20 Acts to See at Lollapalooza 2017

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Another Lollapalooza is among us this year and if I do say so myself, I am so impressed with the 2017 lineup and even MORE impressed at how spot on my predictions were! (Check out the post here: I had 40 out of 67 artists correct, which equates to about 60% accuracy).

Although I’ve heard a TON of mixed opinions on the strength of this year’s lineup, I have to say that I think it’s fantastic for the same reason I always say it’s great, the undercard! While a number of other music festivals like Boston Calling, Bonnaroo and Coachella have strong lineups this year (despite Coachella taking a major blow after Beyoncé backed out of her headlining spot due to her pregnancy), it’s debatable that none of their lineups are as stacked from top to bottom like Lollapalooza’s (in my opinion).

If you have a 1-day pass, multiple one days, or even 4-day pass to Lolla this year and are looking to find some artists to check out, continue to read. I compiled this list after listening to every single person on the lineup (yes I am obsessive) and found some gems to take a listen to. I can definitely state with 100% confidence that I’m going to have a full weekend with a ton of conflicts to sift through.

Below are a few of the MANY artists I would love to see this year at Lolla: some are musicians I have liked before the lineup announcement and some are some gems I discovered while digging through the ridiculously overwhelming lineup.

 

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Declan Mackenna – 12-12:45 PM / Lake Shore Stage
Genre: Indie Rock
Sounds Like: Jake Bugg, David Bowie

To say I’ve raved about Declan Mackenna on here before is an understatement (search his name to the right of my blog to see what I’ve written about him). This past November, I caught a couple songs from his set opening for The Head and The Heart at the Aragon Ballroom here in Chicago and I have had my fingers crossed ever since that he would be performing at Lolla. Not only is he a mere 17 or 18 years old, but he has been making huge waves in London for his live performances and has crafted quite the fanbase overseas for his wit wise beyond his years paired with catchy hooks and boyish charm. I am looking forward to seeing how his status translates in the United States and I can see him making a lot of fans at Lollapalooza – I’m predicting that he will be opening one of the main stages (Samsung is my guess).


Hippo Campus
 – 1:30-2:30 PM / Lake Shore Stage
Genre
: Indie Pop
Sounds Like: Vampire Weekend

Hippo Campus have been creating their sound for the past few years and have had success touring with a variety of acts like Walk the Moon and The Mowgli’s. I know that the band had a slot at Lollapalooza early afternoon in 2015 but I unfortunately didn’t catch the set. Their laid-back, upbeat sound is beach worthy and makes me wish I was sipping a tropical drink out of a coconut.  Their debut album, Landmark, was just released at the end of February, and their current headlining tour stops at the Metro this April, but is sold out. I’m sure their Lollapalooza set will also create quite the buzz.

Kevin Devine – 1-2 PM / Bud Light Stage
Genre: Indie Rock
Sounds Like: Pinegrove, Death Cab for Cutie

One of the beautiful things about Lollapalooza and music festivals in general is that you have an amazing ability to discover new artists that are on the bill and have the opportunity to see their live show. This is the case for Kevin Devine – an acoustic artist who has been making music for over 10 years and is notorious for his political themes woven into his music. After touring with Brand New in 2004, he gained a solid fan base that has followed his career thus far. I really respect his musicianship and would love the chance to catch his set at Lolla – time will tell to see if I get to see it! His last performance at the festival was in 2012.

Jain – 2-3 PM / Tito’s Stage
Genre: Pop
Sounds Like: Lily Allen meets Regina Spektor

Jain is one of those people who I am kicking myself in the head for not discovering earlier (she had a show in Chicago in early April but was sold out fairly quickly.). Only 25, Jeanne Gallace (going by Jain), delivered a successful debut album, Zanaka, in November 2015, which was certified Gold by February 2016. Growing up in Dubai, Congo and eventually attending high school in Paris, Jain’s influences are clearly from the variety of places she once lived growing up, with heavily influenced dance melodies in her songs. While her quirky image may be confusing to some, it’s clear that her music is on the rise and will quickly gain her new fans after her performance in Grant Park this summer.

