Preview: Lolla 2012

It’s that time of year again when the listless, over-caffeinated youth and the older, overworked weekend warriors join forces and converge on our sprightly little city to enjoy a carefree weekend of music, end-of-summer weather and, inevitably, a bit of mind-altering fun.

Lollapalooza 2012 kicks off on Friday, August 3rd, and I, as one of Gozamos’ loyal music critics, have volunteered myself — at the risk of permanent hearing loss — to help cover the event that many Chicagoans seem to live and breath for.

When first asked to attend, I did what most people do: I checked the line-up. I mean, who knows; 2012 could’ve been an off-year.

But this year’s line-up can hardly disappoint even the most anal audiophile — if you liked the Black Keys before they were headlining at Lolla, your cookie is in the mail. The list of performers is impressive, running the gamut from rockers to punkers to rappers to I-don’t-know-what: the Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Jack White, Florence & the Machine, The Shins, Kaskade, The Weeknd, Franz Ferdinand, Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, Wale — the list goes on and on and on again.

Besides the big-name acts, I’m looking forward to catching the up-and-comers and those that never quite made it big. I don’t know know what it is, but musicians seem to perform better when they have dreams in their hearts and bellies full of Ramen noodles.

The first band I’ll catch on opening day is the Brazilian rap-reggae group O Rappa — pronounced “Oh Hah-pah,” just so you’ll sound like you’re in the know. Although their lyrics are in Portuguese — which is Greek to me — the message in their lyrics deal mostly with the socioeconomic conditions of their hometown of Rio de Janeiro, and the quality of their sound transcends language. (At times it’s hard to decipher what even Bob Marley was saying in his music, but that never stopped anyone from bobbing their head.)

There’s also Dr. Dog, who I’ve been hearing so much about lately. Their sound is reminiscent of the early Beatles, and their lyrics and vocals are almost Bob Dylan-y — or Dylan-esque, if you prefer. The music video for “That Old Black Hole” is creepy eccentric: it’s just a hamster running on a wheel, but it gives you the impression that you shouldn’t watch it in public lest anyone catch you looking a video of a hamster running on a wheel. I’m sure this act will be one for the books — like when I caught !!! at Lolla a few years back.

After starting of my Saturday with a light helping of Chief Keef — behold! my hood side — I’m looking forward to seeing Doomtree perform on the Red Bull Soundstage and Chancellor Warhol perform on BMI. If you haven’t yet, YouTube Chancellor’s “Games,” which is a hip-hop remake of the incomparable Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly unusual song “Video Games.”

I’m gonna swing by Red Bull Soundstage between 6 and 7 to catch The Weeknd, which is sure to draw the envy of a R&B junkie girl friend of mine who refuses to quit stalking him on Twitter. (I think she loves The Weeknd more than the actual weekend.)

Sunday’s line-up seems to be the lightest, so I’m the least excited about that day. The only peeps I’m looking to see are J. Cole, Childish Gambino and Jack White — Cole, because he’s a raw lyricist; Childish, because he’s funny; and Jack White, because he’s Jack White. Maybe it’ll mean less running around and more staying put, which will probably seem like a godsend by the time Day Three rolls around.

I got my schedule printed out, my map packed up. Let’s do this thing.

If you want to join me and start the revolution, tweet me at @hectorluisalamo.