On the Agenda: Lollapalooza 2012

Two Chicago magazine editors list their top five acts to see at this weekend’s massive music festival

Let’s face it: Lollapalooza is not for the faint of heart. The annual summer festival behemoth features almost 140 acts across eight performance areas, all of them fighting for the attention of the hundreds of thousands of fans expected to invade Grant Park this weekend. In our August issue, music writer Selena Fragassi named four can’t-miss acts. Here, two Chicago editors (and Lolla vets) list ten more to help you round out your weekend. 

FRIDAY

EMMET

The Head and the Heart
5:15 p.m. Sony stage
I first heard the Seattle-based band a few years back outside of Lincoln Park’s Glascott’s, when a friend turned on “Rivers and Roads” to soundtrack his cigarette break. Though not my favorite song of theirs—that honor belongs to “Down in the Valley”—the track was enough for me to download the entire album when I got home. Their melancholic melodies may not be the usual way to kick off Lolla weekend, but it will be worth it, I promise.

DJ Zebo
7:15 p.m. PlayStation stage
After Passion Pit wraps up and before the Black Keys/Black Sabbath battle later in the night, most Lolla-goers will head over to see M83. On the way over, though, make sure to stop by DJ Zebo’s set. The Chicago DJ (here’s a sample of his mixing) will be a welcome break from all the indie folk and rock this weekend.

ELLY

Passion Pit
6 p.m. Bud Light stage
For me, the fest begins in earnest with Passion Pit. The group’s sophomore album, Gossamer, won me over—particularly with one of its last tracks, “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy”. I like that the band pairs bubbly, energetic melodies with somber lyrics. Also, Gossamer happens to be my favorite Half Acre brew.

Grimes
10 p.m. aftershow at Logan Square Auditorium
The ebullient and uber-fun Claire Boucher, who just played Pitchfork last month, headlines the official Lollapalooza aftershow at the recently renovated Logan Square Auditorium. Basically she’s my girl crush. If you listen to one song of hers, make it “Oblivion”. Tickets and more info here.

 

SATURDAY

EMMET

Walk Off the Earth
6:50 p.m. BMI stage
Back when covers for Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” took over Facebook news feeds around the world (so, really, before everyone started covering “Call Me Maybe"), this Canadian group stood out with their rendition of the song—with all five members playing a single guitar together. Look for them to cover some other big names this Saturday.

Avicii
8:30 p.m. Bud Light stage
On Saturday night, most fest-goers (or at least the 25,000-plus people who have it scheduled in their lineups online) will be over at the Red Bull Soundstage to hear the headlining Red Hot Chili Peppers. That means it’s a great time to head in the opposite direction and check out Swedish DJ Avicii (pronounced a-vee-chee) mixing at the Bud Light stage. You may not know the name, but the sound is familiar: he’s the guy behind “Levels”, a track that’s been sampled by everyone from Flo-Rida to Skrillex.

ELLY

Tallest Man on Earth
5:15 p.m. PlayStation stage
I first encountered Tallest Man on Earth (Kristian Matsson) in 2009 after stumbling upon his Tiny Desk concert—and have been a dedicated listener ever since. The native Swede’s take on American folk music intrigues me, and I’m curious to hear him live. Here’s just one of my favorites of his.

Frank Ocean
8:45 p.m. Google Play stage
He was a last-minute addition to Lolla after hitting the ground running with the release of Channel Orange earlier this month. I’m not even going to disclose how many times I’ve listened to the album’s soulful, achey centerpiece, “Bad Religion”.



 

SUNDAY

EMMET

Of Monsters and Men
6 p.m. Google Play stage
Continuing the European invasion (see also: Avicii, Tallest Man on Earth, Little Dragon), the six-member group from Iceland will be rocking the Google Play area with their indie folk beats. The band’s most popular single is “Little Talks,” but equally infectious is the second track off their album, “King and Lionheart.”

ELLY

Little Dragon
3:15 p.m. Perry’s
There’s just something about those Swedes. These guys will be my second Scandanavian act of the weekend. I’ve obsessively listened to Little Dragon since the 2007 debut of their eponymous album. I never grow tired of their inimitable, futuristic sound, and the title track off their third album, “Ritual Union,” was my favorite single last year—by far.

 

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