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Man, this batch of Lolla acts is decidedly younger than last year's group. One wonders if the Beastie Boys' decision to bow out last year, after receiving the news that Adam "MCA" Yauch had cancer, pressured the Lolla brass to skew decidedly younger this year, or if it was a simple matter of which bands had released new albums in the last 18 months. Either way, this year's group of headliners and buzz bands, with the exception of Soundgarden and Green Day, were probably in training pants when the first Lolla went on tour...with a mere 12 bands.

Two things about that last paragraph make our heads spin: that there were only 12 bands on the first Lolla (there are 51 bands playing on Friday alone this year), and the fact that Green Day is old enough to remember the first Lolla. They still seem so young, those power pop punks. Speaking of which, we're frankly embarrassed that we're not seeing one of the biggest and best bands of the last 16 years for the first time until now (though our editor will be quick to clarify that editorial 'we' by proclaiming that he saw them back in the day), but if there is a tour of theirs to see, this is it. To hear songs from both American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown? This more than makes up for the fact that we have to miss Cut Copy and Phoenix in order to see them, so long as we don't lose another Chicago icon in the process. We're still stinging over the news of John Hughes' death last year. Should John Cusack die in the next 72 hours, we will officially convert to atheism.

Lollapalooza 2010, The Final Recap: The Opening Acts

In this final installment of our , we cover the stars of tomorrow, or what is known in baseball circles as the Futures Game. Well, most of them are potential stars of tomorrow, anyway. One of them was a big time star of the past, and not even one with hipster cred like Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, or Roky Erickson. Easily the biggest blemish on the lineup as a whole. Going a bit overboard in bashing the band, you say? Ha. We're just getting warmed up.

Our man Eldred is into these wildly ambitious Cincinnati glam rockers a tad more (which is to say, about a million times more) than we are, but after reading Eldred's , where he swore they could win over any crowd, we knew a bet when we saw one. Sadly, we missed the majority of the set thanks to the new reworking of the grounds (enter at Roosevelt? Dude, that's a mile from here), but once we arrived, we got their appeal, instantly. And if we didn't, their closing number sealed the deal. Nally leapfrogged onto the guitarist's shoulders, who didn't miss a beat on his solo until Nally started kicking his guitar. The keyboardist is literally stomping on the keys, and not Jerry Lee Lewis-style - more like Dance Dance Revolution-style. Nally then took off one of the drummer's cymbals and chucked it at the drums before walking off the stage. The crowd went absolutely fucking bonkers. Can't say we blame them.

Nally also had the best between-song banter of the weekend, where he spoke of how his father knew John Lennon, which we're pretty sure is bollocks. Either way, this was the best first performance we've seen since .

Our boy Eldred was most impressed with this band, claiming that the blew the bad weather away with pure noise. The former sounds nice, the blowing away the weather. The latter, well, it depends. Are we talking Pixies/My Bloody Valentine noise, or, you know, noise?

(*hits band's MySpace page*)

Ooh, My Bloody Valentine noise. Damn. Sorry we missed this one.

As a means of eliminating accidental bias - hey, we're human, it happens - we tend to listen to bands knowing as little about them as possible. There are drawbacks to this, of course, especially if you cling to your hipster credibility like an oxygen mask. For example, we had no idea until after we were writing up Stars' performance that they were all members of the much-beloved Broken Social Scene, which has ties to every Canadian band from the last 30 years. If we had, then perhaps we would have felt an urge to find a better superlative to describe their set than 'pleasant.' Ah, but hipster credibility means absolutely nothing to us, so here it is: they were fine, and occasionally great. (Their song "We Don't Want Your Body" is easily the best track on their new album .) But at 2:00 in the afternoon on a steamy Saturday, we were perfectly content to lounge in the wake zone between the northern stages and let the mind wander. Read into that what you will.

