Despite what the official schedule says, experienced Lollapalooza-goers and Chicagoans know that once you include off-site festivities the Lolla "weekend" runs pretty much from Thursday until Monday or so. Things are getting off to a strong start tonight with a number of kickoff parties.
Most people know DJ Jazzy Jeff from the lightweight pop hip-hop beats he put down behind Will Smith back when Smith was still the Fresh Prince--and for providing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's best moments with his cameos as the always-hustling Jazz. DJs and trainspotters, on the other hand, know Jeff has a more serious side. By popularizing the game-changing "transformer" scratch technique he helped lay the foundation for the technically intense turntablist movement, and for the past decade he's been dropping surprisingly subtle soul/hip-hop hybrid mixes. He's spinning at Lumen tonight. Details and an RSVP form are available here.
Husband-and-wife indie-pop duo Mates of State are known more for kicking out romantic bubblegum jams than spinning club bangers, but they'll be manning the decks at Debonair Social Club tonight (as well as playing live) at a party set up by Venus magazine. Local DJs Zebo and Jordan Z--who are known for rocking parties--will provide backup. The $10 cover goes to benefit Girls Rock! Chicago (which is throwing an end-of-camp party at Metro on Saturday afternoon).
Diesel's sponsoring a show at Schubas tonight featuring Brooklyn-based disco-fiers Tigercity and psychedelicists Violens as part of their U:Music thing. If you RSVP (firstname.lastname@example.org) Diesel will buy your first drink. For a seasoned afterparty ninja, it should be only the first of the weekend's many free drinks.
And if you're willing to line up right about now, you can check out the Kills, the Black Kids, and Foals at the Apple Store downtown. As a bonus, Kid Sister will be handling emcee duties throughout the performance. The show's free, if you don't count the mental and emotional stress of the inevitable line/crowding issues.