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August 2008 Archives

Fall Music Preview

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For music fans, fall is exciting for two reasons: The concert scene moves back indoors to clubs, theaters and arenas, where the sound and surroundings are always preferable to those at outdoor sheds and big summer festivals, and the record companies flood the stores with their most anticipated releases of the year.

Here is a look at the dozen shows and albums I'm most eagerly anticipating as summer fades and the leaves begin to turn, listed in chronological order.

Demo2DeRo: Doppler Shift

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With just enough rock aggression and rhythmic raucousness to appeal to this generally jazz-averse rockist, this Chicago quartet was formed in 2004 by trumpet and trombone player Brian Niebuhr, tenor and alto saxophonist Ray Pandocchi, bassist Jon Marchese and drummer and sample artist Dave Marsalek to explore the intersection of jazz, funk, rock and experimental music at their most extreme. The band is following in heavy footsteps in this endeavor--the Vandermark 5, George Clinton, Miles Davis and the Stooges of "Funhouse" have all aspired to the same--but it more than holds its own on "Resistor," the group's extremely impressive second album, released last March on the local indie IZM Records.

Pointing out that they intentionally avoid chordal instruments in order to emphasize the grooves, Doppler Shift writes that "jazz sure as s--- ain't dead--it's just been waiting." You can hear what they mean via the streaming sounds at and

The Walkmen, "You & Me" (Gigantic) [1.5 out of 4 stars]

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Having done its version of one of the most famous "lost weekend" albums in rock history--the Walkmen recorded a track-for-track remake of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon's 1974 album "Pussycats" in 2006--the much-hyped indie-rock band now gives us its morning-after hangover record. And, as might be expected, it's nowhere near as much fun.

Hell hath no fury like Jonas fans scorned

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In addition to the many comments prompted by my blog post on the JoBros, the print version of the article that ran last Sunday produced a flood of angry emails. Here is a sample.

Ben Weasel: His brain hurts (again)

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On the list of underground legends of Chicago rock, few bands rank higher than Screeching Weasel.

Formed in the mid '80s in suburban Prospect Heights by chilhood friends Ben Foster, better known as Ben Weasel, the group's vocalist and primary songwriter, and John Pierson, aka Jughead, punk guitarist extraordinaire and sometimes co-songwriter, Screeching Weasel was the punk band that made it cool again to embrace bubblegum melodies -- the missing link between the Ramones and the Buzzcocks and pop-punk's modern-day platinum-selling heroes Green Day, Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy.

Yet though the band's most successful album, "Boogada Boogada Boogada!" (1988), has sold more than 100,000 copies, the group never achieved mainstream success, partly because its sound was more uncompromising, partly because the irascible Foster could rub people the wrong way and partly because he came to suffer from agoraphobia, enduring severe panic attacks whenever he tried to leave his apartment.

Eddie comes home

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It's not easy being Eddie Vedder.

An indie-rocker at heart, the Evanston native became the second biggest rock star of his generation -- after only Kurt Cobain, of course, and look what happened to him.

Though Vedder has a wide range of musical interests, from avant-noise to freak-folk, the majority of the singer and songwriter's fans remain wed to the arena-friendly classic-rock that has only ever been part of his story.

And now, as he's crossed the country on his first solo tour, Vedder has tried to showcase a side of himself not easily heard amid the roar of Pearl Jam. But, as review after review has chronicled, he's been greeted nightly by boisterous crowds expressing what they want instead of listening to what he's offering.

"Eddd-ieee," they've howled. "Eddd-ieee!"

It's had to have been enough to make a guy consider pulling a Jeremy.

When it comes to stretching the boundaries of rock 'n' roll in bold and exciting new directions, the accomplishments of David Byrne and Brian Eno cannot be denied, together or separately. Nevertheless, the influence of their 1981 collaboration "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" actually ranks far below many of the Eno-produced Talking Heads albums or much of Eno's startlingly innovative solo catalog: Even 27 years ago, there was nothing all that original or appealing about an ethnologically-minded mix of various world rhythms and random vocal snippets captured via shortwave radio. Anyone who claims these boys invented sampling clearly never heard Can or musique concrete.

