Street-level Lolla: Phase One.

Lollapalooza’s almost here, and Metropolis is ready for the event with a fleet of baristas, tons of gear, plenty of liquid refreshment, and a big pile of excitement. As you know I’ll be live everythinging from the festival — check me out @metrowheelman on Twitter, find me on Facebook, or just visit this blog for blurbs, random thoughts, pics, and videos. But since it’s just a few short days until Lady Gaga convinces Chicago she’s its new mayor, I want to give you some idea of what I was thinking when I made my custom Lolla schedule. Here’s the first part.

(Image courtesy of The Line of Best Fit)

Devo vs. The New Pornographers (4-5pm Friday):

This one wasn’t really a conundrum. The New Pornographers are a solid rock act, but the largely Canadian combo’s cagey take on power pop has increasingly faded into a comfort zone for older folks. This happened to Wilco, too, a band who, despite tip top talent, seem content to keep unpredictability out of the conversation. While the Pornographers’ big harmonies and chimey guitars might be nice on a warm Summer afternoon, it’s no contest when they’re up against Devo, a band made up of actual old folks that’s also working at a pretty insane level of the consistently wild and weird. “Something for Everybody,” their first record in, like, 20 years, sounds immediately pushy, punchy, and disorienting. It’s warped pop the way they’ve always known how to do it, and live it should be full of lightning bolts, energy domes, and maybe even some cheeky subversion of ol’Lolla itself. Besides, checking out Devo’s set is a good way to get the lay of the land at Parkways for the coming Gagapocalypse.

Dirty Projectors vs. Fuck Buttons (5-6pm Friday)

At this point Gaga is still three hours away, but you know the conical glitter bras and Mars Attacks! novelty¬†wigs will be amassing on the south end. With the Metropolis HQ inside Green Street as my base camp — remember, it can be yours, too; don’t tell me you don’t love iced coffee — I can prep for Gaga (maybe I’ll wash her car the day before as a welcome gesture) and hit some of both Dirty Projectors and Fuck Buttons, playing simultaneously at stages that are at least mostly near each other. I’m really looking forward to the Projectors; David Longstreth writes songs with two or even three heads, conjuring snakes with poison in their tongues and a bouquet of flowers for a stinger. Unpredictability? He and the Projectors have that shit on point. At the same time, I’m not sure how well it’ll translate to a big stage in the sun, and that’s where Fuck Buttons comes in. The English duo often sounds like Four Tet if he was stuck under a rock for 400 years — formerly beautiful jams that have been smashed, bitten, broken, and reconfigured into crazed triangle shapes that bleed a new kind of a beauty. By the time 6pm rolls around, the air should be full of glitter propwash from whatever tinfoil helicopter Gaga landed on the Lolla grounds in, and Fuck Buttons’ persistent roar will be a great soundtrack.

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