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Lollapalooza’s 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

The highlights, omissions, surprises, and least interesting

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Lollapalooza’s 2014 lineup is a fascinating case study for music festivals in 2014. Long gone is Perry Farrell’s initial, grunge-fueled creation of the mid-90s, where Body Count inspired mosh pits and Pavement was pelted with mud balls. Now, yuppies can watch Skrillex play from the comfort of their cabanas and ambulances sit outside Perry’s, waiting for the inevitable overdose. Back in 1996, fans were critical of Lollapalooza’s booking of mainstream rock band Metallica. In 2014, Kings of Leon are playing.

Since taking up permanent residence in Chicago’s Grant Park nine years ago, Lollapalooza has embraced the idea of being America’s biggest and most corporate music festival. This year’s lineup is a reflection of instant sellouts, the rising popularity of EDM, the continued demise of rock ‘n’ roll, and the vastly barren landscape of acts still considered a unique “get”. There’s no money in booking Sleater-Kinney or The Replacements; however, the kids will come see Calvin Harris and Krewella.

Lollapalooza’s 2014 lineup is not bad, it’s just not for you. (Though, considering it’s completely sold out, maybe it is.) And more likely than not, that’ll continue to be the case for the years to come, as the festival veers more toward the path of Ultra Music Festival than Coachella. There’s still a lot to appreciate about this year’s lineup, you just have to dig a little deeper, work a little harder. But, after all, isn’t that what being a diehard is all about?

In the pages that follow, join us as we look at this year’s biggest highlights, surprises, omissions, and least interesting bookings. Feel free to share your comments below.

-Alex Young
CEO and Publisher

Highlights

Nas performing Illmatic

nas illmatic

Quick: Name another seminal hip-hop album you’d rather hear performed live. Too slow. We’ve heard Nas perform material off Illmatic for years, sometimes even alongside pals like Damian Marley, but if there’s one album we’re all waxing nostalgic about this summer, it’ll be this one. About time he gives Chicago a little “N.Y. State of Mind”.  –Michael Roffman

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys Brit Awards

How are they headliners? How are they not. UK’s most exciting rock band has seen a massive spike in popularity in recent years due in large part to five remarkable studio albums and consistent touring. Recently, they earned their first No. 1 single on the US Alternative Charts, and they’ve shared the stage alongside Paul McCartney and Queens of the Stone Age. These guys are ready for the big-time, and if I had to put money on it, they’re the band most likely to deliver a festival-defining set ala Foo Fighters in 2011. Don’t miss it. –Alex Young

Lorde

lorde Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

In a world of bros, Lorde stands out like a goth sore thumb and it’s beautiful. Too alt to be pop and too pop to really be alt, this 17-year-old Kiwi singer is actually the perfect headliner for a Lolla this weird. Like her sudden success, her presence at the fest makes for sweet relief from the normos. Here’s to Lorde for breaking up the bros. –Sasha Geffen

OutKast

OutKast feat

Considering OutKast‘s planned 40-festival run, their presence on Lollapalooza’s 2014 lineup is not a huge surprise. Still, out of the main headliners listed the ATLiens are certainly the most exciting. Hearing hits from Stankonia and Aquemini against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline is more than enough to sell me. This also may be the only chance Chicagoans have at seeing Andre 3000 and Big Boi; that is, if they aren’t willing to take the train up to Milwaukee for Summerfest. -Josh Terry

Lykke Li

lykke li 0131 Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

Sweden’s favorite singer-songwriter will be making her Lolla return following a highly-acclaimed appearance in 2011. This go around, she’ll be supporting her new album, I Never Learn, and based on early singles “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone” and “No Rest For the Wicked”, it should be a good one. As of today, she’s also one of the festival’s few exclusive acts, as she’s not playing Coachella or Bonnaroo. –Alex Young

Chromeo

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Photo by Heather Kaplan

They could be three years out from a new album and it’d still be worth it to catch Dave 1 and P-Thugg. But, they’re back with a new record called White Women and based on their recent SXSW appearances, that’s not the only demographic they’re targeting. Dancing is mandatory, but confronting your sexuality with aural opiates? Shiiiiiiit. –Michael Roffman

Omissions

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

nick cave 2014

The tour schedule for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 2014 summer tour is conspicuously lacking a Chicago date. With an appearance at Bonnaroo already confirmed, many assumed music’s biggest badass would also be playing Grant Park. Maybe he’s playing a street fest instead? This one really has us scratching our heads. –Alex Young 

Pearl Jam

pearl jam

Eddie Vedder & Co. haven’t hit up Grant Park since 2007. Considering last year’s Wrigley Field “debacle”, in which the Seattle veterans and their fans braved lightning and rainstorms in the sweaty dugouts, you’d think they would want to revisit Chicago again proper. After all, they’re playing both Latin American installments of Lollapalooza already this year, and what happened to all of those countless rumors of their return? Oh well. Perhaps Kings of Leon will cover “Jeremy” or something. –Michael Roffman

The Replacements

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Photo by Daniela Montelongo

No Replacements? I’m actually okay with the decision. As great and awe-inspiring as it was to see Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson slinging their old college rock favorites again at Riot Fest last summer, I kind of hoped it ended there. The last thing anyone needs is for the Mats to overstay their welcome by cashing in at every festival that will have them, something that’s easy to suspect given their inclusion on the Coachella bill. Thankfully they’re picking their spots, and that still gives the Replacements circa 2014 the feel of a rare, long-sought-after treat for fans as opposed to another tokken reunion act. –Ryan Bray

