Lollapalooza 2012 - 140 Artists on 8 Stages over 3 Days in Chicago

Concert Preview:  Lollapalooza 2012 - 140 Artists on 8 Stages over 3 Days in Chicago

Perusing the Lollapalooza schedule can be a daunting task... Here are some helpful hints on bands that, while not necessarily household names... yet, might just be worth your time this weekend...

With just about 140 artists performing throughout the weekend (not even including the special aftershows), deciding who to see can be a challenge.

You don't need me to tell you that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are a great live band and you certainly don't need me to tell you that Black Sabbath is to heavy metal what the Beatles are to pop.

That said, here are some suggestions that may just help you be able to brag to your friends in a few years that you saw (insert band here) before they were huge (think along the lines of Lady Gaga's performance in 2007 or Arcade Fire's in 2005).

The key to beating the other 99,999 people in attendance to "the next big thing" this weekend is to get there early and check out some of the acts appearing as early as noon each day.  So don't drink too much, stay hydrated, get some sleep, grab a coffee and get to the festival early! 

Here's a day by day rundown of headlining artists, acts you've heard of and, most importantly, those you haven't for each day of the 2012 Lollapalooza festival this weekend in Chicago.

Onto the music...

Friday, August 2, 2012

Headliners:  Black Sabbath, Wale, Bassnectar, The Black Keys

Who You Know...  M83, Dawes, Passion Pit, The Shins, The Head & The Heart, The Afghan Whigs, Sharon Van Etten

Who I'm Intrigued By...

First Aid Kit (Friday at noon on the Playstation stage) - Bluegrass influenced pop amidst the jarring juxtaposition of sweet vocal harmonies and haunting lyrical subject matter.  Pedal steel is always a plus.  Check out "Emmylou" for a small taste.

Ambassadors (Friday at noon on the BMI stage) - Outstanding vocals across true rock songs... and I'm a sucker for the violin that powers "Litost."

Haley Reinhart (Friday at 1:10PM on the BMI stage) - The first American Idol alum to play Lollapalooza...  That designation alone is likely to bring a roll of the eyes from hipsters and other festivalgoers... but give her a chance.  Somehow, "Oh My" popped up on my Pandora feed last week and I have to admit, the last thing I expected when I picked up my phone was to see the name of an American Idol contestant.  Surprisingly cool and extremely catchy, her May debut Listen Up! is drenched in piano based, classic pop influences and dictates you do just that.

The Black Angels (Friday at 2:15PM on the Bud Light stage) -  The bass line is up front and the organ is downright creepy.  Slow, churning pyschadelic rock at its finest.

Purple Apple (Friday at 2:30PM on the Kidz stage) - Power pop done well by an all female, local teen quartet.  (They also play the Kidz stage at 12:30PM on Saturday)

thenewno2 (Friday at 5:40PM on the BMI stage) - The brainchild of Beatle George's son Dhani Harrison, thenewno2 are fiercely independent.  Electronic elements, compelling songwriting and cool guitar, the band released their second album thefearofmissingout last week (featuring guest spots by everyone from Ben Harper to RZA). 

Saturday, August 3, 2012

Headliners:  Red Hot Chili Peppers, Santigold, Frank Ocean, Avicii

Who You Know... Block Party, Franz Ferdinand, tUnE-yArDs, B.o.B., FUN, The Temper Trap

Who I'm Intrigued By...

Alabama Shakes (Saturday at 4:15PM on the Bud Light Stage) - Supposedly "discovered" by Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, the band's bluesy guitar riffs combine with the soulful vocals of Brittany Howard for a Muscle Shoals influenced sound that sizzles.  Their April debut Boys & Girls gave us the 2012 song of summer in "Hold On."