Right off the bat, "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" is a much more accessible, enjoyable and arguably better album than "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts"--at least if you care about conventional pop/rock songcraft. A collection of instantly winning and familiar tunes, many working what Byrne calls "a folk-gospel thing," it's Byrne's most melodic work since the Talking Heads, and Eno's most tuneful offering since "Wrong Way Up," his 1990 pairing with John Cale. (Included as a bonus track on the 2005 reissue of that disc, the Eno nugget "You Don't Miss Your Water" is pretty much the blueprint for most of "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today," including the warm, content and optimistic lyrical vibe that permeates the disc.)

Demo2DeRo: Blackdog

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As you might expect from a band named for one of the most iconic songs on the most famous of all officially untitled fourth albums, the Chicago quartet Blackdog gives a whole lotta love and then some to Led Zeppelin, which ranks first and foremost on a list of classic-rock heroes that also includes Cream and Jim Hendrix. Yet while this can be a dire thing indeed in the hands of mere mortals or copycat wannabes in the Lenny Kravitz mode, thunder god drummer Andrew Elbert, bassist Jason Segal and guitarists and vocalists Antony Ablan and Sam Reicher have both the chops and the bluesy, boozy joie de vivre to pull off the sound and the stance in a most convincing way.

The band released a self-titled album last year, and it offers a hefty sampling of its heavy tunes on both its MySpace page,, and its own Web site, The group also is gigging with road-warrior regularity; the next stops on the itinerary: The Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Elston, at 8 p.m. Friday, and Phyllis' Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division, at 8 p.m. on Aug. 28.

The Jonas Brothers loom large on the pop landscape

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The inevitable ascendance of the Jonas Brothers as the male tween-pop phenomenon of the moment was obvious when the group opened for Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus on her massive tour late last year.

The brothers crooned, cooed, spun and jumped, but "discreetly libidinous" was the only impression the Broadway-trained, closeted Christian trio from Wyckoff, N.J., made on me that night, and the 11- (soon to be 12-) year-old Hannah/Miley fan beside me wasn't much more enthusiastic.

"They're cute, and I like some of their songs"--notably "Kids of the Future," their reworking of the Kim Wilde New Wave classic "Kids in America" from the soundtrack of "Meet the Robinsons"--the astute young critic said. "But they're not all that. I think you should trash them, dad!"

The ecstatic screams that filled the Allstate Arena indicated that we were in the minority, however, and even louder was the behind-the-scenes grind of the massive Disney star-making and marketing machine, which already was cranking into high gear. Now, its success is manifest.

The JoBros recently made history for being the first group ever to sell more than 100,000 digital downloads for three consecutive singles: "Burnin' Up," "Play My Music" and "Pushin' Me Away." Their new album "A Little Bit Longer" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart last week, selling 525,000 copies, and marking them as the 'N Sync of the new millennium. And, in a bit of obvious demographic pandering, they even appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.

So, who are these goobers, and how did they reach these lofty heights?

This weekend: Joanna Newsom, Ben Weasel

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Joanna Newsom straddles the line between the rock and classical avant gardes: The harpist and vocalist records for Chicago's Drag City label, and her last album, "Ys," was co-produced by the legendary arranger and friend of the Beach Boys Van Dyke Parks. At the same time, she has the world-class chops to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which will join her and her band at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets are $25 to $45 via, or call (312) 294-3000.

Chicago's irascible, inconsolable but always undeniable punk-rock legend Ben Weasel, last heard on disc with the 2007 solo album "These Ones Are Bitter," is performing two beyond-rare solo gigs this weekend at Reggie's Rock Club, 2109 S. State. The all-ages show starts at 6 p.m. Friday with the former Ben Foster topping a lineup that also includes Jetty Boys, the Chinese Telephones and the Repellents; the same openers kick things off on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Both shows are sold-out. For more information, call (312) 949-0121 or visit

Aesop Rock: Making underground hip-hop accessible

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After four widely acclaimed albums in the hip-hop underground, Aesop Rock set out to do something different with "None Shall Pass," his 2007 release for New York's renowned Definitive Jux label.

