Lollapalooza 2013: 33 Must-See Bands

PMA’s Official Lolla Endorsements, 2013. Feel free to follow or deviate completely as per your hearts’ content.

As you well know by now, it’s summer festival season, and since we can’t afford to go to every single one, we’re going to live vicariously through you at Lollapalooza this weekend. Here’s what we would do if we were hitting up Chicago’s Grant Park – following, PMA’s Official Lolla Endorsements, 2013. Feel free to follow or deviate completely as per your hearts’ content. (Navigate through the article by clicking on the blue arrows)



1:30-2:15 Deap Vally @ Petrillo Stage OR Icona Pop @ Lakeshore Stage

We strongly endorse starting your weekend off with a duo of badass ladies. The choice between Deap Vally and Icona Pop is yours, depending on your music taste and your personal state of mind – are you feeling more “if the White Stripes were two women” or “I don’t care, I love it!” Whatever the case, you’ll get an equal dose of DGAF attitude and infectious jams.

2:30-3:15 Smith Westerns @ Red Bull Stage

For some reason Smith Westerns’ third record Soft Will has been kind of overlooked (though we have a feeling that reason is called Yeezus), despite being great and well-reviewed. Dudes always put on a good show, and we’ve heard the new stuff sounds great live, so they’re the obvious choice to fill your 2:30 slot.

3:15-4:15 Jessie Ware @ Petrillo Stage

Wind down into the late afternoon with Jessie, whose slow-burning jams will sound great in the Chicago heat.

4:15-5:15 Band of Horses @ Bud Light Stage OR Crystal Castles @ Red Bull Stage

Again, the choice is yours – we couldn’t possibly pick between two bands we love with such disparate sounds. If you’re feeling a chiller vibe, hit up Band of Horses, but if you want to start your rave-packed evening off right, push your way up front for Crystal Castles.

6-6:45 Disclosure @ the Grove Stage

Disclosure’s set is practically imperative – keep in mind that the Lawrence brothers have just released a record jam-packed with sweaty summer jams, and with a high likelihood of Jessie Ware joining the boys for Settle highlight “Confess To Me,” you do not want to be anywhere else.

6:15-7:30 Queens of the Stone Age @ Bud Light Stage OR New Order @ Red Bull Stage

After Disclosure’s set, you’ve got another tough decision to make between two awesome reunions. You’d best hope Hermione Granger is there to lend you her time turner, because this one’s borderline impossible. Get your ‘80s groove on with New Order (please call me if they play “Age of Consent”) or relive listening to alternative rock radio as a preteen with QOTSA.

7:25-8:25 Hot Chip @ Lakeshore Stage

Hot Chip have the bad luck of being kind of a placeholder, but if you’ve got the energy, you must check them out. We’re betting they premiere some new material – let us know.

8:15-10 Nine Inch Nails @ Bud Light Stage

Yeah, we know the Killers are playing at the Red Bull stage and Lana Del Rey will take to the Grove stage at the same time, but you kind of have to see NIN – it’ll be the band’s first performance in the United States in years, they’ll play brand new Hesitation Marks material, and we heard Trent Reznor was inspired by the Talking Heads’ classic concert movie Stop Making Sense in designing the band’s live appearances on this tour. Basically, what’s stopping you?




3:30-4:15 Haim @ the Grove Stage

Take it easy this morning – Haim’s the first must-see band on our schedule. The sister act was one of my favorites at SXSW, and they’re sure to wow Lollapalooza with their peerless onstage energy and charisma  – cross your fingers they play their unreal cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.”

4-5 Local Natives @ Red Bull Stage

What with those group vocals and effortlessly anthemic jams, Local Natives always put on a great show. If you’ve seen them before, you know the Red Bull Stage will be the place to be – and if you haven’t, all the more reason to check them out.

4:45-5:30 Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ the Grove Stage

We love UMO in part for their deceptively chill jams – all that haze and nonchalance belies some intense guitar work from frontman Ruban Nielsen – so they’re pretty much the ideal band to spend your sweaty late afternoon with.

5:45-6:45 Foals @ Petrillo Stage

Foals have been blowing it out of the park at their recent UK festival appearances and “Inhaler” and “My Number” are still two of the catchiest indie rock songs in recent memory, so this is where you’ll want to be.

