It’s about that time of the year folks, our favorite festival Lollapalooza is just around the corner here in the Windy City. I know, I know – it crept up on me too. The shows start next week (August 3rd), and once again this year its four days in length. If you’re like me, you ordered your tickets at work months ago. And if not, you’re likely scrambling being “that guy” at the office asking anyone if they have extra tickets. In the future – don’t be that guy. Everyone hates that guy. This year’s lineup is chalk-full of quality artists, old and new, from every genre. If you are unprepared, don’t worry. We here at Everything Doesn’t Suck have generously compiled a comprehensive guide to get you thru Lollapalooza this year… Enjoy!
“Nice to See You Again”
Plenty of comeback/reunion types this year. God bless music festivals for bringing back our favorite bands so we can all have drunken, sloppy, nostalgia-driven sing-alongs.
- The Killers (FRI) – I’m guessing these guys are pretty high on everybody’s list, and rightfully so. The Killers have been relatively off the radar since their last release five year ago, but with a new, buzz-heavy album on the horizon it’s safe to expect the guys to be one of the weekend’s best. Their sound is tailor-made for a large festival setting, and Brandon Flowers + Co. will be superb in their first Lolla appearance since 2013.
- Blink-182 (FRI) – Tough call here, as everyone’s favorite pop-punk rockers are slotted at the same time as the aforementioned Killers. While original guitar player/singer Tom DeLonge may no longer be with the band, Blink should still be a huge draw. Hate them or love them (I love them), Blink is undeniably one of the biggest bands of the past 20 years and it’s great to see them finally get some love at a major US festival. Skateboards and lip rings are strongly encouraged.
- Justice (SUN) – The French duo are master producers and ruled the 2000s as one of the best electronic artists in the world. This year, they will be closing the festival at the Bud Light stage with what’s sure to be a large and raucous crowd. The Grammy winners haven’t headlined a US festival since 2012, and their signature brand of heavy electro-funk and disco is the closest thing to a Daft Punk reunion Lolla has seen for a while.
- Liam Gallagher (SUN) – For those who may not know, Gallagher was the lead singer of the massively popular band Oasis in the 90s before the band broke up due to constant squabbling between Liam and brother/guitar player, Noel. While Gallagher will undoubtedly play some new jams from his upcoming solo album, I would be downright flabbergasted if listeners don’t hear “Wonderwall” and other Oasis classics Thursday afternoon.
Honorable Mention – The Shins (SUN), Live (SAT), Ryan Adams (FRI), Big Sean (SUN)
“Who are these Guys?”
Nothing better than stumbling upon relatively unknown, but talented artists at music festivals. Every year, I leave with 2-3 new favorites. Here’s a few candidates for 2017…
- Temples (THURS) – Temples is essentially the British version of Tame Impala (see picture above)– Psychedelia-based, with Beatles-y vocals and a very fun live show. Temples is worth a look for all Thursday Lolla-goers.
- Mura Masa (FRI) – I saw Mura Masa at Lincoln Hall last year on a whim and was very glad I went. The 21 year-old German producer has been gaining popularity over the past year and will be one of the more fun DJ’s to play at the Grove all weekend.
- Joey Bada$$ (SUN) – Also playing at the Grove is rapper Joey Bada$$. Joey is one of my favorite hip-hop artists in the game right now, known more for his lyrical prowess than some of the other trap-reliant rappers playing at Lolla.
- Middle Kids (THURS) – The Australian indie rockers make their Lolla debut this year. Slated pretty far down the billing, Middle Kids could be one of the more promising afternoon performances of the weekend. I’ll be catching Middle kids at the Concord Friday night, opening for Mac DeMarco’s after-show.
Honorable Mention – Whitney (FRI), Declan McKenna (THURS), The Drums (THURS)
Have some pent up energy? Acoustic guitar not your thing? No worries, musical diversity is one of the best parts of Lollapalooza, and there are plenty of artists that can help you lose your mind this year.
- Run the Jewels (FRI) – The rapper duo of Killer Mike and El-P certainly don’t make the type of music to be played at coffee shops. The beats are hard, the lyrics are harder. These guys get ROWDY and are known to have a killer (see what I did there?) live show.