It warms our hearts to see a group of kids play the kind of pop that their parents would have listened to as kids. We can't imagine that they stand much of a chance in terms of radio success, but they might become soundtrack darlings, and goodness knows that's a more lucrative career path these days than banking on radio to sell your record. We're not sure the songwriting is at peak level yet, but they have the right idea, that's for sure.

Eldred's last five words made us glad we skipped her, especially considering she played in the middle of a rain shower with gale-force winds: "Too quiet for a festival." This same thing plagued , and we would listen to Neko sing the ingredients to a can of soup. Gorgeous voice, but sometimes the music just can't measure up to the atmosphere. Props to Perry for trying to inject a little variety (read: color) into the lineup, but he'd be wise to take energy into consideration, especially on a Sunday when everyone is already wiped out.

The new Perry's stage, and the space in front of it, is twice the size of last year's location, and that's good because it got really tight there last year, especially when Perry himself made an appearance. We dug the last Ancient Astronauts record, a strange blend of New York hip hop and French sensibility, but what we saw of their DJ set was pretty flat. Aside from a fun mash-up involving "Blitzkrieg Bop," they seemed trapped in a reggae fugue. We lasted 15 minutes.

See that hat he's wearing? They were inescapable all weekend, and every time we saw one - which was a lot - we thought, "Tool." Just sayin'. If you own one, put it in the closet. Or better yet, throw it away.

It's hard to stand apart from the guitar alt-rock crowd these days, and granted, these guys didn't do a great job of standing apart themselves, but there was something in their sound that caught our ear. A similarity to Catherine Wheel, perhaps, or perhaps we were just relieved that someone was coming out of the gate bringing the energy, because Lollapalooza isn't a music festival so much as a grueling three-day death march of music (if you're over 30, that is). Bands like the Soft Pack at noon on Saturday are the equivalent of a shot of adrenaline to the heart. Once they were finished, we felt kind of bad for them once we saw that they'd be followed by the decidedly softer Wild Beasts. Don't let the name fool you, they are anything but.

Blues Traveler has played every even-numbered Chicago Lolla. The only thing we can't figure out is why.

Modern rock radio hasn't touched them since 1995. They never played any of the touring Lollas, receiving their first invite in 2006. Granted, much of that was due to the fact that John Popper & Co. were tied up with the traveling jam band H.O.R.D.E. tours until 1998, but doesn't that alone demonstrate just how much one of these things is not like the others? Yes, there is some crossover between the festivals in terms of artists, but they largely involved the bands that were exceptions to the H.O.R.D.E. philosophy, not the other way around. And since they've been playing the festival every other year in the last five years, they haven't been gone long enough for people to miss them now. For us, Blues Traveler at Lolla is like Homer Simpson reading a Far Side calendar: "I don't get. I don't get it. I....don't get it."

All right, rant over. Truth be told, we only heard their first two songs, "Runaround" (leading with the hit? Unheard of) and...wait for it...a cover of Sublime's "What I Got." Knowing wink, or calculated attempt to wring nostalgia from a moment that doesn't call for it? You be the judge. We've judged enough as it is.

This is admittedly another 'one of these things is not like the other' situation, but as big fans of Saadiq's 2008 album , we were thrilled that he brought his pitch-perfect Motown groove to Lolla. (Why they decided to have Mavis Staples play at the same time on the north side, however, was a head-scratcher.) Armed with a crack band - our friend Tim, a drummer, was most impressed with Saadiq's drummer - Saadiq played a slightly sped-up version of his catalog, and threw everyone for a loop when his all-black band laid down the hardest guitar riff that anyone played all day. Smart move, given the crowd they were playing to were pretty damn white (hey, they were on the stage that Lady Gaga would grace six hours later). We even caught a guy so caught up in the groove that he danced like he didn't have a care in the world. While our buddy Tim said, "Man, I'm so glad that's not you," we were actually moved by his lack of self-awareness. He was completely caught up in the moment; that's what it's all about in the end, right?

