The big-name acts at Lollapalooza always boast large personalities. For Lolla 2012, however, "big" would be an understatement.
The lineup announced early Wednesday for the Aug. 3-5 fest in Grant Park includes former bat eater and permanent prince of darkness Ozzy Osbourne fronting Black Sabbath; Florence Welch, who seems to harness mystical spells while turning every Florence and the Machine song into a soaring anthem; and the howling Cedric Bixler-Zavala fronting a highly anticipated reunion of scorchers At the Drive In.
That's to say nothing of modern rock's blues representatives Dan Auerbach leading the Black Keys and former White Stripe/Raconteur/Dead Weather front man Jack White performing solo. Anthony Kiedis, who still commands a stage decades after he popularized the style of wearing a sock on your penis, brings the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the fest for the third time.
Lolla 2012 isn't all about the big personalities, though. This year's lineup features several international acts whose music emphasizes mood over the singer creating it. Last year's breakout act The Weeknd bests Drake as Canada's ambassadors for heartfelt, shiver-inducing R&B confessions. Sigur Ros descends from Iceland to create twinkly collages with less neon than frontman Jonsi's solo work.
Another Iceland act, Of Monsters and Men, crafts lovely yet powerful folk that will continue to fuel debates about OMAM vs. Mumford and Sons. French electronic duo Justice inspires both heavy footwork and air guitar, while Australia's the Temper Trap, set to release its sophomore full-length this summer, reminds everyone why gorgeous/uplifting tracks like "Love Lost" and "Sweet Disposition" were used in roughly every movie and commercial in a two-year period.
Fortunately, Perry Farrell and the rest of the Lolla organizers haven't forgotten to snag a few Chicago acts, including Empires (who nearly won its way onto a Rolling Stone cover) and former RedEye Rock 'n' Vote winners JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. Locals Kid Color and Orchard Lounge will keep people moving sweatily on Perry's Stage, along with Bassnectar, Santigold and many more. And hey, look, it's Wheeling's "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart! No, not on the DJ stage.
Some other acts you should get excited about: buzz-worthy Alabama Shakes (featuring the awesome pipes of Brittany Howard), the excellent New Jersey rock of Gaslight Anthem, rap collective Doomtree (featuring P.O.S., Dessa and Sims) and Tune-Yards, whose Merrill Garbus tinkers with the pop song without losing audiences or the hook.
One noticeable omission: The festival's annual, strange inclusion of a no-longer-relevant act like Blues Traveler. For which we say, Lolla--er, hallelujah.
Tickets ($230 for a three-day pass) are on sale at lollapalooza.com. Last year, about 270,000 fans attended over three days, a Lollapalooza record.
RedEye's Top 10 acts
Florence and the Machine
Florence Welch conjures otherworldly mysticism that turns anthemic rock into gorgeous catharsis.
Who better to close a night at a rock fest than the prince of darkness, Ozzy Osbourne?
At the Drive In
Though the Mars Volta just dropped a new album, its leaders Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez return to their former band for a highly anticipated reunion.
The Minneapolis rap collective features artists (including P.O.S., Sims, Dessa) who are great on their own and work excellently together.
Donald Glover's hilarious on "Community," and he's both funny and insightful as a rapper. Take him seriously, but expect to laugh.
When you can sing in a made-up language and still create something beautiful and fascinating, you know you're onto something. This Icelandic group will make the entire park twinkle.
Yes, Merrill Garbus' shows feature a good deal of face paint, but her genre-busting tunes need no gimmicks.
The creativity speaks for itself.
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound
Chicago soul outfit is dynamite onstage.
This Canadian R&B act delivers brilliantly haunting late-night confessions/warnings.
The Southern rock crew's full-length debut, "Boys & Girls," has won praise, but most of the band's raves stick to Brittany Howard's voice and the group's live shows. Don't miss it.
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