"I had a few ideas--a few guidelines more than a specific goal with this album," the 32-year-old rapper says. "I had officially grown tired of doing rap that was like, 'I did this and I did that, and I am this and I am that.' I started thinking about how seriously I take writing lyrics, because that's just what I've been doing for a long time. It was like, 'Why don't I treat this the way that Stephen King would treat a book, where he could write about anything?' In rap music, people are so in a box, probably more than any other genre, and if you creep out of the box and cover subject matter that people aren't used to, you're the weird guy. It's downright embarrassing that rap is often such a close-minded, homophobic, often racist medium where the subject matter is so small.

This weekend: Raven Music Fest, Faun Fables

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And still the festivals keep coming! The newest addition to the summer calendar is the first Raven Music Fest in Ravenswood's Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland, from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday with acts including Deanna Devore, piNK dEVil with Danny Black, Chin Up Chin Up, White Rabbits and Tapes 'n Tapes and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday with performers such as Detholz!, the Bound Stems, Dirty on Purpose and the M's. A $5 donation is requested, and more information and the full lineup can be found at

The otherworldly freak folk of Oakland, Calif.'s Faun Fables, a.k.a. Dawn McCarthy, is a taste I've yet to acquire, though I'm intrigued enough by her fans' rabid enthusiasm and the ethereal sounds of "A Table Forgotten," the new EP on Chicago's Drag City label, to wonder what I'm missing. (Could it be I'm just not taking enough drugs these days?) The group headlines over Maurice and the Singleman Affair at Schuba's, 3159 N. Southport, at 10 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door; for more information, call (773) 525-2508.

For nearly three decades, the Ex has been one of the most revered names in the rock underground. An "avant-ethno-improv-punk band" from the Netherlands, as their Chicago label Touch and Go describes the quartet, it is second only perhaps to Sonic Youth in terms of stretching the envelope and refusing to recognize any limits for what rock 'n' roll can and cannot do.

Given that history and adventurous aesthetic, it comes as no surprise to find the current Ex lineup of Andy Moor, G.W. Sok and Terrie and Katherina Ex collaborating on their most ambitious tour of the U.S. with Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, a giant of a man adorned in a lion's man and renowned in his country for developing 'Shellele,' a musical style that originated with tribal war chants.

Born in Rome, raised in Nice and Munich but so at home in the capital of American polyglot that her group has named its third album in the Big Apple's honor, singer Sabina Sciubba is easily understood in any of the five languages she variously employs on these 11 tracks. One of the few real surprises at Lollapalooza 2008, she was both the alluring seductress and the threatening dominatrix, and on record, she is a simultaneously inviting and aloof combination of the Velvet Underground's Nico, Serge Gainsbourg's duet partner Jane Birkin, the immortal women from ABBA and the original Girl from Ipanema, Astrud Gilberto--though the one thing Sciubba is not is Brazilian.

Demo2Dero: Scott Peckenpaugh

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"Alternafolkpunktronica," Peckenpaugh calls his ambitious sound, an ethereal but tuneful and moody but mesmerizing style primarily crafted with an acoustic guitar fed through an array of effects onstage and heavily altered with computer programming in the studio. "It's my way of poking fun at the absurdities of pigeonholing music into genres, and yet is also probably a pretty fair description of my music," Peckenpaugh writes of that unwieldy, hyphen-hungry genre, and he's right: How else to label songs such as "Miss Your Sin," "Never Call" and "Again" from his self-released album "Year of the Dog," which evokes a Bizarro World collaboration between Billy Bragg, Brian Eno and Yello?

Peckpaugh doesn't quite have the vocal chops to pull off everything he tackles--it would be interesting to hear him collaborating with a really strong and dynamic singer, a la Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet--but his music is well worth checking out on the Web at He'll also be performing live during a free afternoon of art and music at The 3160, 3160 N. Clark, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 23.

First things first: What if the tornado sirens had gone off when 75,000 people were in Grant Park last Friday, Saturday or Sunday?


Certainly I'm not the only one who had that thought the day after Lollapalooza, when I rushed to the basement on Monday night during the severe thunderstorms that swept through Chicago, after the tornado sirens went off for the first time I recall in the 18 years that I've lived in this city. (Born in raised in Jersey City and Hoboken, the whole Dorothy/Toto/shelter-in-the-storm cellar routine was a new one for me, and not a little unnerving. Tornadoes aren't supposed to hit cities, right? I mean, outside of Oklahoma?)

How could Grant Park have been quickly evacuated if all of those people needed to leave and seek shelter?