Lollapalooza 2010, The Final Recap: The Happy Hour Bands

Lollapalooza 2010, The Final Recap: The Headliners, some final thoughts

This year's batch of headliners is one of the strangest groups yet. Sunday was closed by another recently reunited monster of '90s rock (witness Lolla organizer Perry Farrell giving his band Jane's Addiction the final slot last year), Saturday night's lineup featured arguably the biggest band in the world, while Friday's opener - who easily drew the biggest crowd in Lolla history - is a million-selling pop star who first dazzled one of our writers on a Lolla side stage three years ago. Is it the most "alternative" group of closers they could have assembled? Probably not, but it's very telling in a state-of-the-biz kind of way. We'll leave it up to you as to whether that is a good or bad thing.

Let's begin with the, um, enders, for lack of a better (or actual) word, in our .

Chromeo is officially ready for their close-up. They made lots of friends with this show, even if most of the audience was facing south in anticipation of Lady Gaga. Their riff on "Money for Nothing" was fun (they know their audience, that's for sure), and even better was when they used Auto-Tune to sing, Sting-style, "I want my Chromeo." Their new single "Don't Turn the Lights Off" is a killer, and their other new songs sounded just as good.

Watching the crowd gather for Lady Gaga was an event unto itself. Her fans - and make no mistake, there isn't anyone in all of music with a fan base as rabidly devoted as hers, ironic or otherwise - arrived early and parked in front of the Parkways stage all day long. Girls in fishnets, guys in drag, and more kids than we've ever seen at Lolla. Before Chromeo had even taken the stage at the northern end of the southern stages, there was already a bigger crowd waiting for Gaga than the one Depeche Mode played to last year. And Depeche played to a big crowd. But Gaga...this was borderline ridiculous. Some may have questioned Perry's decision to bring Gaga back, since she's now a full-fledged pop star, but he and the rest of the Lolla organizers were clearly laughing all the way to the bank.

As for the set, well, we lasted 20 minutes. She kept taking these lengthy breaks to catch her breath, and the idea was clearly to put on some kind of theatrical production (dialogue between Gaga and her Grace Jones doppelganger backing singer, that kind of thing), and that's cool. The problem was that she was spending almost as much time pausing as she was playing, and the dialogue was littered with expletives. Not that we're above such things, of course, but along with being writers, we're also parents, and remember the bit above about the number of kids at the show. It simply wasn't necessary, and after a while, it lost all meaning. You like saying 'fuck,' we get it. Now play us a fucking song. (See what we did there? God, we're so not clever.)

We heard reports later that she picked things up, but to be honest, we only planned on watching 20 minutes of her set, anyway. There was another act we had ranked higher, and it wasn't the Strokes.

Odds are you're not faimilar with the name Soulwax, but odds are even greater that you've heard them. Their only Stateside releases have been their 1999 debut and a remix album of their 2005 import-only - but their songs have been used in car commercials and episodes of "The O.C.," back when appearing in "The O.C." was a big deal. The band is run by Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele, and the two have carved out a side career as remixers 2ManyDJs (the name stems from a song on their first album) that is so successful that the band has taken a back seat to the remix work. They closed the massively upgraded Perry's DJ stage Friday, and while the audience may have been overrun with club kid douchebags (the guy next to us had tribal tatts and sunglasses night), the Dewaele's tighly choreographed set was a thrill.

Choreographed, you say? Yes, but not with dancers. Behind them was a video montage of album covers of the artist they played, come to life like that , only better. The best one was the slow building of Guns 'n Roses' cover, though the bit to the KJL's "What Time Is Love?" was fun, too. They played the Clash, Daft Punk's one-off group Stardust, 808 State, the Chemical Brothers and New Order, along with newer acts like the Gossip, so the set had a little something for everyone, while the visuals were entertaining even for the songs that we didn't recognize. Sadly, we didn't hear any Soulwax songs. Pity.

