XRT DJ’s Pick Their Must See Bands At Lollapalooza

Now that we’ve had time to digest the Lollapalooza lineup, let’s turn to the experts for their take…

XRT DJ’s fill you in on the bands they’re excited to see at Lolla. Alternatively, if you’re looking for someone to hang with, better get on over to these sets!

Mary Dixon
OK, I’ve gone through the Lolla schedule – FOR WORK – and while my favorite thing about this crazy hoedown is discovering new bands … here are the ones I’m looking forward to already:


Kurt Vile & The Violators
Melanie Martinez – actually the pick of a teenager in my house, but MM does know about Lesley Gore – so bonus point.

Friday: is all about Radiohead. I don’t expect fireworks like we got at a key moment in 2008 (because Bears Family Fest at Soldier Field is next weekend, dang) – but I expect another amazing evening with one of my favorite bands.
Also: Wolf Alice, because they rock.

Saturday: The Joy Formidable – who I first saw at Lolla 2011. They’re from Wales and their lead singer is named Rhiannon AND she goes by ‘Ritzy.’ Formidable.
Also: XRT stalwarts Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, and a newcomer who did a wonderful Studio X last year: Jack Garratt.


LCD Soundsystem – what a way to close out the loooong weekend!

Kidzapalooza Bonus: Do not miss The Q Brothers! These homegrown hip hop masters brought a completely new vision of ‘Bah, humbug’ to ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. They’ve won awards and toured the world with their rap adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays including ‘Othello.’ Their talent is as deep as their set of references. They play earlyish Saturday and Sunday. Seriously – go even if you don’t have a kid in tow.

Marty Lennartz

LCD Soundsystem
We thought we’d never see Mr. Murphy and company again. There was The Farewell Announcement, The Farewell Tour, and the movie, Shut Up And Play The Hits, a documentary of the final show?. But as they say, “I Can Change” and change his mind he did. To see LCD come back to Lolla and headline the Festival will be one of the weekend’s highlights. Make sure you’re with all your friends.

Frightened Rabbit
The Scottish band has played Chicago many times, from street festivals to raucous club shows at The Empty Bottle and Lincoln Hall. To see them play before their fans on a big Lolla Stage will be an emotional triumph for the band.

You’ll want to see them because they’re Radiohead! They’ve only been to Chicago three times in the last 10 years. Their 2001 show in Hutchinson Field is one of the most legendary outdoor shows in Chicago rock history. 2016 at Lollapalooza should be an unforgettable experience.

Lin Brehmer

I have a great memory of watching them from the sound booth with Mary Dixon at Hutchinson Field, a show that augured the future location of Lollapalooza.

Wolf Alice
They released one of my favorite albums of last year and I have missed them every time they’ve come to Chicago.

Kurt Vile and the Violators
Because they’re the best.

Johnny Mars

M83– New album coming April 8, loved the last one.

Big Grams — Big Boi meets Phantogram, sounds good on record, want to see them do it live.

LCD Soundsystem — Like everyone else, happy for the reunion… and now we must all dance.

Chris Cwiak

THU: Kurt Vile – good God, “Pretty Pimpin” is such a great song. Has sort of a tragic feel to it that I find irresistible. ‘I woke up this morning, didn’t recognize the man in the mirror’ Kind of the XRT Morning Show theme.

Lana Del Rey – “West Coast” was a highlight for me. Her whisper of a vocal on that song is just a perfect feel for some Lolla under the stars.

FRI: Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool…yes it is! My love for this band has only grown in the last couple years. “Moaning Lisa Smile” is just a pure, simple joy of a rock song. Love the guitar tone and Ellie Rowsell’s voice.

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls – I need to get in touch with someone on his marketing team to put out a shirt with his picture on it as he’s grilling hot dogs. I’m sure he’ll keep it plenty hot to kick off everybody’s weekend.

Radiohead – Saw these guys in Grant Park in August of 2001. What a perfect setting for the band that perfected the book on modern technological disaffection in compressed urban spaces.

SAT: Potty Mouth – I know nothing of this band, and will remain blissfully ignorant so that I might be pleasantly surprised. Some bands I’ll check out based solely on their name, and this is one of those.

Big Grams – What’s that you say? Big Boi of Outkast (Lolla 2014 reunion was their last Chicago show) has collaborated with Phantogram? Well, I like both of those groups, so yes, I will check this out.

Frank E. Lee

Of course I want to see the big hitters at Lolla this year like Radiohead, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem (their retirement was shorter than mine) and the ever sultry Lana Del Rey (who has the best 40’s era Hollywood actress name at the fest this year), but how about New Zealand’s Race Banyon? Is he a fan of the Steve Canyonesque bodyguard in Jonny Quest, one of the best animated TV shows of the sixties where cartoon characters actually died occasionally, and if so, what impact if any does that monicker have on his sound? Find out, perhaps, on the Pepsi stage Friday at noon.

Ghost was known as Ghost BC when I saw them a few years ago in Grant Park, playing Arctic circle doom metal with a lead singer who was dressed as a sort of vampire pope. He drank bottled water and thanked the crowd in a very un-undead way and wore about 50 pounds of costume without sweating in blazing sunshine. See if they can do it again Friday night at 9:00 also on the Pepsi stage. You will need spiritual counseling soon afterward.

Jack Garratt played the WXRT Blue Cross/Blue Shield performance stage a few months ago and he was an amazing multi-instrumental dervish who laid down fancy keyboard and drum loops and then would crack off virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan (his hero) flavored riffs on his guitar. Another Pepsi stage highlight on Saturday.

I’m also going to see my daughter-recommended Lettuce, a funk band from Boston on the Petrillo stage on Friday afternoon, Frankie without a period on the BMI stage on Saturday and Chicago legend and Bad Example Ralph Covert, who once beat me out for an info-mercial because he had better hair. He rocks Kidzapalooza on Friday afternoon. I’ll be wearing Sponge Bob.

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