20 Acts To See at Lollapalooza 2018

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Happy festival season, music lovers! I’m super excited to share this post – it’s the fourth year in a row I’ve shared a list of performers that I’m super amped to write about – can you believe I’ve done this four times? That seems crazy to me!

10 Acts to See at Lollapalooza 2015
20 Acts to See at Lollapalooza 2016
20 Acts to See at Lollapalooza 2017

I can’t pinpoint which year I’ve had the most fun at Lollapalooza – my mind changes every time I think about it. My first year attending was in 2013 – I had just graduated high school and was super excited to attend my first big music festival. I’ve gone every year since (but 2015 I just went two days). It’s my third year of attending the festival since they have switched to the 4-day format and I’m starting to feel too old to hang with the rest of the youngsters – we’ll see how this goes. Based on ticket sales, I’m wondering if they will switch back to just three days for the future. Only time will tell!

After sifting through the lineup this year (which I still think is super impressive, by the way), I’ve narrowed it down to 5 acts a day that I think are worth checking out. I tend to stick with undercards because I always think the festival does a fantastic job at getting good undercards – and who wants to hear about headliners like Dua Lipa and why I want to see her? I think everyone’s aware of who she is. Finding the hidden gems who play at 2pm on a side stage are way more fun to write about! (But I do plan on seeing Dua Lipa again).

I tried to highlight more females on this list because they’re such a minority on the lineup this year

Enjoy!

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Allie X
Genre: Synthpop
For Fans Of: Banks, Elohim, Vérité
Set Time: 1:50-2:30 PM, American Eagle Stage

I discovered Allie X – real name Alexandra Hughes – after she did a collaboration with Vérité – one of my favorite artists on the rise right now. Their duet “Casanova” is a serious bop and a song I listen to frequently on my workout playlist. I’ve heard a handful of Allie X’s catalog and really enjoy her stuff. I think she has an interesting style and sound and find her ability to mesh songs that rely on storytelling with synth pop sounds. I can imagine her on the Pepsi stage fairly early in the day – maybe when Elohim (a similar sounding artist and producer) performed at the stage last year? Regardless, if you choose to check her out, I can see her starting a dance party early in the day!

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Billie Eilish
Genre: Electropop
For Fans Of: Bea Miller, Hayley Kiyoko
Set Time: 5:45-6:45PM, Tito’s Stage

Are you sick of me talking about Billie Eilish yet? I hope not! I’ve been OBSESSED with Billie for the last six months or so – she’s only sixteen-years-old and is truly one of the most interesting people to be making music in the industry right now. Despite her super goofy personality and onstage persona (read my review on her Chicago show here), she can definitely hold a crowd. Her internet fame – paired with her 100 million PLUS streams on Spotify, I guarantee she’s going to pull a crowd bigger than anyone anticipates. Where she will end up in terms of scheduling? It’s really a shot in the dark – I can see her performing on a MainStage early in the day or a later performance on the Pepsi Stage – which could cause some major traffic jams. Regardless, I will be sure to catch her Lollapalooza debut.

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Cuco
Genre: Indie Pop, Dream Pop
For Fans Of: Clairo, Frankie Cosmos
Set Time: 1-1:45PM, Bud Light Stage

I wil admit, I did not realize who Cuco was before the lineup dropped. I quickly realized that I had heard a couple of his songs in passing – and that he’s had an extremely successful 2017. Omar Banos is a Los Angeles native who only started releasing music in 2015 on Bandcamp. Banos has managed to build an incredible successful start to a promising career in just three years – representative by a performing slot at some of America’s biggest festivals – like Coachella,  Osheaga and Governor’s Ball. Thanks to a ridiculously speedy grown internet fanbase and heartfelt, emo lyrics about love, he’s set to have an impressive summer. Oh, did I mention he’s a 100% independent artist and releases all of his music on his own?

