Posted by Susan Schomburg (WCR Exclusive)
Friday, August 6:
Wavves (12:15-1, Budweiser stage): If you make it to the fest early on Friday, be sure not to miss lo-fi garage rockers Wavves. What can I say? I saw them at Pitchfork fest last year and was suitably impressed. They're a really good bet if you can get yourself to the fest in time for their set (or maybe just listen in from the street as you wait in that massive line to get in to the fest).
Devo (4-5, Parkways Foundation stage): How many times are Devo going to tour? You'll probably have a lot more chances to see The New Pornographers (and/or their constituent members) than you will to see influential new wave act Devo. Plus, if you're into theme shows (I know I am!) you can enjoy another band from Akron, Ohio later that night (The Black Keys).
Matt & Kim (5-6, Adidas Mega stage): Following Devo, stick around for keys/drums duo Matt & Kim. Another act from last year's Pitchfork fest, all I can say is that they can really bring the best of the house party vibe to a big outdoor festival setting, and are a sure bet if you want to dance and have a good time at the festival. And then run, don't walk (okay, I'm not really advocating anybody to do that--let's say, 'make your way in a brisk but orderly fashion' instead) to the Black Keys' set across the festival grounds.
The Black Keys (6-7:15, Budweiser stage): My #1 pick for Friday's fest is blues-rock duo The Black Keys, whose recent release Brothers is (in my not-so-humble opinion) likely to be one of the best albums released this year. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach's solo set at last year's Lollapalooza was one of the best of the fest, and I have every confidence that with drummer Patrick Carney with him once more on stage, these childhood friends will tear it up. I totally agree with Frank on this one. Seriously, don't miss these guys, they're two fun dudes who will definitely rule the school.
Lady Gaga (8-10, Parkways Foundation stage): I agree with Frank that the Friday night headliners are a tossup among festival-goers, but I know I'll be checking out Lady Gaga's set, if only because I probably would never go to a show specifically for her, but I'm going to ride on the assumption that her stage show is going to be pretty spectacular. At the very least, start out at her set, and if she doesn't deliver the goods, you can always make your way over to the Strokes (who are scheduled to start a whole half-hour after her set does).
Saturday, August 7:
Warpaint (2:15-3, Sony Bloggie stage): The good things you've heard about Warpaint are true. They were at this year's Do-Division Festival, and these ladies rock. They have a dark, trippy sound and lay down some excellent beats live. Go ahead and see for yourself.
Gogol Bordello (3:45-4:45, Parkways Foundation stage): This gypsy punk outfit is definitely one of the most unique-sounding bands of recent memory, and if you want to clear your musical palate from all the straightforward indie rock you're liable to get just from haplessly wandering past some stage or another at the fest, these guys are the ones to do it. (Although I have to admit, I might sneak out a bit early to catch Chrissie Hynde playing at the kiddie stage.)
Grizzly Bear (4:15-5:15, Budweiser stage): Experimental folk-rockers Grizzly Bear are a best-bet for the festival. Their music is just a weird and awesome blend of styles, employing electronic and acoustic instruments together with slightly unnerving songwriting and rich sonic textures. Just see em. Do it!
|Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros|
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros (6:30-7:30, Sony Bloggie stage): So here is one place where I totally and fundamentally disagree with Frank. I've seen Spoon live, and they are one of a handful of bands I've seen live whose live show I strongly recommend you to not bother with. In their stead, check out hippy folk-rock collective Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on one of the more intimate stages at the fest. Their music has catchy hooks and good vibes galore, and for my money, I'd rather take a chance on an act I haven't seen before that might be really good, than waste my time with one I know isn't.
Phoenix (8:30-10, Budweiser stage): Again, I disagree with Frank. Green Day haven't been questionable recently; they've been questionable for quite a long time (I can't remember a time when they weren't). Meanwhile, French indie act Phoenix have been putting out quirky, bubbly indie pop rock that infects your soul with the desire to shake what your momma gave you.
Sunday, August 8:
Company of Thieves (1-1:45, Sony Bloggie stage): I agree with Frank that this Chicago act, one of the few at this year's fest, is a solid bet with lush and lovely sounds galore.
Blitzen Trapper (2-3, Budweiser stage): The act I'm most excited to see on Sunday, Blitzen Trapper blends folk, old school rock, Americana, and the feeling you get when you look at sepia photographs of people you've never met in a cabin in the woods all together into something new but familiar, and undeniably gorgeous. Their albums are some of the strongest releases I've heard in recent years, and they're great live. It is a shame--nay, a crime against music itself--if you miss this band's set at the festival. (Did I mention, they happen to be one of my favorite bands?)
|Minus the Bear|
Minus the Bear (3-4, Adidas Mega stage): I'll admit, in the past, I've thought Minus the Bear was good, but not great--but their most recent album (Omni) along with the footage of their live shows I've seen courtesy of the internet confirms that they should deliver a great set of electronic-tinged dance rock Sunday afternoon.
MGMT (6-7:15, Budweiser stage): I agree with Frank. MGMT upped the ante with their latest release, and their live show should be full of dancing and rocking and pageantry to boot. Don't miss 'em.
Arcade Fire (8:30-10, Budweiser stage): I admit, it took me a while to warm up to Arcade Fire's music. I remember arguing fiercely in 2005 with the program and music directors at my college radio station when the question of adding "Wake Up" to the station's rotation came up. It hardly needs saying, but my objections were overruled. I'm still not crazy about that nincompoop song of theirs, but I do have to admit, the band's actually pretty damn good, and with a reputation preceding them of an excellent (possibly epic?) live show, I, for one, look forward to putting them to the test Sunday night.