Lollapalooza Part 2: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Top 3 personal fest picks for Chicago this weekend

Lollapalooza Part 2: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

By the time you read this, I’ll be part way through day one of C3 Presents' Lollapalooza in Chicago, where I work as an Artist Ambassador. That might sound glamorous, like I get to spend my days hanging out with famous bands, tossing back drinks, and taking in great festival sets. The truth is, so much about working in the music industry isn’t in any way glitzy.

Festival production especially is long hours and hard work, and I hardly ever interact with artists, mostly just their managers and road crew. Don’t get me wrong: I love my work and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I just wish more people got into this line of work with realistic expectations. If you’re not interested in putting in a lot of effort, don’t even bother.

But this isn’t a diatribe about the industry. Today we talk about music. After all, my love of music is why I do what I do. I won't to be able to catch many sets this weekend, but here are three performances I'd attend this weekend if I were living the life my friends imagine I am.

Dum Dum Girls have been rocking my world this year. The California quartet's performance at 35 Denton was absolutely explosive. That live energy is almost contradictory to the band's music, fuzzy garage rock. DDG covered the Smiths' “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” last year, which was nothing short of inspired thanks to Kristin Gundred’s smoldering vocals. All in all a fun band adored by Pitchfork-reading crowds.

Speaking of good times, Fun will be making an appearance at Lolla too. The New Yorkers may have slightly lower billing, but a Billboard Top 100 hit has catapulted them into the spotlight. Don’t let that stop you; “We Are Young” is the hit, but other songs on Some Nights are just as good, if not better. “All Alone” as well as the title track will undoubtedly prove fantastic live. With bandmembers’ pasts in groups such as Steel Train and the Format, Fun are sort of an indie-credible version of Maroon 5 – all the pop with less of the guilt.

Festivals can be overwhelming, so it’s important to have an act to chill out with. Kevin Devine’s sweet, simple, often acoustic tunes will be a welcome sanctuary to many fest-goers. He's a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn, but his music is so much more complex than that would suggest. His vocals are dreamy and light, and he manages to do wonders with guitar chords in a Bright Eyes style. Devine’s prolific catalog means that every show could be full of surprises pulled from his 10-plus years of playing music.

Those are my top picks, but of course there's dozens of great acts hitting the stages all weekend. If you’re in Chicago, enjoy the show, and don’t forget all us little people running around to make it happen.

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Lollapalooza, C3 Presents, Denton 35, Dum Dum Girls, Kristin Gundred, Fun, Kevin Devine, the Smiths, Steel Train, the Format, Maroon 5

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