Tool

tool Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

If you’re gonna repeat so many acts, why not book Tool? The hard-rock legends are amidst their first American tour in two years and are currently working on a new studio album. They headlined alongside Kings of Leon in 2009 and remain a favorite act on message boards and wishlists. –Alex Young

The Smashing Pumpkins

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Billy Corgan just announced not one but TWO new records from his mainstay alt-rock powerhouse, so you’d think he’d be taking the time to air a new song or two this summer. Alas, it looks like he’ll be sticking to contrived ambient interpretations of books you skimmed in high school. –Sasha Geffen

Metallica

metallica Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

Is it me, or is Metallica the only headliner-worthy band from Lolla’s first wave that’s yet to take one of the top slots? Yeah, there’s nothing in the way of new music to promote, but that didn’t stop Lolla from getting Rage Against The Machine, Pearl Jam, and other bands to headline outside of an album cycle in recent years. As far as headliners go, you’re looking at the elephant in the room. –Ryan Bray

Surprises

Darkside

Darkside

A surging hit on the indie live circuit, Nicolas Jaar’s latest project wasn’t exactly designed with sunshine in mind. But Darkside will climb aboard the Lolla stage this year anyway, filtering a surfeit of fog and whacked-out space jams into Chicago’s humid summer air. The duo played a perfect set to Metro at Chicago’s Tomorrow Never Knows winter fest; we’ll see how they do in the opposite season. –Sasha Geffen

Blood Orange

blood orange

Dev Hynes’s rise from the NYC underground to the stage of one of the world’s most hyped fests seems abrupt, but hey, we’re not complaining. His brilliant Cupid Deluxe is chock full of songs that would sound perfect in the middle of a long day of sweating along to a pretty bizarre mix of live acts. We sort of wish he had his own stage, an indoor oasis where audiences could set their brains to maximum chill in between the brostep and the brorap. –Sasha Geffen

Run the Jewels

run the jewels

Give credit where credit is do: Lollapalooza nailed it with this one. El-P and Killer Mike‘s collaborative hip-hop project is a tour de force, though it still hasn’t received the mainstream acclaim it so definitely deserves. Hopefully this dynamic duo gets to preview their forthcoming sophomore album with a prime slot right before OutKast. –Alex Young

The So So Glos

So So Glos by Philip Cosores-54

Photo by Philip Cosores

Straight from Shea Stadium to Grant Park? Say it ain’t so. These Brooklyn punk rockers have fought many years for a proper place in the garage rock spectrum, and they’ve long deserved it. Last year’s Blowout hinted at remarkable growth for the outfit, garnering attention from top critics across the world, and it would appear they have 2014’s hurdles in place. Given that some fans consider them Brooklyn’s next Beastie Boys, our money’s on them jumping pretty high in the Chi. –Michael Roffman

Least Interesting

Eminem

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Son of a bitch, wasn’t he just here two years ago? Or was that three? Oh, three? Hmm. We get it: Eminem‘s the biggest rapper in the world right now, he’s a cash cow, yada, yada, yada. But, isn’t Drake? Or Kanye? Or Jay-Z? Unless he’s reenacting scenes from 8 Mile alongside Mekhi Thira Phifer or bringing out Dr. Dre or actually rapping, I’ll be towards the back huffing and puffing and… waiting for “Lose Yourself”. –Michael Roffman

Kings of Leon

caleb followill kings of leon 13042030613 l Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Amanda Koellner

Obviously, Kings of Leon is one of the popular bands in rock right now, but are they the most exciting? Sure, booking this band makes a lot more financial sense than, say, booking a legacy act like The Stone Roses did at Coachella last year, but still, Kings Of Leon has played Chicago twice in the last six months—how much is too much? Though, as relatively boring as this pick is, I sure hope their set leans heavily on their tried-and-true rockers like “Black Thumbnail” or “Four Kicks” than the sentimental snoozers like “Beautiful War” off Mechanical Bull. Make it a rowdy festival show, guys. –Josh Terry

Foster the People

fosterpeople131 Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

At Lollapalooza 2011, I caught an afternoon set by Georgia-based electro-poppers Reptar. Midway through their set, as enjoyable as it watching, much of the neon-donning youth watching the band decided to flock en-masse across Grant Park to watch the out-of-nowhere success story, Foster The People’s set. I stayed for Reptar, but for much of the festival, I kept hearing about how large of a crowd that band drew. Three years later, do people still care? As infectious as their recent singles have been, it’s tough imagining the band improving on its original buzz. –Josh Terry

Interpol

interpol new album e1390329124197 Lollapaloozas 2014 Lineup: One Day Later

Sadly, time hasn’t been particularly good to Interpol. As great as albums like Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics are, the buzz and excitement that once surrounded the band as cooled almost to a dull hum. And without the services of founding member and creative spark Carlos D, the band just seems to be a fragmented shell of its former self in 2014. A band that would have contended for headliner status in 2005 or 2006, Interpol today might be worth checking out for a handful of tunes under the afternoon sun at best before ducking out for another beer. –Ryan Bray

The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap. Photos by Victoria Will

Also known as “that Diet Coke ad band,” the Temper Trap have been keeping fairly quiet since tasting their first bloom of success—at least here in the states. They’ve seen love in their native Australia, but nothing from them has quite overshadowed the innocuous and ubiquitous synthpop hit “Sweet Disposition” from 2009. Still, the Temper Trap have a new album in the works, so maybe Lollapalooza will provide the chance for these guys to show off a new sound. That, or they’ll keep riding the Dandy Warhols’ coattails from like, 2004. –Sasha Geffen

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