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Lollapalooza releases four-day 2016 lineup including Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem & J. Cole

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With festival season fast approaching, Chicago-based behemoth Lollapalooza has revealed it’s 2016 festival line up, which includes top bills of Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, and J. Cole. The festival, which celebrates it’s 25th anniversary this year by adding a fourth day of music, will take place at Grant Park from July 28 – 31.

Other notable acts include Lana Del Rey, Future, Disclosure, Jane’s Addiction, Flume, G-Eazy, M83, Halsey, Grimes, Leon Bridges, Bryson Tiller, Miike Snow, ZHU, Years & Years, and Danny Brown, among others.

Four-day passes are already sold out, but single days are still available at lollapalooza.com.


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Outside Lands Lineup 2015

OSL_lineup_2015

San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival announced their lineup today and it is absolutely phenomenal. Headliners vary from Elton John to Kendrick Lamar. Outside Lands is taking place August 7-9 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

 

Top 10 artists I’m most excited to see (in no particular order):

Elton John
Mumford & Sons
Sam Smith
Kendrick Lamar
G-Eazy
Milky Chance
Odesza
James Bay
Leon Bridges
Fantastic Negrito

 

Update: Preview Outside Lands 2015 with this Spotify Playlist:

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Lollapalooza 2014: 7 Must-See Acts That Aren’t Headliners

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Lollapalooza is fast approaching this weekend with main-stage legends coming by way of Eminem, OutKast and Kings of Leon. The annual Chicago music festival held against the city’s skyline is hip-hop top heavy this year, and it make sense when you think about the town’s emerging rap scene. It’s hard to say who’s the bigger or more exciting bill between Em and OutKast, but I may have to give the nod to Slim Shady since Big Boi and Andre 3000 are hitting virtually every U.S. city this summer. So, who else do you have to catch that won’t be playing at the Bud Light or Samsung Galaxy stages?

If you find yourself in the Windy City this weekend, make sure to check out these other great non-headlining sets.

7. Iggy Azalea

Iggy’s breakout summer jam “Fancy” has dominated charts all season. Though she’s a rising name in hip-hop, you already know this crowd is going to be filled with chicks getting white girl wasted. Bring it on.

6. Phantogram

Haunting, bouncy, and beautiful all at the same time, Phantogram blends sample-based electronic music with lead singer Sarah Barthel’s tragically smooth vocals. Expect a super cool light show too.

5. Foster The People

You probably remember Foster The People destroying radio waves a few summers ago with “Pumped Up Kicks.” Well, their new song “Best Friends” is pretty addicting too. This will be sure to be an awesomely bouncy set.

4. Nas

This Queensbridge-native is a certified living legend, and he’s been performing his classic Illmatic in full all summer to celebrate its 20th anniversary. You don’t want to miss this kind of momentous show.

3. Flume

Flume breeds a kind of electronic music that is quite unlike anybody else. Both brooding and infectious, the Australian-born producer will be sure to deliver a rave for the ages.

2. Chromeo

Chromeo sets are guaranteed to be funky, fresh, and fun. Expect lots of high-flying guitar and super-soaked synths that sound like they’re blaring straight from the 80s.

1. Chance The Rapper

Hometown hero Chance The Rapper was grossly under-staged last year at Lolla, but this year he’ll be closing down Perry’s stage. With a flurry of syllabic rhymes and an addictive turn-down-for-what energy, don’t be surprised if this MC’s crowd rivals Skrillex or Kings of Leon playing nearby.

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The Best of Lollapalooza 2013: Sunday Recap

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Lollapalooza’s Sunday (and final day) was the most comfortable I’ve ever been at a music festival. Honestly, like, there were times I wouldn’t have minded a fashionable cardigan to don with the brisk breeze from Lake Michigan blowing in. The atmosphere was the perfect cool down to a high energy weekend.

Something interesting that I noticed during Day Three’s activities was a slight difference in the crowd age. Lolla tends to be packed full of teens since it’s so accessible and relatively cheap, but Sunday saw a much more mature crowd showing. Of course, the festival organizers had planned this when they booked 80s English rock band The Cure. Smooth move Lolla. And in all honesty, it’s a refreshing thing when anybody from ages 16 to 40-something can enjoy and share the same music festival.

Notable highlights:

-Alt-J: This was the second time I got to catch the English indie rockers, who are often dubbed the new Radiohead, and one thing I can applaud them for is their consistency. Alt-J is a band with a very dynamic sound, and every high and low from their album was translated to a T on the stage. Of course, “Breezeblocks” and “Fitzpleasure” were crowd favorites, but the triangle lovers even debuted some unheard sounds which was a thrill.

