Holy crap. It’s basically summer. That means it’s basically time for 80/35. The lineup is full, the schedule has been released and now we agonize over who we’ll have to pick and choose. So, let’s talk.

If you haven’t bought tickets yet, you have until May 17th for discounted tickets. Also, check out the full lineup and make up your own mind (and while you’re there, click around on the band links. I wrote several of them and I’m so proud of them, I got excited about music again and I restarted this blog). At minimum, there are three free stages, so you should really make plans to attend.

Here’s how this works, there are bands I will see no matter what (Black Lips, Wolf Parade, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Colleen Green and Dilly Dally), there are bands that I would really like to see and in all likelihood I will be at that set barring disaster or demands from children (which, c’mon one in the same) and there are bands I really want to see, but they conflict with another band I also really want to see. Here is where I fight through those and then I can go in with a loose battle plan that will get blown to shit somewhere around 1 pm Saturday.

Craig Finn – 8:15 Kum and Go Stage vs Holy White Hounds – 8:15 Nationwide Stage

The one Friday conflict for me and it is a doozy. Craig Finn is the lead singer of The Hold Steady. His solo work is great, but The Hold Steady, man. The Hold Steady. HWH are from Iowa and I’ve been following them for like a decade in whatever incarnation they’ve been. They finally got signed to a good label and have been touring like maniacs. This set may be the Iowa coming out party. Hell, it may be the last time they get to be “Iowa’s” before they get to be “The World’s”. It’s a pretty rare occurrence to watch an Iowa band actually break out.

Since there is a very real chance if I go to see Craig Finn expecting to hear “First Night” but only end up hearing his (albeit excellent) solo work, I think I’ll take the sure thing.

Winner: Holy White Hounds

Druids – 1:30 Main Stage vs Ravyn Lenae – 1:45 Kum and Go Stage

Our first Saturday conflict, and they are very different acts, to put it mildly. Druids are a riff heavy, psych/doom metal band and Ravyn Lenae is a 17-year old Chicago R&B singer. Lenae is really close to becoming a household name; she has the talent and the right people singing her praises. Druids are the first metal band (or rather co-first with Green Death, also this year) to play 80/35 and I’m interested in what they can do for a crowd who may not be expecting this. This is a really tough one. I will probably end up at Druids, because my kids are usually down there around this time and they like to play in the stream running through the grounds and I will be very happy, so I will give the non-committal, cheap win to them.

Winner: Druids

Vic Spencer – 4:45 Kum and Go Stage vs SIRES 5:00 Nationwide Stage

Spencer is a poet. From Chicago’s South Side, he uses his background and upbringing to create beautiful works . SIRES is the former Dylan Sires and Neighbors. They’re tweaking their sound a bit and working with a new label and are in the process of releasing a new album, so I will be interested in seeing where they’re at in their rebirth. This is another one I may regret years from now (like the time I choose not to see Kendrick Lamar. Stupid.) but I really like the old DS&N so I want to see what SIRES can do.

Winner: SIRES

Black Lips – 7:00 Main Stage vs MAIDS – 7:00 Nationwide Stage

Sorry, Mickey and Danny. If you’re freeloading, go see MAIDS (and make a donation to the DMMC.)

Winner: Black Lips

Lizzo – 8:15 Kum and Go Stage vs Green Death – 8:15 Nationwide Stage

Green Death are a thrash metal band. They’re playing a free stage where a lot of the people will be sunburned and drunk and ready to throw down (in a good way, I hope) so I kind of want to see the whole thing unfold.

Lizzo, though, is incredible. Rap, sing, perform; she can do it all. So, uh, her.

Winner: Lizzo

So here is what my schedule looks like:


Wolf Parade
Dilly Dally
Holy White Hounds


Easy Fruit
France Camp
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Colleen Green
Black Lips
The Decemberists

Honestly, this is one hell of a lineup and I can’t wait for July. This is a rare year where I’m more excited for about a dozen other bands before the headliners, and I really like the headliners (not like the year it was Of Montreal and Girl Talk, of whom I’m both indifferent.)

I guess the big thing I’m missing in my schedule are jam bands (or jam band adjacent). Lotus is pretty good, and there’s some solid bluegrass. But, I dunno, this many quality acts, I’m not going to force myself into something I’m not 100% into. I guess if I could sum it up:

yano shrug.gif

As far as under the radar acts: France Camp, Colleen Green and Dilly Dally are the big three I would recommend. I like Courtney Krause, but she’s opposite Wolf Parade, so I’m going to miss her. But if you’re into pretty voiced folk/country/Americana, give her a whirl. Also, check out MaZoo. She’s a smart, tough MC who has the poor placement of being opposite Colleen Green. However, if Green isn’t for you, check out MaZoo. She runs with a solid crew, so I’m sure there will be some quality guests, too.

Just under two months. Y’all ready?