At the annual Lollapalooza cattle call over the weekend, 140 acts will perform on eight stages in Chicago's beautiful Grant Park. As always, it's a lot to choose from. Here are some notes for FRIDAY -- some surprises, some best bets and the run-down on each night's headliners ...
You'd expect the two sons of guitarist Joe Perry to wield their instruments with stadium pretension, but Adrian and Tony Perry, two-thirds of TAB the Band, play a more restrained, '60s-influenced brand of jangle pop. They debuted in 2007, so the my-dad's-in-Aerosmith cachet should have run out by now, leaving them to open Lolla unencumbered by too many preconceptions.
12:15 p.m. @ PlayStation stage
Side stage find
Reptar makes cheery, skipping, slightly angular electro-pop. The best part about it is the way their Southern accents (members are from Georgia and North Carolina) flow freely, providing extra swing to their mildly psychedelic lollygag. It's even in the title of their debut EP, "Oblangle Fizz, Y'all," out this week from Vagrant Records.
2:15 p.m. @ Google+ stage
Movin' on up
L.A.'s Foster the People dropped the slacker-groove single "Pumped Up Kicks" last year, and it's enjoyed a long life, one of those irresistible tunes that doesn't seem like much on the surface but keeps coming back, both in the culture and in your head. The trio's full-length debut, "Torches," earlier this year proved much more than a mere frame for a one-hit wonder, so FTP's afternoon slot on a main stage should be both worthy and exciting.
3 p.m. @ Sony stage
Fall Out Boy No. 1
As FOB continues on hiatus, members have split off into other solo projects, including model bassist and tabloid favorite Pete Wentz. His new act is Black Cards, a by-the-numbers dance-music joint featuring an intriguing singer, newcomer Bebe Rexha. The group's unveiling at SXSW in March didn't set anything ablaze, but all the pieces are here for a band that should be able to get Lolla crowds jumping. (FOB singer Patrick Stump is booked in almost this same slot Saturday.)
5:30 p.m. @ BMI stage
OK Go returns to Lollapalooza as online video stars. After a string of increasingly -- and, sometimes, exhaustingly -- creative videos, which routinely go viral, the Chicago-based alt-rock band posted its latest last week: a basic song called "All Is Not Lost," featuring the band in tights and choreographed by the Pilobolus dance troupe. Here's your chance, though, to see OK Go without the theatrics -- just a rock quartet that plugs in and goes, OK?
7:15 p.m. @ Google+ stage
Headliners: Coldplay vs. Muse vs. ...
Friday night is the toughest decision of the weekend. All four final slots have enormous potential for good music and great spectacle.
The night's two "side stages" feature some of the best electronic music at the fest. In Perry's tent (8:45 p.m.) is Girl Talk, Gregg Gillis' masterful and invigorating sound collages; he's known for creative stage productions, too (he built a house on stage at the Congress Theater), so he could pull out the stops for Lolla. On the Google+ stage (8:45 p.m.) is Ratatat, a Brooklyn instrumental duo composing sophisticated (and, given the guitars, occasionally shredding) electronica that's almost Ellingtonia.
The night's main stages spotlight a battle of widely beloved, self-important pop -- Coldplay in the north end chiming out its slightly more aggressive new material from a fifth album due this fall (8:30 p.m. @ Bud Light stage), and Muse, surprisingly, in the south end wielding its grandiose, rock-opera pretensions -- on a stage that plays to a larger capacity crowd than Coldplay's (8:15 p.m. @ Music Unlimited stage).
Whichever end of the park you pick, try to hit both acts.