Chicago's music behemoth is upon us, and you'll be unsurprised to know that Lollapalooza's 10th year in Chicago boasts more after-parties than ever before. There are 55 of them—so many, in fact, that they begin not one but two days before the festival itself. That's right. You could turn Lolla 2014 into a five-day event.
But that's a lot of music, and it's going to be a long weekend as is. We have to whittle down the choices. So here are seven kickoffs and after-shows that will be worth a late night out.
Note: Most of Lolla's 55 official shows have already sold out. Fortunately, a large chunk of those tickets are available for resale on StubHub.
Twin Shadow and Sylvan Esso at Metro (Nelarusky 2014)
Synth-heavy Smiths revivalist George Lewis Jr. (Twin Shadow) might be headlining Nelarusky 2014—Lolla's official charity concert, which benefits Special Olympics—but Durham, N.C. electropop duo Sylvan Esso are the real treats. A side project of folk musicians Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, Sylvan Esso's self-titled debut is discreet, melancholy, occassionally eerie, and always affecting.
Wednesday, July 30 at 6 p.m. Metro, 3730 N. Clark. 18+. Tickets: $25
Interpol, Gemini Club, and Wildcat! Wildcat! at Thalia Hall
Spin magazine's official Lolla kickoff party at Thalia Hall hasn't technically sold out because it technically can't—it's free—but with Interpol headlining, you can bet on a few people being turned away. Admission is based on capacity, which at Thalia is 840. Less than 300 people have RSVP'd online, so you if you line up early, you might have a fighting chance.
Thursday, July 31 at 9 p.m. Thalia Hall, 1227 W. 18th. 21+. Free.
Iggy Azalea at Studio Paris
Iggy's 4:30 p.m. Friday set at Perry's Stage will inevitably be backed up to River North. Why not skip it, watch Blood Orange instead, and hear the song of the summer later on at Studio Paris? It is, after all, fancy.
Friday, August 1 at 10 p.m. Studio Paris Nightclub. 59 W. Hubbard, second floor. 21+. Tickets: $100 at the door. Reserve a table here.
Blood Orange and Ratking at Empty Bottle
Speaking of Iggy Azalea's sure-to-be bonkers Friday set: Everybody who does see it, instead of Blood Orange, should absolutely catch up with the latter at Empty Bottle Thursday night. Singer/songwriter Dev Hynes, who previously played in angular East-London punk trio Test Icicles, has recently settled into a Prince-tinged brand of alt-R&B that couldn't be further from his jagged roots. Plus, Harlem hip-hop traditionalists Ratking open—and they're known for rowdy live shows.
Thursday, July 31 at 9:30 p.m. Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. 21+ Tickets: $51-83 (StubHub).
Parquet Courts and Running at Empty Bottle
Though Brooklyn quartet Parquet Courts's grimy brand of garage rock is plenty palatable, the stuff isn't exactly festival music. Their third LP, Sunbathing Animal, is dingy, naked, and above all compact, which is to say it's not best consumed outdoors in the daytime. The Empty Bottle at night, on the other hand, is a perfect setting.
Friday, August 1 at 9 p.m. Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 21+. Tickets from $59 (StubHub).
RAC (DJ set) at Subterranean
Shows designated as "DJ sets" are generally a good way to feel cheated out of seeing the band you came for—Chvrches's DJ set at Berlin, for instance, did not make this list—but there really isn't much more to RAC (previously Remix Artist Collective) than a DJ. What began as a trio known for their nuanced remixes—everything from Moving Mountains to Ellie Goulding—has been reduced to a moniker for the solo work of André Allen Anjos. So fear not. This DJ set will be a banger.
Saturday, August 2 at 11 p.m. Subterranean, 2011 W. North. 17+ Tickets: $25-28.
Nas, Vic Mensa, and Taylor Bennett at House of Blues
If witnessing hip-hop legend Nas isn't enough to get you moving to this show—especially when that legend declared the genre dead in 2006—then go for the up-and-coming openers who are keeping hip hop very much alive in Chicago.
Sunday, August 3 at 10 p.m. House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. 17+ Tickets from $56.