One city. Three days. Over 120 bands. Yup, it’s time for us, as well as tens of thousands of fans, to head to Chicago for Lollapalooza. What’s in store? A lot of Sophie’s choices. Much like Bonnaroo and Coachella, fans will have to make tough decisions over which band to see when two or more are scheduled to take the stage at the same time. Wishful thinking will make you believe you have a chance to see both or all the acts on your must-see list, but the reality is that you’ll end up missing one or all if you try to bounce back-n-forth across the festival grounds.
In order to get you through the three days with as little Meryl Streep tears as possible, we’re putting the spotlight on five potential conflicts to help you make an informed decision.
FRIDAY AUGUST 2
These two bands are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to sound and style, so for some there’s not even a second thought about who to go with. However, both are known for delivering knock out live performances and depending on which band you choose, you set plans for the two final scheduling conflicts of the day. For this flip of the coin it comes down to the vibe you’re looking for as you move into the evening. Neither band is supporting a new album so it’s all about a live show of familiar hits. Band Of Horses is known for delivering sentimental sets that not only bring the adrenaline level down but raise the ethos of a live show. Their sound is great for those who really want to appreciate the music and move onto a show like Thievery Corporation.
Then on the complete other side is Crystal Castles. The group is playing on the complete opposite side of the park, also a factor in determining the rest of your evening. Alice Glass is a power house on stage. For a petite, pink-haired rocker, she packs a lot of punch, not only smoking but also drinking on stage. Then there’s the heavy beats and energetic sound. If you want to keep your party going, it’s best to stick with the duo and then hanging around for Imagine Dragons followed by Hot Chip and The Killers.
The first night comes with two reunions: Queens Of The Stone Age and New Order. Because they are on opposite sides of the park, you really have to choose one and pray that you made the right choice. Luckily, both bands offer something different. QOTSA is back with a new album, …Like Clockwork, that will likely fill a large portion of their set. Given the positive critical reception, the new stuff should satisfy longtime fans.
New Order is also supporting a new album but it’s hard to imagine that the focus will be entirely on the recent stuff. While one can only hope they sprinkle in favorites, such as “Age Of Consent,” it’s a sure thing that most songs will be a throwback to ’way back when.’ However, Bernard Sumner recently fractured his leg so the energy of the set could be fairly low. And there’s nothing worse than watching an aging rocker show his (true) age on stage.
It’s hard to imagine most people not going to see Nine Inch Nail’s first U.S. performance in years, but hey not everyone is a rock fan. If you are opting for something a bit lighter then you are looking at a choice between The Killers and Lana Del Rey. The real reason there’s a tough choice is Lana Del Rey. Her inclusion is the festival is a bit of a surprise and because many haven’t seen her live, she has a lot to prove. But then again, if she doesn’t twirl, there’s no point in being there.
On the other side of that is The Killers. Their last album came out last year, so unless they are still plugging the new stuff it’s likely there will be a mix of hits. The group’s stadium rock sound will be enough to fill the park but don’t expect the same production value of their past tours.
SATURDAY AUGUST 3
Once again, on opposite sides of the park, two wildly different acts are taking the stage. However, given that Lollapalooza packs so many different genres and styles into one weekend, it’s no surprise that you (like many fans) have a tough choice to make. Do you go with a hot, young rapper or an established indie-rock band? The National comes with years of experience on stage and off. Not only did they pack Brooklyn’s Barclays Center but they managed to pull off a six-hour show consisting of one song. Lolla is the kind of venue that’s perfect for this band, a laid back, outdoor experience on a cool summer night.
Then there’s Lamar. The up-and-coming rapper recently owned the stage at Bonnaroo and is burning up the charts with “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.” The only real risk is sifting through filler may make up a portion of his hour-long set. Then again, he could just pull Lady Gaga out on stage and slay all over again.
SUNDAY AUGUST 4
This conflict really comes down to Vampire Weekend or Grizzly Bear with Beach House being an added bonus depending on which way you go. With the release of their third album, Vampire Weekend now has enough music to pack an hour-long set without using any filler. Their stage presence has only gotten better over the years and the group’s sound is so infectious that it’s hard not to have a good time.
On the Red Bull Select stage is Gizzly Bear. The group is known for their low-key sets, often not speaking much during the show. This one for fans because the risk is the lack of acoustics because it’s an outdoor venue. However, the band has plenty of great songs that would be treat to experience live and considering that Alt-J and Beach House perform right before and right after, you enjoy lots of great music without having to move very far.
Don’t forget to check out our genre guide to Lollapalooza.