The Verve Pipe (Saturday at 4:05PM on the Kidz stage) - Yes, the nineties alternative band that gave us "The Freshmen," "Photograph" and "Villains" is saddling up at the Kidz stage... and I remain intrigued.  (They returned in 2009 with the child focused The Family Album)  (The Verve Pipe also play the Kidz stage at 12:30PM on Sunday)

Empires (Saturday at 3:20PM on the BMI stage) - The grunge influenced, local rockers recently released their appropriately titled debut album Garage Hymns, an album that captures the band's live feel.  If you caught them at Taste of Randolph earlier this summer, than you've got an inkling of what to expect this weekend.

GIVERS (Saturday at 2:15PM on the GooglePlay stage) - There's an awful lot of buzz around this band right now... The Louisiana based quintet features exactly the type of melting pot of sounds and influences that you'd expect from a Louisiana based band.  Very rhythmic, extremely danceable and with a little bit of electronic elements and a lot of guitar, I have a feeling this live set is going to be one of the weekend's most fun.

The School of Rock (Saturday at 1:30PM on the Kidz stage) - Looking for a chance to get away from the major crowds and have some unabashed fun?  Tired of the hipsters, rock attitudes and cliches?  Then this is the stage for you.  (The School of Rock All-Stars will also back up Porno for Pyros' guitarist Peter DiStefano on Sunday at 3:15PM at the Kidz stage). 

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound (Saturday at noon on the Sony stage) - I caught up with JC Brooks for an interview last week and am even more excited to catch the local "punk-soul" act live for the first time.  Often lumped in with recent soul revivalists, crunchy guitars, Wilco covers and a love of new wave set this band apart and their live show is supposed to be something to see.

Sunday, August 4, 2012

Headliners:  Jack White, Kaskade, Childish Gambino, Justice

Who You Know... At the Drive-In, Of Monsters & Men, Florence & The Machine, The Gaslight Anthem, The Walkmen, Sigur Rós

Who I'm Intrigued By...

Red Oblivion (Sunday at noon on the BMI stage) - Punk and metal influences... fused with cello.  Hard to beat that.

The Devil Makes Three (Sunday at 1:45PM on the PlayStation stage) - An interesting sound that seems to draw equally from Django Rheinhardt and Flatt & Scruggs.  Acoustic music based primarily on banjo, guitar and stand-up bass.

Gary Clark, Jr. (Sunday at 3:15PM on the PlayStation stage) - His is the old school blues of John Lee Hooker.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with the loud, rocking, incendiary blues of someone like Buddy Guy... but make no mistake, Gary Clark, Jr. is a stripped down, delta blues throwback... and a rocking good time in the live setting.  This set is sure to be a blast.

Peter DiStefano & Tor (Sunday at 3:15PM on the Kidz stage) - The former Porno for Pyros guitarist has performed on the Kidz stage in years past.  He has also performed in Porno for Pyros with Lolla figurehead Perry Farrell.  Perry has also performed on the Kidz stage in years past.  Perry will obviously be in attendance for this year's festival... and always manages to pop up somewhere unannounced... See where I'm going with this? (Rumor has it DiStefano will also be backed up by the School of Rock All-Stars for this set)

The Sheepdogs (Sunday at 4:30PM on the BMI stage) - Blues, southern rock, psychadelic rock... done by Canadians and done well.  I can hear a bit of the Black Keys... and for good reason:  Patrick Carney produced the group's self-titled debut scheduled for a September release.  And did I mention that lead singer Ewan Currie kind of sounds a bit like Daryl Hall?  Intrigued yet?

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    Jim Ryan

    Jim Ryan has written about music in print and online for a variety of Chicagoland publications for over fifteen years. In addition to duties filling in as Traffic Anchor on CLTV or in the helicopter on NBC 5, you can also catch him Sunday nights at 6PM central as host of "The Rock N' Roll Radio Program" on AM 1420 WIMS and AM 1060 WHFB (streaming at wimsradio.com and via the TuneIn Radio app for the smart phone or tablet). Jim has also worked locally for WXRT-FM, lives within walking distance of the Metro and is an avid White Sox and Blackhawks fan whose first live concert experience came at Comiskey Park in 1984 during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour.

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