Summer Music & Lollapalooza 2011

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Thanks for your feedback yesterday on Amy Winehouse and our poll about performers who’d passed on much too soon (many of you asked why we hadn’t included Jimi Hendrix on our list of short-lived rock icons — the answer is that we only had room to list four options. Nothing on Jimi!)

Since it’s Tuesday, let’s keep talking about music. What are you listening to these days? Have you found that because of The Voice, you’re far more likely to check out the brand new Blake Shelton album Red River Blue? Evidently he’s won himself millions of new fans eager to give his latest a listen. Speaking of which, Blink 182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay-Z & Kanye West, Joss Stone and Eric Church are all enjoying considerable attention right now on account of their brand new releases.

Plus, if you’re one of those people who lives in or near Chicago and/or cannot get enough of huge outdoor rock concerts that have been around for twenty years (with a few breaks) you might want to investigate Lollapalooza which takes place August 5th thru 7that Grant Park right in the Windy City. Now even though Lollapalooza is very much a contemporary happening, with massive musical acts (see today’s poll), it will always resonate for me as the festival we associate with the early 1990s. In much the same way that you think of Woodstock as emblematic of the 1960s (and the types of people and drugs that accompany them) or Live Aid as personifying the 80s, or the Warped Tour as being the go-to destination for skatepunks and anyone wearing Vans in the 2000’s, Lollapalooza was  — for me– the moment when alternative music became mainstream.

When it first bowed in 1991 everyone wondered if founder Perry Farrell was going to be the American version of Sir Bob Geldof (whose brainchild was Live Aid). As it turned out he wasn’t, although millions of fans probably feel that the Jane’s Addiction frontman deserves knighthood. You may not remember that Lollapalooza was initially spawned by Farrell as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction. The show was envisioned as a huge traveling festival of grunge & alternative music that would also address progressive social issues and connect fans with various cultural and political initiatives. It was first headlined by lots of flannel shirt acts, although they threw in a number of hip hop performers for added cool & credibility.

What began as a movable fest ran until 1997, when Farrell and Co. called it quits. In 2005 it was resurrected but this time it was – and is to this day – a gigantic stationary outdoor shindig held in Chicago. This year’s show (which is reportedly sold out, but as with Comic-Con there are always ways to get tickets) has about 130 acts on multiple stages. Talent includes Eminem, Muse, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5, and The Cars – just to name a few. For today, let us know what you think of some of Lollapalooza’s finest.

Today’s poll:

Lollapalooza hits Chicago August 5th -7th. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these acts is your favorite:

1)   Coldplay

2)  Eminem

3)   Foo Fighters

4)   Muse

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