With the first-ever Lolla Berlin lineup live and a (probably) fake Chicago poster making the rounds, the time is nigh for wishful Lollapalooza lineup predictions. Now under majority ownership by Live Nation and obese from record-breaking sales in 2014, the megafest has more dough than ever to throw at marquee names—and after last year's burp of a lineup, they're due for a hit.
That said: Lolla can book whomever Lolla wants with financial impunity. Three-day passes sold out before the lineup was even announced last year, so expect even less allegiance to your favorites than ever in 2015. The aforementioned (and, again, probably fake) poster poses some neat predictions and neater long-shots, but so does any phony lineup worth its salt. So: Based on various nonscientific summerfest criteria—who's on an album cycle, who's doing the festival circuit, and whose summer tour skips Chicago—here are your Lolla 2015 conspiracy theories, ranked from least to most baseless. And if you're looking for who's definitely confirmed to play in the city's fests this summer, check out Chicago's full 2015 music festival guide.
As AV Club has noted, Sam Smith is almost a sure thing for Lolla 2015. The singer and Grammy baron last week announced a US stadium tour with an early-August hole and diddly in terms of Midwestern dates. Expect him to play, and prepare to weep.
Drake and A$AP Rocky…
…paired here because they were leaked in tandem by Andrew Barber. The Fake Shore Drive creator tweeted in January that a source had confirmed both rappers for the festival, and while Barber hasn't previously trafficked in Lolla leaks, he's sturdier than most of the whacko theories we're about to get into (Metallica, for instance, hasn't played Lolla since the Clinton administration). Both Drake and Rocky have released new music this year and are dabbling in faraway megafests the rest of the summer (Drake in California and Australia, Rocky in Louisiana and Western Europe). They're as good a bet for Lolla as anybody is.
Indie rock's preeminent freakazoids will release their first album since 2007 this month, and are already slated to play Firefly (Delaware), Gasparilla (Florida), Sasquatch (Washington), and Edge Fest (Texas). Which major US concert market is missing?
Of Monsters and Men
Mumford & Sons. The Avett Brothers. The Lumineers. The Decemberists. Of all the token summerfest genres, mom-friendly folk-rock is Lollapalooza's specialty, and Of Monsters and Men is the mom-friendliest of them all. It's been four years since the Icelandic quintet's last album and three since their last Chicago Lolla, but the band is reportedly releasing an album this year, and are supporting it almost exclusively with festivals (more than a dozen of them). So far, Sasquatch in Washington is the only fest bringing OMAM to the US. Throw this half of the country a bone.
The Tallest Man on Earth
Everybody's favorite chickenpicking Swede will release a new album this May and play thirty-some transatlantic shows behind it, first in the US, then in Europe, then again in the US before finishing in Europe. Absent from all of that is a Chicago date despite the Man double-dipping in Massachusetts, California, and North Carolina. Smells fishy. Smells like Lolla.
Pitchfork and Lolla have a long history of volleying second-tier acts year by year (see Lolla-2014ers Courtney Barnett, Run the Jewels, Chance, and Vic Mensa at Pitchfork this summer), and St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clarke, was the Pitchfork 2014 MVP. She's already signed on for Lolla's three South American festivals and Coachella (far enough away from Chicago that it and Lollapalooza routinely show overlap), and is touring all spring/summer with nary a single Illinois date. Come back and rerock us, Annie.
Speaking of Annie, Jack White will join her at Lolla's South American festivals and Coachella, after which his tour schedule is empty. He's a slightly longer shot than St. Vincent, but hasn't been through Chicago since 2014's Auditorium/Chicago Theatre double-feature and the saddest day of his life. Maybe he'll give the city another chance.
Same deal here: The English freak-folkers are embarking on a world tour that includes Coachella and all three Lolla-Souths but stays conspicuously far from Chicago (the nearest date is 350 miles away in Cleveland, outside of Lolla's alleged 300-mile noncompete clause that keeps bands from performing in Chicago for months leading up to the festival).
Kanye or Rihanna or both
Or neither. Rumors of a joint tour from these two first surfaced in December when Rihanna auctioned off a mysterious "Kanye West Tour Experience" online, and the hooplah was stirred again last week when Live Nation accidentally posted a July 25 date in Estonia for the pair. A tour seems inevitable, and a Lolla stop would, of course, be bonkers, but that aforementioned radius clause could prevent 'Ye and RiRi from performing in several other major Midwestern concert markets this summer—a restriction that artists of their caliber could and should meet with stiff middle-fingers.
Because the Internet is a ludicrous place, Metallica—a band with one current US tour date and no new album to promote—has found its way into this year's Lolla rumors. It's a heavy metal anomaly, the only justification for which is that Lolla's blog—used primarily to keep fans up to date on bands associated with the festival—published an inexplicable post last March when Metallica premiered a new song live in Colombia. So, whatever. Maybe. Probably not. Please?
Lollapalooza runs July 31–August 2 in Grant Park. There will be bands, beers, teens, and probably rain. Check out Chicago's full 2015 Festival Guide here.