- A-Trak (THURS) – The Canadian producer has been a crowd-favorite in the EDM community for like 20 years. Unlike most of his peers, A-Trak is highly skilled in turntablism (that’s a word, right?) and has spun on a variety of high-quality remixes. Expect his set to be a huge party with plenty of fresh takes on your favorite songs.
- Migos (THURS) – “Bad and Boujee”… “Versace” … “Fight Night” … Need I say more? These guys are absurd. Lil Uzi Vert will be playing Thursday as well, so there’s a 1000000% chance we will see the entire gang for “Bad and Boujee” at both sets. There’s also an even greater chance you see your friend’s high school brother puking on himself at each show, so beware.
- Gramatik (THURS) – Gramatik has been destroying Grant Park for years. It seems like this dude finds his way to Lolla and basically every festival each summer. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Gramatik a handful of times, and his upbeat/funky style is definitely best suited for large festival settings.
Honorable Mention – Ookay (FRI), Alison Wonderland (SAT), Lil Yachty (SUN)
LOTS of big name artists on the bill this year, which is nothing new. Can’t really go wrong with any of the headliners, but these shows should be especially fun.
- Arcade Fire (SUN) – Similar to The Killers, Arcade Fire was born to play at giant festivals. Arcade Fire just dropped their fifth studio album today and should be itching to show off. Sure to be a fantastic show to close the weekend, the Canadian rockers will play old hits and new jams as well.
- Cage the Elephant (THURS) – Quietly one of the more consistently high-quality bands of the past ten years, Cage the Elephant is back in Chicago for another round. They are erratic, sloppy and generally all over the place at their live shows – and its awesome. With an ever-growing catalogue of good songs, CTE will bring the energy early.
- Kaskade (SAT) – Admittedly I’m not as in touch with the house music scene as I may have once been, but I know from experience the greatness of his show. A true legend of the genre, you can’t go wrong with Kaskade if you’re looking to party. Bonus points for the amazing light show.
- Chance the Rapper (SAT) – The hometown hero claims top-billing for Lolla this year, and for good reason. Chance has blown up to epic proportions since his “Acid Rap” days and Lakeshore Stage performances of old. Pencil in a large amount of guest appearances and fun surprises for this one.
Honorable Mention – Head and the Heart (SAT) , Alt-J (SAT)
“Everything Doesn’t Suck” All-Stars
No explanation really needed here – All the below artists have been featured on this blog in the past, so obviously you’d have be INSANE to not check them out.
- Check out the “Grove” for at least one show during the weekend. Now formally called the “Pepsi Stage”, the Grove is by far the coolest stage at Lollapalooza. Nestled in the wooded area in the Northwest corner of the park, the Grove is much more intimate than the other stages and has hosted some of my favorite performances over the years.
- Go to an after-show. I know, it sounds like a LOT after a day’s worth of walking and standing and partying to go to ANOTHER show after the day ends. But they are a fun way to keep the night going and see an artist you weren’t able to during the day due to time conflicts. Pretty much every artist are on the bill plays an after show and most of the shows still have tickets available.
- Avoid the kids. I’m not blaming the youngsters. We’ve all been there at one point – the young/stupid/drunk kids who can’t handle a music festival atmosphere. It’s fun to be the worst people there and not care. Thanks to the trusty Chicago Metra train system, 16-19 year olds come in droves to the party at Lolla every year. It’s easy to get frustrated by the antics of these pimple-faced/Michael Jordan jersey-wearing idiots, but the best solution is just avoid them. Simply don’t go to the shows where you know they’ll be. And if you must then make sure to stand near the outside. Migos, Rae Sremmurd, Lorde and Machine Gun Kelly all look like prime candidates this year.
- Walk further than 2 blocks away to get an Uber after the last show. It always blows my mind to see people frantically arguing with Uber drivers right outside of the entrance gate. There’s a literal sea of people leaving right now, of course he’s not going to wait on Michigan Ave for you. The best move is to walk for 20 mins or so before trying to order a cab or hop on the train. Even better is to go to someone’s place/hotel downtown as the crowd dies down.
- Do your own thing. See who you want to see. Of course it’s always fun to be with your friends at these things but music festivals are great opportunities to see people who don’t come around often. Don’t follow the group and skip one of your favorites. You will find them after, it always works out.
HAVE FUN & BE SAFE EVERYONE!
Photo Credits – Lollapalooza, Festicket, Blurt Magazine, Spin. Pitchfork, Seattle Times, Chicago Magazine