The Lollapalooza 2017 lineup has been announced!

Lollapalooza 2017 poster

The 2017 Lollapalooza lineup is out and it’s not bad at all. For some reason, I was expecting a very subpar lineup, and to be honest, I had considered skipping this year in favor of trying out a festival that I have never been to (FYFEST? ACL? perhaps Liverpool Psych Fest? any of these are still possible if I can scrape up the funds), but in the end, I still ended going through the adrenaline rush of trying to snag and succeeding in getting a 4 day wristband. So, when the bands were announced yesterday, I was actually pretty excited.

Thursday gives us Muse, Lorde, Cage the Elephant, and Wiz Khalifa (?) as headliners with Porter Robinson, Liam Gallagher, Kaytranada, Temples, and Atlas Genius playing during the day.

Friday is stacked with goodness from The Killers, Blink 182, DJ Snake, and Run The Jewels, with Crystal Castles, Little Dragon, Cloud Nothings, and Saint Jhn. This is probably my favorite lineup of the weekend.

Saturday has Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper, The xx, Alt-J, and The Head and The Heart along with Kaskade, Warpaint (I’d love to be on that side stage thing during their set!), Highly Suspect, and Boston representing with 2 acts…indie poppers Lady Pills and rapper Michael Christmas.

Sunday wraps up the festival weekend with Arcade Fire, Justice, Big Sean, and The Shins, with Rae Sremmurd, Tove Lo, Joey Bada$$, Charli XCX, and one of my guilty pleasures, Grace Mitchell.

Of course, Lollapalooza weekend wouldn’t be complete without hitting up some daytime parties (which there was a lack of last year) as well as the nighttime parties such as Culture Collide and Floodfest, or DJ sets at the Virgin Hotels (where I’m staying at again this year because that place was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!) which are always my favorite part of Lolla weekend. It’s going to be a long 4 1/2 month wait until I’m in Chicago. Did anyone else score tickets? Going solo as I am? Let’s meet up and hang for a set or two!

Lollapalooza announces 25th Anniversary lineup!

Lollapalooza 2016 poster

Lollapalooza 2016 also happens to be the festival’s 25th anniversary and it has expanded to 4 days this year in honor of that achievement. The Lolla 2016 lineup came out this morning and with something like 170 bands, there’s a lot to go through. Headlining bands include Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers (again…ugh!), and LCD Soundsystem, who I’m really looking forward to finally seeing. There is a pretty good undercard with a lot of bands I’ve wanted to see but for some reason, never have or wouldn’t mind seeing again. These include Wavves, Alessia Cara, Foals, Saint Motel, Wolf Alice, Grimes, St. Lucia, Chairlift, Haim, Zhu, and Third Eye Blind…yes, that band. The Sunday lineup seems to be the best day, at least for me. I have already booked a room at the Virgin Hotel, which is supposed to be pretty cool, plus I needed a change from the Hard Rock after last year’s not-so-great experience. One thing to consider is the after parties, which, if you can get in, are my favorite thing about Lollapalooza weekend and I’m looking forward to hitting some of those up as well.

4 day passes went on sale yesterday and are sold out, but single day tickets are on sale now for $120 per day.

First bands announced for Desert Stars Festival 2016

The Desert Stars Festival, now in it’s 9th year, has announced their initial 2016 lineup and so far, it’s a good one with Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh headlining. The festival takes place at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, located near Joshua Tree National Park. Other bands announced are Magic Wands, Tennis System, Winter, and one of my personal favorites…Ancient River. I’m giving some serious thought to going this year, but I’ll have to wait until the date is a little closer to make that decision.

The festival takes place from 9/23/16 – 9/24/16 and early bird weekend passes are on sale now for $100 and single days are $65.

The Desert Stars Festival 2016 lineup so far:

Dinosaur Jr.
Sebadoh
Moon Duo
Kurt Heasley of Lilys
Magic Wands
Tennis System
Highlands
Cellar Doors
Ancient River
Blood Candy
Band Aparte
Annie Girl and The Flight
Down Dirty Shake
Winter

Lollapalooza 2015 – Day 2 – 8-01-2015

After a really fun night at the first of the Culture Collide after parties, I woke up early and surprisingly not hung over, despite having several of the free drinks offered. I managed to sneak in a workout at the gym in the Hard Rock Hotel, find some coffee, do some sightseeing, and then get ready for day 2 of Lollapalooza.

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Toro y Moi

I got to Grant Park just in time to see one of my favorite bands, Toro y Moi. Despite the bright sun and high temperatures, there was a huge crowd gathered at the stage to see Chaz Bundick and company breeze through their not-really-chillwave-anymore-but-still-awesome mix of old and new songs.

