Can Chance the Rapper save a lackluster Lollapalooza lineup?
Chance the Rapper is on top of the bill for this year's Lollapalooza, which announced its lineup at 6 AM. It's the latest part of the victory lap for the Chicago music hero, after-school educator, and Chicago Public Schools advocate
since he won three Grammys for his Coloring Book
mixtape last month. Few things say cultural domination like headlining the largest music festival in your own hometown. Not that Chance has much competition. The other headliners suggest Lollapalooza organizers are struggling with 2000s alternative-rock nostalgia; the Killers, Muse, and Arcade Fire fill out the rest of the headlining spots. All three acts have performed at Lollapalooza twice previously since the festival transitioned from a nationwide tour to settle in Grant Park back in 2005 (this year is also Chance's third go-round too). None of the top rock acts scream excitement, and the Killers in particular suggest nothing more than irrelevance. The Las Vegas band hasn't put out a proper album in five years, unless you can call their 2016 Christmas compilation Don't Waste Your Wishes
a worthwhile endeavor.
Lollapalooza expanded from three to four days last year, and organizers decided to hold on to that extra day; this year's festival begins Thursday, August 3. But the lineup suggests organizers might have strained to find 170 acts to fill out a four-day, 40-hour event. Much of it is filled out with acts I'm convinced exist only to play big festivals where partying in the sun takes precedence over what's happening onstage—like Hippo Campus. Granted, there are plenty of highlights, particularly when it comes to the hip-hop acts; Run the Jewels, Migos, 21 Savage, Rae Sremmurd, and Lil Yachty suggest organizers aren't as allergic to rap as they once were. But even in that regard there are some missteps, like rap middleweight Big Sean—I suppose they can't all be winners. It's some of the more "traditional" alternative-rock acts that appear most out of place this year—like notorious loudmouth and Oasis front man Liam Gallagher and metal-loving country songwriter Ryan Adams. And though I can't fault Lollapalooza for booking Blink-182—I'm mildly obsessed with their 2016 single "Built This Pool"—the pop-punk group sticks out like a sore thumb.
Lorde and the XX offer some bright spots, but they hang in high on a lineup that looks increasingly anemic the further down you look. And after Lollapalooza's great array of local acts last year, this year's Chicago offerings look much slimmer. Don't get me wrong—I'm all about booking Noname, Kweku Collins, the O'My's, Whitney, and the Walters. But considering how many ambitious young local musicians are making great music these days, I can't help but demand more. Perhaps Charli XCX will bring out Chicago rapper Cupcakke
, who appears on the British singer's recent single "Lipgloss.”
Single-day passes for Lollapalooza went on sale at 10 AM. Each day costs $120 plus fees, which is nearly three and a half times the cost of Chance the Rapper's one-off 2016 music festival Magnificent Coloring Day
(for those who don't recall, the cheapest tickets for that event were $35). Four-day Lolla passes are $335 plus fees, and it took nearly two and half hours for those tickets to sell out after they became available yesterday at 10 AM. That's one small sign even Lolla isn't unaffected by the forces responsible for lackluster ticket sales at other massive U.S. music festivals; four-day passes to last year's Lollapalooza sold out in 46 minutes. The full Lollapalooza lineup is below, with links to past Reader
features, blog posts, and show previews.
Thursday, August 3:
Cage the Elephant
Lil Uzi Vert
Friday, August 4
Run the Jewels
Foster the People
Tegan & Sara
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
The Pretty Reckless
Saturday, August 5:
Chance the Rapper
Head & the Heart
The London Souls
Sunday, August 6
Rag ’n’ Bone Man
Car Seat Headrest
Machine Gun Kelly
Tim Kubart & the Space Cadets
Jo Jo & the Pinecones
Lard Dog & the Band of Shy
Little Miss Ann
School of Rock Allstars