So many bands, so little time.
Yes, even with three full days of music, it’s still difficult to see all of your favorite acts at Lollapalooza.
Organizers of the festival don’t exactly make it easy on attendees either as multiple bands are playing on various stages at the same time. But you’re going to be a music-fueled warrior intent on seeing as many acts as possible this weekend ... Or at least until you get tired of walking back and forth through the festival grounds.
Here are a few suggestions that should help with the difficult schedule decisions.
- Rob Carroll
Passion Pit (6 to 7:15 p.m.) vs. The Shins (6:15 to 7:30 p.m.)
When it comes to outdoor festivals in the hot summer sun, I typically choose the more upbeat band. You’re drenched in your own, and likely someone else’s, sweat and are tired from a long day of pounding the pavement of Grant Park. Not to mention it’s only Friday. This is no time to give in. You still have two more days of this stuff. Head over to see Passion Pit and let their upbeat, keyboard-heavy music pick you up. It’s going to be a long weekend. Save the slow stuff for Sunday’s cool-down lap.
Verdict: Passion Pit
Black Sabbath (8:05 to 10 p.m.) vs. The Black Keys (8:30 to 10 p.m.)
Black Sabbath is a curious booking for Lollapalooza as an act with this many years of experience has never been in a headlining spot at the festival. Ozzy and the rest of his classic metal bandmates, minus drummer Bill Ward, are only playing a handful of dates this summer. So even without Ward, Black Sabbath should be worth checking out for at least a half hour. If Ozzy is on his game, racing around the stage and clapping offbeat like in the past, consider splitting time evenly between the festival’s two main stages. The Black Keys are worth your time too, but they’ve played Lollapalooza a couple times before and will probably be back again.
Verdict: Black Sabbath (proceed with caution), then The Black Keys
Alabama Shakes (4:15 to 5:15 p.m.) vs. The Temper Trap (4 to 5 p.m.)
The Saturday afternoon performance by bluesy garage rock outfit Alabama Shakes should be one of the highlights of this year’s Lollapalooza. Lead singer Brittany Howard can wail and the band’s music often matches the intensity of her vocals. Their latest release, “Boys & Girls,” is one of the better albums of the year. Australian indie rock band The Temper Trap also put out a great album this year with their self-titled release. But Alabama Shakes takes this battle as their performance should really get the north end of Grant Park moving, especially when they let loose at the end of “Be Mine.”
Verdict: Alabama Shakes
Red Hot Chili Peppers ( 8 to 10 p.m.) vs. Avicii (8:30 to 10 p.m.) vs. Frank Ocean (8:45 to 9:45 p.m.)
Last year, Lollapalooza organizers complicated things even more by including acts on some of the smaller stages while the headliners honored their extended set times on the festival’s main stages. Things get even more complicated this year with more acts all playing the same time slot to close out each night. Swedish electro-dance music act Avicii will have a party going on one end of Grant Park – probably drawing many of the festival’s younger attendees. Pulsating club beats by a 22-year-old and his laptop not your thing? You’re in luck because the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be reeling off a greatest hits set at the other end of the festival grounds. But their act can get tiring depending on their set list for the night and how much they plan to jam between songs. Spend 45 minutes with the Chili Peppers and hustle over to see singer Frank Ocean on one of the festival’s smaller stages. Ocean is one of the best voices to come along in recent years. But his music isn’t just about his voice. Ocean is a superb song-writer as well, often putting clever twists on his lyrics. Catch Ocean’s Saturday night set as his act is about to blow up.
Verdict: Frank Ocean
At The Drive-In (6 to 7:15 p.m.) vs. Florence + The Machine (6:15 to 7:30 p.m.)
It’s Sunday, it’s been a long weekend, and you’re ready to plop down in front of whatever stage is closest to your current locale. It would be easy to find a nice patch of grass (or circle of dirt and trash) where you could spread out and enjoy a nice Sunday in the park while listening to the powerful voice of Florence Welch. The dynamic ability of Florence + The Machine’s music can be matched by few on this year’s Lollapalooza schedule. Another band that uses a mix of loud and quiet in a much more frantic way is At The Drive-In. The post-hardcore band is back together after 11 years. There’s a lot of layers to At The Drive-In’s complex sound. And witnessing their precision while pulling it off live shouldn’t be missed. So dig down deep, buy an over-priced energy drink and head over to see what will surely be a hard-charging set by At The Drive-In.
Verdict: At The Drive-In
Jack White (8:15 to 10 p.m.) vs. Childish Gambino (8:45 to 9:45 p.m.)
It’s the garage rock of Jack White vs. the rap of Donald Glover (aka Troy Barnes from NBC’s “Community”). While these two acts might not share many of the same fans, they’re both really damn good. White will be playing songs off his highly-praised solo album that came out earlier this year. He’s also been playing White Stripes songs during recent concert dates. That alone makes White’s set a must-see. Performing on another stage during an hour of White’s timeslot will be rap act Childish Gambino. And while Glover might be a comedic actor, he takes his rap career seriously. His lyrics paint vivid pictures of growing up in rough neighborhoods and struggling for acceptance both in school as a student and in the entertainment business as an actor and rapper. His 2011 debut album, “Camp,” is one of the most well-written rap albums to come out in recent years. Tough choice. Why do you have to do this to us Lollapalooza organizers?
Verdict: Pick em