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Larkin Poe
Genre: Folk Rock
For Fans Of: Haim, First Aid Kit, a little bit of St. Vincent’s new stuff
Set Time: 1-1:40PM, BMI Stage

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Something I always remind myself. I definitely expected this duo to be straight country music – but they are definitely more folk rock inspired and can definitely go hard. Turns out that the duo is comprised of sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell – who grew up in Atlanta and are now based in Nashville. In case you really need to solidify their talent – the sisters have performed as back-up to massive superstars ranging from Elvis Costello to Conor Oberst to Sugarland. Despite their three studio album releases, they ended up pretty low on the Lollapalooza lineup – and it will be interesting to see if they can garner a crowd to a primarily pop/dance/rap heavy lineup.

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Nick Mulvey
Genre: Singer/songwriter
For Fans Of: Ed Sheeran’s early days, James Vincent McMorrow, Ben Howard
Set Time: 12:15-1PM, Tito’s Stage

I can’t say where or when I initially heard Nick Mulvey’s music – but I do remember that I really wanted to see his show in Chicago last fall, but alas, I had already bought tickets to see a show the same night. Born in the UK, Mulvey has been creating and releasing music for over 10 years and even moved to Cuba at age 19 to study music and art. He later returned to the UK to study music at the University of London. His music is very quiet and relaxing and I’m curious to see how his style will play out in terms of scheduling and stage location. I can definitely see myself relaxing in the (hopefully) sun enjoying his music.

Other undercards I plan on seeing Thursday:
The Wombats
Lany
All Time Low
Camila Cabello

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Alex Lahey
Genre: Indie Rock
For Fans Of: Middle Kids
Set Time: 1-1:45PM, Grant Park Stage

I was super amped when I saw that Alex Lahey would be playing Lolla this year. I think I discovered her music thanks to Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist one week and was instantly drawn to her sound. Based in Australia and currently touring with Jimmy Eat World, Lahey is of the artists I was really drawn to because her music seems written in terms of taking excerpts out of a journal and creating it into these beautiful lyrics that tell a story. I love her ability to really explain how she’s feeling in a song without it sounding too wordy or complicated. Her 2017 debut album release was highlighted in a lot of publication’s year end lists – and Spin Magazine included it in their list of “Favorite Overlooked Albums of 2017,” noting Lahey’s ability for teasing out contradictions in plain sight and putting a fine point on conflicted feelings.”

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Gang Of Youths
Genre: Indie Rock
For Fans Of: Camp Cope, The Rubens, Milky Chance
Set Time: 1:45-2:45PM, Tito’s

Thank god for Discover Weekly playlists, again! I heard this band’s song “The Heart Is A Muscle” just a couple weeks and haven’t stopped listening since. Of course, they were also playing a show in Chicago but I tend to be a creature of habit and had already gotten tickets to see another artists’ show the same day. I have been diving into their music since and was SO relieved when I saw that they ended up on the Lollapalooza lineup this year. Something really cool about this year’s lineup for me is that almost EVERY SINGLE smaller artist that I have really come to enjoy over the past six months or so ended up on the lineup. It’s amazing to me and seems like the festival planners and myself are really on the same wave-lengths this year (aka – hire me). I can see Gang of Youths performing their indie rock jams at maybe 1 or 2pm on a main stage – only time will tell!

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Lauv
Genre: Pop
For Fans Of: Lany
Set Time: 4-4:45PM, American Eagle Stage

Lauv has been making MOVES this past year, and I am predicting now that he’ll be even bigger in August. If you’re not recognizing his name, I’m sure you would be familiar with his singles. “I Like Me Better” is sitting comfortably on Spotify with 390,000,000+ streams (that’s more than “Bodak Yellow” has, to put it in perspective). If Lollapalooza doesn’t put Lauv on a main stage this year, they are truly underestimating the amount of people who will be attending his set. Maybe we will have a debut album by August?

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Matt Maeson
Genre: Alternative Pop/Rock
For Fans Of: Lewis Del Mar, Barns Courtney, Noah Kahan
Set Time: 12-12:45PM, Tito’s Stage

Another one of those artists who have been building a successful internet following – Matt Maeson. I can’t recall when I discovered his stuff – but it’s been awhile. I saw him open for Jaymes Young at the Beat Kitchen last summer (and he was 500x better than Young, honestly). and I was PRAYING he would end up on the lineup this year. He has one of the BEST live vocals I have ever heard and has really heartfelt, heavy and emotional lyrics that he can REALLY bolt out. He’s playing his first headlining show in Chicago in May (and I waited too long to grab a ticket because it’s sold out) and an EP is coming out later this month. If you are reading this and  you weren’t familiar with his stuff before, please give it a chance! It’s really great stuff.

