Who To See At Lollapalooza 2012

Well we’re just a week away from another Lollapalooza festival coming to town here in Chicago. It can be a dizzying time for first-timers and veterans alike. Being the hottest summer in the city’s history certainly isn’t going to help matters. To help guide you along your way, I’ve put together a custom schedule to make sure you don’t miss any great sets that you may have otherwise. Obviously your tastes may not mesh with mine (for example if you’re really into the “untz,” you probably don’t want to check out some of what I’m offering up here. The schedule I made goes all the way from opening on Friday until the closing moments of Sunday night. If you like what I have here, please do check these bands out. If not, have a good time regardless. Be safe, don’t drink so much beer that you forget where/who you are.


The opening day has the least amount of overlap, which means you should be able to see everyone you want without missing anything. I’ve never understood people who just camp out in the front of one stage so that they have good seats for whoever the headliner is (guess what, for half the price of a one-day pass you probably could have bought a ticket to see whoever it is and not have to sit outside for 9 hours to get a good seat).

12:00-12:45 First Aid Kit-These Swedish sisters do folk music about as well as anyone else right now. I’ve seen their live set, and it’s fantastic.

1:30-2:15 Yellow Ostrich-I know a lot of people are gonna say “Whoa whoa whoa! Michael Kiwanuka is playing during this slot.” That’s true. If you’re really into him, I suppose you could go check it out. For me, he’s the kind of guy that I see in an intimate venue, not outside at a festival. Yellow Ostrich, on the other hand, plays great music for a fest. They toured with Okkervil River for a while last year, if that gives you an idea of what they’re like.

2:15-3:15 Dr. Dog-I’ve been unapologetic in my enjoyment of Dr. Dog. Some people consider them to be kind of lazy because they tend to play a lot of similar sounding stuff. That may be true, but it’s good stuff. And, I think they made some leaps forward on their newest record Be The Void.

4:00-5:00 Metric-I’ve had a real change of heart since Metric’s new record Synthetica came out. I’ve never seen them live, but I hear good things. They’ve been a group for a long time now, so I have no doubt that they have a tight stage show.

5:15-6:15 The Head And The Heart-Everybody’s favorite indie folk band from the northwest. I must admit I’m a little torn here because Passion Pit starts at 6:00 all the way across the park, and that show could go down as one of the biggest trainwrecks in history.

6:15-7:30 The Shins-As much as I didn’t like the latest offering from James Mercer and company, I do still enjoy the first three records The Shins released, and for that alone I recommend seeing The Shins over Dawes.

7:30-8:30 M83-There isn’t really anything else going on at this hour, and it seems like they put on a pretty exciting set from the videos I’ve seen.

That leaves a closing set by The Black Keys. Honestly I would probably just take off early so I could hit one of the after shows. Friday night means Frank Ocean at Metro among other great acts.


12:00-12:30 Kopecky Family Band-It seems like early Saturday is your time to hear some twisted americana and bluegrass stuff with these guys and Milo Greene starting at the same time (as well as some soul with JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound). This decision really came down to a shorter set leaving more time to hang out and get to the next stage.

1:30-2:15 Jeff The Brotherhood-5 or 6 years ago these guys would be joined by about 15 other two-piece rock acts. This year they’re kind of a rare breed.

3:15-4:15 Paper Diamond-A bit of a change of pace, but I really dig what Paper Diamond does. This should be a good mid-afternoon set to recharge the batteries and chill (or dance your ass off if you’re so inclined).

5:15-6:15 The Tallest Man On Earth-Another Swedish folk singer, and one of my favorite artists working today. His live sets are basically just an hour of him laying his soul out there for the audience to experience.

6:15-7:30 Franz Ferdinand-Call me curious, but I’d like to see how this Scottish group rebounds after the utter failure of their last album. I’ve got a soft spot for them, so I think they’ll come out ok.

8:45-9:45 Frank Ocean-Is there a hotter act in the universe right now? No. Is there any reasonable person who thinks Avicii or The Red Hot Chili Peppers will put on a better set? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this will be THE performance of the festival.


Unless you’re really curious as to what The Verve Pipe has been up to for the last fifteen years, there’s really no need to get up early and run down to Grant Park. The first set of any note doesn’t start until 2:15, a far cry from last year when they scheduled Titus Andronicus to play at noon (??) on the last day.

2:15-3:00 Trampled By Turtles-Bluegrass from Minnesota to kick off a Sunday? Sounds good to me. I’m not sure why the bookers put all the rootsy bands early in the day, but I guess it makes sense to them.

3:30-4:15 Dum Dum Girls-One of my favorite records of 2011 was Dum Dum Girls Only In Dreams. The set might be a bit dreamy for a mid-day outdoor fest, but I’m guessing they’ll pull out all the stops for such a large crowd.

5:15-6:15 Amadou & Mariam-One of the best examples of world music around today. Their last two albums have been fantastic, and Amadou is a brilliant guitarist.

6:50-7:30 The Jezabels-This one is more of a personal pick, and kind of because I’ve never cared for At The Drive-In or Florence And The Machine. The Jezabels are really nice people who deserve to be seen by large audiences.

8:15-10:00 Jack White-Was there ever any doubt? I haven’t been the biggest supporter of Blunderbuss, but I would pay money to see Jack White play children’s songs, so there’s no way I would pass this one up.

And that’s it! Have fun!