Fender’s 2013 Lollapalooza Primer

In a matter of days, Fender.com is heading to Chicago for Lollapalooza 2013, the annual music festival on the massive grounds of downtown’s Grant Park.

It’s an exciting time, with a ton of excellent bands spread out among eight stages.

From Aug. 2-4, we’ll be covering Lollapalooza, and here are some acts that are definitely on our radar:

Friday, Aug. 2

California collective the Neighbourhood has blown up in the past few months, appearing on several late-night shows on the heels of their smash single “Sweater Weather.” With brooding instrumentation and hip hop-inspired vocals, the Neighbourhood will offer a chilled-out set on Friday at noon.

Once a folk duo, Katie Toupin and Matt Myers teamed up with Shane Cody and Zak Appleby to form Houndmouth, with big guitars and vocal harmonies. Houndmouth’s folksy Americana themes and gospel grooves call to mind the band’s native Indiana.

Australia’s Atlas Genius is a relatively young band, but they’ve received heavy airplay with their chilled-out “Trojans” and “Back Seat” from their debut album When It Was Now. Set for an afternoon show at the Grove Stage, you should check out this band before they’re heading the bill at bigger venues.

Band of Horses (credit Christopher Wilson)
Band of Horses (credit Christopher Wilson)

Band of Horses’ wistful country rock reached a full gallop with their latest album Mirage Rock, and the hard-touring band has a live show that is totally dialed-in.  Expect additional singalongs like “The Funeral,” “Is There a Ghost” and “The General Specific,” as well.

Queens of the Stone Age should rate high on anyone’s schedule, considering the epic rock-ness of their recently-released …Like Clockwork.  The band hasn’t played in North America yet this year, having only seen a live audience in South America at this point.  Kicking off their 2013 tour in Chicago should prove to be an enlightening experience.

Las Vegas’ Imagine Dragons perform with deep emotion on stage. It’s always amazing to see the entire band pounding on various percussion instruments during the breakdown to the hit single “Radioactive.”

Forming out of the ashes of the legendary Joy Division in the 1980s, dance stalwarts New Order broke up in 2007 but reunited a few years ago without original bassist Peter Hook (replaced by Tom Chapman) and with the return of original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert.

The band is still going strong with their 2013 album Lost Sirens, which is a collection of outtakes from 2005’s Waiting for the Sirens’ Call.  If you’re looking for a respite from the hardcore EDM DJs but still want to dance, New Order is the way to go.

Another band that makes liberal use of synthesizers is the Killers, who have been delighting audiences while on tour in support of their excellent 2012 album Battle Born.  Rocking the Red Bull Sound Select Stage on Friday night, the Killers will bring their arena-ready atmospherics outdoors.

Queens of the Stone Age (credit Nora Lezano)
Queens of the Stone Age (credit Nora Lezano)

Saturday, Aug. 3

Family of the Year will kick off Saturday with their sunny harmonies and handclaps. Their latest release Loma Vista features catchy melodies tinged with dance- and psych-rock.

Those in the mood for a little fiddle action should wander by the Lake Shore Stage for Court Yard Hounds, the new project from Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks.  Their on-stage chemistry is undeniable, as are the country and bluegrass influences.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra frontman Ruban Nielson has the ability to craft psych riffs that call to mind Animal Collective and Tame Impala, weaving a stoner pastiche through classic rock, funk and indie.  There are no dull moments when listening to this band live.

A 14-year career as a band culminated in the National’s self-assured Trouble Will Find Me a few months ago. Matt Berninger’s growl is as gravelly and austere as ever, while the National’s instrumentation creates rumbling landscapes that add to their bombastic live show.

Even though there is only one album to the Postal Service’s credit – one that was released 10 years ago – the band’s 2013 reunion and reissue has been highly-anticipated.  Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello’s marriage of electro-pop and indie rock has certainly stood the test of time.

Sunday, Aug. 3

The National (credit Dierde O'Callaghan)
The National (credit Dierde O’Callaghan)

Having already toured with Noel Gallagher, the 19-year-old Jake Bugg is already blowing up both in the States and in his native U.K.  Bugg’s blistering guitar work is especially highlighted on his single “Lightning Bolt.”

Nightmare & the Cat is the brainchilid of ex-par British brothers Django and Samuel Stewart, and the group adds soul and a little bit of folk to their bohemian rock.  They might be young, but Nightmare & the Cat passionately give their all to the crowd.

For something completely different, Alt-J might be the way to go. The English band has been described as folktronica and psychedelic pop, and their frequently-changing time signatures will keep listeners on their toes.

Having released their fourth studio album Bloom last year, Baltimore’s Beach House will concoct a dreamy landscape at the Lake Shore Stage on Sunday at 7 p.m.  Hopefully, the stars are out for their ghostly pop.

French pop rockers Phoenix added some eastern flair to their latest album Bankrupt! and are a can’t miss for their energetic live show.  With sweeping choruses and Thomas Mars’ unmistakable voice, this band is a can’t miss.

Food Stars

Chicago is also home to a ton of great restaurants, and the community comes together for a great spread at the festival.

Split into Chow Town North and South, here are a few tasty treats we’re looking forward to:

Grahmwich: Created by master chef Graham Elliot, Grahmwhich has a lobster corn dog that is decadent and classed-up state fair fare.  It’s obvious Elliot’s outposts will have long lines, as he has served as the festival’s culinary director since 2010.

Original Rainbow Cone: A Chicago original since 1926, the classic version of a Rainbow Cone houses chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House and pistachio ice creams with orange sherbet in one delicious dessert.  Hey, it’s another way to cool down, too.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters: The perfect pick-me-up when walking the grounds is an iced coffee from La Colombe.  The premium-grade coffee is served across the country and has been featured in Food and Wine, Bon Appetite and Travel + Leisure Magazine.

Connie’s Pizza: It wouldn’t be Chicago without deep dish pizza, and Connie’s will have their classic (50+ years) version available.  A staple of festivals and sporting events, their pie is delicious.

Farmer’s Market: Located away from the Chow Towns, the fresh farmer’s market features a French bakery, an artisan cheesemaker, a cream puff vendor and smoothies.  Make sure to bring a reusable bag!

Additionally, a few things to remember are to bring cash to forgo the long ATM lines, a chair and a blanket to take a load off, empty water bottles for refilling, and hand sanitizer (see: Port-a-Potties).

And as always, have fun!

For more Lollapalooza information, click here.

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