Usually at this time on the first Friday in August, we’re in Chicago’s Grant Park, soaking up the sun (or, in 2009, a lot of rain) and tunes galore at Lollapalooza. This year, well, we’re not there. Don’t ask, as it’s still a sore subject, but we will tell you that it has something to do with a cat, bungee cables, string cheese, and a bread maker. The gag order prohibits us from saying another word.
Strangely, the lineup is looking better and better now that we’re not going, though once again they scheduled several of our must-see bands against each other (Coldplay, Muse and Girl Talk at the same time? Really?). One band we’d like to get a second look at is White Lies, a pasty London trio who released an iffy EP a couple years ago, but opened their new album Ritual with one killer alt-dance rock groove called “Is Love.” Give it a moment to breathe, and when the second chorus hits, get out your air guitars.
Next up: Foster the People, another unfortunately named band (all of the good ones, apparently, are taken) who absorbed every note of MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular as if it were the sun. To their credit, the best moments on their debut album out-do MGMT’s last album without breaking a sweat. “Pumped Up Kicks” is getting the airplay, but it’s second single “Houdini” that had us at the opening kick drum.
Which brings us to one of Friday’s headliners – come to think of it, all three of these bands are playing on Friday, which shows that Lolla once again front-loaded the festival, making it impossible to see everyone, or even half of everyone, you paid $220 to see – and one absolute must-see in concert: Muse. Lolla regulars know this already, since they headlined three years ago, but lest anyone be thinking of catching Coldplay, also a dynamic live band, the decision between the two is an easy one. Of course, the fact that anyone would have to choose between the two – one of these bands should be playing opposite Eminem. End of story – is just silly, but such is life. (Note: we wanted to go with the live version of “Stockholm Syndrome” here, but the damn thing isn’t embeddable, ugh.)
Happy Lolla, everyone. Don’t get too fried. Also, don’t get sunburned.