I posed the question to Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond.

R. Kelly speaks -- or, rather, sings

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Sitting at the defense table in Judge Vincent Gaughan's courtroom on June 13, an emotional R. Kelly greeted the news of his acquittal on charges of making child pornography with the simple statement, "Thank you, Jesus."

The Chicago R&B superstar hasn't uttered a word in public since.

This is not a surprise: A tight-lipped interviewee throughout a two-decade career that has sold more than 36 million albums, Kelly's public pronouncements became even fewer and further between after revelations of the now infamous sex tape that led to his indictment in 2002.

But the prolific singer and producer has never hesitated to speak to the world in the way he knows best--through his music--and his new songs may be the only comments he ever gives about his trial and tribulations.

Demo2Dero: MariZen

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Returning from a yearlong hiatus during which bandleader Mari Calip Scott got married and had a baby girl, bubbly pop-rockers MariZen (which are completed by guitarist Mike Greene, bassist Chris Shen and drummer Marty Kane) are gearing up to release a new album called "When the Sun Goes Down" this fall, the latest entry in discography that also includes a glossy album, "Field," released in 2004 and recorded with a producer, DeWayne Barron, who also worked with Matchbox 20.

At its best, the group conveys a New Wave sneer and icy sexuality reminiscent of Blondie or the Cranberries, though it can also veer a little too close to Pat Benatar's cheesier metal side. Hopefully, producer Marc McClusky has toned that down on the new disc and emphasized the band's strengths; the demos posted on its MySpace page,, bode well in that regard. You can also keep track of the group's upcoming live schedule at

One of the biggest Internet hypes of the last 12 months, Black Kids are a quintet from Jacksonville, FL, led by two siblings, Reggie and Ali Youngblood, who, in a pattern that's becoming all too familiar, were darn near canonized on the strength of a four-song EP, "Wizard of Ahhhs," posted on their MySpace page last year, only to suffer a massive backlash by the time they got around to releasing their first proper album last week. In this case, the initial enthusiasm was hardly warranted, but the reaction to the full disc is enitely justified: "Partie Traumatic" is as dreadful a piece of work as I've heard in 2008.

After "Chinese Democracy," the alleged next album by the remains of Guns n' Roses, the most overdue but nonetheless eagerly anticipated release in the world of hard rock has been the solo album that Zack de la Rocha allegedly left Rage Against the Machine to make back in October 2000; the state of the group at that time had "undermined our artistic and political ideal," he said. The fiery singer and activist was rumored to be working with DJ Shadow, or Trent Reznor, or ?uestlove, and fans waited to hear the sounds that would better forward his vision and goals... and they waited, and then they waited some more.

Rage Fans: Chicago rock photographer needs your help

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A veteran Chicago rock photographer who was in the photo pit in front of the stage during Rage Against the Machine--getting excellent images of the band, I might add--lost the pro lens he'd rented to do the job right in the thick of the excitement on stage and off.

Do a professional and fellow music obsessive a solid: If you picked up a lens during or after the show, email him at He promises a modest reward, and his sincere appreciation.

It's Sunday, but Lollapalooza doesn't take a day of rest. The Sun-Times has been on the site since this morning, and we'll bring you every angle of the festival until the last strains of headliners Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails fade away tonight. Frequently updated reports follow the jump.

Day Three at Lollapalooza's fourth year as a destination festival in Grant Park.

With Kanye West headlining the main stage at the southern end of the Park Sunday night, and Nine Inch Nails topping the bill up north, two new mysteries have replaced Saturday's drama of whether or not Barack Obama would show.

First, will West throw another festival hissy fit as he did at Bonnaroo? And second, will police tighten down on security and/or overreact as a result of the Rage Against the Machine gate crashers Saturday? (Our reporting on that incident can be found here ).

We'll find out. Meanwhile, C3 spokeswoman Shelby Meade said that it is now official: Tickets for Sunday have sold out, marking the first new Lollapalooza to do so, and bringing what the promoters said will be a total 225,000 to the park this weekend (excluding gate crasher and fence jumpers, of course).

Now on to the music...