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Hermitude

On a coworker’s recommendation, I went over to the Pepsi Stage to catch the Australian electronic duo Hermitude. Despite being electronic, their set was a pretty mellow (in comparison to the nearby Perry’s stage) way to spend the afternoon in the shade of the trees.

I’ll say this first, I don’t really care for the very overplayed Walk the Moon, but was curious to check them out live for a bit. There was such a massive crowd for these guys, that it was impossible to get down to the field and see anything. This is exactly what happened with Imagine Dragons on the same stage 2 years ago. So, I went over to the nearby BMI Stage to watch Elle King’s set for a while.

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Elle King

If you listen to XMU on Sirius/XM, then you’re probably familiar with Elle King’sEx’s & Oh’s”. Most of her set was nothing like that song, in fact it was kind of twangy and almost country. That being said, I actually enjoyed it and her banter with the audience about the songs, Ohio, and that she probably slept with most of the guys there, was hilarious! King also thanked the crowd for choosing to see her instead of Tyler the Creator who was playing on another stage the same time, which she was kind of bummed to have to miss.

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Tyler the Creator

I had to see some of Tyler the Creator’s set, because it’s kind of a guilty pleasure. Man, there was a huge crowd. With a stage setup that looked like a child’s bedroom, Tyler was standing a giant bed, which also had a giant rocking chair next to it. The bass was deep and Tyler led the crowd in chants of “fuck that”. I didn’t stay for the whole set, but was a little bit disappointed. Guess I expected a little more.

I hit up the Chow Town area for some food before going over to see Chet Faker, who I was really looking forward to. It turned out to be a bust due to the huge crowd at the Pepsi Stage. I couldn’t get anywhere near there. I went back to the main stage to see some of Kid Cudi’s set, who was much better than I expected. From there, I found a good spot on the little hill near BMI Stage for Mt. Eden’s set. It was a good place to sit, recharge my phone, and watch the guy sitting in front of me puke several times, then proceed to drink some more from his wine filled sport bottle.

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Banks

Banks was up next and man, that was some dark and hazy stuff. I really enjoyed her set and she seemed to have the crowd’s attention the whole time.

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Metallica

Although I haven’t been a fan of Metallica since the 80’s and early 90’s, I wanted to see some of their set out of curiosity. I took a walk over, but the field was so full of people, I ended up watching a few songs from the stairs in the back starting with “Fuel” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. At this point, I decided to head back to the hotel, shower and change, then stand in line for the second night of the Culture Collide parties.

Austin Psych Fest 2014 – Day 3 5-04-2014

It’s the final day of the Austin Psych Fest and my dust filled lungs are killing me, but it’s still not as bad as last years terrible allergies that had me leaving Austin with a severe 2 week case of laryngitis. I was in no rush to get to the festival as there wasn’t really anyone I wanted to see until around 5pm, so I killed time at the nearby Starbucks (which has a great view of the Austin skyline) for a while. I finally made my way to the shuttle stop where there were a few others waiting and we chatted about the bands from the previous two days. The shuttle ride was awesome with the driver blasting the Stone Roses and the Warlocks amongst others, which included a sing along by those of us on the bus. It was a fun way to bond with some other fans!

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Lorelle Meets the Obsolete

I got to the festival just in time to catch the last two songs from shoegazers Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, who were playing to an overflow of people at the tent. These guys were really good and I wished I had caught more of their set.

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Christian Bland and the Revelators

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Kikagaku Moyo

From there, I went over to check out the Reverberation Stage where Christian Bland and the Revelators were playing. The sun was a little too bright and beating down on me, so I made my way down to the Elevation Amphitheater and watched Kikagaku Moyo for a bit. They featured a guy jamming on a sitar and the music was pretty trippy.

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Secret Colours

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Toy

I went back to the Levitation Tent and to see Secret Colours for a little while, then wandered around with yet another drink until Toy went on. I wasn’t familiar with them before the festival, but I wanted to check them out based on a conversation I had with some people on the shuttle the day before, and I was glad I did! These guys (and girl) absolutely blew away everyone in the tent and for me, it was the best set of the day, perhaps the weekend. I also managed to get a setlist, but couldn’t find any members to sign it. Either way, I’ll end up framing it with a vinyl copy of their newest album Join The Dots. My night was made!

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Sleepy Sun

As I left the tent, Mikal Cronin was playing on the main stage and I stayed for a couple of songs, but I really wanted to see Sleepy Sun down at the river stage. Sleepy Sun were kind of trippy and loud, with really cool visuals projected onto the trees across the river behind them. There was definitely an awesome atmosphere going on down there.

