On Friday, Lollapalooza will again bring its annual collection of eclectic musical acts to Chicago’s Grant Park. For three days, the Windy City will be filled with the sights and sounds of a wide array of artists. A staple on the festival scene, this year’s lineup features many names that need no introduction.
In his last confirmed US date of the year, the legendary Paul McCartney will close out Friday’s lineup; promising a blend of his work with the Beatles, Wings and his solo offerings, and maybe a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
On Saturday, the kings of thrash will make their offering to the metal gods, as Metallica takes to the stage. With over three decades of rocking under their belts, they should prove more than ready to rage.
On Sunday, Florence + The Machine will haunt, as their frontwoman frantically dances around stage; hoping to do so more successfully than she did at Coachella. Across the park, Bassnectar will womp offering a low-end alternative.
Sam Smith, the Weeknd, Alabama Shakes, Kaskade and Kid Cudi and much much more fill out the top of the lineup. But what about the names in smaller print? How will fans fill out the earlier part of their schedules each day? Fear not, here are 10 bands flying under the radar that are more than worthy of your time and attention:
Playing: Friday 1:00-1:45 Perry’s
One of many promising electronic acts that have emerged out of Australia in recent years, the duo of Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles saw success in their home country before catching the attention of RCA last year. They produce music you can dance to, but also structure the vocals they use in such a way that they avoid the repetitiveness that detracts some from EDM.
Standout track: High
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Playing: Friday 2:30-3:30 Bud Light
Reminiscent of an era long since passed, the seven-piece that is St. Paul & the Broken Bones will be bringing their southern blend of soul up to the Windy City. Frontman Paul Janeway belts out heartfelt (albeit somewhat depressing) lyrics to the accompanying sounds of an extremely talented and cohesive sounds of his band. They effectively combine elements of blues, soul and zydeco with the horns and instrumentation more commonly found in jazz or big band.
Standout track: Call Me
Playing: Friday 4:45-5:45 Sprint
Having just released their second album How Does It Feel earlier this month, MS MR’s blend of indie-pop continues to haunt and captivate; the scary part being the fact that they are only getting better. Lizzy Plapinger has grown as both a vocalist and lyricist. Max Hershenow continues to create expansive soundscapes; but has begun to break out of his shell, showing more variance in terms of tempo. The duo complements each other well and it should prove interesting to see if that translates onstage.
Standout track: Painted
Playing: Saturday 2:45-3:45 Bud Light
Long a hidden gem in the country hotbed of Nashville, Simpson has opened for the likes of Willie Nelson and the Zac Brown Band. A good ol’ country boy, he pays homage to the legends (Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash) in his sound. A staunch departure from what dominates the country airwaves, he is outlaw, looking to steal the scene and take it back to its rebel roots.
Standout track: Railroad of Sin
Death From Above 1979
Playing: Saturday 4:00-5:00 Samsung Galaxy
One of the heavier bands on the lineup, Death From Above 1979 play an interesting blend of rock, punk, hardcore indie and other assorted noises. It’s music you can mosh to. It’s music you can just as easily dance to; and it’s performed with bravado and without taking itself too serious. Love it, or hate it, you certainly will not find anything like it on the lineup.
Standout track: Black History Month
In the Whale
Playing: Sunday 12:00-12:30 Pepsi
If you one of the early risers on Lollapalooza’s final day, In the Whale will be opening the Pepsi stage. Consisting of but guitarist/singer Nate Valdez and drummer Eric Riley, this Denver duo has a surprisingly full sound. Also known for an energetic live show, they caught the eye of Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell whilst opening for his band Jane’s Addiction.
Standout track: Heels
Playing: Sunday 1:30-2:20 Perry’s
After making her American debut at Coachella, Australian DJ/producer Alison Wonderland has been making the festival rounds this summer, and making waves in the electronic music scene. She is multitalented; she can sing, she can scratch, she can produce and she can work a crowd. Her music combines pop accessibility, with danceable beats and hip-hop swagger.
Standout track: Cold
Playing: Sunday 4:35-5:30 Perry’s
Conscious, articulate, energetic and hungry; Logic excels as both a producer and a rapper. Having built a large underground following, he has a series of highly-acclaimed mixtapes, with one major label album and another in the works. He’s clever, engaging, and is a standout in the Lollapalooza rap contingent that isn’t nearly as high-profile as the last couple of years.
Standout track: Under Pressure
Playing: Sunday 5:15-6:00 Pepsi
Hailing from Chicago, siblings Natalie and Elliot Bergman will be having a homecoming of sort on the Lollapalooza stage. While their members may be local, Wild Belle’s musical influences stretch all the way down to the Caribbean. They combine elements of pop, reggae, indie and folk; creating a sound that is truly their own.
Standout track: Love Like This
Playing: Sunday 5:45-6:45 Palladia
While you’re in Chicago, you might as well take in a show. There are very few in the world that are quite like Gogol Bordello. More band of gypsies than band, their stage show and sound are out there, to say the least. Combining elements of gypsy music with punk and dub, their shows are theatrical, fun and should not be missed.
Standout track: Not a Crime