With about 200 acts taking over eight stages during the course of four days, there’s no time to be Lolla-gagging over who to see and when. Here are 10 of the best that everyone will be talking about come Monday.
This Canadian DJ and producer has some heavy names behind her, “discovered” by Skrillex and signed by deadmau5 to his mau5trap label in 2016, but her work speaks for itself. The dark, moody beats become almost cinematic at times, belonging in the climactic moment of a horror movie — her latest singles “Witching Hour” and “Hex” are strong examples. The artist also brings much-needed diversity to the field of EDM as a Persian-Ukrainian woman. (Thursday, 7:15 pm, Perry’s Stage)
As with years past, there is a strong pop presence at this year’s edition of Lollapalooza but the standout is this Cuban-American singer-songwriter who has an inescapable hit with “Never Be The Same” from her eponymous debut, released earlier this year. Combined with elements of Latin music and throwback R&B, it sets her apart from the crowd. She’s also fresh off the Taylor Swift tour, meaning she’ll be on target tonight. (Thursday, 7:45 pm, Lake Shore Stage)
Being the brother of Chance The Rapper is nothing short of major pressure, but Taylor Bennett has been stepping out from the shadows with his own fresh tracks like “Happy Place.” Bennett makes his debut at Lollapalooza this weekend, and if you want a strong guarantee of guest appearances, this is the place to be. (Friday, 2:30 pm, Perry’s Stage).
With the pop finesse and star power of Beyoncé on “Good As Hell” and the attitude and smooth talking of Missy Elliott on “Phone,” this Minneapolis singer-rapper is poised to be the Next Big Thing. Add in choreographed dances and a platform for furthering body positivity and we should just start bowing down to her now. If you caught the Sleater-Kinney reunion tour, you might also remember Lizzo opening those sets. (Friday, 3:45 pm, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage)
Greta Van Fleet
Will drummer Danny Wagner’s hand heal in time for Lolla? The band was forced to cancel an appearance at a New York festival this weekend due to an injury he apparently sustained weeks ago. They’ve been hailed as the “saviors of rock,” the “best thing since the ‘70s” and have been compared to none other than Led Zeppelin thanks to singer Josh Kizka’s sharp tones that could battle Robert Plant’s range. Classic rock influences course through the veins of this quartet (from tiny Frankenmuth, Michigan), but their modern bent on tracks like “Safari Song” incorporates flavors of world music, folk and blues delivered by unfiltered youth. With a brand-new song and much-anticipated LP on the horizon, this may be a chance to hear new tunes. (Friday, 6:30 pm, American Eagle Stage)
Arguably the strongest headliner this weekend, the R&B star will be hard to top. Mars’ production style always hits it out of the park thanks to accompaniment by his backing band, The Hooligans, with a full horn and percussion section, and nonstop choreographed dance numbers that put him in the echelons of Prince and Michael Jackson. (Friday, 8:30 pm, Grant Park Stage)
Industrial music has been seeing a resurgence as of late led by a new wave of curious creatures like this young femme fatale duo (Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenberg). Hailing from the U.K. they fit right in with the greats, festering the dark sonic manipulation of Nine Inch Nails and the provocative nature of KMFDM with the visual aesthetic that earns them their goth card. (Saturday, 3:20 pm, BMI Stage)
LL Cool J
Ladies (and everybody else) still love Cool James, especially when he takes a break from undercover investigations and providing lip-synching commentary on TV and gets back to his roots as a hip-hop slinger — the first, in fact, to be honored at the Kennedy Center Honors (in 2017). Expect flashback moments during performances of songs like “Mama Said Knock You Out.” (Saturday, 4:45 pm, Bud Light Stage)
Need more proof Jay-Z has good taste? He signed this exemplary Los Angeles blues rock outfit to his Roc Nation label back in 2014 and they’ve “Raised Hell” ever since. Led by frontwoman Dorothy Martin, aka Grace Slick incarnate, the group has nonstop toe-tapping songwriting chops with chill-inducing vocals that beg for a better time slot next year. (Sunday, 12 pm, American Eagle Stage)
The music mogul owns his own label and studio (Third Man Records), which has been a major catalyst in the rebirth of vinyl the past few years. He’s also championed some of the most notable garage rock acts of the past two decades including The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. But as a solo artist he really shines, delivering a fresh batch of American roots music mixed with psychedelia and blues that shows off his chops on guitar. (Sunday, 8:30 pm, Grant Park Stage)
NOTE: Don’t Leave Home without the App
Unless you’re a fan of old-school paper and pen, there’s no way to remember everyone you want to see this weekend. The official Lollapalooza app makes it easier—you can make your own schedule, share it with friends and get push alerts in time to walk from stage to stage. Here you can also activate your wristband with your banking info and go cashless to the fest.