Last night Lollapalooza announced the complete lineup for this year’s festival, and it looks a lot like every other big music festival that’s happened over the past five years or so. Reading through the list of second-tier acts on the bill is like running across an old commercial on TV where you surprise yourself by knowing every word in the script. Bright Eyes, Arctic Monkeys, Crystal Castles, Flogging Molly, Atmosphere, Cold War Kids, Cage the Elephant, Delta Spirit—haven’t I seen this exact lineup listed a dozen different places already? Are these acts all available to be booked as a package deal? Do Grace Potter & the Nocturnals still exist outside the summer festival circuit? And can someone tell me what Cage the Elephant even is? I’ve been to I don’t even know how many festivals where they were scheduled, but I suspect they’re made up.
Things don’t improve much once we get into the 32-point-font-and-up area of the bill. Ween, Deadmau5, A Perfect Circle, and Cee Lo Green all have reputations for pretty compelling stage shows. But that big block at the top—Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse—makes me want to take a nap. Usually there’s a big, showy anchor at the end of the night that will put on some sort of epic performance that will retroactively make it seem worthwhile to have spent the day brutalizing yourself in the worst part of the Chicago summer watching shit like Cage the Elephant—Kanye, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga. Putting Coldplay on in front of tens of thousands of people suffering low-grade heatstroke is either going to cause a riot or a mass coma. Or both.