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R.LUM.R
Genre: PR&B
For Fans Of: Gallant, Khalid, Majid Jordan
Set Time: 6:50-7:30PM, BMI Stage

If I could describe Reginald Lamar Williams Jr. (R.LUM.R)’s music in just a few words, I would say he sounds like a electrified Leon Bridges. Man, this guy can sing. I’m obsessed with his sound. Studying classical guitar and influenced by the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Fleet Foxes, Williams makes for one of the most unique sounding artists I’ve stumbled on in the past few months. It was inevitable that he would end up on this lineup and I’m hoping to see big things from his performance. It will definitely get the crowd dancing!

Other undercards I plan on seeing Friday:
Alina Baraz
Dermot Kennedy
Dream Wife
Lewis Capaldi
Lizzo
Two Feet

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Amy Shark
Genre: Indie Rock
For Fans Of: MUNA, Bleachers
Set Time: 1:50-2:30PM, American Eagle Stage

Another Aussie! Amy Shark deserves the world and I’m so excited she’s playing Lollapalooza this year! I saw her open for Bleachers last fall and loved it a lot. After finding success after posting a variety of covers on YouTube, Shark won Pop Song Of The Year for “Adore” at the Queensland Music Awards in 2016 and led to more opportunities, like an opening act slot touring with Vance Joy and later, Bleachers. Her debut album is out on July 13, 2018 and she will be appearing on a handful of other North American music festivals this summer to support the release.

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Grace Weber
Genre: PR&B
For Fans Of: Third Story, Frank Ocean
Set Time: 1-1:40PM, BMI Stage

I heard Grace Weber for the first time after hearing that she would be touring with Thirdstory, and then of course, because things always seem to happen right after you discover their existence, she appeared on the Lollapalooza’s lineup. I’m currently listening to her biggest track, “More Than Friends,” which is about to hit 1 million streams on Spotify, and keep hearing so much of Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” in her sound – I can be the only one who hears this or maybe she’s a huge Frank Ocean fan. Regardless, she has some real pipes and an effortless rhythm to her music that I find really refreshing.

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Pale Waves
Genre: Indie Pop
For Fans Of: The 1975
Set Time: 2:50-3:30PM

I’ve been following Pale Waves for over a year – I was a huge fan of their debut single “There’s a Honey” and their EP is great, also. It almost seems as though they were created exactly for fans like me – I love The 1975 and Japanese House, which are two other artists that are signed to The 1975’s same label, Dirty Hit Records. Pale Waves a little more of a retro-inspired sound to their music but I really do hear a lot of similarities between them and The 1975 – they recently toured with them, as well. I was hoping that they would have a debut album released by now, especially because they recently played a headlining show in Chicago but it takes a lot for me to pay for a ticket when the band only has four songs officially released. Regardless, I expect that Pale Waves will have more music come August and encourage fans of similar artists to take a listen.

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Vera Blue
Genre: Electropop
For Fans Of: Ellie Goulding, Aurora, Sylvan Esso
Set Time: 6:50-7:30PM, BMI Stage

I came across Vera Blue’s music after I friend recommended I listened to her song “Hold,” which is her biggest song and has over 20 million streams on Spotify to date. Nothing ever really came from me listening to the song – I liked it and all – and seeing her name on the lineup this year was a friendly reminded that I should check out the rest of her music. Turns out that Aussie Celia Pavey placed third in Australia’s version of The Voice in 2013. She’s toured with Broods, Matt Corby and Flume. Her success is evident in Australia and it seems like she’s just on the brink of breaking through in America too.

