Lollapalooza: KALI’S TOP 5

Kali Croke, co-a&e editor

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Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys definitely take the crown for the headliner of the weekend. If you haven’t heard of these guys, you’re either a disgrace to the indie-rock community or actually living in the arctic. This band hybridizes neo-punk, psychedelic and garage rock like no other. Aside from winning numerous music awards and having the fastest selling debut album by a band in the UK, the pop-punk revivalists have a difficult sound to pin down. Even though their sound is reminiscent of The Black Keys, each album has been a new take on rock, most notably their most recent album AM (2013) which plays with vocal range and hip-hop beats in songs like “R U Mine?” and “Do I Wanna Know?” You heard it here, folks: this set will be huge. People will wait all day to see these guys, but I can guarantee that whether you stand at the foot of the stage or back near the street, Arctic Monkeys’ performance will parallel The Killers’ of last year.

Smallpools

Only a year old and with a lone EP under their belt, Smallpools is one of the newer bands to hit stage. This Los Angeles-based, four-person indie pop band is highly reminiscent of fellow synth-tinged Lolla alums Passion Pit, Fun. and newbies Foster the People. Although their well-known single “Dreaming” was easily one of the best summer anthems on the music market last year, the band has enormous potential and is far from a one-hit wonder. But if you don’t want to stay their whole set (even though I’d assume they’ll be carrying a heavy crowd), that song is reason enough to stop by and jam just for a second, even if you’re in transit to see someone else. But I’m going to try to make it the whole time.

The Kooks

Tears actually came to my eyes when I read the Kooks’ name on the lineup for this year. I’m a long-time fan, but I thought I would never see the day when these guys would actually perform live again in the United States. These loose, Arctic Monkeys-like Brits are notorious (at least by my standards) for their UK-twanged garage-rock feel straight from the British Invasion. While they have a solid three albums under their belt since their formation in the mid-2000s – Inside In/Inside Out (2006), Konk (2008) and Junk of the Heart (2011) – they’ve flown pretty under the radar until the recent release of their seemingly experimental, R&B-inspired EP “Down” on March 12, a premonition for a new album to hit this year. While Kooks epitomize the rule-breakers of traditional rock with songs that have a twinge of pop, reggae and ska, I expect their set at Lolla this year will be nothing short of a performance reminiscent to the catchy, 1960s British-pop of the Beatles.

Temples

Temples is yet another English band to make us all suspicious of a modern-day British Invasion hitting Lollapalooza this summer. Whether it’s their swoon-worthy British twang heard when they sing or their ‘60s-throwback style, these guys are magnetic. But instead of writing them off as retro revivalists, Temples deserves much more praise. Their psychedelic, dreamy mysticism puts them far ahead of any band of their time. But even if their song names like “Mesmerise,” “The Golden Throne” and “Sun Structures” don’t pique your interest (I still don’t see how they couldn’t), you should definitely stop by. Their set will be a guaranteed time travel, not backward, but into the future of experimental – and admittedly a tad trippy – music.

Fitz & the Tantrums

Perhaps one of the more retro bands this year, Fitz & the Tantrums (F&T) are bringing the neo-soul to Chicago. Known for songs like “Moneygrabber,” and more recently, “Out of My League,” F&T are sure to bring the grooviest performance on Saturday. If you’re sick of the Perry’s mosh mess or sleepy from an all-acoustic set at the Grove and just want to dance like it’s the 1970s, these are the guys to see. Their most recent album More Than Just a Dream (2013) made it to my summer playlist in a heartbeat and perfectly describes how I imagine their performance to be on the Saturday: a magical blend of sunset sounds and disco lights no one else but F&T can achieve.

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