Lollapinions III

Acts not to be slept on at Grant Park's summer festival

Riding the coattails of a successful 25th anniversary that saw the addition of a Thursday lineup, the 26th edition of Lollapalooza is bringing back the fourth day from Aug. 3-6 this summer. Whether this can be seen as a simple money grab, it’s good news for music lovers and festival goers alike who are trying to get a bit more out of the festival. Now that the schedule has been officially released, we can get down to the basics of which bands/singers/producers that deserve your attention over the late-summer weekend.

 

THURSDAY

Declan McKenna (12:00pm-12:45pm, Lake Shore Stage)

OL: Out of everyone on Thursday, I am by far the most excited to see Declan McKenna perform early at the Lake Shore Stage. McKenna emerged from his English background with alt-rock guitar riffs and political lyrics, winning major talent competitions when he was in high school. Now 18, he will play his first Lollapalooza gig, hopefully teasing his forthcoming album What Do You Think About The Car? and performing songs such as “Isombard” and “Paracetamol.”

 

Hippo Campus (1:30pm-2:30pm, Lake Shore Stage)

SB: If you are looking for a good alternative band that has bright guitar riff-filled melodies then don’t miss Hippocampus. After releasing their Bashful Creatures EP in 2015, the band followed up with Landmark in 2017, their first full length album. The album highlights the band’s bright–almost 60s pop meets electric guitars and synths–sounds and melodic voices. However, this new work is successful and without a doubt more soulful, making this a relatively unknown band that has great music. Another plus, they are small enough to be able to get really close to stage and see them quite close.

 

The O’My’s (1:50pm-2:30pm, Pepsi Stage)

SB: One of several Chicago bands playing at this year’s Lollapalooza, the O’My’s are tough to describe. A mix between rock, calming indie, and rap, this group has perfect music to spend an afternoon listening to. This show certainly won’t be as crazy as some found on other stages, specifically Perry’s, but they have great music and certainly have a great vibe to jam out to a festival. This band is not a headliner by any means but will surprise you with their music, don’t miss this show.

 

Jain (2:00pm-3:00pm, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage)

OL: Combining musical elements from a plethora of countries, Jain’s unique sound reflects her multicultural makeup, having roots in France, Madagascar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Congo. Her debut album, Zanaka, layers African drums with synth sounds, creating a perfect alternative to pop from lead singles “Come”and “Makeba” to hidden gems such as “Son of a Sun” and “Dynabeat.” Her extraordinary blend of music makes her an act not worth missing at the Tito’s Stage, and her early set time of 2 to 3pm insures an intimate and interesting dance party in the park.

 

George Ezra (5:30pm-6:30pm, Lake Shore Stage)

MB: All alone with a guitar was George Ezra playing a condensed version of his already short set at a rainy Lollapalooza 2016. I was incredibly impressed with how fun and well done Ezra’s show was – the man’s got pipes. I expect Ezra’s performance in 2017 to be even better, he has matured as a performer and has teased new music. George Ezra’s long awaited second album is sure to make for an exciting show, and he’s adorable- what more do you need?

 

A R I Z O N A (5:40pm-6:20pm, BMI Stage)

OL: Ironically hailing from New Jersey, this chilled-out electropop trio will also play for the first time at the festival this year. I saw them open for the band COIN earlier this year at Lincoln Hall and was impressed with their incredible music as well as their abundant energy onstage. While the band is playing at the smaller BMI Stage, they are not to be slept on; their performance of “Where I Wanna Be” when I first saw them made me hungry to see them again. Their hot-off-the-press album Gallery proves that their new material will surely follow suit.

 

Spoon (7:45pm-8:45pm, Lake Shore Stage)

SB: First coming on the scene in the mid 2000s with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, an album that was successful due to its musically diverse, funky sound. After releasing They Want My Soul in 2014, this band has been riding the waves of their success. Definitely fitting into the rock spectrum, they will certainly give a fun show full of sing-along songs and dance-y music. Spoon is going to give an awesome show that will certainly have a fun crowd and upbeat music.