Recapping the nastiest moments Lollapalooza has yet witnessed during its four years as a reinvented destination festival in Grant Park, here's what happened as Rage Against the Machine performed in the headlining slot at the southern end of Hutchinson Field Saturday night, pieced together by myself and the Sun-Times freelancers on the scene, fellow reporter and critic Anders Smith Lindall and photographer Marty Perez, from what we saw ourselves and two dozen interviews with security and medical personnel and eyewitnesses.


Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Bodies pulled from the front of the stage during the set by Rage Against the Machine. A C3 staffer in the photo pit with the photographers and S3 Security personnel tried to discourage shots of the turbulence in the crowd, at one point grabbing a photographer's lens and redirecting it. Photos by Marty Perez for the Sun-Times


For the Sun-Times

It's Hump Day at Lolla. We've been blessed with lower temps and a milder dew point. I've slathered on the sunscreen, so let's get to it: In the words of the great Paul Westerberg, "I was raised in the city, I'm ready to rock."

flag pole

Photo by Marty Perez for the Sun-Times

Last Band Standing: The Melismatics, 11:30 a.m.

Day Two begins on the northern stage in Hutchinson Field with one of the winner's of Lollapalooza's lame "American Idol"/battle of the bands contest winners, the Melismatics from Minneapolis, who proceed to intersperse weak and thoroughly generic jangle-pop with weak and thoroughly generic alt-rock. If this is the last band standing, I'd hate to hear the bands that are sitting down.

On the (very) bright side: It's a gorgeously sunny 77 degrees in Grant Park with a cool breeze coming off the lake and a projected high of 83. Could it be true: A bona fide perfect day for a festival, in August, in Chicago?

By the way...

A little while ago, I asked: "Another question about day one, before I forget. The sampled male voice that Radiohead manipulated during its set Friday night. Anybody catch it?"

Yeah, it's what I thought it was, now confirmed: The critic from the lesser of Chicago's two daily newspapers rambling on about the juxtaposition of sounds he heard during Ron Hardy's sets back in the heyday of the Chicago house music scene on the radio show said critic co-hosts with yours truly.

Nice going, Mr. Kot. Jealous, moi? Never! (If I was, I wouldn't be posting about it; he's far too modest to do so himself.

More (much, much more as the days goes on) after the jump.

Lollapalooza Sells Out Again

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It's official: No tickets remain on sale for day two of the festival, featuring headliners Wilco and Rage Against the Machine. And the promoters say there are only "a few thousand" left for Sunday with Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails.

This means that if we can accept C3 Presents' figure of 75,000 per day as accurate, 225,000 will have visited Grant Park over the course of the weekend.

How are logistics holding up?

* Police have been more restrictive than ever about closing off Columbus Drive and limiting loiterers on the perimeters of the park.

* There seem to be enough Porta-Potties, dreadful though they may be in the common areas (the deluxe air-conditioned mobile bathrooms in the V.I.P. sections are a different story).

* The food and beverage concessions are booming, and there's free water (though there could be more, and much better marked) and cooling stations (ditto), plus the city buses idling here and there to offer an air-conditioned lull.

* Trash removal is lagging far, far behind.

* There haven't been nearly enough staffers working at the entrance, resulting in waits of as much as an hour to gain admittance to the concert.

Prognosis for now: The promoters are just about keeping pace with their biggest year yet, and hopefully they'll step up their game on day two in the areas where they fell short on day one.

An addendum: Click here for a blog post by Chicago super-fan Brett Hickman enumerating some of the horrors of entry, for media and mortals alike.

Obama at Lolla? Highly unlikely

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Rumors that Sen. Barack Obama might appear at Lollapalooza--most likely during the Saturday night set by hometown heroes and dedicated supporters Wilco--would seem to be exactly that: rumors, combined with a lot of wishful thinking.

Presidential campaigns move with the low profile of Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants, and there were no signs at the festival on Friday of the extensive, stepped-up security measures that would mark Obama (or Sen. John McCain, for that matter) showing up before the massive crowd at any point this weekend.

The Chicago Police Department's "Mobile Surveillance Unit/ICX Tactical Platform" hasn't even been set up in the same field where Wilco is playing: It's positioned to capture the moshing while Rage Against the Machine performs at the far end of the park at the same time as Wilco on Saturday night.

Several sources close to the Obama campaign also have noted that with only 14 weeks remaining until the election, the focus has to be on winning over voters who remain on the fence. The time for the luxury of "preaching to the converted" is long gone, and Lollapalooza definitely is a gathering of the converted.

