With Lollapalooza about to hit Chicago like a fiery, musical comet this weekend, hundreds of thousands of concertgoers will flood Grant Park to witness the likes of Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith, and The Weeknd among others, rock the fuck out. Sure, the headlining acts typically prove to be the best sets. They’re polished, have an expensive stage design, and possess a catalog of hits that, in some cases (cough Sir Paul cough), stretches decades.
But what about the ‘little’ guys? The blog-certified up-and-comers. The indies about to boil to mainstream. The sub-headliners that could very well be taking the main stage in the not so distant future. Not to worry, we got your back. Here are the 10 Must-See Acts That Aren’t Headliners at Lollapalooza this year, conveniently broken down by day and set time.
Believe it or not, Garrett Borns (or simply BØRNS) earned his chops as a professional magician before he hit it big with jams like “10,000 Emerald Pools.” Don’t miss his groovy, psychedelic brand of pop at Lollapalooza this year. He’s sure to have a trick or two up his sleeve.
Young Thug (6:50-7:30)
Thugga Thugga has been a surefire hit machine between his own cuts and guest verses alike. His eccentric flow, fashion-forward style, and summer-friendly beats will make for a must-see set on Friday night. I know there’s gonna be good times.
Sylvan Esso (7:45-8:30)
If you’re searching for something that’s equal parts folky and electronic, look no further than the duo Sylvan Esso. Chilled out, synthesized beats will meet seductive female vocals at this set. Expect lots of eyes closed swaying and swooning.
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Halsey’s new track “Hold Me Down” is prescient of her status as a pop star on the rise. In the last 9 months she has emerged as one of 2015’s most promising new artists. 20 year-old Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, who goes by Halsey, went from posting demos to her SoundCloud page to being the most tweeted about artist of SXSW. Her ascent has been so swift that the music world is still reeling from her almost instantaneous success. After making waves with her EP Road 93, released shortly after she signed to Universal subsidiary Astralwerks, Halsey begun popping up everywhere. She has 323k Instagram followers and 269k on Twitter; she’s a textbook example of the power of social media for musicians in 2015.
Currently sporting long blue locks, at first glance she appears to be nothing more than a Brooklyn scenester or possible a Katy Perry impersonator, but once she opens her mouth her talent becomes undeniable. The bio on her website is refreshing in its simplicity: “I am Halsey. I will never be anything but honest. I write songs about sex and being sad.” She’s a weirdo, for sure, but Halsey may be the exact breed of weirdo that pop seems to embrace. She follows in the footsteps of Charlie XCX, Grimes and maybe even Sia with her ability to walk the fine line between pop music and something darker, more brooding.
“Hold Me Down” is an electro-infused pop ballad that arrives in time for the lazy afternoons of summer spent by the pool gossiping and sipping lemonade. It’s not the best track Halsey has released to date, but it functions as a nice teaser for her forthcoming album Badlands due out in August. With shows coming up at Hangout Fest and Lollapalooza and an opening spot on Imagine Dragons’ summer tour, Halsey has a summer planned that guarantees her exposure to a whole new set of fans. Halsey is coming and you can’t hold her down.