Lollapalooza weekend is looming. For those of you who have never been to the major Chicago music fest before, let me tell you something you may not know. After a day rocking out in whatever elements Mother Nature might throw at you, when the musical buzz and the beer are starting to wear off, it doesn't mean it's the end of the party.
Chicago is a town of music. And if you think the scene is going to just nap while one of the world's biggest music festivals is going down in its own front yard, you're missing the big picture. Countless bars and venues in town will be home to Lollapalooza aftershows, featuring artists you know well and artists you've never heard of.
Lollapalooza -- running Aug. 2 to 4 in Grant Park -- has more than 45 official shows on the list. And almost every place with an open stage is going to be unofficially joining the fun, hosting any Lolla-goer who happens to wander in looking for some good tunes -- as well as music fans without tickets for the sold-out fest.
With bands fighting a turf war for your time and money, it's sometimes hard picking the perfect show for the perfect night. So here's a tip: Aftershows are a great way to catch a band you couldn't get to during the day (which can help settle some of those pesky time-slot conflicts). And since some shows are opened by local musicians or up-and-coming artists not playing the big gig, it's a chance to expose yourself to new bands you might not have heard otherwise.
Friday, Aug. 2
The Lumineers are good and all, but the Vic, where they play Friday during Lolla, isn't that intimate a setting, so it's not like you're going to be up close and personal. Plus you can see them on the Lolla stage Saturday leading into Mumford's set, which is a match made in heaven. So give something else a try.
I suggest Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Best described as psychedelic pop, this band puts forth an intangible that somewhat captures the vibe of the Grateful Dead tossed through a modern blender of filters. The groove is mellow, but with enough soulful energy that you'll want to stay up feeling the beat long after you should have gone to bed. UMO has a set at Lollapalooza Saturday, so if you like what you see you can factor that into your next day. This Portland trio has played at the Empty Bottle before, but this time they're presented with one-man Chicago band, Netherfriends, and Bare Mutants, a band hailing from Woodstock and Chicago.
10 p.m. (doors open at 9) Friday, Aug. 2, at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago. $15 for 21-plus show. (773) 276-3600 or emptybottle.com.
Saturday, Aug. 3
Matt & Kim seem to be the front-runners for this second night of the festival, and I know they put on a kick-butt show, but if you have Lolla tickets you probably already saw them Saturday afternoon. Why not take a chance on some local flavor? Let me suggest The Orwells playing at one of the most fun and intimate venues in the city, Schubas. Get up close as the five guys from Elmhurst bring garage punk back, screaming through raw anthems with the honest energy that belongs to the disappointed, frustrated, but untainted, young. They're supported by SKATERS, a dynamic punk band hailing from Boston and New York City.
11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. $15 for this 18-plus show. (773) 525-2508 or schubas.com.
Sunday, Aug. 4
This is traditionally the hardest night to plan for. As Lolla wraps up, I recommend another visit to the Empty Bottle for Wavves, supported by local psych-rockers E.T. Habit. Wavves' grungy surf rock is just what you need to give your eardrums one last dose of loud rock before heading back to your disappointingly music-less real life.
9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago. $15. (773) 276-3600 or emptybottle.com.
Note: Many shows are sold out, but most venues are offering a limited number of tickets at the door the night of the shows for last-minute fans. Get there early, because it's first come, first served.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald copy editor who has found the thrill in chasing last-minute aftershow tickets at Lollapalooza. He writes about the summer music scene every Friday.