Had to skip 'em for Gaga and 2ManyDJs. The weird part, though, is that we still haven't talked to anyone who went to see them.

From where we were sitting in anticipation of Green Day's set, all we could hear from these guys was reggae bass lines. Do do do do dooo dooo dooo. That's it. Of course, it's probably a good thing that we couldn't hear what they had to say with 15 minutes left in their set...

We spent most of the day on the north side, but after seeing the gigantic crowd that had gathered for Lady Gaga the day before, we decided to pass on Spoon in order to guarantee us a good spot for Green Day's set. Imagine our surprise, then, when we hit the softball fields about an hour before they were set to go on stage...and the crowd that had gathered was a fraction, as in a fifth of the size, waiting for Gaga at this time the night before. Wow. Did not expect that at all.

We settled on a spot in the grass to the left of the stage, just in front of the mixing board. About 15 minutes before the band took the stage - and while Slightly Stoopid was still playing on the adidas stage - the sound system started playing assorted disco songs, and someone in a rabbit costume came out with a beer bottle, pretending to be drunk and climbing all over the stage. They even led the crowd into doing the biggest collective "YMCA" in history. Is this really Lollapalooza? The Village People and "YMCA" dancing? Odd.

Still, the greater issue for us was that Green Day was stepping on the toes of what was technically their opening act. We thought they'd be more considerate than that.

Chicago music critic Jim DeRogatis probably trashed Green Day's performance at Lolla. (We'd look it up, but frankly, we can't be bothered.) He's fond of saying that punk should only be played in clubs and dive bars, not in arenas, though it should be noted that DeRogatis is a member of a punk band himself, and the press release that came with their last album was the most pretentious bunch of horseshit we've read in years. Anyway, we can see what he had a problem with in Green Day's set, namely the classic rock break where the band played snippets of "Iron Man," "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "Sweet Child 'o Mine," and "Highway to Hell."

Personally, we thought it was awesome.

Let's break it down a little: Sabbath influenced every hard rock band that followed them, regardless of which stripe of hard rock they chose to play. AC/DC was totally a punk band when they first started, and Guns 'n Roses were punks at heart. As for Van Halen, well, find a single California kid who came of age in the '80s and didn't listen to them. There are none. Plus, Green Day isn't really a punk band anymore, anyway. They're a rock band, and this was an honest to goodness rock show, for better and for worse.

The set list was a well balanced mix of very old and very new, naturally leaning on their biggest selling albums , and , and they even pulled out "2,000 Light Years Away" for the die hards. Curiously, we wish they had featured more of the new album, namely "Before the Lobotomy," "Peacemaker," and "Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)." But it's hard to complain with the set list, as it included every major hit of the band's career, and there are a lot of them. Billie Joe Armstrong brought a 20-something kid on to the stage to sing "Longview," and after a rough start, he turned in a surprisingly good performance, even jumping off the speakers at the end. (It was a good ten feet down.) Billie also had the photographers catch another stage jumper and propel him into the crowd (he never would have made the jump without them), and then brought another adorable little girl on stage...and swore in her face.

If Lady Gaga had a thing for the f-bomb in her set, then Billie Joe's fascination with it borders on fetishistic. It just lost all impact after a while, as did the attempts to get the crowd to sing "Heeeeeeeeyyyyyy-oooooooooo!" in nearly every song. Those are fun here and there, but Armstrong did about 20 of them. We're here to see you sing, dude, not the other way around.

As it grew closer to 10:00, it looked as though they only had time for one more song, so when they launched into "American Idiot," we thought it was all over...which made it even sweeter when they launched into "Jesus of Suburbia" right after, with Billie closing the set 15 minutes late with a solo version of "Good Riddance." All in all, a big-ass rock show from a band that probably never would have dreamed of doing a show like this when they first played Lolla in 1994. Getting old isn't that much of a drag after all, now is it, boys?

