This September, the behemoth of all American festivals, Lollapalooza, will make its first descent onto European soil for a special weekend at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. The two-day event, taking place on 12 & 13 September, aims to encapsulate everything which made Chicago’s event so great, including varying styles of music, great food and art installations. We’ve delved deep into the line-up and listed our six recommendations for Lollapalooza Berlin, which you can find below.
It wouldn’t be a worthy list of recommendations if we didn’t tell you to go watch the big headliner – Muse. New album Drones is by far the record of the year, its humanitarian concept essentially a sprawling story which travels through the lands of prog, metal, classical and few and far between. Frontman Matt Bellamy’s virtuoso guitar skills, Christ Wolstenholme’s gritty bass and Dominic Howard’s pounding drums all combine with one another to demonstrate exactly why Muse are the best live band in the world. If it isn’t wanting to fly drones over people’s heads, it’s wanting to burn their faces off with pyro, or something similar – Muse’s live show is nothing short of spectacular. Lollapalooza Berlin will be their last European show on this current, extensive festival jaunt through the continent, so you can definitely expect surprises during the Drones-heavy set.
Even though they unfortunately clash with Muse, Aussie psych lords Tame Impala are still worth the effort. New album Currents is a fantastic mesh of psych pop, indie soul and RnB, proving exactly why Kevin Parker is such a genius of a frontman. Comeback single Let it Happen is eight minutes of full-on glam/disco stomp, its swirling melodies hypnotizing the listener on first attempt. Elsewhere, standout track Elephant (from preceding record Lonerism) follows a bouncy rock formula, whilst standard set closer Half Full Glass of Wine tends to take the listener on a sonic journey through the psychedelics. Tame Impala’s set will be the perfect way to close out your Lollapalooza experience if you’re looking to go mental and trip out for an hour and a half.
If you want to see Muse, yet still want to trip out as well, then fellow Aussies Pond are exactly what you need. Sharing members with Tame Impala, new album Man It Feels Like Space Again is 9 songs full of balls-to-the-walls dreaminess, hazy vocals and enough reverb to feed the whole planet five times over. Frontman Nick Allbrook’s warbled vocals (sometimes inaudible throughout the likes of glam stomper Waiting Around for Grace) and messy guitar playing all come together once the whole band set sail, taking the listener on a hand-holding psych journey. Pond aren’t a polished live band by any means, but what they lack in precision they well and truly make up for in raw chaos and dreamy music.
Electro pop pioneers Hot Chip have got plenty of mileage to their name, with new album Why Make Sense? having received rave reviews from critics the world over. Standout track Huarache Lights may well be one of the best songs of the year, its pounding percussion and synth-centric bass holding down the formula which has always made Felix Martin and co. so attractive. Hot Chip side project The 2 Bears will also be there, which means double the fun for people into funk-y indie rock and dance. Don’t be surprised if Over and Over becomes your Lollapalooza anthem this year, because after all these years that track is still going strong.
They’ve reunited, but is it just for the money? Whatever the motive is behind the new Libertines album, Anthems for Doomed Youth, remains to be seen, yet that doesn’t make their return any less explosive than it already is. Even though it’s very easy to jump on the Pete Doherty and co. bandwagon, it’s going to be slightly harder to embrace the new record for anything that it isn’t. Comeback single Gunga Din went down a groovier, more anthemic road compared with previous output, making Anthems for a Doomed Youth even more hotly anticipated than any other upcoming release. Fingers crossed they’ll still be going strong by the time they hit the stage in Tempelhof, because it’s big shows like this which will make or break the band.
Closing out our recommendations list is the American electro duo MS MR, whose new album How Does it Feel came out just over a week ago. Lead single Painted is a pop banger in a polished jacket, Lizzy Plapinger’s fierce vocal tone holding the whole affair together effortlessly alongside Max Hershenow’s slick production. The rest of the album follows suit, making it an extremely attractive collection of sweet, summery pop. It’ll be the best way you can spend an hour dancing at Lollapalooza without having to subject yourself to the likes of Kygo, Skrillex or Fatboy Slim.
If these recommendations aren’t enough for you, then we suggest you keep an eye out for another article in the next few weeks! Jack Parker
Tickets for Lollapalooza Berlin are still available from this link.