6-7:15 the National @ Red Bull Stage

Having seen them outside in the pouring rain, I can attest to the fact that the National are always great live, and if you’re close up enough, Matt Berninger will get right up in your face when he inevitably crowd-roams. Watch them play all your faves from Trouble Will Find Me, and if you’re lucky, they might break out stuff from as far back as Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers. Stay down with your demons.

6:45-7:45 Kendrick Lamar @ Bud Light Stage

Basically, obviously. Hopefully Kendrick’ll deliver one of his notoriously awesome freestyles, and maybe Lady Gaga will show up. (Please, can this happen.)

7:15-8:15 Death Grips @ the Grove Stage

If Kendrick Lamar’s not rave-y enough a rapper for you, join Zach Hill, Andy Morin, and MC Ride, and get fucking brutal.

8:30-10 Postal Service @ Bud Light Stage OR Azealia Banks @ the Grove Stage

Your decision for your headliner tonight basically depends on what you’ve just done. If you’ve just come from seeing Death Grips, you might want to keep up your emotional high and check out what Azealia’s got to offer (maybe, another Broke with Expensive Taste premiere?). If you’ve just spent your time chilling with the National, you’ll probably want to check out the Postal Service reunion. Basically, this is up to you – either will be an awesome way to end your Saturday.




Noon-12:45 Guards @ Lakeshore Stage

Yeah, we know it’s Sunday morning, but try and smuggle your brunch in and kick it off in style with Guards.

1-1:45 Palma Violets @ Bud Light Stage OR Orwells @ the Grove Stage

Okay, what breed of bratty pop-punk boy band whose ages likely average under 21 are you into seeing at one in the afternoon? Would you prefer some charming Brits or some Dave Sitek-endorsed local boys? We can attest for both these bands’ live chops, so the decision’s yours.

2-3 Angel Haze @ Perry’s Stage

This is practically a requirement if you want to be our friend. SEE ANGEL HAZE.

3:30-4:15 MS MR @ the Grove Stage

Another requirement for PMA bro-ship – the Brooklyn ensemble MS MR delivered one of our favorite debuts of the year. Frontwoman Lizzy Plapinger’s charisma is off the charts, and the band’s fuller live lineup really bolsters their sound. They’ll likely play material off said album, Secondhand Rapture.

4:45-5:30 Wavves @ the Grove Stage

I’ve never seen a not-fun Wavves show, although one time someone stomped on my foot with their high heel. If you’re not wearing high heels, or if you are and you promise to be really careful, shove your way into the pit and go hard. We’re hoping for new songs (maybe one about frontman Nathan Williams’ recently deceased hero, James Gandolfini).

5-6 Alt-J @ Lakeshore Stage

How could you not want to see frontman Joe Newman recreate Dat Falsetto (yes, capitalization necessary) live?

6-7 Grizzly Bear @ Red Bull Stage

AND/OR 6:30-7:45 Vampire Weekend at Bud Light Stage

AND/OR 7-8 Beach House @ Lake Shore Stage

Okay, here’s where the going gets really tough. Out of Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, and Beach House – literally three of our favorite bands – we can’t possibly pick just one to recommend you check out. We’d probably be running around to all three of them, but if you want to spare your feet and/or are too exhausted, try and pick two. Beach House will likely play new material, Vampire Weekend might bust out their “Blurred Lines” cover (we’re on our knees praying for this), and Grizzly Bear’s Shields has still got legs, not to mention those guys put on one of the best live shows known to man. Godspeed in your decision-making.

8-10 the Cure @ Red Bull Stage

AND/OR 8:30-10 Phoenix @ Bud Light Stage

AND/OR 8:45-9:45 Cat Power @ the Grove Stage

And, voila, end your Lolla weekend with another impossible decision. Relive the ‘80s again with the Cure, or check out the always-awesome live shows of Phoenix or Cat Power. Any decision would be a good one.

As always, we hope you have a fun, safe, and totally awesome weekend. We’re that friendly spirit whispering in your ear, drink so much water. Enjoy, and let us know what you see.