Here are the reports we've gotten on their show: "they owned" (that was a text message), and (this is our personal favorite) "White, preppy, techno-ish coolio. Totally different vibe than Green Day. If I wanted to pick up, that would be the place. Better looking, well-to-do chicks all trying hard to be hippies and/or act badly." Wow, who knew that Phoenix would make the good girls want to act bad? That would have beaten the hell out of the trilby hat-wearing douchebag in front with me at Green Day with his long-haired hippie girlfriend who kept flipping her hair in my face. Seriously, guys, if you have a trilby hat, burn it, lest you want to be branded a hipsterbag.

Our man James Eldred, on assignment for another mag since we could only bring one BE writer this year, said that the boys were a little rusty, but still threw down. The couple we talked to later that evening, however, said they were pretty mediocre. We (which is to say, senior editor David Medsker using the editorial 'we') can take or leave Soundgarden - in other words, you can take "Spoonman," as long as you leave "Black Hole Sun" and "Head Down" - so never mind their performance: the of their playing Lollapalooza was frankly a disappointment. Yes, the A-list has gotten decidedly smaller in the last few years, and Perry is very careful to make sure his lineups have something for every generation of alt rocker. Having said that, the early '90s were already represented by Green Day, Cypress Hill, Social Distortion and, God help them, Blues Traveler (who covered a Sublime song, no less). Surely there was another band that could have taken this slot...right?

Not a peep from our peeps on this one. Aren't they supposed to have a raucous live show? That seems unlikely, given that their new album nearly put us to sleep at the three-quarter mark.

The scheduling conflicts, how do I (sorry, but I'm putting away the editorial 'we' from here on) put this...what the hell? They were downright hostile compared to years past. Only a handful of black artists on the bill, but you're going to put Raphael Saadiq and Mavis Staples on at the same time? Devo and the New Pornographers? From the second I saw the schedule, the number of bands I was interested in seeing but able to cover practically split in half. Were the touring schedules so unforgiving that all of those bands had to play on Friday and Saturday? Granted, I don't know what goes into the schedule, and I understand that they don't want to overload one side of the grounds, but they did that anyway with the inclusion of Lady Gaga. I can't imagine that putting Devo and the New Pornographers back-to-back on the same side of the park, likewise Saadiq and Staples, would have created any issues outside of people passing out from sheer awesomeness.

No electrolyte drinks at the drink stands? Wow. The decision to allow people to refill their water bottles for free was a brilliant, thoughtful, cost-cutting move, but there are times where water just isn't enough. Case in point: in our walk back to the hotel after Green Day (the trains were overrun, so we walked the two miles back to our beds, after spending God knows how many hours walking and on our feet before that), I ran into the first open drug store to buy a 32-oz. bottle of Gatorade, which I killed in minutes. Please, bring them back next year.

Oh, and if you're looking for a list of bands to consider inviting next year, here's my personal wish list: Scissor Sisters Hey Champ The Silver Seas Franz Ferdinand Supergrass Motorhead (don't laugh - their appearance on "The Young Ones" alone makes them alt-rock gods) Crowded House Underworld Elogy Living Colour The Like Midnight Juggernauts Pet Shop Boys The Posies Duran Duran (new Mark Ronson-produced album due any day now, they'd draw a huge crowd)

And if you wanted to convince Blur and the Stone Roses to reunite, well, I wouldn't stop you.

My point, I guess, is that you are going to run out of bands from the '90s that people want to see a lot faster than you will run out of bands that people want to see from the '80s, when modern rock was born. Go get Tears for Fears, and watch how big of a crowd they'd draw. (Witness Devo's set from this year.) Or better yet, get a guy like Tom Jones. Dude has HUGE hipster cred. He'll outdraw your biggest mope rock band without breaking a sweat. Pity you'll never get New Order or the Smiths back together, because their participation would keep you financially solvent for the next 10 years. You might be able to convince the Replacements with enough cash, though. Just a thought.

