Lollapalooza invades Chicago's Grant Park again this year August 4-6, and BMI proudly presents a stacked, three-day line-up on its day stage. The only performing right organization with its own stage at the festival, BMI takes advantage of this opportunity to showcase 15 up-and-coming bands from all over the country, including seven buzz bands from the Chicago area.
Friday begins at 11:15 a.m., and features Chicago-based band the Bon Mots-composers of sugar kissed pop music. Often compared to the Byrds and praised for vintage instrumentation, PopMatters.com cheers that the band mixes "witty lyrics and sly nods to the likes of Elvis Costello and Pavement," while AllMusic.com proclaims, "The Bon Mots just may be Chicago's best-kept secret."
12:30 p.m. ushers in another Chicago troupe, Cameron McGill and What Army. McGill's lyrics and melodies embrace the enigmatic and the melancholy, all while categorically maintaining a stark dedication to beauty and self-deprecating humor.
1:45 to 2:30 p.m. will be dominated by Houston's Makeshifte. Makeshifte is not for the faint of heart. The 2005 Texas Buzz Award winners for the "Musicians' Choice" award cite Hoobastank, Linkin Park and Incubus as key influences of their heavy, guitar-driven tunes led by feverish vocals.
San Francisco's Kelley Soltz follows Makeshifte at 3:00 until 3:45 p.m. Stoltz is capable of channeling Carl Wilson to sinful perfection, then swings over and nods to the Beatles, refusing to adopt any one monotonous sound or voice. A master of several instruments, Stoltz waves fondly to past icons while planting his feet firmly in 21st century pop.
4:15 to 5:00 p.m. brings Anderson, Indiana's Jon McLaughlin. A classically trained pianist, McLaughlin relishes in the sounds of Billy Joel and Ben Folds, and melds spirited keys with crooner-inspired vocals. The result jumps vigorously between genres like jazz, funk, rock and ragtime.
Chicago's Musical Outfits kick things off Saturday at 11:15 a.m. These four young musicians have created quite a buzz thanks in large part to the group's dynamic live show. Their 2005 debut album, Left Here, garnered spins on popular Chicago radio stations 93.1 WXRT, WLUW and Q101.
12:30 to 1:15 p.m. sees Austin, Texas, band St. James take the stage. The trio's buoyant harmonies are layered copiously over exquisite strings and the occasional piano, creating a moody feast for the ears well-worth revisiting.
New York rapper Lanz takes over at 1:45 p.m. Sixteen-year-old Lanz originally embraced the sounds of Jay Z, Tupac and Nas as an escape from the hardships that greeted her at an early age. Lanz has poured her arduous experiences into her lyrics, resulting in mature reflections in spite of her youth.
From 3:00 to 3:45 p.m., Rhode Island's Elvis Perkins holds down the fort. Dreamy melodies and stories dominate Perkins' music, which draws thoughtfully from folk rock and relies heavily on guitar and occasional fiddle mastery paired with emotive percussion.
At 4:15, Chicago's Kill Hannah wraps up Saturday's day stage. The Atlantic Records recording artists have created a fresh British-inspired rock / electronica hybrid best savored live. BMI proudly offers the opportunity to witness the band Billy Corgan called "the future of Chicago rock."
From 11:15 a.m. to noon Sunday morning, Chicago's Katie Todd Band will pleasantly awaken the crowd. Three albums deep into a promising career, the band is buoyed by Todd's sweet vocals that hint provocatively at the jagged edge buried just beneath the surface.
Chicago's Catfish Haven takes the stage at 12:30 p.m. The band's rustic sound achieves notoriety thanks to soulful lead singer George Hunter's gravelly vocal delivery. Named for the trailer park Hunter called home in his youth, the troupe's authentic grittiness seeps into every corner of their sound.
1:45 p.m. brings Atlanta's Manchester Orchestra to Chicago. The young pop band displays an innate understanding of balancing emotional depths with radio-friendly hooks that often evades artists twice their age. Manchester Orchestra is sauntering down a golden path, prompting Paste Magazine to proclaim, "When experience matriculates into that pre-existing talent, great music will spring from this simply good music."
Birmingham, Alabama's Moses Mayfield hits the stage from 3:00 to 3:45 p.m. Epic Recording artists who claim influences ranging from Pearl Jam to Peter Gabriel, Moses Mayfield delivers an insightful rock punch that somehow prompts both introspection and unbridled head-banging.
Chicago's Assassins wrap up BMI's Lollapalooza day stage from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m. The group's unique approach to composition and songwriting itself results in experimental layers of electro-rock bearing the distinct thumbprint of each one of the six members.