 

Middle Kids – 2:50-3:30 PM / BMI Stage
Genre: Alternative Pop / Rock
Sounds Like: If HAIM and Day Wave created a collaborative album

After hearing this band’s name in passing a couple times, I knew it was time to actually listen to the band after seeing the they had made the Lollapalooza lineup. The three piece band, hailing from Sydney, Australia, has had a ridiculous amount of airplay in their hometown and their talent won them a spot to perform at Iceland Airwaves Festival in Reykjavik this past November. After lead singer Hannah Joy started a solo career, she partnered with Tim Fitz and Harry Day to create a sound unlike anything else. Joy’s vocals, dreamlike and airy with a carefree confidence, paired with “wide-eyed optimism…swirling indie-pop flirts and stadium rock anthem aims,” according to this Rolling Stone Australia article. It’s unknown what time and which stage that Middle Kids will perform at this year’s Lollapalooza, but I hope to be in the crowd.

Other gems on Thursday’s lineup that deserve mentions:

  • Elohim – 12:50-1:30 PM / Pepsi Stage
  • HONNE – 12:15-1 PM / Tito’s Stage
  • Temples – 2:30-3:30 PM / Grant Park Stage

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Bishop Briggs – 5:15-6 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Indie pop/rock
Sounds Like: Rock infused Lorde

Another artist that I have been raving about is Bishop Briggs (I wrote about her as an artist to watch in 2016 here). Only 24, born in London and raised in Tokyo, she moved to L.A. just after high school to kickstart her music career.  If you think you haven’t heard any of her tunes, I’m sure you actually have. Sarah Grace McLaughlin, her real name, reached viral acclaim in 2016 with her smash hit “River,” with nearly 29 million streams on Spotify alone and all of her songs add up to about 60 million streams. After touring with Coldplay over the fall as well as supporting fellow Lollapalooza Kaleo on their own tour, Bishop started appearing on a variety of festival dates like Coachella, Shakey Knees, Hangout Fest and now Lollapalooza.

Skott – 2:50-3:30 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre
: Indie Pop
Sounds Like: Ryn Weaver, Aurora

As I mentioned before, I love being able to discover diamonds in the rough: and Skott is definitely one to watch on this lineup (especially since she’s been featured on Ones to Watch before, in September 2016. Read it here). As I’ve stated before, I tend to be more passionate about female musicians because it tends to be 50x harder to break it in the industry being a woman and having to go above and beyond to stand out: and I think that Skott is very well on her way to becoming our next Lorde. Her beautiful voice  matched with lyrics on par to those of Lana Del Rey’s (and in my opinion, a bit more authentic).

Moose Blood – 1-2 PM / Bud Light Stage
Genre: Emo rock
Sounds Like: Those of us who still admit we can go hard to Mayday Parade

Moose Blood is the modern day, European Mayday Parade. For those of us who grew up listening to bands like All Time Low, The Maine and Mayday Parade, I’m sure you would enjoy Moose Blood. Previously signed to No Sleep Records after their 2012 formation, the band eventually was signed under Hopeless Records with the likes of Sum 41, Yellowcard and Taking Back Sunday. At the beginning of 2016, Moose Blood announced a headlining tour in the UK with support from The Winter Passing and Greywind – which ended up selling out completely before the tour even began. I’m curious to see how their success translates in the U.S. and am looking forward to their set!

Mura Masa – 4-4:45 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Electronic
Sounds Like: Years & Years

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t familiar with Mura Masa until I saw that he had released a song with Charli XCX – and after checking out the tune, I became obsessed with it! With a little research, I discovered that Alexander Crossan is only 20 years old…and has had a ridiculous amount of streams for his song “Love$ick” featuring ASAP Rocky. The song reached #1 on the Spotify Viral Charts in the US and the UK. While we all know I’m not entirely into electronic / EDM / etc. I’m definitely intrigued by this artist and think he’d put on a really fun performance – and maybe even Charli will come out to sing the song with him.

