photo by Cody Bralts

Lollapalooza has been one of the largest events to occur in Chicago for the past couple years, and we’ve been privileged to experience some of the most breaking and innovative music known to us today during this time. This year we got our annual dose of great new music, but my overall feelings about the festival was definitely affected by this year’s presentation of the festival. From headlining acts like Coldplay, Eminem, and Deadmau5, this year’s gang of headliners was was unlike those in the past. With bands like Daft Punk, Rage Against The Machine, Radiohead, Kanye West + more acts who all made remarkable work at the time of performance, were simply at a higher level than a played out non-exciting Coldplay, radio friendly Eminem and EDM’s star child Deadmau5. When you have a band like Coldplay who hasn’t released an album since 2008 or Eminem who’s latest release is so radio friendly, it’s hard to believe Marshall even wanted to release it, Lollapalooza 2011 seemed more-so like a cash cow than a music festival. Yet through my run-in with 12th Planet and interviews with Boy And Bear, Kyle Lucas, and some amazing sets from Deftones, The Cool Kids, Atmosphere, Ratatat the weekend was nothing to complain about. Event despite the vast amount of Pop centered fans, the 20th Anniversary event had it’s respective pro’s and con’s and concluded as a solid yet, not fantastic 3-day party in Grant Park (Let Cudi Finish!).

-Amount of Space: Since last year’s expansion and having gone through the process once before, this year’s improved organization gave fans lots of space to relax, eat, drink and do whatever you need to while soaking in the intense heat for hours on end.

-#ExpressRocks at the Hard Rock Hotel:
Pre-lolla this is definitely the place to be. Featuring free food and drinks, plus tattoos, in addition to a bevy of good to know folks, the Hard Rock is a great part to an already jammed packed weekend.

-Solid Middle Bill: If you ask me, this year’s headliners served as the weakest in recent years, but Lolla usually understands how to compensate for their actions. When you don’t get to the park until around 2pm, you may see one band you have not heard of, but we all know around 4 or 5 one of your go-to shows is ready to kick off. This year acts like The Kills, Kids These Days, Deftones, Mayer Hawthorne, Boy and Bear, The Bloody Beetroots & more held as a solid faction for middle bill acts at this year’s festival.

– Audio Issues: While seemingly taking a back seat to the overall coverage of the festival, Kid Cudi put on an amazing set to close out Sunday night at Perry’s tent and was only left to have the music cut off during his final song “Pursuit of Happiness”. An understandably livid Cudi proceeded to kick-over speakers in utter Mr. Rager fashion. Yet, this was not the first time of the day where someone was cut short as The Cool Kids where ending their set with “Roll Call” – they brought out Asher Roth for his verse, only to experience the silence that is an artists worst nightmare. Get it together Lolla.

-Age Limit?: I have been attending Lollapalooza since 2006, a young 16 year-old- I was, but I surely don’t remember there being so many of me. This year’s festival looked more liked the Warped Tour than the one time more adult filled Lollapalooza. With Perry’s stage acting as safe haven for teens as young as 13, this year I saw too many intoxicated kids for my liking.

-Sunday Rain: First off I’d like to say the rain adds a unreproducible energy to any concert and I myself had a great time at Cage & The Elephant during the first round of storms on Sunday. The other side to the rain is that cell phones are ruined, and basic cleanliness codes are completely ignored.

Hope You Didn’t Miss:

Boy And Bear – Sun 5pm – BMI
-The Australian outfit just released their debut LP Moonfire, after critical acclaim for their first EP With Emperor Anticartica and a sweeping showing at SXSW the soulful folk- indie band cemented all their positvie feedback with a great performance Sunday at the BMI stage. Look for an interview with the crew coming soon.

Kids These Days – Fri – 4:15pm – BMI
Being local heroes, we all are surely aware of Kids These Days and their soon to be national fame. Doing exactly what you’d expect a band of late teenagers to do when playing at such a immense stage, full of energy to play 2 full sets the crew bodied the 45 minutes they we’re giving, going through fan favorites off their Hard Times EP as well as playing new tunes from their upcoming LP Traphouse Rock.

Beats Antique – Sat – 7pm – Sony
-The Oakland based trio known for their instrumental form of dubstep electronica, is certainly a hot genre at the moment and Beats Antique will be pioneering this new sound for as long as they choose too. With a true emphasis on the live performances expect anything from one of their shows, let’s just say animal outfits and bellydancing for example.

Atmosphere – Sat – 7:30pm – Playstation
-Despite having a long-lasting and sometimes seemingly dragging fan-base Rhymersayers representatives Atmosphere put on one of the weekends most powerful performances Saturday night, before Eminem’s “recovery” performance. Playing at 7:30pm an almost headlining set, the band gave their diehards exactly what they wanted, and surely gained some new fans.