It’s been nine years since my last visit to Chicago’s Lollapalooza. In that time, a few things have changed. The fest’s footprint is larger. An extra day? Yes, please! And both of those add up to a lot more bands.
More music, more stages, more places to roam. Clearly I needed to start planning ahead. While these are not the only acts I’m excited to see, these are definitely the tent poles I’ll be building each day around.
Focusing so much on Chicago-area musicians the last few years left me with Chicago foursome Beach Bunny as a lock (12:50 p.m. Thursday at the American Eagle Stage), followed by a visit to Win and Woo later that day (7:45 p.m. Thursday at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage). Julian Casablancas and The Strokes are definite winners for my Thursday night headliner slot, with more recent (but still not THAT recent) songs such as “Under Cover of Darkness” paired with “Reptilia” and other songs that stole my heart years back.
Chevelle — local love for the Grayslake natives! — is a lock for Friday (5:45 p.m. at Tito’s), followed by either turning around in place to wallow in nostalgic affection of Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie (6:45 p.m. at the Bud Light Stage) or hoofing it across Grant Park to catch rapper, songstress and actor Janelle Monae (6:45 p.m. at the T-Mobile Stage). Either leaves a little time to wander before heading to catch Childish Gambino (8:45 p.m. at T-Mobile), the actor and rapper who tapped into the cultural zeitgeist and tumultuous climate with last year’s “This Is America.”
Is it uncool to say you were hooked by an artist through an appearance on “Saturday Night Live”? Either way, Gary Clark Jr. (4:45 p.m. Saturday at T-Mobile) has the show to thank for my attendance Saturday afternoon. The next slot is a battle between Boombox Cartel (6 p.m. at Perry’s Stage) or the catchy popsters AJR (6 p.m. at Tito’s). I’ll have some space to experiment before staking out a spot near the front for Twenty One Pilots (8:45 p.m. at T-Mobile), the electronica-infused hipster-hop duo that somehow keeps winning me over every time I start drifting away.
Sunday promises an early start with some of my favorite Canadians — Arkells, who won me over with a stunningly fun and energetic set at Subterranean a couple years back and a few more since — kicking off the day (noon at the Lake Shore Stage) and New Orleans soul-rockers The Revivalists taking a midafternoon slot (4:30 p.m. at T-Mobile). Yes, I know The Revivalists are all rough-and-tumble rock, but the band’s soulful side comes out in “Otherside of Paradise,” which leads off last year’s release of “Take Good Care.” If they pull that out during Sunday’s set, I’ll be the one standing there with a tear in my eye.
So what do you think? Hit me on Facebook with your recommendations to fill in the gaps for the weekend.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @thatshamieguy. Brian also keeps tabs on the Chicago-area music scene at chicagosoundcheck.com.