Whitney – 7:45-8:30 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Indie rock
Sounds Like: Dawes

Something I really love about Lollapalooza is their ability to catch up and coming acts from Chicago at very important moment in their career and gives them a platform like Lollapalooza to boost their career even further (artists like Chance the Rapper, Noname, Whitney, Kaskade and more have grown their careers in Chicago and have all created relationships with the festival in the past or currently). Another one of these bands is Whitney. The duo is comprised of Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich, who formed the band in 2015 after the breakup of their other band, Smith Westerns. After being signed by Secretly Canadian Records in 2015, their debut album was released in June 2016 and have continued to tour since then, supporting acts like The Head & The Heart (another band slated to play at Lolla this year). While their style is very relaxed and laid-back, I’m sure they’ll put on a fabulous performance to a hometown crowd.

Other gems on Friday’s lineup that deserve mentions:

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The Japanese House – 2:50-3:30 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Synth indie pop
Sounds Like: Imogen Heap, The 1975

Here we go again with another musician I have written about more than once: The Japanese House. Amber Bain is the face behind this synth pop band and has crafted her sound with the likes of members of the 1975 – who produced a handful of her songs. Bain also toured with The 1975 during their UK tour dates in late 2016, which boosted her music and as she started to gain more of a following, I had a feeling that she would show up on the Lollapalooza lineup, despite not having many other North American festival dates booked this summer. Although the majority of her music is slow and laid-back, I am really hoping to catch her set sometime mid-day: I’m predicting she’ll perform at the Pepsi Stage this year.

Léon – 4-4:45 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Indie Pop
Sounds Like: Stevie Nicks, Elle King

As if I literally cannot shut up about Léon already, she lands on the lineup! I am so unbelievably obsessed with this woman and am TOO excited to see her perform this summer. After seeing her headlining show at Schuba’s just a couple months ago, I am really looking forward to seeing her again and hopefully she will be performing new music. If you’re not familiar, Léon quickly rose to internet fame after her song “Tired of Talking” went viral with over 45 million Spotify streams to date. Her EP, For You, was released just a little over a month ago and she’s been touring the US to support the handful of songs she has released. I really love her indie pop soul vibes and see so much of Stevie Nicks in her, especially because she has a fantastic cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” that I am so obsessed with.

Aminé – 1:50-2:30 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Hip-hop
Sounds Like: Chance the Rapper

Here I am, writing about a hip-hop artist when I quite honestly have no knowledge of anything hip-hop related, but I am so so so obsessed with Aminé! Although he only has four songs on Spotify, he’s been getting a lot of buzz after the ridiculous amount of success he has received for his song “Caroline,” which has almost 200,000,000 streams on Spotify alone. I quickly became obsessed with this song the second I heard it and became even more of fan after his very political performance of the song on Jimmy Fallon in early January 2017. Watch it here. I usually try to avoid these sorts of performances at Lollapalooza because the audiences can get quite rowdy, but Aminé’s performance is one I will be sure not to miss.

 

Sylvan Esso – 7:45-8:30 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Indietronica
Sounds Like: Phantogram, Broods

Do you ever continuously hear about a specific musician but never get around to actually listening to them? That’s me with Sylvan Esso until this year. Sylvan Esso has been making music since 2013 and have had continuous success for their unique take on indietronic (indie electronica) music, with a debut album selling well and landing high on the Billboard 200 at 39 in 2014. After making their Lollapalooza debut in 2015, the band returns to Grant Park this summer and it’ll be interesting to see where they land on the schedule this year. Check out their Tiny Desk concert here.

