There are tons of heavyweights at this year’s Lollapalooza (Aug. 4-6) — Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco, Gnarles Barkley, Flaming Lips, the Raconteurs, Queens of the Stone Age, Matisyahu, and the Shins, among others (read more) — but don’t overlook the myriad acts that make the early trek to Chicago’s Grant Park for the 130-band, eight-stage mega-fest (and braving the oppressive temps while there) well worth it.
FRIDAY, AUG. 4
deadboy & the Elephantmen (read more)
The ragged harmonies and lo-fi, garage rock arrangements from this bluesy indie-rock duo will appeal to White Stripes enthusiasts. Acoustic ballads like “Evil Friend” and “No Rainbow” might be the perfect songs for basking in Grant Park under the afternoon sun.
Set Time, Stage: 11:45-12:30, Adidas-Champs
Sound Team (read more)
Thanks to a positively extravagant assortment of fuzzy noises from Moogs and reverberating guitar on major-label debut Movie Monster, this Austin, TX quartet have already hit mega-fests like South by South West. Even if Chicago is uber-toasty, it’ll be hard to resist grooving to dance rock ditty “TV Torso.”
Set Time, Stage: 11:45-12:30, Q101
Midlake (read more)
Midlake have been a giant blogasm since the online community got wind of “Roscoe” off their sophomore album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, and the band’s warm sonic tones should draw more than just bloggers to their set.
Set Time, Stage: 12:00-12:30, PlayStation
The M’s (read more)
This Chicago-based quartet get to play to their home crowd this weekend, so expect their ’60s British-Invasion pop tunes from sophomore album Future Women to be even more recklessly upbeat.
Set Time, Stage: 2:15-3:00, AMD
SATURDAY, AUG. 5
Be Your Own Pet (read more)
This Nashville quartet of punk-rockin’ kids boast infectiously fun tunes that aren’t meant just for the high school set: Their frenzied noise-pop will appeal to anyone who can relate to front-gal Jemina Pearl’s rallying call, “I’m an independent motherfucker!”
Set Time, Stage: 12:00-12:30, Q101
Cold War Kids (read more)
Upstarts Cold War Kids seem to be the biggest unsigned act since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, so expect these Southern Californians to nail the tracks off their gloriously clunky debut EPs with tons of confidence.
Set Time, Stage: 1:00-1:45, AMD
If you need a break from the hip-hop masterminds, dance-rock acts, and classic rock-fueled sets, Elvis Perkins strums acoustic plaints like he was born for it. “Ash Wednesday” just might be one of the most gorgeously unfolding tragic ballads from all of the festival’s performers.
Set Time, Stage: 3:00-3:45, BMI
SUNDAY, AUG. 6
What Made Milwaukee Famous (read more)
It’d be unsurprising if these Austin indie rockers got famous at Lollapalooza thanks to the squiggly keys and big guitar hooks that underscore Michael Kingcaid’s beautiful pipes. While their forthcoming album title might suggest otherwise, Trying To Never Catch Up teems with indie-pop that never sells itself short.
Set Time, Stage: 12:00-12:30, AMD
Catfish Haven (read more)
While this trio hail from the Windy City, their swamp-rock could be yanked straight from Southern bayous. From bluesy ballads to rollicking trots, George Hunter’s earnest, whiskey-soaked croon will find itself at home in Grant Park.
Set Time, Stage: 12:30-1:15, BMI
Hot Chip (read more)
The electro-pop from this London quintet highlights frontman Alexis Taylor’s Prince-like sensibilities. Plus, he’s got tons of sexy come-ons (“Throw off your towel / And let’s get wet, wet, wet”) for slinking up close to that Lollapalooza-goer you’ve been eyeing.
Set Time, Stage: 2:15-3:30, PlayStation JULIA SIMON
Talk: Who will you be checking out at this year’s Lollapalooza? COMMENT
On the Web: lollapalooza.com