By Matt Pais
RedEye Sound Board
March 19, 2013
Did you miss Lollapalooza 2010? Then you may (or may not) be thrilled that some of that fest’s biggest acts will return this summer.
As reported Tuesday by the Tribune, headliners at Lolla 2013, Aug. 2-4 in Grant Park, will include recent, undeserved Grammy winners Mumford and Sons, no-longer-huge French pop-rockers Phoenix and acclaimed, moody New Yorkers the National, all of whom appeared at Lolla 2010. (The National also appeared in ’08.) They’re joined on the top line by the obnoxious Vampire Weekend (who played Lolla ’09 and headlined Pitchfork ’12) and faded stars the Killers, who headlined Lolla in ’05 and ’09.
As much as I like re-reruns—sometimes an undemanding episode of “Friends” is exactly what you need—this news elicits the same sound of air seeping out of one of those giant Lolla balloons.
It’s not exciting.
Only the Postal Service marks a significant “get” for Lolla. But as much as I like the band’s only album, “Give Up,” is the group’s show marking the record’s 10th anniversary really going to enliven Grant Park the way a Radiohead or Rage Against the Machine or Kanye West or Nine Inch Nails did in 2008? That easily was the best year for Lolla headliners since the fest resumed in 2005 with Chicago as its home, and it’s unlikely to be repeated.
No, it’s not easy to find great, huge acts to headline major music festivals anymore. There are fewer massive rock stars; no one wants Maroon 5 on the Lolla stage and those damn Led Zeppelin blokes just refuse to reunite. (Not that Lolla would be the best place for Zeppelin; I just want that however I can get it.) Plus, the recent supposed lineup leak including Jay-Z was 100 percent discredited once the Jigga Man’s show with Justin Timberlake at Soldier Field was announced for July 22—less than two weeks before Lolla.
It’s totally fair to feel disappointed that the fest has failed to secure someone with the power of 2011 headliners Foo Fighters or 2012 attraction the Black Keys. The Keys were a repeat band, too, but steadily rose to headliner status on the strength of several solid albums that translate well live.
So far the closest thing this summer’s edition offers to that is the National, who headlined the Pitchfork Music Fest in ’09. But the National isn’t the kind of act that closes out a day on a high note—unless your definition of “high note” is feeling miserable and wanting to revisit good albums by yourself in a dark room. Frightened Rabbit would have been a comparable, wiser pick here.
Acts like Beyonce and Fall Out Boy are doing their own thing tour-wise, so Lolla was out of luck there, but here’s hoping the bands yet to be announced for Lolla inspire more enthusiasm.
By the way: The fest’s early-bird tickets ($200 for all three days) go on sale 10 a.m. March 26. At an undisclosed time this week the fest’s limited amount of $75 three-day passes will go on sale at lollapalooza.com and could be snapped up in approximately three milliseconds.
While the underwhelming acts announced may suggest snagging tickets at a discount will be as important as ever, repeat this to yourself: More than 100 more bands are still to come. It can only get better.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC