Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Lollapalooza 2009 Schedule

Once again, the annual tradition of one of my favorite days of the year has just occured. After weeks of waiting, the schedule for the 2009 Lollapalooza weekend is finally up. As I've written before, this day is annually as exciting for me as a combination of christmas and the day people fill out their NCAA basketball tournament brackets is for everyone else. So once again, a good solid hour of my work day was spent on this.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how the schedule has turned out. I was dreading that they were going to put every band I wanted to see at the same time, but luckily things are spread out (with a few exceptions), so I should be getting my money's worth that weekend.

That Friday, August 7th, will start early at 12:15 for me, with Manchester Orchestra, an emo-ish band, on the north side of the grounds. I'll then walk the mile or so to the south end of the park, of course grabbing my first (of several) Robinson's rib sandwich of the weekend along the way, and getting a good spot to see one of my most anticipated sets of the weekend by the Gaslight Anthem. It'll then be a fast walk/run across the grounds once again to make it to the north end to catch all of the also highly anticipated set by Bon Iver. Here's hoping that I'll actually be able to hear his/their set this year, as opposed to Pitchfork last year.

Luckily, I will be able to just turn around to catch then next set by a favorite, Ben Folds, who I haven't seen in a few years. Then, thankfully on the same side of the field again, I'll be able to see another set by Fleet Foxes, who didn't do much for me at Pitchfork last year, but whose album since then became one of my favorites of 2008. The rest of the night will be easier, I'll stroll to the south end again, most likely picking up rib sandwich #2, seeing a bit of Peter, Bjorn and John's set (despite their disappionting set at Metro a month or so ago), then heading back up north again to round out the night with sets by Andrew Bird (second to last? Really??), and Kings of Leon.

Saturday may not be as bad as past years thankfully. It'll start around 12:45, with another set by Living Things, whose bluesy T-Rex flavored stomp was enjoyable at Lolla a few years ago. After fueling up with most likely rib sandwich #3, I'll head to the smaller street stage to see another anticipated set by Ida Maria, whose debut album from this year is getting a lot of play in our house. I'll hustle north to catch as much of Los Campesinos! as I can from there, then head back south to watch Chairlift, even though they too were a bit disappointing a few weeks ago at Metro.

Thankfully there's an hour break right at dinner time where two bands I can't stand, Arctic Monkeys and Coheed and Cambria, will be playing, so definite rib sandwich #4 there. I'll definitely check out the set by lo-fi punks No Age, then head up north slowly to get a good spot to see one of the bands I'm most excited for all weekend, TV on the Radio, winner of the highly coveted Scott Pacyna Album of the Year award for 2008. Unfortunately, they scheduled another band I'm dying to see, Animal Collective, immediately after TVOTR on the south end of the grounds, so that will be a fast mile run to see as much of their set as possible. Thankfully, that will be a short night for me, since I don't care about Tool or Beastie Boys, who are headlning, so I'll actually head home early that night. Unless I attend an aftershow somewhere of course.

Sunday is actually the busiest day for me, which is the first time that has happened in the last 4 Lolla's in Chicago. It'll all start at 12:30, to see Ra Ra Riot, an orch pop band I was supposed to see in FLA in March, until the festival they were supposed to play at was cancelled. Next, it'll be a short walk to check out Bat For Lashes, a British band that mixes some of the best parts of Tori Amos and PJ Harvey to good effect.

After a short break with no one I want to watch, I'll have to make a decision between two bands I was really looking forward to. On the north end is the Raveonettes, a great Danish band who sound like a 50's girl group backed by the Jesus & Mary Chain, or the south end has Dan Deacon, an electronic artist whose live shows are supposed to be on par with Girl Talk's live shows in terms of spectacle and fun. This is the hardest decision of the weekend for me, we'll see which one I go with later.

Another decision follows that time slot, with Vampire Weekend going against Neko Case. Case has an absolutely amazing and gorgeous voice, but her song quality has always left me a little cold. I just saw VW at Pitchfork last year and highly enjoyed their set, but I don't know if they'll be playing the new material they are currently recording at this show. I'll most likely go with VW, mostly for the proximity to the next set by Passion Pit on the smaller side stage.

Passion Pit is the last of my highly anticipated sets of the weekend, as their debut album from this year is already one of the best of 2009, and they're riding a massive wave of hype and buzz into this show. Their infectious dance rock should make wading through the massive crowd that will be at their set worth it though. after a brief side stop to watch some of Cold War Kids, and yes, consume one of the last Robinsons rib sandwiches of the weekend, I'll head back to the same small stage to catch Deerhunter, whose set opening for Girl Talk in FLA greatly impressed me, and we'll see if they can continue impressing me here.

My last schedule conflict of the weekend follows that, with Band of Horses going against Silversun Pickups. I've really wanted to see SSPU, as I missed them at Lollapalooza two years ago. However, their release from this year, "Swoon," has left me pretty cold and didn't grab me as much as their previous album, so I'll most likely go with the Neil Young-inspired bombast of Band of Horses. I'll close out the weekend by catching most of the Killers, half while there and half while walking to take the train home.

Looks pretty good, I count 7 must see bands for Friday and Saturday each, then 9 on Sunday, so 23 bands I'll be making every effort to see, along with the ones I'll randomly see while killing time, walking around and eating even more rib sandwiches. Guess I should start working out now to prepare.

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