Acts Worth Seeing at Lollapalooza, 2006: Panic! at the Disco, Matisyahu and Death Cab For Cutie

Break out the sunglasses and get ready for four dollar bottles of water, huge bands, small bands and all the bands in between! It’s Lollapalooza! And this year, it’s coming to Illinois with a vengeance – and with a three day lineup of over 130 bands!

In the spirit of the rock festival, I felt it necessary to highlight three of the break-out bands of the show. These bands have risen to the great heights of fame in the past year and will surely garner a huge following at whichever stage they perform on. You can expect fans of all ages to rock out to these groups and you’ll most likely do the same.

The first band is Panic! At the Disco. Their debut album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” sold over 400,000 copies in 2005, and it landed in the top 25 of the Billboard Top 200. Hailing from the suburbs of Las Vegas, Nevada, Panic! consists of singer Ryan Ross, drummer Spencer Smith, Brent Wilson on bass and singer Brendon Urie. After mainly covering Blink 182 songs as beginners, these pop-punks got more serious in later years and caught the attention of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, which started the ball rolling and helped the band get signed to the Decaydence/Fueled by Ramen record label.

After finishing high school or dropping out of college (in Ryan Ross’ case and to his parents’ chagrin), the group left Nevada to travel to Maryland and make their first album. The rest is history. Panic! At the Disco is playing sold out shows all over the US, and will stop at the Lollapalooza festival on August 4 – 6 in Chicago.

Also at Lollapalooza this year is Matisyahu (pronounced MAH-TIS-YAH-HOO), an Orthodox Jew with a reggae sound and a huge hit in his song, “King Without a Crown.” Although Matisyahu (the Yiddish pronunciation of the name Matthew) recorded his first album in 2004, he has broken out onto mainstream radio with “King Without a Crown,” and is currently opening for the Dave Matthews Band on tour.

Matisyahu is a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic community in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. He released three albums before his most recent, “Youth” which debuted on March 7, 2006 and is now enjoying a much larger success, although he caused quite a buzz in underground music for at least two years prior to the release. He just finished appearing in front of 80,000 people at the Bonnaroo
music festival and will appear in front of who knows how many more at this year’s Lollapalooza.

Last, but not least, the spotlight shines on a pop band called Death Cab for Cutie. Formed as far back as 1997, this band is now enjoying the success of their first major label debut, Plans, on Atlantic Records. The band was formed when guitarist/singer, Ben Gibbard, decided to recruit a full band after a modest success with his solo effort, All-Time Quarterback. The original lineup of the band included Gibbard, guitarist/organist Christopher Walla, bassist Nick Harmer, and drummer Nathan Good, but Good left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Michael Schorr.

In the summer of 1998, Death Cab for Cutie released their debut album, “Something About Airplanes.” Their follow-up effort, “We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes,” was released in 2000 and in fall of that year, they released an EP called “Forbidden Love.” In 2001, there was “The Photo Album” and with the addition of Jason McGerr to the band in 2003, they released “Transatlanticism.”

Finally, before signing with Atlantic in 2005, “The John Byrd EP” was released. The group has been enjoying a new widespread fame, quite large in comparison to the indie following that they had built up in their nine years in the industry, but let it be known, this is not a new band! Go out and find their old stuff too – just because it’s not on a major label doesn’t mean it’s not good!

These are only three of the over 130 bands playing at Lollapalooza this year. You’ll also be treated to mainstays the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kanye West, as well as indie bands like Stars and The Frames. It’s three days of music, fun and hot summer fun. August 4-6, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Lollapalooza 2006 will rock like it’s 1995.

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