Thanks, Lolla. See you next year.

Lollapalooza 2010 recap: Sunday Sunday here again, a walk in the park...

Lollapalooza 2010 recap: Saturday night's all right for rocking

The thing about Lolla is that it gets exponentially harder from day to day. Even with a good night's sleep, today was, well, fucking impossible. The fact that the lineup was reeeeeeeeeally sparse compared to Friday's lineup did not help. Damn it, why aren't the Scissor Sisters here?

Before we hit the grounds, we hit one of our favorite Chicago restaurants: Heaven on Seven. Try the gumbo. The andouille sausage po' boys are pretty damn good, too.

As we're entering the grounds, there were some people who were interested in opening a friendly dialogue about religious philosophy and moral ambiguity in modern society. That, or they wanted to stone people to death on the spot, one of the two.

These kids are so cute I just want to pinch their little cheeks. They're a bubblegum pop band from Chicago (think '60s bubblegum, not the Jonas Brothers), and I love that they play the music they play; I just wished the songwriting was a touch stronger. But they're young - they can grow into their songwriting shoes. That they're starting out playing this kind of music, to me, is a sign of good things to come.

It's harder and harder for guitar bands to stand apart these days, and these guys are unfortunately victim to that. There were some good tunes in their set, mind you, but they haven't yet figured out how to separate themselves from the pack. I'm looking forward to the day when they find a way to do that.

There's a joke here somewhere about how every Canadian musician under the age of 40 is in Broken Social Scene, but it's just not coming to me at the moment. Everyone in Stars is also in BSS, and their new record is a pleasantly airy collection of mid-tempo, mildly electronic music, and surprise! So was their set at Lolla. That didn't stop a bunch of people from dancing to them, though, and even I was bobbing my head to "We Don't Want Your Body," which is just begging to be released as a single.

For three guys with a couple guitars and a bank of machines, Dan Black made sure his show was as human as it could possibly be. And as luck would have it, I showed up one song before he played the "Umbrella"-sampling "Symphonies." Can't beat that with a stick.

Lunch break. Grabbed some fish tacos, sat next to a nice couple from New Orleans, who gave us a portable cell phone charger. Which came in handy...when the batteries in my camera died. Hey, I can recharge my phone at the hotel.

Listened to a little of the Royal Bangs after scouting their MySpace page. Not pleased. Moved on.

I feel bad for the bands that play the Playstation stage, or the Petrillo band shell as it's called every other day of the year. They get fabulous acoustics, but they're on a downward slope, so anyone outside the cement pavillion will be all but unable to see them without peeking at the Jumbotron. Which sucks, because there are few things on this earth I love more than watching Emily Haines dance. I mean damn, is she the cutest thing on the planet or what? Look at the (easily the highlight of the set). Swoon. That girl owns me.

This pair of shoes and socks stood in front of me. Had to document it. You know, for when alien civilizations come to study us centuries from now.

Time to head down south and get a spot for Green Day, since they will surely draw another Gaga-esque crowd. But first, food. Chicken on a stick, with lo mein noodles. Yum.

Is there such thing as a bad set from these guys? And by that I mean, the margin of error on their sets is pretty damn small, isn't it? Can one of their sets really be significantly better than another? What I'm saying is, it's Social Distortion: you know exactly what to expect.

I'm not a fan of this band, but I felt bad for them. As my friend Tim and I found a spot to sit before Green Day's set - and was shocked to see that there were a good five times as many people on the Grant Park softball fields for Lady Gaga this time last night as there were for Green Day - Slightly Stoopid had 15 minutes left to play when Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" started playing through Green Day's speakers. Not at an obnoxious volume, but still loud enough that the band could hear it between songs. Then someone in a rabbit costume (I'm guessing it was Tre Cool) came out on stage acting drunk and silly. If I'm Slightly Stoopid, I'm pissed. That was bad form. If I'm Green Day, I expect to find my tour bus covered in feces, inside and out.

