Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lolla Lineup Cliff Notes - Sunday

Rounding out our preview of Lollapalooza, here are the acts playing on Sunday at the six main stages in chronological order - along with my gut-check synopsis of each one and a rating from 1-10 of how interested I am in seeing them. Feel free to add your own say-so!

The Schedule

Ha Ha Tonka - 8 Definitely in the vein of Kings of Leon only just a touch more intense. Only negative is they occasionally waver close to pop country. But such instances are rare.
Office - 7 New Wave retread that is just revised enough that it actually works pretty well. Halfway between Koufax and XTC.
The Octopus Project - 8 Electronic music that pops with (occasional) vocals delivered in a harmonized, whispery chant. There's some real fire to this music. And now I'm pissed. We had all those shitty bands on Saturday and of course Sunday morning starts with three interesting acts playing at the same time. Lollapalooza, you really suck. I mean a lot. This is bullshit. Dammit!
The Blakes - 5 Pretty much straight up rock. Vocals are a bit uninspired, but they rock a decent beat.
Kid Sister - 4 Dancey hip-hop, it's light and fun, but not very powerful.
White Lies - 5 Interpol if they were actually British. And whinier. So like The Bravery, I guess.
Wild Sweet Orange - 7 Shout Out Louds meets Bright Eyes. I mean, that's a good thing, no?
What Made Milwaukee Famous - 5 A bit too sweet for my tastes, they remind me of a modern version of the Mamas and the Papas with no female voices. Yeah, I know that's a stretch. They're not quite as straight as Snow Patrol, but pretty close.
The Weakerthans - 4 Their myspace page says "Folk Rock." That is correct. They sound like nice boys who don't get into much trouble.
The Whigs - 6 They are soooo from Athens, Georgia. Pretty straight rock, but you get the feeling they really mean it. Like a Southern Social Distortion.
Tally Hall - 2 Quirky with all members singing. Really, really, really not my thing - just too brainy.
John Butler Trio - 1 Neo-hippie acoustic rock complete with stupid lyrics about fast food, only if Anthony Kiedis was the singer.
Nicole Atkins & the Sea - 6 Kind of a less country, darker Neko Case without quite the same chops (but still pretty solid).
Brazilian Girls - 5 A modernized version of the Velvet Underground, except without all the artistry getting in the way. And reportedly more danceable (see the comments). You see how I rated such an incarnation.
Newton Faulkner - 1 I could describe this music, but instead, just take a look at this guy. I think that sums up how awful this dude is better than I can.
Amadou & Mariam - 7 Afro-beat is all the rage, huh? That's what these two from Mali play, but with an acoustic soul bend. Also, they're both blind.
Chromeo - 3 Electronic boops and beeps with pretty low-key vocals. Like LCD Soundsystem without everything that makes it good. Pretty much dance techno.
Black Kids - 6 You may recall that Kyle profiled this band here back in April. So I'm going to borrow straight from his description. With their infectious dance rock getting recognition from everything from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone, you'll have as much fun listening as they appear to have had playing.
Iron & Wine - 6 This is the band that I'm supposed to be more into than I am. Soothing, acoustic roots music. Everyone seems to love Sam Beam or at least his beard, and they always seem pleased with his sets. Just really, really mellow.
Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves - 8 Clearly influenced by Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Eli's got some serious soul for a white boy. If he's got a tight band, this could be fun as hell.
G. Love & Special Sauce - 1 I think this dumb band has played at Lollapalooza every year since its Chicago incarnation. I don't really mind since it keeps the hippie rabble down at one end of the festival.
Saul Williams - 7 The darling of both Trent Reznor and the Sound Opinions guys, Williams is a poet first and a crazy ball of energy second. He's supposed to be great live. I'm not finding much intriguing about his records, so maybe you have to see him to get it.
Flogging Molly - 6 I was briefly into this band about seven years ago. They do the whole Gaelic punk thing and don't really distinguish themselves that much. Still, their songs are pretty slick and snappy. Say that last sentence with a comical Irish accent and it sounds a lot better. See, they're on to something.
Blues Traveler - 1 I think this dumb band has played at Lollapalooza every year since its Chicago incarnation. I don't really mind since keeps the hippie rabble down at one end of the festival.
Love and Rockets - 5 It's tempting to assume that just 'cause a band is old and has been around a while that you need to see them. Formed in the aftermath of the more important Bauhaus, their tunes sound dated today. And I can't fathom they're going to give major energy up there. But they might be worth examining.
Gnarls Barkley - 7 After showing up clad in Wimbledon-ready gear two years ago, they impressed nearly everyone who saw their uber-modern version of slick soul music. Their new album is pretty killer, too.
Girl Talk - 8 The mashup-master from Chicago, Greg Gillis, does it all with his I-mac, but you won't be able to help from groovin and smiling every time you recognize one of his myriad of samples. Word has his new album has over 600 of them. At Pitchfork last year, there were major issues with too many people crowding the smaller stage. He's on a smaller stage again. The best plan may be to find a clear spot in the wings where you can get down unimpeded.
The National - 8 Took me a while to find my way with these guys, but their last release, Boxer, is brilliant in its mopey way. I'm particularly obsessed with the track "Apartment Story." They may really not pull off the festival show, but I'm excited nonetheless.
Mark Ronson - 1 Some cheeseball producer guy who's worked with Macy Gray, Amy Winehouse, Poofy Poppy, and Jimmy Fallon. He made that boring Lilly Allen cover of the Kaiser Chief's "Oh My God." Have at it suckers.
Nine Inch Nails - 10 Somehow, it has become very fashionable to hate on NIN in recent years, despite the fact that they're one of the most fan-friendly bands available these days. You don't need me to describe them to you as they're one of the biggest bands on the planet. I think they're going to play out of their minds and close the festival on fire. Or you can go watch the most overrated rapper since Poofy Pops.
Kanye West - 4 George Bush doesn't care about black people.

