So did you just spent over $200 today? If you answered yes, you probably bought yourself a Lollapalooza ticket … or invested in a little early afternoon delight via a thrifty escort service. Either way, I bet you started your day feeling good … or so you thought.
As I’m writing this, I’m only aware of the rumors and speculations regarding the Lollapalooza lineup that has or will soon be released today. But, regardless of how the lineup turned out, how fantastic, or brilliant or laden with resurrected dead music legends it is, is it all really what it’s cracked up to be?
Lollapalooza started in 1991 as a last hurrah for Jane’s Addiction as they embarked on what was supposed to be their last tour. Perry and the gang got together an eclectic group of musicians and toured the country in a Barnum and Bailey-like fashion. The event turned to an annual thing that showcased groups like Pavement, The Smashing Pumpkins and even Coolio. Eclectic and free-spirited, it represented youth culture for most of the ’90s.
Now it’s in Grant Park, the event is bigger, the prices are higher and the times are changing. I went to both years Lollapalooza has been in Grant Park and had a pretty great time each year. But fighting with 40-year-old women with “30 Seconds To Mars” tattoos, waiting for 20 minutes to take a pee in a smelly Port-o-John and finding out a grown man punched my girlfriend during the Gnarls Barkley set all put a significant damper on the event.
Plus, you’re paying $200 dollars for 50,750 bands or whatever, but realistically, you can see only 10 shows a day. These 10 shows are spent in scorching heat, wedged between smelly guys who haven’t gone outside since the Pumpkins were a four-piece. The sets are quick and unsatisfying, and sometimes the sound straight up sucks. After Broken Social Scene’s brilliant but short set last year, I was upset and left wanting more. A sour end to the weekend, it made me rethink paying exorbitant fees to fund Perry Farrell’s ever-growing scarf collection.
That’s why I’m starting an alternative to the alternative music festival: Brian’s Boycottaganza. While spending slightly less than the Lolla price, I have a list of 10 great shows in Chicago that I guarantee will be more enjoyable and fulfilling than Lollapalooza … plus most of that money won’t wind up in the filthy hands of corporate sponsors and major labels. Don’t take the survey course of alternative music; taking a little more time on individual acts will lead to a greater appreciation of our musical world.
Here it is, the BOYCOTTAGANZA!!
1. DANIEL JOHNSTON: May 10, The Empty Bottle, $15
-Finished with finals a little early? Check out this living legend play unforgettable, haunting folk songs. Plus, the literally insane always tend to put on a good show.
2. MORRISSEY: May 15, Chicago Auditorium Theatre, $27.50
-Headliner material for any music festival, Morrissey is gracing Chicago with his asexual self. Watch the non-Modest Mouse affiliated portion of The Smiths rock the house.
3. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: May 17, Metro, $21
-The most brilliant band out there that performs in animal masks.
4. KINGS OF LEON, ALBERT HAMMOND JR.: May 19, The Riviera, $24
-Major label ass faces? Not quite, Kings of Leon know what their doing, particularly in bringing Strokes’ guitarist Hammond along.
5. THE BLOW, ELECTRELANE: May 22, Empty Bottle, $15
-Download The Blow’s “Hey Boy” and “Parenthesis.” No more info needed.
6. BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB: May 24, The Vic, $21
-Totally underrated, lots of leather
7. THE NATIONAL, SHAPES AND SIZES: June 7, Metro, $15
-The National is the best American band I can think of … ever?
8. ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI: June 11, Logan Square Auditorium $15
-The best Australian orchestral pop collective band I can think of … more or less.
9. LESLEY GORE: June 15, Old Town School of Folk Music, $30
-She sang “Sunshine and Lollipops” and apparently, the oldie has still got it.
10. THE THERMALS: July 27, Subterranean, $12
-One of the few good politically-charged bands in recent memory.
All of this comes to the grand total of $194. This is only a sample of the hundreds of shows going on in Chicago and its nearby cities this summer. Think of the variety of venues and locations and bands you can see by allocating your money a little wiser. Before you go simplifying your summer by going to Lollapalooza, stretch that budget and your mind. And if you’re feeling remorse for buying those pricey tickets, I’ll gladly take them off your hands.
Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a PayPal account, if you’d like to buy tickets to his Boycottaganza.