1. Tributo does Jacko: First up, Tributosaurus, Chicago's best tribute band, tackles Michael Jackson this week with a couple of shows: Thursday, Aug. 6, at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn (show starts at 7:30 p.m., $15 admission) and Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Martyr's, though both of the shows there sold out in advance.
2. Shellac rocks the Bean: Next up: With all of the music happening in town this weekend, it would be easy to forget about Shellac playing Millennium Park for free on Monday starting at 6:30 p.m. after openers Shearwater. Be kind to your eardrums so you have some left for Steve Albini & Co. to blow out in that sublime setting.
3. Also at Martyr's: Jay Bennett Tribute: To honor the recently deceased singer, songwriter, producer and one-time Wilco multi-instrumentalist, the local artists Fair Herald, City at Large and Evan Holmes & Exit Ghost will perform in tribute to Bennett at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the club at 3855 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $8. "Jay Bennett, especially his work with Wilco, has always been a pretty big inspiration to us," said Fair Herald vocalist Mike Bellis. "Everything from his raunchier-than-hell guitars on 'Being There' to the more complex melodies and keyboard arrangements on 'Summerteeth' and 'Yankee [Hotel Foxtrot]' has been a touchstone for us when we're piecing together new songs." The musicians will cover Wilco and Bennett's solo material.
4. Can you hear me now? On the Lollapalooza front, I got an amusing email from an Apple flack hyping all of the useful iPhone "apps" that folks might want to call up during the concert -- amusing, that is, because hundreds of people with an AT&T cell connection have complained to me about never being able to connect to anything when Grant Park is flooded with iPhone users! (I've suffered from this myself, ever since Cingular sold out the contract on my not-hip-at-all, old-school cell phone to AT&T.) Anyway, if things are better out there this year, Apple tells us:
There's an app for that!
Lollapalooza: The official electronic guide to the festival. Create your schedule, read about the bands, browse media and find your way around Grant Park. Free
Buster: The Chicago Bus Tracker: Quick and easy way to find out how long the wait for a Chicago bus will take. $0.99
Guide Map Chicago: Mobile access to detailed interactive Chicago maps. $1.99
SPIN Mobile: Includes festival coverage for Lollapalooza. Free
MusicFest 09: Lineups, personalized agenda, encore flame and festival maps for Lollapalooza and other music festivals. $1.99
TentFinder: Find your tent amongst the thousands of others, using GPS technology. $1.99
5. And, finally, I received a cheery update on all of the doings this weekend by Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell. To wit:
PERRY FARRELL will celebrate his past, present and future at this year's installment of LOLLAPALOOZA, which is set for August 7, 8 & 9 at Grant Park in Chicago. Not only will PERRY perform with the original lineup of Jane's Addiction at Lollapalooza for the first time since 1991 on Sunday, August 9, but he will also deliver a solo live electro set with his group Saturday, August 8 at "Perry's," the expanded electronic music-focused area at the festival. ...
"I looked out at the massive audience last year [at Lollapalooza] and imagined communicating with them," says PERRY. "I dreamt of performing with the original Jane's Addiction team. Wanting us to pick up where we left off at the first Lolla (this year is Lolla #18). An evening with Jane's was always intimate, even at 70 thousand-plus. We spent this past year honing our show; building an outdoor music experience that will again unleash the Lollapalooza spirit. The conjure of Sex, Glory, and Pageantry."
Close to FARRELL's heart at the festival is "Perry's"--the club-style area in the middle of the festival which launched last year as a place where people can experience live sets from an amazing line-up of live electro-bands and DJs. Now upgraded to the max, the area has been expanded to accommodate 10,000 people and will feature state-of-the-art sound system and high-end LED screens.
As always, PERRY values artistic growth. "People often ask me if the feeling of festivals has changed over the years. I tell them that first-time experiences are hard to top, but in following the evolution of music performance, I find constant inspiration. As Lollapalooza turns 18 this August, I have been most inspired by the collision of electronics and live instrumentalists. In '09 we have created a new scene. There will be an 'in the round' D.J tower with L.E.D screens, and protruding performance platforms have been built to accommodate the latest inspirations of the dance culture. With my dance partner of 11 years, Etty Lau Farrell, we'll be performing a 'Live electro' set alongside some the world's best producers and live P.A. manipulators. A larger portion of land (10,000 capacity, just north of Buckingham Fountain) has been designated to accommodate the growing throngs of dance enthusiasts.
Lest anyone think that the former Peretz Bernstein was coasting at age 50, content to just rest on his laurels, collect his checks as the new Lollapalooza's corporate figurehead... and pose for goofy pictures.