Then, too, there is the impact of the recent attack ad by the McCain campaign co-starring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and forwarding the message that Obama may be "the biggest celebrity in the world, but is he ready to lead?"

It wouldn't seem to be the ideal time for photos of the Democratic Presidential candidate hanging out with rock stars.

Ah, well: Obamaniacs will just have to content themselves with visiting the festival's Obama Store. Or, here's a thought: Skip that, and just register to vote at the booth right next to it.

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys performs Friday at Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park. (Russel A. Daniels/AP)

For the Sun-Times

If it's Grant Park in August, replete with blistering sun and smothering humidity, then this must be Lollapalooza.

If the title up top didn't tip you off, it's not Jim DeRogatis behind this particular post but a guest contributor, longtime Sun-Times pop-crit freelancer Anders Smith Lindall. I'll be popping in here on DeRo's blog throughout the weekend to give you my own glimpses of the festival from every angle I can muster.

Brendan Benson performs during the Raconteurs set Friday at Lollapalooza. (Scott Stewart/Sun-Times)

In 1994, the fourth year of the original incarnation of Lollapalooza, the then day-long traveling alternative rock festival crossed a threshold.

In an experiment to test the strength of what the current promoters call "the brand," tickets for the Chicago show were put on sale before any acts were announced, and they promptly sold out. Then, Nirvana was confirmed as the headliner, bringing together the most important band of its generation and the best summer concert tour.

Nirvana wound up canceling a day before bandleader Kurt Cobain was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But the rest of the lineup of the Smashing Pumpkins, the Beastie Boys, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, the Flaming Lips, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, A Tribe Called Quest, the Boredoms and L7 was nonetheless considered the best that Lollapalooza Mach I ever had.

The reinvented destination festival has crossed a line in its fourth year, too: With Radiohead set to headline Friday night, the new Lollapalooza sold out for the first time.

Approximately 75,000 fans are expected to fill Grant Park tonight. And though tickets are still on sale for Saturday and Sunday, promoters hope to come close to selling out those nights as well.

Will the music this weekend match the sounds of that memorable day at the then World Music Theatre in Tinley Park 14 years ago? That remains to be seen, but we can hope.

And now, on to the fun, after the jump.

Radiohead Spoiler Alert!

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Lollapalooza Sells Out

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The masses pour into Grant Park on Friday for the first sold-out Lollapalooza in Chicago. (Scott Stewart/Sun-Times)

For the first time in its four years as a reinvented destination festival in Grant Park, Lollapalooza has sold out.

Festival spokeswoman Shelby Meade said on Thursday that tickets for day one of the three-day festival have sold out, with 75,000 people expected to enter Grant Park on Friday to see headliner Radiohead seven years to the day after the group last performed in Hutchinson Field to a crowd of 25,000 in 2001.

One-day passes remain for the festival at $80 per day for Saturday and Sunday. The box office is located across from Grant Park on Columbus between Balbo and Congress, and it will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If that doesn't work for you, you can catch some of the acts -- though not Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails or Kanye West -- on the AT&T Blue Room Webcast. For the schedule, click here.

Of course, if you really have your heart set on seeing a lot of loud live music in the sun -- with plenty of colorful people watching along the way -- you could also travel to Tinley Park to catch the annual Chicago stop of the Vans Warped Tour at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre starting at noon on Saturday.

With tickets priced at $27.25 to $29.75, and a long roster of more under-the-mainstream-radar mall-punk bands (including Against Me!, All That Remains, Everytime I Die, Gym Class Heroes, Horrorpops, Ludo, Motion City Soundtrack, Reel Big Fish, Relient K, Say Anything, and The Academy Is...), Warped -- which, to be sure, is every bit as aggressive in its corporate sponsorships as the new Lollapalooza -- actually has more in common with the old Lollapalooza in terms of bands-for-the-buck bargain and communal vibe than the new Lollapalooza.

Promoters Live Nation say they've already sold 20,000 tickets, and the rest are expected to sell out Saturday -- which must mean that while aging Gen X moms and dads are going to Lollapalooza to relive those good ol' days of the early '90s with their youngest kiddies, their oldest offspring are heading to Tinley Park.

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