I was gonna try to say something profound to wrap this up, but instead I'll just remark that despite all the chimp poo they flung at us on Saturday, the overall lineup is pretty impressive. They've also done a better job of putting bands in sequence that make sense. Like having Gnarls Barkley, Mark Ronson, and Kanye West back to back on the same field. Things always seemed more complicated in previous years. Anyhoo, when I collapse from exhaustion on Sunday night, somebody drag me to the blue line so I can get home, 'kay? Kay.


Dingbat said...

Saw Newton Faulkner at Glastonbury and he was awesome, just read the reviews on the BBC website -

Best set of the weekend IMHO. Amazing acoustic guitarist and seems like a nice guy. Not sure if you just hate him, his music or both - your choice. Just don't judge the book by its cover, cos you won't see many better musicians at Lolla!

Reed said...

I was kinda trying to be funny. Doesn't come easy or effecitvely for me, sadly. I checked out all the songs on his myspace and I felt they were too adult-contemporary for me. I wish he had a little more Michael Hedges in him and a little less John Mayer. I have nothing against him personally, of course. He does seem like a nice guy. But you have to admit that the strawberry blonde dreadlocks are a bit ridiculous.

Thanks for the info and counter preview!

Dingbat said...

Hi Reed, thanks for the courteous response - sorry I missed the humour, but agree that it's a dumb picture. I've seen Newton live several times and he really doesn't come across recorded - too much 'label' polish, but live he's a different animal. I've never seen anyone else walk out in front of over 100,000 poeple, with just an acoustic guitar and get them all onside in minutes. All I can say is, take the time to see him at Lolla, if you can and let us know what you think - wish I could be there too! By the way, they ain't strawberry blonde - they're ginger and no, I'm not his hairdresser!

Dan E said...

God, what a shitty three-day pile of has-beens, mediocrities and bands that sound way better on record than in concert, with a handful of good-to-great live acts (Gnarls, MGMT, Explosions, Ting Tings, Witchcraft, the Kills, Black Keys) sprinkled on top like jimmies. Hope you have fun, but I really (unlike with Pitchfork) don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

Kevinv said...

Newton Faulkner is fantastic!!

ThomasTrab said...

OMG...have you ever actually listened to Brazilian Girls? They are not a version of Velvet Underground.

They are a fun dance band! I just got the new album today, and saw them live a few weeks back....both fantastic!!!

Reed said...

OK, Thomas. I'm going to take your review and bump them up a bit. It was hard to judge how much I'd like a live set based on their recordings. I figured it would all be a bit drab, but if you say they're fun and fantastic, I believe you. Still, you have to admit the vocal similarity between Sabina Sciubba and Nico. I'm not backing off the VU comparison.