Here Are the 25 Bands To See at Lollapalooza

Supreme Cuts, Astro, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and more critic’s picks broken down for the three days of the festival.

Photo: Courtesy Unknown Mortal Orchestra via Shellacnapkin

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, onstage a week ago in Australia, plays in Chicago on Saturday.

The Lolla artist roster totals at nearly 150 bands across 8 stages this year. That’s quite a feat for any mortal Lollapaloozer to accomplish. In fact, it’s completely impossible.

To help you organize and make the most of your weekend, here are 25 the bands worth seeing. 

Friday

Houndmouth
This rootsy quartet hails from my neck of the woods (Southern Indiana) and was recently signed to Rough Trade.

Chance the Rapper
The local rapper’s new LP, Acid Rap, is one of my favorite hip-hop releases of the year so far.

Jessie Ware
The woman has an exceptional voice and is an impressive performer and I expect no less of her Lolla debut.

Father John Misty
J. Tillman’s pastoral, psychotropic folk tomes will work well in the breezy confines of Grant Park.

Crystal Castles
I haven’t seen them since that packed-to-the-gills surprise free show at the Double Door years ago. Why not?

Band of Horses
I hope they do their cover of the Songs:Ohia’s “I’ve Been Riding with the Ghost.”

New Order
The show at the Aragon was great so I’m stoked for round two. I could do without the pithy tribute to Ian Curtis, though.

Queens of the Stone Age
Josh Homme’s behemoth presence commands attention. So does the band’s new LP, …Like Clockwork.

 

Saturday

Supreme Cuts
The local duo dreams up some of the weirdest and headiest yet most infectious electronic stuff around.

Pujol
Fist pumping, everyman garage-rock anthems straight from Nashville: sign me up!

Shovels & Rope
This is one of the best husband-wife duos in country music since June Carter and Johnny Cash sang “Jackson.”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
New Zealand native Ruban Nielson’s solo project deftly blends psych-rock and R&B for breezy fare that goes down easy.

Heartless Bastards
The twangy Ohio garage legends always deliver.

Charles Bradley
The former James Brown impersonator’s revivalist swagger adds a welcome dose of soul to the afternoon.

Death Grips
If you haven’t seen Hella drummer Zach Hill perform live before, that’s reason enough. Not to mention the, er, gripping convulsions of vocalist Stefan Burnett.

Kendrick Lamar
Here’s our chance to hear Good kid, m.A.A.d city live.

 

Sunday

Astro
These guys are like the Chilean version of MGMT. I’m intrigued.

MS MR
The NYC dup is garnering comparisons to Florence and the Machine, which maybe aren’t entirely accurate. Still I love their debut, Secondhand Rapture.

Wild Belle
The local brother-sister duo of Natalie and Elliot Bergman crafts songs that are catchy as hell, and showcase a tasteful combo of sonic touchstones ranging from afro-beat to classic soul.

Angel Haze
The rising female rapper’s lyrics and aggressive delivery leave little to the imagination, and I’m curious to see how her hard edge translates live.

Baroness
I never miss a chance to see the Georgia metal act pull back the throttle.

DIIV
I’m not sure how the shoegazey Captured Tracks act will translate in a festival settling, but 2012 album, Oshin, is so good that I’m willing to give it a shot.

Cat Power
Chan Marshall in a live setting is always a gamble and 2012 album, Sun, is not my favorite. But some of her other records have meant so much to me over the years that I’m still rooting for her.

Beach House
Full disclosure: I’ve seen the Baltimore duo so many times that I might not actually stop by—especially because they don’t have a new record out and, as such, likely have the same live show as they did the two times I saw them last year. However, they really good! So please, see them if you haven’t before.

The Cure
Boys Don’t Cry (The Imaginary Boys, whatever), Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography, The Head on the Door, Standing on a Beach, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Disintegration, Wish, Wild Mood Swings, Bloodflowers + all of the incredible gothwear in the audience.

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