-Dogblood: Say what you will about Perry’s Stage, but when you’re there, you’re having a fucking awesome time. Yeah, it’s a huge fist-pumping, brofest coupled with skimpy-dressed  raverchicks, but it’s one of the better stages on the whole grounds. Flashing lights, jumbotrons in the middle of the crowd, and the sound is crisp and deafening. Perfect. Oh, and not to mention the peanut butter and chocolate combo of Skrillex and Boyz Noize that actually sound different in a world full of cookie cutter EDM artists.

-Phoenix: These guys are consummate pros. Sometimes, I really didn’t know whether or not I believed the sounds I was hearing. Like, was I just listening to Thomas Mars’ iTunes playlist or were they actually performing? They’re that good. Their set also brought one of the coolest moments of the weekend, with Mars dashing out to the center sound stage to rock out in the middle of the crowd with the band raging on in the background. Then, he crowd surfed all the way back to the stage in a a rioting climax of drums, riffs and lights. Bravo.

Peep the video highlights of Sunday below, and definitely listen to the five-song highlight playlist I put together to recap the third and final day of another great Lollapalooza.

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The Best of Lollapalooza 2013: Saturday Recap

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Saturday always serves as a de facto climax of sorts for Lollapalooza. Friday is full of fashionably late goers with many working earlier in the day (myself included), and Sunday is significantly more relaxed with Monday looming around the corner. So, Day Two is always packed and popping with people ready to go balls to the wall (also myself included).

Notable highlights:

-Ellie Goulding played a fully stocked 5 o’clock set that could of easily been a headliner. Her wispy, seductive vocals carried through the crowd, but her talents seemed boundless as she picked up a guitar and even a pair of drumsticks during her hour-long set. A true musician, through and through and not to mention humble. Multiple times Ellie stopped herself, presumably taken aback by the crowd and dizzied in the moment.

-Just an hour after Ms. Goulding, Compton-native Kendrick Lamar took the same stage to a massive gathering gearing up for a  Good Kid, M.A.A.D city medley. Kendrick is easily one of the most hype and polished performers in the rap realm right now. K-dot glided through each of his tracks with ease and CDQ bravado, from a raw “Backseat Freestyle” to a climatic “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”.  But, even Kendrick couldn’t ignore probably the most unique moment of the entire festival weekend: a man being crowd surfed, in a wheelchair, across the sea of fans to the front of the stage. The show legit stopped for what seemed like a full two minutes, with Kendrick applauding the spectacle (“this is gonna be on the Internet”).

-The most momentous main stage headliner had to be The Postal Service. TPS’ career was short and sweet, only really active for a few years in the early 2000s, but they always sort of served as an indiepop ambassador. They absolutely killed their set with fervor and a genuineness that made things seem very melancholy, with their tour acting simultaneously as a reunion and a goodbye.

Check out video highlights from Saturday below, and be sure to check out the five-song playlist featuring some of the day’s best sets.

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The Best of Lollapalooza 2013: Friday Recap

Chance-The-Rapper-Lollapalooza

You’d be hard pressed to find a better Chicago weekend than when Lollapalooza sets its sails in early August, nested between Lake Michigan and the city’s iconic skyline. In a lot of ways, Lolla marks the culmination of an entire summer of great fests, being the last in line of other big boys like Coachella and Bonnaroo turning out earlier in the summer.

This year was bigger than ever for the festival’s current 9-year run in the city’s Grant Park, with reportedly over 300,000 concertgoers bouncing around the Magnificent Mile to their favorite bands and artists. And compared to last year’s monsoon, the weather was the best I’ve ever experienced thanks to a relatively tame and cool Chicago summer.

It’s hard for me to pick my favorite moment on a day that ranged from Aaron Paul joining Steve Aoki on stage with roaring 90s jock jams to Imagine Dragons getting their sound cut off for about 15 minutes (and yes this was a good moment since they were fucking terrible live). But, I think I have to go with Chance The Rapper‘s set over at the vastly undersized BMI stage.

Watching Chance’s show felt like I was witnessing history in the making. Coming off of his hugely successful tape Acid Rap that placed him in national spotlight, coupled with a dizzyingly packed hometown crowd, you could feel that this was obviously the peak of Mr. Bennet’s burgeoning career. He could barely contain his fervor and it all spilled out as raw emotion on stage. Not to mention that he reunited Kids These Days to back him with Vic Mensa and Twista joining for a compete and thumping rendition of “Cocoa Butter Kisses”. With another album or two under his belt, I wouldn’t doubt that I see Chance back at Lolla, but headlining a much bigger stage next time.

