Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blah-lapalooza

Posted By on 04.26.11 at 11:51 AM

Last night Lollapalooza announced the complete lineup for this year's festival, and it looks a lot like every other big music festival that's happened over the past five years or so. Reading through the list of second-tier acts on the bill is like running across an old commercial on TV where you surprise yourself by knowing every word in the script. Bright Eyes, Arctic Monkeys, Crystal Castles, Flogging Molly, Atmosphere, Cold War Kids, Cage the Elephant, Delta Spirit—haven't I seen this exact lineup listed a dozen different places already? Are these acts all available to be booked as a package deal? Do Grace Potter & the Nocturnals still exist outside the summer festival circuit? And can someone tell me what Cage the Elephant even is? I've been to I don't even know how many festivals where they were scheduled, but I suspect they're made up.

Things don't improve much once we get into the 32-point-font-and-up area of the bill. Ween, Deadmau5, A Perfect Circle, and Cee Lo Green all have reputations for pretty compelling stage shows. But that big block at the top—Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse—makes me want to take a nap. Usually there's a big, showy anchor at the end of the night that will put on some sort of epic performance that will retroactively make it seem worthwhile to have spent the day brutalizing yourself in the worst part of the Chicago summer watching shit like Cage the Elephant—Kanye, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga. Putting Coldplay on in front of tens of thousands of people suffering low-grade heatstroke is either going to cause a riot or a mass coma. Or both.

There are a few bright spots. Sleigh Bells, the Kills, Titus Andronicus, and the Black Lips all put on good shows, though they've also been a little overbooked at festivals. The dance-oriented Perry's stage looks fun as usual, if a little less adventurous than in past years. And it's nice to see Chicago acts like Disappears, Smith Westerns, Gold Motel, and Kids These Days on the bill.

I'm sure a ton of people will eagerly shell out the 215 bucks the fest is charging for a three-day pass this year. But if Lolla's going to come to town, clusterfuck up the whole city, and duck out on most of the most of their tax bill, is it too much to ask that they at least give us something we haven't seen a dozen times before?

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