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Who Might Possibly, Maybe Play at Lollapalooza 2014

Here are nine predictions for acts we could see at the Chicago fest this summer.

Arcade Fire’s Win Butler at Coachella in 2011. Will he play Lollapalooza this year? Maybe!   Photo: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Each year, Greg Kot manages to tap a leak on Lollapalooza’s big guns. This year, Kot’s report, filed last week, outed Brostep founder Skrillex, radio-rap shark jumper Eminem, and generic alterna acts Kings of Leon (US) and Arctic Monkeys (UK) in the top slots.

The most conservative lineup ever? Might be. Not only are these acts old news in the music world’s collective consciousness, but they’ve each played the fest at least once in the past.

But keep your chins up, Lolla loyalists. There’s still hope! Grasping for a glimmer of sonic promise, I pulled a Miss Cleo and peered in to my lineup-predicting crystal ball (and searched for suspicious holes in touring schedules) for a stab at some other acts. Here they are, in no particular order.

  • Lauded Australian songwriter Nick Cave, king of ’80s goth, film-soundtrack wizard, opera composer, author and general badass is a strong bet, with a show in Montreal August 2, well outside the behemoth’s rumored radius clause, which prohibits acts from playing within about 300 miles of Chicago leading up to the fest.
  • It’s this same rumored radius clause that quashes the hopes of those wanting to catch the reunited OutKast, who plays Coachella and Milwaukee Summerfest this year. Unless, of course, the organizers bend the rules for the Hotlanta duo—like they did for Weezer in 2005 and Wilco in 2006.
  • There remains room for two more headliners, and, given the snooze-worthy picks so far, Perry Farrell and friends could really save this thing with:
  • Kanye, who’s playing Bonaroo and nailed it at his Lolla debut performance in 2011. Correction 3/25: Kanye’s Lolla debut was in 2006.
  • Or Daft Punk, who haven’t announced any tour dates but, you know, pipe dreams…
  • However, more likely are the Canadian art-rock overlords in Arcade Fire, who’ve already signed on for Lollapalooza in Chile, Argentina and Brazil this year.
  • New Zealand chanteuse Lorde was just in town at the Aragon, but it’s not a stretch to imagine that she’d return for a piece of the Lolla money pie, especially given Ellie Goulding’s reception last year. The left-of-center girl-pop purveyor drew a bigger crowd than most of the rocks acts (Queens of the Stone Age, ahem) and there’s no doubt Lorde would elicit the same effect.
  • Given the greater focus on the fest’s EDM arm in recent years, radio hitmaker Zedd will likely make an appearance, especially because he’s also signed on for the South American Lolla dates, and has that super sticky ode to casual sex, “Stay the Night,” a track that just wont’ go away. Whether Hayley Williams of Paramore comes with him to belt it out is anyone’s guess (but mine is no).
  • R&B mouthpiece and former Nas spouse Kelis is best known for her 2003 earworm “Milkshake”—the one that brings all the boys to the yard—and returns this year with a new LP, Food, that had indie labels across the globe throwing down massive bids. London-based electronic label Ninja Tune won out, and has been pumping big time Benjis behind its promotion…and a little bird tells me that might include a slot at Lolla.
  • Finally: Beloved Brooklyn noise-punk duo Sleigh Bells is working the festival circuit hard this year behind 2013 LP Bitter Rivals, and are due for a slotapalooza (they dropped out two years ago). Heady electronic artist Nicholas Jaar’s new project Darkside has been selling out venues left and right and there’s currently a convenient August 2 through 5 hole in the duo’s European dates. It wouldn’t be a surprise if his artful collaboration with multi-instrumentalist David Harrington caught Farrell’s ear.

Despite the palm pressing and money grabbing plays behind each year’s picks, the Lolla founder does manage to squeeze in a few faves.

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