Lollapalooza is once again coming to the United States for a four-day music festival held from August 3-6. The occasion will take place at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois where over 170 artists and bands will perform across nine stages. Originally created in 1991 as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction, the festival has become one of the largest annual music events in the country with an attendance of around 400,000.
There are also various aftershows across Chicago that offer a more intimate setting for performances, and for the third year in a row, many sets will air on Hulu, so if you can’t catch it in person, a streaming option is available.
While 2023’s show features headliners like Kendrick Lamar and Billie Eilish as well as other artists with large followings such as J.I.D. and Rina Sawayama, we picked 12 lesser-known acts that you should watch out for.
3:00 PM-4:00 PM
With comedic songwriting, catchy hooks, and guitars inspired by mid-2000s indie rock bands like Foals and Arctic Monkeys, Lovejoy will surely be a crowd-pleaser on Thursday. The band was formed during the final days of the pandemic lockdown in Brighton, England by William Gold, a well-known YouTuber and Twitch streamer, and lead guitarist Joe Goldsmith. Their most recent EP, Wake Up & It’s Over, goes for a heavier sound, which is a welcome switch-up for fans and new listeners alike.
5:15 PM-6:00 PM
brakence began uploading music to SoundCloud in 2016 and built a cult following on the platform with his glitchy emo pop production. He paired up with production company Overcast to make music videos that went viral on YouTube. brakence’s sound became part of the pandemic-era wave of hyperpop, featuring distorted bass, pitched vocals, and lyrics about existential anxiety and internet culture. He then dropped his 2022 sophomore album, hypochondriac, which took influence from genres like drill and dancehall to Midwest emo. The experimentation is far from just clutter, working as thoughtful pieces to a cohesive whole.
Men I Trust
6:30 PM-7:15 PM
The Montréal-based DIY band Men I Trust formed in 2014 as an electronic duo that would team up with guest vocalists. But when one of those collaborators, Emmanuelle Proulx, became a full-time member, Men I Trust moved to more groovy sophisti-pop textures. Their most recent project, Untourable Album (2021), was recorded during the pandemic lockdown, resulting in a more hazy and meditative sound. Since then, the band has come out with the fast-paced and upbeat single “Billie Toppy” as well as the funky vibe of “Ring of Past.” The trio will surely bring a chill set to Thursday’s lineup.
1:00 PM-1:40 PM
Although hemlocke springs has only released five singles to date, she has already gained a cult following for her lively synthpop sound. When she spontaneously posted her first release, “gimme all ur luv”, on TikTok, it garnered millions of views, and her second song, “girlfriend”, was even more popular on the platform. Her newer material, including “stranger danger!” and “sever the blight” are more theatrical while “heavun” draws inspiration from 80s disco. The buzz has earned her coverage from major outlets like Rolling Stone, NME,and Pitchfork and mentions from artists such as Grimes and Steve Lacy.
2:45 PM-3:45 PM
Sudan Archives began playing the violin when she was just 10 years old. Now, she is also a talented singer, rapper, and producer. This translated into a startling combination of alternative R&B, art pop, and neo-soul on her 2022 sophomore album, Natural Brown Prom Queen. In addition to the grand and varied production that will make you dance, the project dissects Sudan Archives’ personal journey starting in the music industry, noting her past challenges but also her aspirations as an artist. Lyrically, she also explores her identity and navigates through ideas of race, gender, love, and control.
9:00 PM-10:00 PM
Knocked Loose’s live performances never fail to start up a frenzy. The metalcore band’s instrumentals act as an outlet for audiences to release their pent-up frustration and anxiety, resulting in unrelenting mosh pits that only stop when the music ends. In their 2021 EP, A Tear in the Fabric of Life, the group achieved something even more emotionally resonant, telling the story of a person mourning the loss of a loved one due to a car crash. They explore internalized feelings of grief and depression as the character is unable to cope and slowly drifts into madness. Knocked Loose’s performance will be nothing short of a religious experience.
1:45 PM-2:45 PM
Comedian Zack Fox started out on Twitter, gaining popularity for his deadpan jokes under the name “Bootymath.” He broke out in the rap scene when he dropped his outlandish 2019 single, “Jesus Is the One (I Got Depression)” with producer Kenny Beats. The freestyle track reached number one on Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 chart and can only be characterized as an absurdist troll where Fox steals money from strippers and drinks his own semen. He became a master of the single, dropping one ridiculous banger after another. His Saturday set will bring humor and throwback hip-hop beats for all to enjoy.
5:15 PM-6:00 PM
It may be an overused description to say an artist makes music that crosses genre boundaries, but if Jean Dawson’s most recent album, CHAOS NOW*, has anything, it’s variety. The LP, which encompasses punk, indie rock, folk, country, and hip-hop, contains tracks like “THREE HEADS*” and “0-HEROES*”, which feature rousing choruses interspersed between rapped verses, as well as “PIRATE RADIO*”, a contemplative closer with tender, country-influenced melodies. Dawson’s versatility means there will likely be something for everyone.
9:00 PM-10:00 PM
The Garden is an experimental rock band made up of twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears. They draw some influence from punk music with their stripped-back bass and drum soundscape that they pair with guitar and electronic synth melodies. They also bring a particularly theatrical DIY and glam rock-inspired fashion aesthetic to their image, often painting their faces and dressing as jesters for their performances. The duo epitomizes “vada vada,” their own word for an anything-goes approach to art that forgoes convention. The Garden also adds a welcome sense of levity to their music, refusing to take anything too seriously.
2:30 PM-3:30 PM
Lollapalooza sees Dehd return to their home city of Chicago. Compared to their previous work, the indie rock band’s 2022 summer album, Blue Skies, features brighter instrumentation and livelier melodies. With danceable hits like “Bad Love” and “Bop”, it’s the perfect collection of tracks for a festival crowd. Lyrically, the songs are about love – finding it, losing it, and the bond that can only be found in close friends. Be sure to catch them if you’re in the mood for letting go of your worries and enjoying the moment.
3:30 PM-4:30 PM
Matthew Lewin and Mica Tenenbaum started off their music careers as members of a prog-rock band named Tabula Rosa, so it may come as a surprise that the pair later teamed up to create catchy synthpop for the internet generation as Magdalena Bay. The band features meticulous production from Lewin that feels equally retro as it does futuristic. Meanwhile, Tenenbaum’s sweet and breathy vocals fit perfectly within the duo’s ethereal electronic sound. The pair also incorporate surreal visuals as a prominent part of their art, making music videos with glitchy, low-grade VHS graphics and DIY costumes and props. This also bleeds into their live sets, where a robot named after their track “Chaeri” is projected onscreen to reflect on their performances.
As a nu-disco band, L’Impératrice combines glossy electronic production with ’70s and ’80s disco grooves. “Fou and “Voodoo?” off of the group’s second album, Tako Tsubo, exemplify this combination as the LP’s most danceable tracks. Tako Tsubo explores the personal and the political with vocalist Flore Benguigui sharing her feelings toward the end of a personal relationship on “Submarine” and satirically tackling misogyny and patriarchal structures on “Peur des filles” (“Fear of Girls”). If you’re craving to move to a set, you can’t go wrong with seeing L’Impératrice.