Back in the Saddle

Like a paunchy, aging executive trying to wedge into the ripped jeans, band T-shirt, and Chuck Taylors of his college days, the return of Lollapalooza feels forced, hollow, and a tad disingenuous. There's a reason why the traveling festival petered out in 1997 after seven editions: It simply couldn't sustain its mission as a revolutionary, diverse, community-minded, must-see cultural event. This year's primarily Big Guitar Rock lineup does little to restore Lollapalooza's visionary spirit, and the conspicuously corporate nature of the whole shindig reeks of nostalgia marketing.

But if you can resign yourself to the fact that it has become just another package tour, you'll find a couple of bands on the bill worth checking out. Queens of the Stone Age knows how to wow a crowd with its heavy, exhilarating grooves, while Jurassic 5 offers a brief respite from all the six-stringery with its nimble underground hip-hop. And headliner Jane's Addiction should be able to conjure up enough arty hard-rock bombast to justify its status as altrock icon.

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Michael Alan Goldberg