Birds whistle in the trees and flora flourishes as we approach the middle of summer, 2013. Young folks aren’t ready to think of school yet, older folks are fervently wishing that September would arrive already and give the young folks something to do during the day, but the forces of nature pay no heed to those inconsequential desires. Time passes, and the inevitable draws near: Lollapalooza 2013 is coming, a fact that old and young alike can easily agree upon. With the countdown to August 2-4 hovering at just over two weeks, that world-renowned music festival is a go-to topic for conversation, and anybody not familiar with this year’s illustrious headliners should certainly take this opportunity to catch themselves up.
Lollapalooza was the brainchild of Perry Farrell, lead singer of alt-rock group and oft-headliner Jane’s Addiction. Originally intended to be a farewell tour for his band, the 1991 romp around the continent with Nine Inch Nails and Ice-T in tow was popular enough to warrant reprisals for the next six consecutive years. The festival-tour ran out of steam in 1998, however, and wasn’t revived until 2003. In 2005, Perry teamed up with C3 Presents and made a permanent home for Lolla in a section of Chicago’s Grant Park. It has since expanded to take over the entire 115 acres of the park with a multitude of stages and other attractions for one August weekend per year.
Staying in line with recent trends in the music industry, Lollapalooza has been plagued with a scalping and reselling epidemic. The phenomenon came to a head this year when three day passes to the festival sold out in an hour flat, only for thousands of tickets to reappear in online marketplaces (such as StubHub) at a significant markup. Nevertheless, Lolla remains very well-attended and is under contract to stay in Chicago until at least 2021.
Keeping an eye on the bands that come to Lolla is often a great way to keep on top of popular music trends. Here are the most anticipated bands for this year.
The Killers-This alternative group is fronted by Brandon Flowers, and is touring to support its new album, Battle Born. Its most popular songs include Mr. Brightside and Somebody Told Me (Hot Fuss, 2003), When You Were Young (from Sam’s Town, 2006), Human and Spaceman (Day & Age, 2008), and Runaways (Battle Born, 2012). This will be its third headlining spot at Lollapalooza.
Nine Inch Nails-This industrial rock group has been Trent Reznor’s project since 1988 (this year marks its 25th anniversary), and supported the first ever Lollapalooza tour in 1991. The band has been on hiatus since 2009, and is very much anticipated for this upcoming performance. It is touring in preparation for their new album, Hesitation Marks, which is due for release this September. Its most popular songs (warning: explicit) include Head Like a Hole (Pretty Hate Machine, 1989), Wish (Broken EP, 1992), Closer and Hurt (The Downward Spiral, 1994), and The Hand That Feeds (With Teeth, 2005).
Other notable, Friday headliners include Imagine Dragons (electro-pop, Radioactive), Lana Del Rey (indie pop, Young and Beautiful), Steve Aoki (electro-house, Turbulence), New Order (new wave, The Perfect Kiss), and Queens of the Stone Age (heavy rock, I Appear Missing).
The Postal Service-This electro-alt-pop moniker was meant to be used only for one album; namely, Give Up (2003). It became a cult classic among a wide audience, so duo Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) decided to embark on a brief tour in support of the tenth anniversary of the record and its deluxe edition release, to the delight of fans worldwide. Their catchiest songs are Such Great Heights, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, and Nothing Better, all from Give Up.
Mumford and Sons-This modern, folk-bluegrass group needs little introduction based on their ubiquity in pop culture of late. They are touring in support of Babel (2012, Best Album Grammy), but suffered a setback recently when their bassist, Ted Dwane, underwent surgery for a cerebral blood clot. They still plan to perform at Lolla, however. Their most popular songs include Little Lion Man and The Cave (Sigh No More, 2010), I Will Wait, and Lover of the Light (Babel).
In traditional Lollapalooza fashion/blunder, these two artists are performing simultaneously on stages in opposite sides of the park, which poses a tough choice to fans of both groups (of which there are many).
Other notable, Saturday headliners include Kendrick Lamar (rap, Poetic Justice–explicit ), The Lumineers (folk-bluegrass, Ho Hey!), The National (indie rock, Demons), Matt and Kim (indie pop, Daylight) and Local Natives (indie rock, Breakers).
Phoenix-Hailing from France, this alt-pop group gained a lot of popularity on the back of their poppy penultimate album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), even though they’ve been around since 1999. Their new album, Bankrupt! (2013), aims for a more experimental sound, drawing on various childhood influences as well as synesthetic concepts. Their most enticing tracks include include 1901 and Lisztomania (Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), Entertainment (Bankrupt!), and Consolation Prizes (It’s Never Been Like That, 2006)
The Cure-Formed in the U.K. in 1976, this group rode on the coattails of the British rock age all the way to the alt-rock fervor of the ’90s, and then some. Robert Smith, the only continuous member of the longtime group, has reformed some of the original ensemble in a summer tour, culminating in the Lollapalooza set. Some of their greatest hits are A Forest (Seventeen Seconds, 1980), The Same Deep Water As You and Plainsong (Disintegration, 1989), and Just Like Heaven (Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, 1987).
Go forth and converse intelligently!