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Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band

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The War On Drugs

I went back to the tent to catch Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio’s other project, Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band. Although I’m not too into TV On The Radio, I was really feeling their hypnotic sound, which in turn, created a mood that fit in with the night. After they finished their set, I went over to the main stage to see The War On Drugs. These guys killed it, with a very Pink Floyd sound at times. I really enjoyed this set.

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Bo Ningen

I made my way back to the tent and stumbled on Japanese noise-psych band, Bo Ningen. They made a *lot* of noise, including an 18 minute jam that blew everyone away with it’s screeching loudness. It was a pretty cool experience and I don’t think anyone was disappointed with what they just witnessed. By the time Bo Ningen were done, Loop had taken the main stage. A lot of people I chatted with over the weekend were looking forward to this band. I caught a couple of songs then called it a night since I was getting tired. Even though it was killing me to leave, I made my way back to the shuttle stop for the last time of Austin Psych Fest 7.

This was by far the best time I have ever had at a festival. I loved every single minute of it (and yes…even the choking dust)! It was 4 days of good food, friendly people, and some really amazing bands. I am already looking forward to going back in 2015 for Austin Psych Fest 8!

Here are a few random shots from around the festival grounds, enjoy!

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Austin Psych Fest 2014 – Day 1 5-02-2014

Austin Psych Fest 7 Sign

I didn’t get much sleep but I was ready for the first day of Austin Psych Fest! This is my second year going and it’s a little easier since I have a better idea of what to expect. The new shuttle bus stop was located about a block from my hotel, between the Hampton Inn and Microtel. I ended up chatting with a couple of people who were also waiting and found out that we had missed the shuttle by 5 minutes. About 25 minutes later the bus finally arrived to pick up the now sizable crowd and take us to Carson Creek Ranch. I always love this part, because everyone is excited, very friendly, and talkative (this would never happen in Boston).

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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

We finally arrived at Carson Creek Ranch where there was a bit of a line to get in, but once through the gates, the layout was pretty much the same as last year, with the exception of a fenced off area on the side of the main stage for those who opted for the deluxe ticket upgrade. Honestly, I didn’t see anything that made it worth $100 extra other than maybe nicer bathrooms. As I walked by the main stage, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard were playing and I watched them for a couple of songs before making my way down to the Elevation Amphitheater to see Quilt.

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Quilt

Quilt are a band from Boston, that strangely, I haven’t had a chance to see yet, but today I did and they were great! They played a pretty mellow indie rock set that went nicely with the afternoon and the river behind them. By the end of their set, I was pretty hungry, so I found some food in the form of pulled pork on Texas toast which was amazing!

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Terakaft

While eating, a guy sitting across me and a new friend was telling us about Terakaft, so we made our way down to the river stage to see them. This band is from Mali, Africa. It is hard not to draw comparisons to last year’s Psych Fest headliners Tinariwen. Their sound is similar with Middle Eastern influences. A lot of people walked away impressed.

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Aqua Nebula Oscillator

I made my way over to the Elevation Tent for the first time of the day and caught Aqua Nebula Oscillator. who were playing some crazy music.

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Graveyard

From there, I went back to the main stage to see Graveyard, who had a bluesy, psych rock sound. I was really liking this band and it seemed a lot of other people did too, since I heard a lot of talking about these guys and how much they enjoyed them.

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White Hills

I went back to the Levitation Tent and watched White Hills. They were really awesome psych rock and had a pretty good sized crowd in the tent to see them.

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Black Lips

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Peaking Lights

As the sun was going down, the Black Lips were on the Reverberation Stage. I really like these guys, but wasn’t really feeling it at this point, so I wandered around some more. I ended up at the really dark Elevation Amphitheater to watch Peaking Lights‘s really, really visual set. By that, I mean the images projected onto the trees behind the stage were really cool and trippy. This is always one of the best places to be at night.

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Kadavar

I made my way back to the Levitation Tent for Kadavar, who totally blew me and the rest of the large crowd away! In fact, this was probably one of the best sets of the day. Everyone (including a random guy in front of me at the Frank’s Hot Dogs stand) were talking about them. Kadavar were like hair metal with a tinge of the psych sound. They completely rocked the tent!

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The Zombies

I grabbed what would be my first beer of the day (after multiple vodka based drinks with names that were embarrassing to say out loud), a Newcastle Brown and waited near the main stage for this year’s classic psych band…The Zombies. The Zombies sounded really tight and lead singer Colin Blunstone’s voice sounded practically the same as it did in the 60’s. They did “Time of the Season” and ended with “She’s Not There”, both of which sounded great through the loud sound system! Their set seemed kind of short though.

