Plucking some must-sees from this year's Lollapalooza lineup (see the full schedule and maps here):
A triple shot of excellent R&B: Chicago's own JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, a masterful funky bunch and pros at crowd control, kicks things off with a kick. Stay nearby for Aloe Blacc (E. Nathaniel Dawkins), a sly soul singer who'll surely perform his hit "I Need a Dollar." Then head north for the justly ballyhooed Alabama Shakes, a fiery quintet playing country-soul that both Skynyrd and Otis could love.
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound: noon-12:45 p.m. Saturday on the Sony stage
Aloe Blacc: 2:15-3 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Red Bull Soundstage
Alabama Shakes: 4:15-5:15 p.m. Aug 4 on the Bud Light stage
One-hit wonder? Probably, but fun.'s theater show here in April was a spirited and lively set that didn't merely kill time until the trio finally played their record-breaking No. 1 smash "We Are Young." Regardless of what happens as they age, this band is definitely fun. Period.
4:45-5:30 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Google Play stage
One of the weekend's most anticipated acts, mysterious singer-rapper Abel Tesfaye, a k a the Weeknd, arrives at Lollapalooza with Drake's stamp of approval and three highly acclaimed mixtapes to his credit. The Toronto artist's chilly, detached approach to R&B would be as at home among Pitchfork's waves of chill as it will be amid Lolla's sweaty house party.
6-7 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Red Bull Soundstage
Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. opened Lollapalooza 2010 in the broiling morning sun, but it was clear even then he was a triple threat: a rapper with flow, a capable singer and a pretty hot guitarist. Two years later, the only thing that's changed is his stature. What he's doing on the DJ stage, though, is anyone's guess.
4:30-5:30 p.m. Aug. 4 on Perry's Stage
It's not as if Ernest Greene's electronic pop project Washed Out does anything that unusual, but it's a fresh and invigorating combination of drowsy synths, indistinct vocals and truly washed-out sounds.
6-6:45 p.m. Aug 4 on the Google Play Stage
FRANK OCEAN VS. AVICII VS. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Saturday's final acts couldn't be more clearly delineated -- all depending on how you like to dance. No dancing skills? Head south and nod your head to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose players can still lay down some seriously funky rock jams. A dreamy nightclub twirler? Follow the thunk-thunk north for Swedish house DJ Avicii (Tim Berg). At Lolla with a date? Get close with Frank Ocean who, aside from causing a stir with his recent coming-out letter, is reinventing R&B with style and smarts and is the sharpest act on stage tonight.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: 8-10 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Red Bull Soundstage
Avicii: 8:30-10 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Bud Light Stage
Frank Ocean: 8:45-9:45 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Google Play Stage
PERRY'S STAGE PICK: Skream & Benga
The British dubstep legends join forces again for a set of bass beats that builds tension but rarely breaks all the way through. This set will be tightly wound.
5:45-6:45 p.m. Aug. 4 on Perry's Stage
-- See Friday's picks
-- Sunday picks coming tomorrow ...