Be sure to check out the five-song playlist below recapping day one of Lollapalooza, and come back for Saturday and Sunday highlights in the next few days.


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[Festival News] Bottle Rock Music & Art Festival [Playlist + Best Performers]

bottlerock

The countdown is on for the inaugural Bottle Rock Music & Art Festival in Napa Valley, California. The festival begins tomorrow night, Wednesday May 8th, with a headlining performance by none other than Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Between Wednesday and Sunday, the show will feature over 60 bands on three different stages, top wineries from the region, the best of the local food, a slew of microbrews, and today’s top comedians (including my personal favorite, Rob Delaney).

The festival has made quite a splash in the Northern California social sphere, as thousands of people flocked to the website on the day tickets first went on sale. Since then, the buzz has built and the nascent festival has amassed over 50,000 fans on Facebook.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, aside from the local flavor of the greatest vineyard-filled land in the country, the lineup is rather impressive. Here are my top three picks for each day of the festival:

Wednesday 5/8: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (there aren’t many other performers this day, so I stuck to one here)
Thursday 5/9: The Avett Brothers, Delta Spirit, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Friday 5/10: The Black Keys, The Shins, Blues Traveler
Saturday 5/11: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Iron & Wine, Sharon Van Etten
Sunday 5/12: Grouplove, Mavis Staples, Rogue Wave

If you’re going out to the festival (see you there!) and are concerned about how to get around the area, fear not! One of my personal favorite transportation companies, Uber, will be set up in Napa with easy ways to get from place to place. They’ll have a bunch of cars set up ready to take you to and from your destination.

Lastly, continue reading for a playlist I put together with the Best of Bottle Rock musical performers.

Continue reading “[Festival News] Bottle Rock Music & Art Festival [Playlist + Best Performers]” »

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Austin City Limits 2012: Suggested Schedule

Austin City Limits Festival

As one of my favorite music festivals (if not my very favorite), ACL, rounds the corner, I sadly realized that this is the first year in three that I have not written for the festival. It’s a sad realization, but one that comes to no surprise of my own. Time is a precious thing these days, and sadly there isn’t much that I can devote to festivals. That said, I still it in me to find time to put together a suggested schedule for all my friends and readers who are lucky enough to go to Austin City Limits this year!

For me, festivals aren’t a time to get up super early and wait in line to get into the gates. I’d rather get my sleep and rest up for a full day of music and sun. Luckily, the best performers typically aren’t put on in the morning, with an exception this year. My new favorite band of the moment, Alt-J, is performing Sunday morning, and I would absolutely make the trek out early to see them perform. Other than that, here’s my suggested schedule with some sample MP3s for ACL 2012.

 

Friday October 12

Start your day off slow with Patrick Watson. You may need to ease into the ACL experience. You have a full weekend ahead. You wont have to pick up your pace too quickly with this schedule — Delta Spirit into Ben Howard and either a break or Tegan and Sara will ease you into the experience, but the energy will pick up with your arrival at Alabama Shakes. Then Florence + The Machine…if you haven’t seen her live yet, just wait. Your mind will be blown by the insanity of her vocal pipes. And you can’t really go wrong with M83 or The Black Keys. What a Friday.

Saturday, October 13
First reaction might be that it’s still looking like a bit of a slower day for music from these picks, but don’t be fooled; these picks are all chosen for their artistic skills. Many of them are up-and-coming bands or artists who you might never have seen or heard of before, but chances are you’ll walk away and be anxious to hear more and see these artists live once again. 

 

Sunday, October 14

Sunday is the day I’d be most excited for if I could attend ACL this year. The lineup is incredible. It starts with one of my favorite bands of 2012, Alt-J, and before closing with Red Hot Chili Peppers, you get to see gems like The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, and Childish Gambino. Sadly I’ve never gotten to see them live, but I have never heard anything but absolute praise for The Avett Brothers’ live show. It’s supposed to be one of the best of our time. All of these sets should be ones that stick with you forever, so if you must do anything over the course of the weekend, please do yourself a favor and stay for the whole day on Sunday. Then go ahead and thank me later.

