In theory, the words 'cancer' and 'tumor' aren't supposed to be anywhere near the word 'Lollapalooza,' and yet this year they are not only near 'Lolla' but the word 'headliner' as well. Fortunately, both of the people involved with said tumor and cancer – Depeche Mode lead singer Dave Gahan and Beastie Boys member Adam "MCA" Yauch – are doing just fine and have either recovered or are expected to make a full recovery. Still, the organizers behind Lollapalooza were surely freaking out a little bit once they lost one of their biggest bands to natural causes. "Have we lost the kids? Are we out of touch because we recruited a couple of bands to headline that are cancer patients?"
In a word, no. They had Jack's Mannequin play two years ago, and their singer suffered worse medical troubles than MCA or Dave Gahan did, and he's half their age. Still, we understand that perception is nine tenths of the law, so when the Beastie Boys canceled their tour and postponed their album so MCA could deal with his recovery, we could hear the collective "Fuuuuuuuuuuuck!" from Camp Lolla before they had issued an official statement. But let's not get hysterical – Lollapalooza is not suffering from old age. They've always had a healthy respect for the bands that helped pave the way for the bands of today, booking acts like Billy Idol, Violent Femmes, the Pixies, Patti Smith, Roky Erickson and Love and Rockets in years past, and Lou Reed this year. Indeed, it would be disrespectful to the people who helped Lolla become the monster festival that it is if they suddenly turned their back to the Gen X music fans that brought Lolla where it is today.
So keep that in mind as Bullz-Eye sends one staunch Gen X'er (David Medsker) and one atypical Gen Y'er (James Eldred) to take on Lollapalooza and the typically brutal Chicago late summer weather to see who's the last band standing, as it were. Without playing our hand too early, don't be surprised if the band that we're most impressed with involves a nine-year-old Japanese guitar hero. Just sayin'.