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Wallows
Genre: Indie Rock
For Fans Of: Car Seat Headrest
Set Time: 12:15-1PM, Tito’s Stage

I feel like Wallows is one of those bands that suddenly exploded and everyone was talking about them out of nowhere, especially people that I follow on social media. It turns out that one of the members was in the hit Netflix show “13 Reasons Why,” and even though it doesn’t affect their talent or sound as a band in any way, I’m sure his familiar face drew lots of people to their music. I enjoy their sound and I would describe it as chill-rock  – I don’t even know if that’s a real genre, but that’s what I came up with.

Other acts I plan on seeing Saturday:
Morgxn
Charlotte Cardin
Sir Sly
A R I Z O N A
Daniel Caesar

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The Aces
Genre: Indie Rock/Pop
For Fans Of: HAIM
Set Time: 4:30-5:10, BMI Stage

I apologize for writing about The Aces considering how many times I’ve already covered them, so I will keep it short and sweet. The Aces are the first act booked on Sunday – meaning they’ll most likely perform at 12pm on the dot n the last day of the festival. Now I definitely know that personally, it’s very hard for me to get to the festival on the last day right for the first performance, but I WILL BE THERE TO SEE THE ACES. I can’t believe how early they’re going to perform because they’ve been really blowing up over the past few months, and I’ve been hearing good things about their debut album release! Regardless, I know that they’re going to put on a great performance and will be sure to wake up the hungover masses.

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Morgan Saint
Genre: Indie Pop
For Fans Of: Overcoats, Mothica, Allie X
Set Time: 1-1:40, BMI Stage

Morgan Saint is one of those artists who I just KNOW will be massive in the next year or so. I would call it now that she’s the Dua Lipa of the 2016 Lollapalooza lineup. Her breathy vocals and electronic vibes of her music are just so easy and enjoyable to listen to and she has yet to put out a song that I dislike. I can’t even pick a favorite. It’s unfortunate that she’s on the Sunday lineup compared to the other days this year because I think I’m going to have a really hard time deciding how to handle scheduling conflicts this year. Read more about her here.

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The Regrettes
Genre: Punk Rock
For Fans Of: Courtney Barnett, Camp Cope, Arctic Monkeys
Set Time: 12:45-1:30PM, Grant Park Stage

I don’t know much about The Regrettes aside from their music but what I think is unbelievably impressive about them is not only do they have three females in the band but they’re extremely young – late teens if I’m correct, and have been absolutely slaying the game. Their song that stands out to me “A Living Breathing Girl” is a feminist anthem crafted for 2018 and I’m truly obsessed with this song. I know a lot of people are disappointed with the lack of female representation on a lot of lineups but to Lolla’s credit – the female artists are pretty fantastic.

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Rex Orange County
Genre: Neo soul
For Fans Of: Leon Bridges, Tom Misch
Set Time: 1:50-2:30PM, American Eagle Stage

I’ll admit, I’m pretty sure I thought that Rex Orange County was a television show for awhile until someone pointed out that it was a musician. It sounds like a tv show, I’m not crazy! Anyway, I was definitely late on the bandwagon in regards to becoming a fan of ROC – real name Alex O’Connor – a 19-year-old from England who is another artist to make me feel unaccomplished and untalented at 23. His music seems on trend but not gimmicky, soulful and earnest. I love his style and storytelling. I can only imagine how much he’s going to grow in popularity between now and August.

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Superorganism
Genre: Indie & Psychedelic Pop
For Fans Of: Sylvan Esso, Glass Animals
Set Time: 12:15-1PM, Tito’s Stage

I really can’t even begin to explain Superorganism’s sound or vibe, they are different than unlike anyone else that I have listened to and they are very intriguing to me. With eight members in the group, it seems like it would be a very interesting dynamic to create music in such a large group, but somehow, they make it work. The age ranges in the group are 17 to 32 (seriously) and members of the group are from Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. I recently read that they create music for the internet-age and you will immediately understand that after your first listen.

Other undercards I plan on seeing Sunday (can you tell that Sunday’s my busiest day?!)
Van William
John Splithoff
Sasha Sloan
Frenship
Knox Fortune
Cigarettes After Sex
Manchester Orchestra

Tada! Thanks for reading. This took a lot longer than I anticipated – how it always goes. Did I leave anyone off the lineup you’re excited about? Let me know!

Kristin

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