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Commentary: Chili Peppers highlight Lollapalooza’s lame lineup

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

Lollapalooza, a three-day music festival scheduled for Aug. 3-5 in Chicago, announced its 2012 lineup Wednesday, and while there are a handful of standout acts on the list, the roster leaves much to be desired for loyal Lolla-goers.

After a stellar 2011 showing, which included the likes of Deadmau5, Coldplay and Eminem and an unforgettable closing set by headliners Foo Fighters, who played through a torrential downpour, 2012 had big shoes to fill.

The top billing this year went to Red Hot Chili Peppers, who last headlined in 2006. As a huge RHCP fan, I was thrilled to see it at the 2006 festival, but it left me wanting more as its set list was not as upbeat as I would have liked. I love the band, but I think its music translates better to a large arena setting rather than a festival in the park. So for fans looking to see RHCP at its best are better off saving their money for a different venue if they don’t want to leave disappointed.

The rest of the headliners seem more promising, with sets from The Black Keys, Jack White and Passion Pit positioned to be fan-favorites at the end of the weekend. A must-see Black Sabbath reunion will be a historic set with all original band members planning to be in attendance. And Florence and the Machine will more than likely translate well to the Grant Park setting in what I predict will be the weekend highlight. But herein lies the problem: The popular headlining bands will most likely be scheduled in overlapping time slots across the park, meaning festival-goers will have to choose between their favorite bands rather than maximize the number of artists they see over the course of the weekend.

And, the holes in this year’s lineup extend beyond the headliners. A highlight of the annual festival for me has always been finding a new favorite band somewhere in the early timeslots. But even the smaller acts don’t seem as appealing as they have in recent years.

Those of you who do have tickets should be sure to check out Blind Pilot, Bloc Party, The Head and The Heart, fun., and Gark Clark Jr. This short list summarizes my must-sees in the early time slots. Yet, in recent years, this list could have extended on for paragraphs, the true sign that this year’s festival will be lame-o-palooza.

While there are certainly noteworthy acts in this year’s lineup, there are simply not enough must-see groups to justify the steep $230 three-day ticket price. My advice for the people who still want to be part of the Lollapalooza 2012 experience would be to wait until single-day tickets are released. While they’re still not cheap, you can hand-pick the day with the most standout acts without emptying your wallet completely for a mediocre lineup.

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