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Preview: Lollapalooza 2010 Kicks Off In Chicago

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For the fifth straight year since it became a destination festival in 2005, Lollapalooza gets ready to rock and rumble the masses along Chicago’s lakefront in Grant Park. And over the last five years the festival has only grown larger, signed bigger deals with the City of Chicago and sold out to capacity.

To get you ready for the weekend, here’s a preview with the latest scoop on Lollapalooza, our top picks of artists to see, details on the live webcast and special info about the official iPhone and Android app.

Leading up to this year’s festival there was controversy surrounding the radius clause that Lollapalooza, like other music festivals, includes in its artists contract. On June 25th pop music reporter Jim Derogatis of  broke a story about Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan investigating the radius clause imposed on bands who play Lollapalooza and the festival’s possible anti-trust violating relationship with the City of Chicago. Then on June 30th, Derogatis followed up the story with a series of key questions that probed deeper into Madigan’s motivation, Chicago’s live music community response and why some have chosen to remain silent.

As of today, Madigan’s investigation is still pending. And it’s not an issue that will stop the party this weekend. But it depending on how it turns out, the investigation could impact how future festivals and contracts are written and agreed upon between artists, promoters and city officials.

In a summer where other music festivals were canceled and the concert industry is reporting losses and decreases in ticket sales, Lollapalooza still added 20,000 more capacity to its usual 75K from last year by expanded across Columbus Drive in Chicago downtown South Loop area. But as of Thursday, tickets haven’t sold out which is a first since making its home in Chicago. So what is a wise move to expand? Can’t tell yet. And before we make a final call on their expansion decision, we’ll have to wait and see how the box office does each day and wait to see how the overall concert experience resonates with the masses.

From Friday to Sunday Lollapalooza features over 120 bands playing rock, pop, dance and hip hop and everything in between. So what’s making up this year’s mix? How deep and wide is the sea of musical pleasure for fans to swim around in? It’s pretty deep. And like most music festivals you can’t possibly see it all, so you’re forced to make choices. But with a festival as large and diverse as Lollapalooza, there’s always the certainly of seeing what you want and being delighted by a few unexpected discoveries along the way.

Here’s a quick break down of the headliners for each day, with a few “suggested” reasons to choose one over the other.


Her world tour seems never-ending, and on Friday night Lady Gaga continues her uncontested quest for world domination on the Parkways stage. Look for Gaga to rock the world of all the Little Monsters in attendance and plan on seeing her convert thousands of skeptics into new followers by the end of the first song.

Though there might not be a lot of crossover fans between the two artists, but because The Strokes and Lady Gaga will be playing  simultaneously on opposite sides of the festival on Friday, it’ll be a tough choice whether or not to split sets in order to see them both. I know Gaga puts on quite a show, but the pending return of the Strokes and the fact they’re prepping a new record for release next March makes me excited to hear the new stuff live. What would you choose? I think it’ll be a last minute decision for me.

On Saturday night, pop-punk rockers Green Day will fire off their “21-gun salute” from the Parkways stage. Besides touring in the wake of 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown, look for Green Day to rock fans real good with their list of hits that were also recently released for Guitar Hero. Will loyal gaming fans bring their green, yellow and blue-buttoned guitars to the show? Let’s hope not. Air guitar will do just fine.

Grammy award-winning French-rock quartet Phoenix might have finally cracked the mainstream in the last year’s with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but they’ve been honing their live show in clubs for years. Expect them to put on show empty of disappointment and full of gorgeous electro-grooves and melodic transcendence.


In 1996, grunge rockers Soundgarden first played Lollapalooza back when it was traveling festival. They eventually split up in 1997. And since then leadsinger Chris Cornell and other band members have embarked on various solo projects. In 2010, they don’t have any new music to officially celebrate, but this September the group will release Telephantasm: A Retrospective, a new Soundgarden compilation album, that will come bundled with initial shipments of the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock video game.

If you’re not looking for a grunge-rock reunion to close out your Lollapalooza experience, then your other option is to head over to the opposite side of the park to see indie-rock band Arcade Fire unveil tracks from their brand new record The Suburbs. Yes, Lolla if full of tough choice for fans. But between Soundgarden or Arcade Fire for a finale this isn’t a hard choice to make, folks (Go see Arcade Fire).

With over 120 bands playing on eight stages Lollapalooza is overflowing with bands and there’s always something cool to discover. The following list is by no means exclusive or exhaustive, it’s simply our gift to you if you’re looking for a little guidance, or were wondering what other bands we’re looking forwarding to checking out as we cruise the spacious and expansive festival grounds at Grant Park.

Jimmy Cliff – Friday, 7:15, Playstation Stage

Peanut Butter Wolf – Friday, 3:15, Perry’s Stage

Matt & Kim – Friday, 5:00, Adidas Mega Stage

Black Keys – Friday 6:00, Budweiser Stage

Mavis Staples – Friday, 2:00, Budweiser Stage

Balkan Beat Box – Friday, 12:15, Parkways Stage

Morning Benders – Saturday, 12:00, Sony Bloggie Stage

Gogol Bordello – Saturday, 3:45, Parkways Stage

X Japan – Sunday, 4:00, Parkways Stage

MGMT – Sunday, 6:00, Budweiser Stage

Constellations – Friday, 1:00, Sony Bloggie Stage


Get the Lollapalooza App

If you’re headed to the festival and want to go green and mobile, be sure to download the official Lollapalooza iPhone and Android app.

Official Lollapalooza Webcast
Can get to the show? That’s okay. You can watch the action from the comfort of your home via the Lollapalooza AOL Lifestream webcast.

Ticket Info
As of this posting, three-day and single day tickets are still available. Get more info here.

Daily Updates and Artist Interviews
Throughout the weekend, we’ll be on-site talking with artists, fans and other friendly folks hanging around the festival, so stay tuned for daily updates and interviews with bands such as Neon hitch, X Japan, Balkan Beat Box and Ice Cream Man.

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About Chris Catania