Eminem, My Morning Jacket, Pretty Lights, and Beirut will be performing at Lollapalooza 2011 between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 6.
When Eminem hit the scene in the late ‘90s — hair bleached platinum-blonde; baggy pants perpetually sagging some 15 inches below the waistline — he was about as controversial a figure as you could find in popular music. His career-making radio hits “The Real Slim Shady,” “Without Me” and “Stan”, to name a few, were basically four-minute middle fingers to political correctness (and, in at least one case, Moby), while his deep cuts often dealt with that rosiest of subject matter: domestic abuse. Armed with a microphone and a sneer, Slim was the poet laureate of the seriously pissed off. These days, you can find him in car commercials and festivals, a more mature wordsmith whose latest album Relapse nearly won him the “Best Album” Grammy. An Oscar-winner for “Lose Yourself,” which appeared on the 8 Mile soundtrack, this whole “serious artist” thing is nothing new. It’s just that before, you had to dig through some serious Fred Durst jabs to find it. (Saturday, 8:30-10, Music Unlimited Stage) –text: Eric Lutz
MY MORNING JACKET
How does a band combine the best aspects of psychedelic rock, country, roots rock, and jam? I don’t know, but the boys of My Morning Jacket would certainly have an informative answer. Formed in 1998, My Morning Jacket has been a staple on alternative rock charts and high profile music festivals for the better part of a decade. Fronted by angel-voiced singer/songwriter Jim James, MMJ came into their unique sound on 2001’s At Dawn and have been carefully crafting and expanding their artistic direction ever since. The wide range of listeners the band has gathered led to their most recent album, Circuital, debuting at number five on the Billboard 200 charts this past May. Yet somehow, My Morning Jacket’s live performances are even more highly praised and sought-after than their LPs. If you’re not gonna go see them at Lollapalooza, you might as well not be at the festival. (Saturday, 8-10, Bud Light Stage) –text: Ben McFarland
Making up this one-man band is electronic music artist Derek Vincent Smith. It is said that he chose the stage name from a Pink Floyd concert poster suggesting to “come and watch the pretty lights.” In composing his mind-bending and infectious tunes, Smith prompts wallflowers and breakdancers alike to hit the dance floor. His 2006 debut album Taking Up Your Precious Time is guaranteed to delightfully do just that. Smith’s sophomore album, Filling Up the City Skies, was released in 2008 followed shortly by Passing By Behind Your Eyes a year later. Pretty Lights produces a hybrid of funk and soul interlaced with hip hop, all while being underscored by earth-shaking electronic rhythms. Responsible for mixing a number of past and present music genres, Pretty Lights can only be described as futuristic. Turn off the Pink Floyd and come watch the Pretty Lights. (Saturday, 8:30-10, Perry’s) –text: Margaret O’Hara
Beirut’s sound is one of the most unmistakable amongst indie rock staples. The band’s unique style comes from a combination of Baltic folk, jazz, and French influences. Zach Condon, the force behind Beirut, began his music career after dropping out of high school to travel Europe. His exposure to Baltic folk and gypsy music while traveling set the band on an impressive trajectory. Some have called Condon a musical prodigy considering that he recorded most of their acclaimed 2006 debut album, Gulag Orkestar, independently. The music features such distinctive instrumentation as accordion, mandolin, organ, and glockenspiel, all of which Condon plays personally. Yet Condon’s real genius shows in his ability to seamlessly modernize traditional, European styles with pop-infused melodies. Weepy vocals and deeply layered harmonies lend emotional poignancy to his doleful and dramatic Old World stylings. Blended together, Beirut’s music is a moving and complete international package. (Saturday, 8:45-9:45, Google+ Stage) –text: Alexa Brown