Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lollapalooza 2011: Chicago bands in the lineup

Posted by Frank Krolicki

Smith Westerns
This year's Lollapalooza lineup is officially out. As expected based on rumors, Eminem, Foo Fighters and Muse are among the headliners, but also topping the list are Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5, A Perfect Circle and Cee Lo Green. Per usual, though, the earlier-day acts arguably look a lot more appealing than the headliners, and among the names lower down on the list are a handful of acts from Chicago. Even though it's here in the Windy City, Lollapalooza typically doesn't reserve many spots for locally-based musicians and this year is no exception. Still, the following bands are exciting to see on the list and should do an excellent job representing what our city has to offer.

Smith Westerns
Smith Westerns' Dye It Blonde has made quite a splash over the last few months. The sophomore record from Cullen Omori, Max Kakacek and Cameron Omori is full of great big glam-pop tunes that have brought the young band international attention. They have already supported the likes of MGMT, Belle and Sebastian and Passion Pit on tour and continue to grow in popularity. This stuff should sound particularly great on a hot summer's day in Grant Park.

This trancey psych-rock unit recently got some buzz when Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley stepped in after the departure of founding member Graeme Gibson, though it was unclear exactly how long or how frequently Shelley would remain a part of the band. Either way, be sure to include Disappears on your Lolla itinerary to add a rockin' wall of noise to your fest experience. To get up to speed, check out the band's second album, Guider, released early this year.

Maps & Atlases
The experimental folk four-piece played a set at the inaugural North Coast Music Festival last year and are movin' on up to Lolla this time around. Their progressive sound is showcased nicely on their debut record Perch Patchwork, and it carries over well in a live setting, too (check out our review of their show at Lincoln Hall in March). Oh, and frontman Dave Davison has been known to sport a really impressive beard. 

Gold Motel
It would be tough to think of a band more fun to see at a summer music festival than Gold Motel. Their guitar pop features an endless supply of breezy hooks that are made even more irresistible by frontwoman Greta Morgan's sugary vocals. The band's debut album Summer House is a fantastic listen, and so is their follow up 7" Talking Fiction.

Young Man
With singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Colin Caulfield at the helm, Young Man have been gathering attention in and out of Chicago. Caulfield's talents initially came to light following a YouTube video of him performing Deerhunter's "Rainwater Cassette Exchange,"  resulting in an acclaimed debut EP titled Boy. For a taste, check out the recently-released music video for "Five"

While OK Go are technically no longer a Chicago band - they now reside in L.A. - we can take credit for launching them. Known for their extra-creative approach (see their elaborate music videos as well as an attempt this month to write and record eight songs in eight hours, for example), the band should prove to be another must-see at Lolla for anyone who digs catchy rock.


  1. You forgot about one of the surprise hits of SXSW, a blues, rock hip-hop fusion band from Chicago called Kids These Days. Check out their youtube and facebook pages.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on Kids These Days.

  3. Hey! I was wondering if Patrick Stump counts too... He's from Glenview.