Banks – 7:30-8:30 PM / Lake Shore Stage
Genre: Alternative R&B
Sounds Like: Ellie Goulding with an alternative streak and more aggressive lyrics

Jillian Rose Banks (known as Banks) has been making music since she was 15 years old after she needed a coping mechanism for dealing with her parent’s divorce. Growing up in an affluent area of Los Angeles. During her time in college at USC, Banks met a producer from England, and the rest is history. Her popularity continued to skyrocketed after opening for The Weeknd during his Fall 2013 tour – which probably helped boost her debut album’s success rate, which debuted at Number 12 on the Billboard Top 200. Banks was highly praised for her potential as a pop star by the likes of BBC, MTV, iTunes, Vogue, Spotify and many more. Her second album was released in September 2016.

Other gems on Saturday’s lineup that deserve mentions:

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Flor – 4:40-5:20 PM / BMI Stage
Genre: Electro pop
Sounds Like: BØRNS, Coasts, Fickle Friends

For the longest time, I couldn’t remember why the band Flor sounded familiar: then I realized that I saw them open for Halsey in 2015 and really loved their live performance. Although their information on the internet is scarce, I do know that they’re currently on tour with Hayley Kiyoko and are set to release their debut album, Come Out. You’re Hiding. in May this year following a four song EP released in 2016.

Joseph – 2-3 PM / Tito’s Stage
Genre: Folk pop
Sounds Like: First Aid Kit

Here we go again with another artist that I have written about many times. I am so so happy to see that Joseph got on the Lolla lineup this year and am definitely making it a priority to see them this year after their amazing performance at Lincoln Hall in October 2016. These three sisters hail from Oregon and named their band after their grandfather as well as the town they grew up in. They definitely have some of the best harmonies I’ve ever heard and can’t wait to see them perform in a festival setting.

Maggie Rogers – 2:30-3:30 PM / Grant Park Stage
Genre: Indie Pop
Sounds Like: Feist, Lorde

As I started writing this I didn’t have tickets to see Maggie Rogers’ show in Chicago, but I miraculously ended up with a ticket just hours before the show and was so unbelievably thankful that I had a chance to see her before she blows up and completely takes over 2017. Rogers, only 22 (about to turn 23), gained an unbelievable following after her song “Alaska” went viral and continued to sell out a North American tour with only four songs released to the world, which is pretty freaking unprecedented. You can read more about her here. While it’s definitely debatable whether or not people will know more than one song from Rogers at Lolla this summer, I’m sure her set will be pretty crowded.

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Rag’N’Bone Man – 4-5 PM / Tito’s Stage
Genre: Rock / blues
Sounds Like: Jack Garratt infused rock

I am so unbelievably obsessed with Rag’N’Bone Man (real name Rory Graham) it’s not even funny. After looking him up on Spotify, I was blown away to see that his biggest song, “Human” has over 130,000,000 streams alone – and even more surprised to see that he’s been releasing music since 2012. His debut album, also titled Human, was released in February 2017 and was named the British Breakthrough Act at the 2017 Brit Awards. I am really intrigued by his sound and his especially powerful vocal abilities and think he would put on a phenomenal live performance.

Sampha – 6:30-7:15 PM / Pepsi Stage
Genre: Electro soul
Sounds Like: Anderson .Paak

And finally, last but not least, Sampha. I had heard some things about this artist before the lineup dropped but was really happy to see his name on the list because I was concerned that Pitchfork might snatch him up. Sampha, originally from the UK, has worked with artists like SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, Drake, Kanye West, Solange and more, and has been releasing music since 2013. His debut album, Process, was released in February 2017 and received positive reviews. He is currently on tour opening with The xx (an interesting combo, if I say so myself) and has been on a handful of talk shows like Ellen and Jimmy Fallon promoting his single, “No One Knows Me Like the Piano.”

Other gems on Sunday’s lineup that deserve mentions:

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading this, it took me a ridiculously long time to finish it but it was so worth it and I hope this helps people discover new musicians that they like. Are there any artists you’re looking forward to seeing at Lolla this year? Let me know!

Check out my Lolla ’17 Playlist:

– Kristin

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