 

Lorde (Bud Light Stage, 8:45pm-10:00pm)

MB: Signaling Lorde’s return is the upbeat anthem “Green Light” which maintains the lively storytelling quality of her songs.  Lorde’s sophomore album Melodrama will be available June 16, so I expect her Lolla set will be filled with new music. Even with massive audiences, Lorde makes her shows incredibly personal and intimate with her quirky dancing and absence of an elaborate stage setup. I saw Lorde at her Lolla debut in 2013 where she showcased both her talent and personality, it is one of my favorite Lollapalooza performances ever.

 

FRIDAY

The Lemon Twigs (1:45pm-2:45pm, Lake Shore Stage)

JB: One of the new hot bands of the circuit, the Lemon Twigs are two California brothers that really know how to rock out. Both possessing incredible talent on both guitar and drums despite being teens. They really appear to have been born in the wrong century, looking like they belong opening up for The Beatles or The Who…

 

Slushii (3:30pm-4:30pm, Perry’s Stage)

OL: Among the EDM-heavy acts performing at the Perry’s Stage this summer, Slushii sets himself aside from the rest due to his whimsical beat drops and almost colorful sound. His stage presence is also vibrant, with the overall vibe of his performance shrouded in colorful graphics. He shines on “Catch Me” and his remixes of many songs are likely to appear in his all-in appearance at the festival.

 

Kaleo (4:00pm-5:00pm, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage)

OL: Kaleo, an Icelandic treat, composes soulful, raw, and gritty music that compares to the likes of Foals, Gary Clark Jr., and Mumford and Sons. Their music radiates a relaxed and peaceful vibe, most notably shown in their love ballad “Won’t Go On Without You.” Combining electric and acoustic guitars in their performance, Kaleo’s Lollapalooza debut at the Tito’s Stage should not be one to forget.

 

Phantogram (4:45pm-5:45pm, Grant Park Stage)

OL: The band is making their return to Grant Park this summer, with their last appearance being at the 2014 festival. Their new album, Three, is very promising, especially when introduced by their very catchy lead single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.” Following rave reviewed sets at Coachella earlier this year, they’ll play at the Grant Park Stage, playing songs from their first album, Eyelid Movies, all the way to their newest release. A perfect way to start the evening, Phantogram will provide the perfect soundtrack as the sun sets behind the backdrop of the Chicago skyline.

 

Ryan Adams (6:00pm-7:00pm, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage)

SB: Ryan Adams is one of the founders of the Alt Rock genre back in the late 90s with his band The Replacements. He will probably play some of his songs from The Replacements era, which are good by themselves, and some of his older solo work such as “New York” a song that you will undoubtedly recognize once hearing it. Adams has a new album out called Prisoner, which is reminiscent of a Springsteen love song. Adams’ unique voice and plethora of songs will make this a show that will be surprisingly good.

 

Bishop Briggs (5:15pm-6:00pm, Pepsi Stage)

MB: She’s fierce and so is her music, I have no doubt that Bishop Briggs will slay her Lollapalooza performance. The style of Bishop Briggs’ music is incredibly its own, her commanding voice is complimented by creative beats which is best exemplified in “Wild Horses” and “The Way I Do”. All of Briggs’ songs sound individual but maintain an energetic quality, I know I’ll be dancing at what is sure to be a forceful performance.

 

Whitney (7:45pm-8:30pm, Pepsi Stage)

SB: Another Chicago artist at the festival, Whitney came out of Chicago’s north center neighborhood after being formed by two former members of Smith Westerns. Their 60s pop sound is certainly what contributed to the widespread success of wistful debut album Light Upon the Lake. Lead guitarist Max Kakacek’s smooth riffs help out the sound of Julian Erlich’s falsetto, a sound which is very unique to the band. Whitney also has one of the best songs of the year in “No Woman.” They always out on a good show so don’t miss it.

