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Nine Acts Worth Seeing at the Newly Expanded Freaky Deaky festival

Vic Mensa, 2 Chainz, and Mac Miller take the stage this year.

Photo: Courtesy of React Presents

The events company React Presents is fast becoming the festival hog of Chicago. The seven-year-old group now hosts five mega-fests in and around the city: music parties Spring Awakening, Mamby on the Beach, and North Coast Music Fest; an all-new New Year’s Eve party; and the recently expanded Freaky Deaky—or, as React bills it, the largest Halloween music event in the Midwest. The three-day fest returns this weekend with 75 acts playing to an estimated 60,000 attendees. While EDM groups and big ticket rappers fill most of the lineup, you can also check out these noteworthy acts over the weekend.

Action Bronson

When Friday at 8:20 p.m.
Where Shrine stage
Why you should go The bearded New York rapper has been on the rise since the release of his major label debut, Mr. Wonderful, in March. Often compared to the legendary rapper Ghostface Killah, Bronson crafts caricature rhymes on luxury, gluttony, and an excess of weed. Live, his laissez fare attitude translates to refreshingly simple dramatics—plus, his affinity for giving out free gear is a welcome perk.

AlunaGeorge

When Sunday at 6 p.m.
Where Big Top stage
Why you should go This U.K. duo is about as close to pop music as Freaky Deaky gets. Aluna Francis and George Reid create a delicate blend of candied beats and infectious hooks making for easy, trance-like listening. With only one record to their name—the 2013 album Body Music—the pair are still relatively fresh, but collaborations with DJ Snake (“You Know You Like It”) and the Skrillex /Diplo side project Jack Ü will surely change that.

Benny Benassi

When Saturday at 7 p.m.
Where Big Top stage
Why you should go Of all the groups on this year’s lineup, Benassi boasts the most accomplished resume. The Italian DJ has produced for the likes of Chris Brown and Madonna, plus topped charts with hits of his own, including the 2002 bass-drenched banger “Satisfaction”—not to mention the chest-thumping remix of Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise,” which earned him a 2008 Grammy.

Big Gigantic

When Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
Where Big Top stage
Why you should go The instrumental electronica duo have played everything from EDM-centric Ultra Festival in Miami to big league events such as Coachella. The two musicians, Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken, are known for their high-energy shows that span glitch-infused hip-hop and dub-heavy jazz.

Griz

When Friday at 7:10 p.m.
Where Shrine stage
Why you should go Pairing danceable synth beats and deep-diving sax solos, the future funk producer brings DJ sets to life with a pseudo full band sound. His latest releases—Say It Loud, an LP in March, and Chasing The Golden Hour—Part 1, a surprise mini-project last month—promise a wealth of new material.

Joey Badass

When Saturday at 6 p.m.
Where Big Top stage
Why you should go Brooklyn’s rap wunderkind proved himself a serious talent at 17 when he released his critically acclaimed mixtape 1999. Three years later, he’s cemented his status with several national tours and a debut studio release, B4.DA.$$, all without losing his raw teenage spirit. His music, like his stage presence, is both playful and brash, and his live shows often entail  forceful performances that marry his words about daily hardships as a black man and his penchant for blunts.

Mac Miller

When Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
Where Big Top stage
Why you should go The release of his third studio album, GO:OD A.M., last month proved that Miller has matured from his dark, drug-addled party boy phase to a more polished emcee. Listen for songs such as “Cut the Check” and “100 Grandkids,” which are introspective and hopeful and showcase the Pittsburgh rapper’s big picture focus.

2 Chainz

When Friday at 9:30 p.m.
Where Big Top stage
Why you should go Rap’s central jester transforms absurdist comedy and crude, quotable one-liners into after-party anthems; listening to them is more compulsory than purposeful. On stage, 2 Chainz is surprisingly sharp, weaving spitfire delivery with entertainingly ludicrous comments. For example, last year, the Atlanta rapper told a crowd in Hollywood, Los Angeles: “I’m trying to put out the very first 3D sex tape.”

Vic Mensa

When Sunday at 7:10 p.m.
Where Shrine stage
Why you should go If you missed him at Pitchfork or Lollapalooza, this is your last chance to see Vic conquer a festival stage this year. From the sun-bleached funk on his 2013 Innanetape to the hip-hop-meets-blues rock of his former band, Kids These Days, the Chicago rapper can seamlessly jumping across genres. His recent breakout has him poised for major success, so catch him before his sets shift to overcrowded chaos.

Go Freaky Deaky runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at Toyota Park, 7000 Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, freakdeakyhalloween.com; $89 to $219

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