By Matt Pais
RedEye music editor
12:00 AM CDT, March 26, 2014
All aboard the Stankonia Express.
That’s because Outkast tops the just-announced schedule for Lollapalooza 2014 (Aug. 1-3 in Grant Park), which should inspire a city-wide whoop of approval. The reunited duo of Big Boi and Andre 3000—insert their many other monikers here—is a legit, exciting headliner, which can’t be said for previously reported re-runs like Eminem (2011), Skrillex (2011) and Kings of Leon (2009). Arctic Monkeys are a fantastic band, but their spot on the top line is more a comment on the lack of massive acts that Lolla’s able to book each year than towering fame for the British rockers. Though the Monkeys’ previous Lolla appearances (2009 and 2011) have been awesome and packed, so it’s not as if their set will be sparsely attended.
Regardless, this is a step up from 2013’s big names, which included Nine Inch Nails and then a steep decline into The Postal Service, Phoenix, The Cure, The Killers, Mumford and Sons and, blecchh, the Lumineers. And each day of Lolla 2014 provides reason for anticipation. With three-day passes already sold out and one-day passes ($100) on sale 10 a.m. Wednesday, here’s a breakdown of the massive fest’s pretty evenly distributed three days of music.
Best of the day: Arctic Monkeys
You can complain about how many times they’ve been here. Or that they aren’t as popular as, say, Eminem. But how many artists on the Lolla lineup (or anywhere in the industry at this point) have five consecutive great albums to their name? Exactly.
Runners-up: J. Roddy Walston and the Business (possibly the most, loudest fun you can have with a piano), Lorde (this set must take place after the sun goes down)
Also notable: Portugal. The Man, Temples, Lykke Li
Local representation: Into It. Over It.
Shrugs of the day: Eminem (too soon for his return), AFI (for the same reasons as when they played in 2010), Interpol (assuming this outdated booking is the result of a computer error)
Best of the day: Outkast
This could be the fest’s best booking since when Rage Against the Machine and Radiohead (plus Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco and the Raconteurs) appeared in 2008. Outkast may not have made an official group album since 2000’s “Stankonia” (not including 2003’s split Big Boi/Andre 3000 double-disc “Speakerboxxx”/”The Love Below” and 2006’s soundtrack to “Idlewild”), but the hip-hop duo’s catalog holds up remarkably well. Yes, some may only know the words to the overplayed “Hey Ya!,” but what makes this show unmissable is the experience of Southern rap space-funk turning Grant Park into an interplanetary gangster ship.
Runners-up: Manchester Orchestra (powerful material from one of music’s most misleading names), Krewella (contagious, suburban-Chicago-bred dance party)
Also notable: Spoon, Nas, Jenny Lewis, Parquet Courts, Calvin Harris
Local representation: Krewella, Vic Mensa
Shrugs of the day: The Head and the Heart (zzzz), Cut Copy (at Lolla or Pitchfork pretty much every year)
Best of the day: Chance the Rapper
The local rap star’s commanding performance at Lolla 2013 was without question the most-crowded show ever at the BMI stage. It was ridiculous to stuff him into that space last year; safe to say Chance’s 2014 appearance will be much, much larger, with even more fans justifiably losing their minds.
Runners-up: The 1975 (as good as the buzz promised), Run the Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike as one of rap’s best one-two punches), Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue (if you’re standing still, you’re doing it wrong)
Also notable: Childish Gambino, Betty Who, Bomba Estereo, Skrillex
Local representation: Chance, Flosstradamus, Gemini Club
Shrug of the day: Kings of Leon (they just played United Center and have dipped since their last Lolla headlining slot; is there no one else that can appear instead?)
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
Editor's Note: An original version of this story published that Vic Mensa would be performing Friday. RedEye has corrected the story to reflect that the artist will actually perform Saturday from 6:50-7:30 p.m. on the BMI stage.
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