 

Foster the People (7:00pm-8:00pm, Bud Light Stage)

JB: Returning from a sophomore album that received very mixed reviews compared to their highly acclaimed first album Torches, the LA group hits the festival circuit again with a new album that’ll be out this summer. So far three songs have been released, and I’m very excited to see what the rest of the album is like. Mark Foster is a great front man who gets the crowd going

 

The Killers (8:45pm-10:00pm, Grant Park Stage)

JB: The Las Vegas natives are returning to Lollapalooza after having an album that has been reported to be in the works for a while, and now it seems like it’s finally coming out. This is extremely exciting to me because I believe that they are one of the best indie-rock bands of the 21st century (so far). Every song on every album is catchy, leading from their debut album Hot Fuss to their last big album Battle Born that was released in 2012. When they came to Lollapalooza on the Battle Born tour, I had loved the Killers but had never gotten the chance to see them. I was  in for a treat. Strong guitar and drums mixed with loud, mysterious synths, alongside vocals that are catchy and a crowd that knows every word, make for the perfect festival show. The lights are spectacular whether you’re in the front or the back, and expect a great deal of fireworks as well. Overall, this will definitely be a show that you won’t want to miss.

 

Mac DeMarco (9:00pm-10:00pm, Pepsi Stage)

JB: When he’s not busy inviting you to his house in New York or hosting a BBQ in LA for those who want to listen to his new album, the man of very mellow music puts on shows that are anything but. His band is all over the place, whether it’s, putting on hats thrown at them in concert, explaining the meanings of the days of the week, crowd surfing, or throwing drinks into the crowd, they’re likely to do something memorable. Although his past albums are soft but generally upbeat, his latest, This Old Dog is exactly the opposite. Somber tones and lyrics fill every song of the new album, but it doesn’t really put you in that mood. It’s still the perfect album for any summer day and will  no doubt be perfect at Lolla as well.

 

SATURDAY

Glass Animals (4:15pm-5:15pm, Grant Park Stage)

OL: The Lolla alums will return at the Grant Park Stage this year, marking their second appearance at the festival since two years ago. Their newest masterpiece, How To Be A Human Being, is lyrically captivating, a quality that is not new to the band’s repertoire, ranging from their biggest hit, 2014’s “Gooey,” to newer songs such as “Youth” and “Agnes.” The band has collaborated with fellow performer Joey Bada$$ on the track “Lose Control,” which might bring a special guest appearance to the set if we’re lucky.

 

Vance Joy (5:00pm-6:00pm, Bud Light Stage)

MB: Whenever I listen to “Riptide” I am transported to a beach. The breezy and chill vibe of Vance Joy is sure to make for a fun and relaxing Lollapalooza set, the  perfect cool down  after jumping and grinding at Perry’s. Vance Joy can also make you swoon with his original and non-sappy love songs “Georgia” and “Wasted Time”. I’m excited for Vance Joy’s set because of his unique sound which is even better live.

 

Alt-J (6:15pm-7:30pm, Grant Park Stage)

SB: Perhaps odd is the best way to describe Alt-J’s music. They are a mix of electronic and alternative which their fusion of synth melodies and instrumentals. They will have a new album out by the time of the festival and will have music to vibe to which interesting beats and melodies. The majority of their show will consist of “An Awesome Wave” the album that made the band famous and has some absolutely amazing songs. They have played Lollapalooza before so they have a feel for the magnitude and crowd, this will be a wonderful show.

 

The Head and the Heart (7:00pm-8:00pm, Bud Light)

MB: “All We Ever Knew” is one of my favorite songs of all time, the sunny quality  has the ability to instantly improve my mood.The incredibly lively sound of this band should translate well on stage which is why I am so psyched to see them. I expect a very spirited performance with an equally excited audience. Other favorites of mine include “Rhythm and Blues” and  “Lost in My Mind,” these songs illustrate the range The Head and The Heart have and the upbeat energy maintained in all of their songs.

 

Sylvan Esso (7:45pm-8:30pm, Pepsi Stage)

OL: Admittedly, I’m a newer listener to this group, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard so far and am excited to hear how they sound at the Pepsi Stage this summer. The duo, originating from North Carolina, will showcase their dream-pop, bubbly, and mellow sound for the second time at the festival. Their newest hit, “Radio,” is currently dominating the airwaves and racking up millions of streams online. Their sophomore album, What Now, demonstrates a key element of their music: thought-provoking lyrics played over a vibrant composition.