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Lollapalooza 2012 [Day 3]

Lollapalooza Sunday

Sunday at Lollapalooza marked one of the first times I felt old at a concert setting. I mean, sure, festivals like this are typically filled with the young and restless, but this time shit got generational on me.

I was a face in the crowd in the middle of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis set, my first this day, when the Seattle emcee probed his fans with a question. “How many of you guys were born in the 70s?” A small murmur responded at best. Then he asked, “How many of you guys were born in the 80s?” A decent cheer followed, including myself (I’m 23, by the way.) Finally, Macklemore beckoned, “how many of you guys were born in the 90s?” And the whole crowd erupted.

Well, at least I can say I’m still hip, right?

Check out the sounds from a few of the performances I got the chance to see on Sunday below, as well as some visuals of Jack White absolutely killin’ it in front the Chicago skyline and a good chunk of its population.

Macklemore X Ryan Lewis – Wings

JUSTICE - Horsepower

Childish Gambino – Break (AOTL)

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines (Live)


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Lollapalooza 2012 [Day 2]

Frank Ocean

FRANK OCEAN MAY HAVE STOLEN THE SHOW AT ALL OF LOLLAPALOOZA

Although it was the shortest, Saturday was hands down my favorite day of Lollapalooza weekend. We got news around 3:30 in the afternoon that the festival was being suspended indefinitely for dangerous weather conditions. Downtown Chicago was an absolutely mess as an upwards of 100,000 concertgoers were haplessly stranded onto the city streets, wondering if they’d ever get back into the festival grounds (it was actually hilarious to see all the drunk/high/rolling people get smacked in the face by “the real world” as they had to exit the alcohol and drug safe haven of Lolla.)

It rained, it poured and the Windy City lived up to its nickname as a monsoon washed right over Grant Park. But, the storm passed and the masses were finally let back into the soggy grounds by 6:00PM. The show must go on, right?

I got the chance to see a lot of ultra-cool, mega-EDM acts this day, including Calvin Harris and Avicii in all their LED-lit glory. But you know what? Even with all the sub-bass, flashing lights and dime pieces dancing around me, none of it even came close to the satisfaction I got from witnessing Frank Ocean perform.

Mr. Ocean was something totally rare in the overwhelmingly loud, busy and high-energy vibe you typically get from music festivals like Lollapalooza. When I was standing there with my eyes closed tight at Frank, it didn’t matter how loud Avicii was bumping house just next door. It felt like it was just me and him. That’s how intimate a Frank Ocean show is. And if you think his voice was stunning on the album, it miraculously gets better live. It’s truly passion in its rawest form, and Frank may have stolen the show at all of Lollapalooza for me.

Check out the sounds from the rest of Satuday below, and enjoy visuals from the always-great Red Hot Chili Peppers performing, “Under The Bridge.”

The Weeknd – Rolling Stone

Frank Ocean – Pyramids

AVICII – Two Million

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge (Live)


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Catalpa Festival NYC (Day One)

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Let’s just say that the day didn’t get off to an auspicious start. The forecast said 100% showers throughout the day, and walking to the subway station, it had already begun to drizzle. When we got out at the 125th Street station, it seemed like it had cleared up for a second, and as we rode the bus over to Randall’s Island to catch the early bands at Catalpa, an inkling of false optimism wiggled its way into my mind.

When we arrived at the field grounds around 3, the festival was pretty mellow yet. There was a ton of tantalizing food from local NYC venues–a necessity for the several hours we were about to spend there. For about half an hour, as really dark clouds started to roll in overhead, I hoped against hope that the rain might just miss us. It didn’t. A steady drizzle quickly turned into torrential downpour for a solid 30 or 40 minutes, and the soggy ground became a muddy swamp. The lumpy poncho I was wearing kept me only slightly dry. My Converses are probably damaged for good.

Luckily, the sun came out for a glorious 5 minutes as we headed over to watch The Sheepdogs’ hour-long set. Maybe it was relief that we weren’t wading through a lake of water anymore and were finally beginning to dry off, but they sounded damnnnn good and had great energy considering the circumstances. “The Way It Is,” “Southern Dreaming,” and “I Don’t Know” sounded even bluesier and more rousing live, and they hit their harmonies and guitar riffs with such precision, which was impressive since the band and their instruments had apparently also gotten soaked in the showers. And their shaggy-haired look was freaking great.

Another pleasant surprise was the silent disco tent. I wasn’t sure I really “got” the concept (people listening to the same electro music through separate headphones to avoid the music playing out loud) or the appeal, and from the outside, it certainly looks strange–basically a bunch of people flailing their arms in silence. But once you put on the headphones and step into the tent, it would be hard to tell that you weren’t in a raging club…despite, of course, the gawks of confused passersby.

