Fuel/Friends’ Five Can’t Miss Acts at Lolla

Once a week, between now and August 5th we have enlisted the top music blogs from around the country to feature 20th Anniversary artists taking the stage at this year’s Lollapalooza. From big name headliners to buzzworthy acts rising through the ranks, we want you to discover all the talent taking over Grant Park this year.
Today’s feature comes from Fuel/Friends‘ Heather Browne.
So, you’re charting your pilgrimage to the vast green fields of Grant Park for this summer’s Lollapalooza. You are braving the heat, you are planning your accommodations and eats (get a Cuban sandwich at Cafecito, btw), and by god you are going to ROCK. While there are plenty of amazing big name acts coming through Chicago this August 5th-7th, the festival organizers have also picked some pretty exciting indie-minded bands to fill the daytime hours, and they are well worth getting to the venue early for. Here are five smaller acts that excite me right now, and that have the chops to move up to much larger stages in the year to come. Foster The People Friday, 3pm – Sony Stage I may not even have to tell you to go to this set, because at 3pm Friday just watch for where the herd of people are heading: many of them will be wearing neon and/or looking ready to dance. This is your cue. Foster The People are a young buzz-band from Los Angeles who’ve scored a major summer dance-hit with “Pumped Up Kicks” and their debut album Torches. Lead singer Mark Foster grew up listening to Beach Boys in Cleveland, and his band blends those solid pop hooks with boldly strolling basslines, whistle-worthy melodies, and ferocious live percussion. This band has been selling out every stop on their recent U.S. tour and packing the festival stages they’ve been hitting on their way to Chicago (see what happened earlier this summer at the small third-stage they played at Sasquatch, below). Get yourself over there early and be prepared to shake your shit like these kids: Mountain Goats Friday, 5:30pm – Playstation Stage If you have the wherewithal after all the heat and the beers to appreciate one of the absolute best songwriters of our generation, you must experience the depth and power of a Mountain Goats live show on Friday afternoon. John Darnielle pens scathingly literate, insightful songs that somehow manage to be depressing and life-affirming all at once (sometimes in the same song). He has also amassed an intensely loyal fanbase (including The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn) — to simply stand in a crowd as they sing along at the top of their lungs to lines like “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me” is an incredible experience. The band has a solid new album out called All Eternal’s Deck (Merge Records), joining the well-loved arsenal of songs on masterpiece albums like The Sunset Tree. Go see John. You just might find your new favorite song, as I do every time I see him. J Roddy Walston & The Business Saturday, 12:00pm – Playstation Stage When I saw this fella at SXSW two years ago, the conclusion I came to in watching his incendiary live set was this: he’s a hybrid of Jerry Lee Lewis and Soundgarden. No wait, come back. That’s actually a pretty amazing thing to see live, as J Roddy thrashes his melodic compilations on the piano and yowls like a cat in heat (or, alternately, like Caleb Followill), and his guitar player swings his long curly hair in graceful arcs. J Roddy Walston & The Business toured with the Black Keys, and there’s definitely a similar good-natured aggression in their music. This is pure rock ‘n’ roll, anthemic and evocative of driving fast with your windows down, by one of the most energetic live acts out there right now. Walk The Moon Saturday, 12:45pm – Q Music Unlimited Stage Inside most sentient human beings, I firmly believe that there is a person that, even if just once, would like to be caught up in a spontaneous dance flash mob. I know there is one inside me. Cincinnati foursome Walk The Moon has gratified those group-dance aspirations in a vicarious way with their incredibly infectious video for their smash hit anthem of the summer, “Anna Sun.” Their earnest live show harnesses that same kaleidoscope effect, with multicolored facepaint, catchy danceable hooks, and a feeling that summer is all exploding before you. And if you can stop yourself from wanting to sing along at the top of your lungs, “we got no money, but we got heart,” then you are a more stoic person than me. Typhoon Saturday, 1:15pm – BMI Stage The first thing you will notice is that Portland’s Typhoon has many, many members in their band. We’re talking Arcade Fire numbers — twelve to thirteen folks at any given moment, all playing more instruments than a high school band practice classroom. Like Arcade Fire, Typhoon also radiates a collective sense of catharsis in the orchestral swells and primal drumbeats, the lyrical themes of death and redemption. After taking SXSW by absolute storm this March (no pun intended), Typhoon has been fast converting folks to their radiant live shows and their album A New Kind of House. I have watched this live video from SXSW more times than is socially appropriate; I think you’ll see why. Have fun out there, kiddos. How could we not?