Many a variable — who's on the road and for how much, overall economy, even weather — have played into the success of the summer shed season.
But Lollapalooza, pretty much since it touched down permanently in the Windy City's Grant Park in 2005, has proven to be both recession–proof and weather resistant.
That this year's festival sold out long before the first note was played on the festival grounds is no surprise; scribes — including yours truly — will himm and haw with every Lolla–lineup, comparing the current year's model to those in the festival's early and mid 90s glory days or to more recent winning (or losing) seasons on the homefront. But the hordes of music fans that flock from all corners of the globe pay no mind to such nitpicking and are happy to embrace rock's past, present and future where it counts most — for themselves.
Unfortunately, each Grant Park–era Lollapallooza has forced many an attendee to pick between the better of two great bands. A painful conundrum always, and sadly, this year is no exception.
Opening day on Aug. 3 presents what may arguably be the toughest call for showgoers between Blacks Sabbath and Keys, who are headlining and closing the day's festivities at the Bud Light Stage and Red Bull Soundstage, respectively. An equally tough call between Metric and a reunited Afghan Whigs comes earlier in the day with the former at Bud Light and latter at Red Bull.
From here on, though, it's smooth sailing for those making their way to Grant Park for all three Lolla Days. On Aug. 4, Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. Avicii battle for the fans may be a no–brainer for many, and Jack White — whose "Blunderbuss" will surely see many a critics' Top 10 list at year's end — should have no problem captivating the majority of the crowd as the festival closer on Sunday (no offense, Justice).
Yet the true Lollapalooza gems are often found earlier in the day and not necessarily on the behemoth stages. Tunes & Tix' pics include, along with the Afghan Whigs, The War on Drugs (2:15 p.m. Aug. 3, Google Play Stage), Chicago's JC Brooks in the Uptown Sound (12 p.m. Aug. 4, Sony Stage), Alabama Shakes (4:15 p.m. Aug. 4, Bud Light Stage) and Gary Clark Jr. (3:15 Aug. 5, Playstation Stage).
"Lollapalooza 2012," 11 a.m. Aug. 3–5, Grant Park, Randolph St. and Michigan Ave., Chicago. $$75–$230 (sold out). FYI: (888) 512–7469, LOLLAPALOOZA.COM
On sale now
For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all–ages.
• David Byrne, St. Vincent, Sept. 18, The Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
• Guided by Voices, Aug. 11, Metro (18 and older, METROCHICAGO.COM)
• Jello Biafra, Aug. 24, Reggie's Rock Club (17 and older, REGGIESLIVE.COM)
• Snow Patrol, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Nov. 3, the Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
• Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Oct. 11, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
• Nouvelle Vague, Oct. 20, Bottom Lounge (17 and older, BOTTOMLOUNGE.COM)
• Clannad, Oct. 20, Park West (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
• Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Sept. 6–7, Lincoln Hall (21 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
• Jackson Browne, Oct. 26, The Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
The opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. Tim Shellberg can be reached at T.firstname.lastname@example.org.