 

The XX (8:45pm-10:00pm, Bud Light Stage)

JB: With beats that carry on slowly yet still full of power, the XX may be a show to see if a less hyped night is what you have in mind. With their new album I See You out, the XX look to build on an impressive first and second album. Band producer Jamie XX spent the past few years working on and touring his debut solo album, and it has gone down as critically acclaimed. Now back with the group, this new album is no disappointment…

 

Chance the Rapper (8:30pm-10:00pm, Grant Park Stage)

JB: It should be to no surprise that Chance is headlining for a second time in 3 years. With his worldwide Coloring Book tour still in full swing you can expect this to be one of if not the most hyped show of the festival. If you’ve been living under a rock, former Jones student Chancelor Bennett ‘11 has really made a name for himself in both the music world as well as Chicago’s community. With his third album out, he was nominated for seven Grammys and took home three,  one  for his free album. His last big show in Chicago was at Guaranteed Rate Field  and it was nothing short of genius. With puppets playing a key role in the storyline of the show, Chance tells tales of key moments in his growing up with songs that range all across the board. Some of the performances may be somber and full of lyrics that are not what you may expect from a rap show, but you can be sure that every person in the crowd will be screaming them at the top of their lungs. Make sure you get there early if you plan on going because his last Lolla performance has been one of the most crowded shows I’ve ever seen at the festival.

 

SUNDAY
Noname (2:50pm-3:30pm, Pepsi Stage)

SB: Yet another Chicago artist, Noname (originally Noname Gypsy) has finally found success with her  debut album Telefone. She doesn’t have the type of rap music that will get a crowd jumping up and down, but she has great songs that are very cool and very different from other rap artists. She’ll put a good end to Lollapalooza and get you grooving to her songs.

 

Maggie Rogers (2:30pm-3:30pm, Grant Park Stage)

OL: As per Lollapalooza tradition, the festival’s lineup focuses on both large-scale headliners as well as smaller, unheard artists. That being said, many have observed the musical rise of Maggie Rogers in the last year. If you haven’t heard the irresistible catchiness of Rogers’ most popular tune “Alaska” (it famously moved music maven Pharrell Williams),  you should before she hits the Grant Park stage this summer. The wide range of musical influence is evident in her newest extended play, Now The Light Is Fading, which combines elements of French electronic dance music and folk. Rogers is a can’t miss at this year’s event.

 

London Grammar (5:30pm-6:30pm, Lake Shore Stage)

MB: London Grammar’s sound is commanding. Although their songs are slow and serene,they showcase lead singer Hannah Reid’s insane vocals, accompanied by individual, elusive sounds. I saw this band in 2014 at a very intimate and impressive Lolla debut. I haven’t found music like London Grammar, some of my favorites are “Strong” and “Wasting My Young Years”.  London Grammar is definitely worth a listen, their new album will be available June 9.

 

The Shins (6:30pm-7:30pm, Grant Park Stage)

OL: Out of all 100+ artists playing over the course of the four day festival, I am the most stoked to see The Shins. While I’ve been a fan forever, this is the first opportunity to see them play in Chicago since they last played the festival five years ago in support of their album Port of Morrow. With their long-awaited album Heartworms having been released in March, the group (although only frontman James Mercer remains from the original lineup) experiments with their signature sound with elements of more upbeat, vibrant musical imagery and texture. From new songs like “Name For You” and “Cherry Hearts” to older jams like “Caring is Creepy,” “Australia,” and the cult anthem “New Slang” (among so many more), The Shins’ return will be an unforgettable homecoming.

 

Grouplove (7:30pm-8:30pm, Lake Shore Stage)

SB: Grouplove has the perfect type of music for a festival. With poppy choruses and electronic, dance-y instrumentals it’s the type of music that puts a smile on your face. The band has released a new single and will certainly play their sing-a-along hits from Never Trust a Happy Song and Spreading Rumors. They too have already performed at Lollapalooza and put on a great show last time, look for them to do it again.

 

Justice (8:45pm-10:00pm, Bud Light Stage)

JB: The French duo return to Lollapalooza touring a pretty underrated third album. The electronic waves created by their synths are enough to stick in your mind for a week and the vocals will stick with you for even longer. The stages are incredible and there’s never a dull moment in the show. This isn’t their first time headlining Lolla, and are sure to not disappoint when they return.