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La Femme

I went back to the tent because I wanted to see La Femme, who were already playing. This French band completely had the crowd sucked in with a very high energy set. Lots of dancing on stage, sometimes in sync, sometimes not. One band member handed the keyboard to the crowd then proceeded to stand on it, surfing through the crowd. This band’s live show is really something to see! Another of my favorite sets of the day.

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The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols were on next. Despite multiple attempts in the past, I never had a chance to see them live, but now I have and they were amazing! At one point, Anton Newcombe and Matt from Brian Jonestown Massacre came out to sing “Oh Lord“. This totally surprised the crowd (and if you have ever seen the Dig! documentary, you know why). I was totally blown away!

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Brown Sabbath

I went back to the tent to see Brown Sabbath, who are actually a Latin band from Austin called Brownout, who did some funky Black Sabbath covers. They were a last minute replacement for Oneohtrix Point Never, who had to cancel due to an injury. Songs like “Warpigs” and “Iron Man”sounded really cool all funked out with a horn section that had the crowd dancing and it was amazing!

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The Black Angels

The Black Angels were on next and I caught a little bit of their set. but It had been a very long day. I left during their set to catch the shuttle back to the hotel for some much needed sleep and to take on day 2!

Review: Austin Psych Fest 7 Kickoff at The Mohawk in Austin 5-01-2014

After attempting to go to bed early and not getting any sleep due to being excited for the trip to Austin, I got up at 3:30am to catch a (delayed) flight from Boston for my second year of going to the Austin Psych Fest. I arrived in Austin around noon, grabbed my luggage, and caught the hotel shuttle to the Courtyard Marriott near the airport, which is convenient for taking the festival shuttle during the weekend. Once settled, I went over to a place I discovered last year called Javi’s Best of Tex Mex in the plaza next door for some much needed food which was delicious! Back to my room for a short nap before heading to downtown Austin.

Javi's Tex Mex

Javi’s Tex Mex

Freshly showered, I took the hotel airport courtesy shuttle back to the airport to catch a bus into downtown Austin, since it seemed like a pain to figure out how to transfer on the only bus that does go near the hotel. I got off at 4th and Congress and walked down to Empire Automotive on 7th, where there was a pretty long line already, to pick up my festival wristband (which also gets you into the kick off show at the Mohawk, unless you opted for the “deluxe” festival pass that also gets you into Red 7, where there was a really long line). From there, I walked around the area a bit, then went over to the Mohawk, where it was really crowded. I probably should have left earlier. That place has such a crazy layout, with multiple levels outside but a very small and cramped inside stage.

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Elephant Stone

Elephant Stone were already playing on the outside stage. This was one of my favorite bands from last year’s festival and I was happy to see them again. They were playing some new stuff, which they said would be out in September and it all sounded good. At this point, I needed a beer, so I headed up to the 3rd level bar and tried something called Firemans #4 Ale, which was really good. I made my way back down to the first floor while Night Beats were getting set up.

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The line to get into the Mohawk

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Outside stage viewing areas

I decided I should probably get some earplugs since I left mine back home in Boston. I asked one of the many bearded bartenders about earplugs and after being given a funny look, was told they don’t sell them there. Seriously? This place is really loud. I went ahead and ordered another drink based on a sign hanging up behind the bar, which was Sailor Jerry mixed with ginger brew and Dos Equis. This turned out to be a pretty potent combination that really kicked my ass. At this point, I was trying to avoid all of the smokers (and there are a LOT of them in Austin) so that I don’t come down with laryngitis like I did last year. I went upstairs and had a nice viewing spot that allowed me to see the stage as well as the now very long line to get in.

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Night Beats

Night Beats went on and absolutely killed it! They played very loud set of what seemed to be a cross between psych and garage rock, which got more than a few people to mosh and crowd surf. This set was very energetic and insane!

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People crowdsurfing

I finished my 3rd beer which was another Firemans #4, then left the Mohawk since it was too crowded at the inside stage, so I set out to find some much needed food. I couldn’t find anything that was portable enough to bring back to my hotel, so I managed to flag down a cab, which only took about 10 minutes compared to 2 1/2 hours last year. The driver got lost getting me back to the hotel and asked me to look up the address. Austin really needs Uber or Lyft or some alternative to their terrible taxis. $33 later, I was back in my room with a couple of slices of 7-11 pizza, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight, wasn’t. Now, to get some much needed sleep before Psych Fest officially starts tomorrow.