Say this for Green Day's set: they put on one hell of a rock show. Not exactly a punk show, but a rock show (complete with classic rock medley including Sabbath, Van Halen, Guns 'n Roses, and AC/DC), and aside from hustling the crowd in to waaaaaaaay too many sing-a-longs, thus stretching songs out a good two to three minutes longer than they needed to, they definitely brought the goods. and bookended the set, with pretty much every early-period Green Day song you can imagine in between (they even played "2,000 Light Years Away"), and they even deliberately went long by 15 minutes to make sure the crowd got their "Jesus of Suburbia." Everyone who wasn't wearing ear plugs for this show is surely regretting it thought, as the show was littered with fireworks. Loud, loud fireworks.

I texted someone I met over the fish tacos about how Phoenix was on the north side. "They owned," he said, while Bullz-Eye's James Eldred, on assignment with another publication since we only got one media pass this year (the economy, we guess), said Empire of the Sun's set at Perry's was awesome.

The crowd emptying out of Grant Park was so big that we didn't even bother trying to get on the train and walked back to our hotel. Add another two miles to the day's travels. Ow.

Lollapalooza 2010 recap: Friday

Lollapalooza 2010 Pre-Day One: Choose your battles

One of the things about Lollapalooza's marketing angle was that we've always found amusing is the idea that the consumer was getting well over 100 bands for about $200, so they're paying about two bucks per band. The problem with that logic, of course, is that most of the time there are five bands playing at once, meaning that you couldn't possibly see every band that you're supposedly paying two bucks to see. And that's all right - we get that they're trying to provide as much entertainment for as many different musical cliques as possible, and that's how it should be. Yes, it may create the occasional conflict - last year's biggie for us was when they pitted the Kaiser Chiefs against the Airborne Toxic Event - but for the most part, the worst thing you'll have to deal with is missing the beginning or end of a band's set as you're trekking from the northern stages to the southern stages, or vice versa.

This year, however, boasts some scheduling conflicts that frankly have us scratching our heads. Why, for example, book Mavis Staples and Raphael Saadiq, presumably here to add some color to a largely lily-white music festival, and then have them play at the same time? Odds are, anyone who's interested in seeing one of those two would like to see the other; why make that impossible? If crowd control is the issue, it couldn't have been too much trouble to have them play one after the other on opposite ends of Grant Park, would it? Or even better, have them play back to back on the north side or south side. We know that they all have other touring commitments that complicate things, but really, we see no reason why Saadiq and Staples couldn't play against artists that, you know, .

But alas, there are a lot of bands that we'd love to see this year but can't, due to some conflict or other. In order to see Devo, Green Day, 2Many DJs and Wolfmother, we'll have to miss the New Pornographers, Cut Copy, Phoenix, the Strokes, and MGMT. On a heavily front-loaded lineup (Friday is easily the most star-studded lineup this year), missing out on five bands is big. We suspect that we'll be killing much time at the DJ tent this year, and that's all right: we had a great time there last year (thanks to our friend Leyla at for showing us the light), and with the inclusion of Ancient Astronauts and 2ManyDJs, a.k.a. Soulwax (they're huge in Belgium, because they were born and raised there), Perry Farrell clearly understands the importance of taking the DJ tent seriously. We still haven't forgiven Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike, though, for making us late for the Go! Team in 2006 when he . No one's late at Lolla, period. Well, except Amy Winehouse, and you all saw what happened after that. ()

Still, scheduling conflicts aside, we're looking forward to a fun - and if the current forecast is to be believed, not terribly hot - weekend of music, and though we're missing the New Pornographers, we're interviewing one of them next week. Wonder how she'll react when we tell her we decided to see Devo instead...

Along with a giant, comprehensive recap of the festival highlights, there will be nightly recaps of each day's events, so make sure to check back here each day to find out what went down.

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