July 28--More than 125 bands and about 270,000 people will descend on Chicago's Grant Park for LollapaloozaFriday through Sunday. Envisioned by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell in 1991 and reimagined as a Chicago-based destination event in 2005, Lollapalooza has stood tall, along with Coachella in California and Bonnaroo in Tennessee, as one of the most hyped music festivals in the country.
That's for good reason: the lineup is typically stacked. Just reading some of the names of acts on this year's bill -- Mumford & Sons, Postal Service, New Order, the Killers, Phoenix, Eric Church, Ellie Goulding, Vampire Weekend, Queens of the Stone Age, Icona Pop -- is enough to make the heart of any serious music lover quicken.
Given Chicago's proximity, many a music fan from Milwaukee will be camping out there this weekend, including this music writer. For Lolla-bound locals, I've assembled this list of 10 must-see acts at Lollapalooza this year.
1.2 Chainz: "He's playing a smaller-size stage, so I have a feeling its going to be very, very crowded," Jacob Schneider, social media manager for the Pabst Theater, the Riverside Theater and Turner Hall Ballroom, said of the towering, chart-topping rapper. (7:15 p.m. Sunday, The Grove)
2.The Cure: The biggest set on the Lolla bill this year, the influential, English Goth-rock group gets one of the festival's last slots, and its longest set at two hours. "Their festival sets are fairly legendary," Schneider said. "They have a catalog of hits, and haven't changed their sound or their integrity." (8 p.m. Sunday, Red Bull Sound Select)
3.Disclosure: The English electronic dance music brother team has been getting a good deal of buzz around its debut album "Settle," released this year. "I'm a DJ and have been playing a lot of their tracks, and everyone is digging it," said Chris Vrakas, head of Wisconsin operations for Chicago concert promotion and production company React Presents. (6 p.m. Friday, the Grove)
4.Guards: This dreamy yet edgy indie rock band, fronted by Richie Follin (brother of Cults' Madeline Follin) was one of the surprise standout performers at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, in March. (Noon Sunday, Lake Shore)
5.Half Moon Run: Fresh off the U.S. release of album "Dark Eyes," this Canadian act "get a lot of comparisons to Arcade Fire," said Michelle Rutkowski, midday host and music director with WLUM-FM (102.1). "It's haunting and beautiful." (6:50 p.m. Sunday, BMI)
6.Imagine Dragons: The hottest new rock act of the year, with one of the best live shows to match. As we all learned from the mass of people who flooded Summerfest for its June show, you'd better get to this set extra early. (5:15 p.m. Friday, Lake Shore)
7. Kendrick Lamar: The rapper has been everywhere since last fall, making cameos on countless albums and earning raves for his own album, "good kid, m.A.A.d city." "He's hip-hop with a jazzy sort of vibe," said Freddy DeBoe, the Milwaukee-born sax player for Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires, which will be playing Lolla at 2:45 p.m. Saturday on the Bud Light stage. (6:45 p.m. Saturday, Bud Light)
8.The Lumineers: The folk revival trio has celebrated one of the fastest rises in recent memory. "I saw them a little over a year and a half ago at this tiny bar in Evanston, Ill.," Rutkowski said. "To go to 25,000 people-plus at Lolla is going to be insane. That makes me giddy inside to watch a band go through that journey." (7:15 p.m. Saturday, Lake Shore)
9.Modestep: "They're one of the most energetic and entertaining live acts I've ever seen," Vrakas said of this anthemic, English, drum-and-bass heavy electronic dance music group. (5:45 p.m. Friday, Perry's)
10.Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor's blistering industrial rock act is making a highly anticipated return with this first U.S. show following its "final live performance" in 2009. "He's a very dark genius," DeBoe said. "And he uses a lot of computers and visual effects at the shows. They're really a crazy party."
The Journal Sentinel will have daily coverage of this year's sold-out Lollapalooza Aug. 3 to 5, in the paper and online at tapmilwaukee.com.
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