For the past several years, summer music mega-fest lineups have been cause for concern. Just last year, Lollapalooza headliners included Depeche Mode, Tool, Jane’s Addiction, and Lou Reed. Paul McCartney, Morrissey, The Cure, and My Bloody Valentine were among the bold-face names at the generally forward-thinking Coachella. Meanwhile, at Bonnaroo, things looked even bleaker: Bruce Springsteen, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, and Phish (playing not one but two sets!) took the top spots. What was this, I Love the ’90s (and the ’80s… and the ’70s… and the ’60s)?
Finally, that all seems to be changing. In a little over a week, fans at Coachella will look forward to headlining performances by Jay-Z, Gorillaz, and Muse. With today’s announcement of the Lollapalooza 2010 lineup, it looks like summer music festivals may finally have entered the 21st century.
Sure, the perennially relevant Green Day and a reunited Soundgarden are among the headliners. But the exciting news is that these ’90s relics are totally outnumbered by major acts that debuted in the past 10 years: Arcade Fire! The Strokes! Phoenix! And that ultimate harbinger of the future, Lady Gaga!
Of course, critical memes like “music fests are stuck in the ’90s” die hard — so it seems that our pals at Prefix didn’t quite get the memo. “The organizers at Lollapalooza have kindly filled in the rest of the letters for the music loving public, and the bands revealed show the festival skewing a little old and to the mainstream this year,” grumbles Mike Burr. Point taken about the “mainstream,” but a mass culture that involves La Gaga is just fine by us. It’s easy to nitpick, and as much as we’d love to see, say, Merzbow headline one of these babies, it doesn’t shock us that he didn’t make the shortlist.
Instead, we’d prefer to take Lollapalooza’s largely contemporary lineup as a sign of progress. Plus, we’re excited about the inclusion of many other favorite 21st-century acts, from Cymbals Eat Guitars and Rogue Wave to The National and Dirty Projectors. And hey, we won’t kick old timers like Erykah Badu or Devo off the stage, either. Click here for the full lineup.