Centerstage - Chicago's Original City Guide

Virtual L ®

click here for full festivals coverage, all over Chicago

STORIES


Bookmark This Page:


RSS feeds, get em while they're RED HOTSubscribe in your favorite reader using the links below. To learn more about feeds and RSS, click here.

Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts Entertainment Chicago Illinois
Articles Sections >> >

Local-Palooza

Some of Chicago's finest speak out before rocking out at Lolla.
Monday Jul 28, 2008.     By Brad Knutson
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Lollapalooza is back in town once again this weekend, and as usual Chicago is represented well with a bevy of homegrown talent on the bill. In addition to internationally known local acts like Wilco, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, this year's festival also features some of the best-kept secrets from the local scene, including indie pop rockers Office and club DJ staples Willy Joy, Bald Eagle and Zebo. Centerstage recently caught up with these underground favorites to get their views on playing the massive outdoor music spectacle.

Are you a real locavore? See if you know everything we do.

Scott Masson of Office
Scott Masson of Office
What's the best thing about being a band from Chicago?
The best part about being in a band from Chicago is not being in another band from Brooklyn or Los Angeles. While the rest of the country is trying to figure out where the next fashionable blog-eruption will occur, Chicago just keeps it chill and focused on the music. We like living here because it's cheap, and not over-hyped.

What are your favorite aspects of outdoor musical festivals?
As long as the music is loud, it tends to be fun. I don't really pay attention to who's onstage ever. I'm just there to play and browse. People are mind-blowing to watch.

Why should people make a long trek across Grant Park to check out your set?
Our band is definitely not the kind of band who likes to shove our stuff down people's throats. I'll be happy if 20 people are there. I'd say people might like to see us because our songs are well-written, and we don't use backing tracks. We make mistakes onstage, and we're not condescending to the audience. OFFICE has never been a part of any trend or specific sound, therefore, we offer something original to the listener.

If you were to create an "Office-palooza" festival, what would that be like?
If we were to create our own festival, we would only hire rappers, DJs, songwriters, bands, and orchestras with talent. There would be no buzz bands allowed and it would take place between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. the next morning. A tent would be set up in the middle for oil wrestling and bingo. The entry fee for the entire festival would be around $5. I will be near the tent, making balloon animals.

Bald Eagle
photo: Clayton Hauck
Bald Eagle
What's the best thing about being an artist from Chicago?
Not doing it for a living, but doing it for the experience. Taking advantage of the decent/affordable work/living spaces, great venues of all sizes and various support networks. As far as bands and DJs go, there seems to be an increasing unification of the two as more and more live events have both represented.

What are your favorite aspects of outdoor musical festivals?
If the weather is nice and the sun is not in your eyes, it's just that simple and amazing. I love being outside surrounded by music, but not so much being around thousands and thousands of people getting burnt up in the sun or soaked by rain. Whether I'm an artist performing or a fan taking in a festival experience, I tend to find my own little spot, away from the masses.

Why should people make a long trek across Grant Park to check out your set?
I'll be playing songs people know (hopefully), so even if they have no idea who Bald Eagle is, it's not like they're hearing me sing 10 songs they've never heard. I'm also one of the few, if not only, acts that will encourage people to laugh with and at me. Also, people won't be stuck with one overall genre of music for 45 minutes straight. A song in my set generally lasts two minutes (three at the most), so I'm grateful for today's youth of America and their inability to focus and remain mentally stimulated.

If you were to create a "Bald Eagle-apalooza" festival, what would that be like?
I grew up in central Pennsylvania so if I close my eyes I envision the festival in this gigantic, open and slightly rolling field surrounded by mountains. The spot in mind is actually the field where I went to summer camp as a kid and was a counselor as a teen. Not sure how the Amish communities surrounding this land would feel about Bald Eagle-apalooza, but I'd make sure they got VIP passes and their own stage/barn to showcase their approved entertainment (likely acoustic since most don't use electricity).

Willy Joy
Willy Joy
What's the best thing about being an artist from Chicago?
The freedom to carve your own path without having to kowtow to an exclusionary scene. Also, the freedom to carve and eat sausages every day.

What are your favorite aspects of outdoor musical festivals?
Everyone's happier at an outdoor event. "Yea, we're outside! Oh, and there's someone playing music? Awesome...life rules!"

Why should people make a long trek across Grant Park to check out your set?
Because I'm really, really, really good. (Hah!) I've got tons of tricks up my sleeve, and tons of upcoming/unreleased/exclusive music that you won't hear anywhere else. We're going to have a HUGE party during my set! That's all I can say.

If you were to create a "Willy Joy-apalooza" festival, what would that be like?
It would be 1/3 dance club, 1/3 freak tent and 1/3 petting zoo. There would also be an owl flying around somewhere, that's in my contract.

Zebo
What's the best thing about being an artist from Chicago?
The wonderfully diverse music scene this great city has to offer.

What are your favorite aspects of outdoor musical festivals?
Being outside with good music...doesn't get much better than that.

Why should people make a long trek across a sea of softball fields to check out your set?
If they choose not to, I will find them on MySpace and "Rick Roll" them.

If you were to create a "Zebo-palooza" festival, what would that be like?
It would be a two-day event that would celebrate the greatness of all that is Ditka; hosted by The Superfans.

Zebo had a lot more to say in our interview with him in May.


Want more Lolla? We've got you covered. Become an expert on the fest with our alphabetical primer; learn how you can go green in Grant Park; plan out your schedule (and your kids' schedules, too). If you're still not satisfied, check out one of these after-parties. And don't forget our music-festival survival guide.

 

Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.


What's Happening Today
  • America's Bar
    $2 Miller Lite drafts, $3 well drinks, $3.50 import drafts, $3 wines, $4 long islands, $2 Liberty Shots
  • Grealy's Pub
    $2 Coors Light pints
  • Tin Lizzie
    $2.50 drafts of Bud family beers
  • Nacional 27
    half-price tapas and ceviche, $3 Tecates (5-7 p.m.)
  • Bat 17
    $3.95 specialty martinis
  • Irish Oak
    $2 bottles of Old Style, $4 grape, cherry and O bombs