Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On the Lollapalooza Lineup

One of the hardest things about living abroad is missing Chicago's amazing music scene. It's something that kind of hums in the background. I notice when I bother to think about it, but most of the time, I'm busy with other things and don't realize that nobody swings their tour this far south. But the Lollapalooza and Pitchfork festivals are big reminders that tend to stick out. Lolla just released their lineup, and here's how it looks.

Headliners are Eminmem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, and Muse, none of which are exactly groundbreaking artists at this point. But let's run down the entire list, grouping (the bands I know) by category.

Washed up nostalgia acts: Big Audio Dynamite, Foo Fighters, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley & Nas, The Cars, Ween, Flogging Molly

Foofy mainstream mediocrity: Coldplay, Muse, A Perfect Circle, Eminem

Lollapalooza meta nostalgia acts: My Morning Jacket, Cage the Elephant, The Kills

On the list of today's popular indie-rockers, but not exactly cutting edge. Also including bands you may like, but I would prefer to be at the snack bar: Mountain Goats, Black Lips, Bright Eyes, Arctic Monkeys, Best Coast

Interesting acts who most would pay to see play in a club: Rival Schools, Imelda May, Titus Andronicus, Deftones, Cee Lo Green, Explosions in the Sky, Ratatat, Crystal Castles, OK Go, Beirut

Desconozco - bands I know nothing about: A ton of others. And here's where the big problem lies. Obviously, I'm out of touch these days, but I'm not the only one. Over the last several years, Lollapalooza has demonstrated an inability to bring worthwhile acts to the side stages. My last time in town for the festival was 2008, and I discovered precisely three new worthwhile acts thanks to the festival. Contrast this with Pitchfork where pretty much every band on the lineup brings something interesting to the table. In sum, the festival has no street cred.

I'm fairly certain that even if I was in Chicago, I would definitely not be visiting Grant Park this time around. I mean seriously, Coldplay? That's actually a band that came to Argentina and I still didn't bother to see them. Would it be worth listening to their Joe Satriani-inspired fluffrock while getting jostled by sweaty masses that actually want to see Coldplay?

No thanks.

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