TV on the Radio’s performance was real raw. Tunde Adebimpe offered up some sweet moves on stage, but their music was so powerful and soulful that they didn’t need many onstage antics to captivate the festival goers jamming out in front of them. Is it weird to say that their music scares me a little? In, like, the best way possible. It’s just that their background vocals, keyboards, and bass parts are so dark and dangerous on a track like “Staring at the Sun” that it’s almost frightening.

After TV, there was a short lull before Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach hit the stage to an overwhelming, ecstatic reception. True to their onstage habits, they pretty much just sat down and started to play, with little showy material besides their fantastically epic closing number.

I saw The Black Keys at Madison Square Garden a few months ago, and they played a very similar set at Catalpa: a killer combination of tracks off El Camino and some of their best “oldies but goodies,” as Dan Auerbach introduced them. They especially slayed “Thickfreakness,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “I Got Mine,” and “Little Black Submarine.” I really can’t think of a group that has better on-stage chemistry and ability; their backup band is clearly talented, but the sound that just the two of them can produce is so beautifully simple yet so unbelievably explosive. They lived up to the hype and the pre-show anticipation; I can say confidently that waiting through the downpour was worth it.

The Sheepdogs-I Don’t Know

TV on the Radio-Wolf Like Me

TV on the Radio-Repetition

The Black Keys-Thickfreakness

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The Bonnaroo 2012 Experience (Day Three, Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Red Hot Chili Peppers

To me, Day Three was the climax of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. By hour 72 of this sleepless marathon, you’re very acquainted with The Farm and taking everything in stride. You know exactly how to navigate the festival grounds (or Centeroo, as they call it), your body has become accustomed to its 24-hour champagne beer and warm vodka diet, and you’ve completely mastered the art of the porta potty. Did I mention camping is intense?

Anyway, back to the tunes. This was hands down my favorite day. The acts were stacked and I couldn’t tell you an artist or group I saw who put on a bad show. Even Das Racist, who I’ve heard horrible thangs about in regards to their live set (coming out way too drunk, slobbing all over the mic, etc.), threw down hard–and were hilarious to boot. At one point they made every single person in the crowd turn around to face a fountain while they performed, yelling at anybody who looked otherwise.

And the Chili Peppers were a great contrast to Thom Yorke and company the day before. Where Radiohead was stoic, calculated and entrancing, Red Hot Chili Peppers were jubilant and throbbing with energy. Sure, they played a lot of newer jams that a lot of people either didn’t recognize or simply weren’t into, but when any track from their older catalogs like Californiacation jolted through the amps, the crowd was hanging on every single riff and rhyme. And yo, I gotta say, Flea is an absolute maniac on the stage. Dude is like, 50, and he’s up there chugging whiskey while absolutely wailing it on the bass. Super rad.

Alright. Now time to get something off my chest. I’m super torn about the screamo-punk-turned-EDM-DJ who is Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex. I mean, yeah, I do enjoy a few of his songs, but a lot I just don’t “get” and dude just kinda pisses me off in general with his whole image. But, I will say that he completely stole the show on Saturday night. In the hour and a half wait that was in between the Chili Peppers and Skrillex, you could sort of feel the hype in the air for his set. People were still buzzing after rocking out to a big headliner but the night was still far too young to quit. He even had the nerve of displaying a two-minute countdown on the screen before he came out, as if he was some sort of New Year’s Eve celebration.

But you know what? He won me over with his performance. I’ve never quite seen somebody control a crowd like Skrillex did. Plus, his setup was totally awesome. He was in a giant spaceship the entire time, with a giant backdrop that took you through a cosmos of colors and stars, making his show seem like a huge rave that was flying through space and time. People were completely RAGING to his set list. You remember when you used to mosh at shows that had a surplus of energy? Well, now people form a circle and take turns getting in the middle to just go absolutely ham with their dance moves. Maybe you’ve already been a part of one, but it was the first “anti-mosh pit” I’ve ever experienced and I doubt it’ll be the last.

Peep some live footage from the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s set below, and don’t forget to hit the five-track playlist afterwards to relive the sounds of Day Three.

Das Racist – You Oughta Know

SBTRK – Wildfire (Drake Remix)

Childish Gambino – Freaks and Geeks

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside

Benny Benassi – Cinema (Skrillex Remix)

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