Concert Preview: Lollapalooza 2017 (Thursday, August 3 - Sunday, August 6, 2017 in Grant Park)

Concert Preview: Lollapalooza 2017 (Thursday, August 3 - Sunday, August 6, 2017 in Grant Park)

Lollapalooza gets started Thursday in Grant Park featuring headlining performances by Muse, Lorde, The Killers, Blink-182, Chance the Rapper, Arcade Fire and more throughout the weekend. Check out our full weekend preview for under the radar picks, a look at the local Chicago artists performing, plus a rundown of the hottest after shows... 

Every year I say it and every year it's true: Lollapalooza is bigger than ever in 2017.

Eight stages featuring nearly two hundred acts offers hardcore music fans an unparalleled opportunity to catch a ridiculous amount of great live music.

But, this year, some of the best music will be seen in small clubs throughout the city as after shows get underway Tuesday night with Jon Bellion at Metro. Bellion performs alongside Max and Anthony Pavel as part of Nelarusky. Nelarusky once again kicks off the officially sanctioned Lollapalooza after show schedule. In its eleventh year, the all ages benefit seeks to raise funds for Special Olympics and gets underway Tuesday at 6:30PM (doors open at 6).

This year's slate of after parties is one of the more impressive in recent memory. As per the usual, Metro remains ground zero for the biggest, most surprising shows hosting Bellion Tuesday, Spoon Wednesday, Blink-182 Thursday, Foo Fighters Friday, Arcade Fire Saturday and The Head and The Heart on Sunday.

Also impressive this year is the inclusion of local artists. Every year Lollapalooza makes an effort to feature local Chicagoland talent. But this year that permeates every level of the festival, from the headliners on down, across genres ranging anywhere from rap and rock to soul and EDM via the inclusion of Chance the Rapper, Kaskade, Kweku Collins, The O'My's, Whitney, Whethan, The Walters and Noname.

Gates open each day at 11AM with performances ending at 10PM and there's plenty of great music to see. Here's a look at the headliners and beyond, as well as a rundown of the local artists performing and the best after shows taking place each night...

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Thursday, August 3

Headliners: Muse, Lorde, Lil Uzi Vert, Porter Robinson
Who else: Spoon, Wiz Khalifa, Cage the Elephant
Local artists: Kweku Collins, The O'My's
Reason to get there early: White Reaper (12:30PM), Temples (2:30PM)

Coolest after shows: Ryan Adams at the Vic, Blink-182 at Metro, Cloud Nothings at Reggie's, PUP at Empty Bottle

One of the sets I'm most looking forward to comes early on the first day in the form of a rare appearance in the sun by Oasis vocalist Liam Gallagher at 4:30PM on the Grant Park stage. The biggest appearance of his American comeback tour thus far follows a Wednesday night after show within the intimate confines of Park West.

Rock and roll is supposed to be unpredictable and nobody mastered that concept quite like Oasis. Gallagher thrives in front of a large crowd and Thursday's set ought to be interesting not just for the music (a mix of Oasis classics and cuts from his forthcoming solo debut As You Were) but for the pointed barbs that are sure to leave his mouth between songs in the form of actual words as opposed to rambling online tweets.

The dulcet tones of English singer songwriter George Ezra follows shortly thereafter at 5:30PM on the Lake Shore Stage but it's the reemergence of Lorde that threatens to steal not just the show but the weekend. Lorde's 2014 Lollapalooza set was an instant classic and the New Zealand born singer songwriter returns this year looking to avoid the sophomore slump supporting the brand new Melodrama.

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Friday, August 4

Headliners: The Killers, Blink-182, Crystal Castles, DJ Snake
Who else: Run the Jewels, Gramatik, Foster the People, Ryan Adams, Tegan & Sara, Phantogram
Local artists: Whitney, Matt Skiba (Blink-182)
Reason to get there early: Jesse Malin (noon), Mondo Cozmo (1:50PM), PUP (2PM)

Coolest after shows: Foo Fighters at Metro, Live at Park West, Royal Blood at Lincoln Hall, Foster the People DJ set at Headquarters

Arguably the deepest lineup of the entire weekend, Friday's schedule features reasons to get there early and stay late.

Jesse Malin, Mondo Cozmo and PUP will play to criminally small crowds by virtue of their placement so early in the day. If you catch only one of the three, make it PUP. The Canadian punk rock quartet is terrific live and would make Joe Strummer proud in the way they approach injustice.

In 2012, Cloud Nothings were one of the best acts I saw on stage at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Five years and three studio albums later, the band has graduated to a mid-afternoon main stage slot at Lollapalooza (3PM on the Bud Light stage). The punk element is still there but the songwriting is as strong as its ever been on the new album Life Without Sound and the Cleveland quartet's hooks are infectious in the live setting.

The Pretty Reckless, fronted by former Gossip Girl actress Taylor Momsen, remains the single most laughable interview I've ever conducted. Hopefully their live set at 3:45PM on the Lake Shore stage speaks as a stronger statement for their music than their frontwoman has when interviewed.

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Saturday, August 5

HeadlinersChance the Rapper, The xx, Mac DeMarco, Kaskade
Who else: Sylvan Esso, The Head and The Heart, alt-J
Local artists: Chance the Rapper, Kaskade
Reason to get there early: Lady Pills (noon), San Fermin (1:30PM), Warpaint (2:15PM)

Coolest after shows: The Shins at the Vic, Car Seat Headrest at Lincoln Hall, Barns Courtney at Schubas, Kaskade at Prysm

Lady Pills is a female indie rock trio from Boston with a focus on melody that exposes their Berklee training. They get Saturday's festivities started at noon on the Pepsi stage.

L.A. rockers Warpaint are responsible for one of summer's best songs in the aptly titled "New Song" and they perform early Saturday as well, at 2:15pm on the Grant Park stage.

And if a June 2015 appearance at Metro was any indication, one of Saturday's highlights could come before the sun even sets as UK rock duo Royal Blood takes to the Lake Shore stage at 5:15PM for one solid hour of pure, unbridled rock and roll.

"They play with the spirit of the things that have preceded them, but you can hear they’re going to take rock into a new realm – if they’re not already doing that. It’s music of tremendous quality," said Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. How two people make that much noise remains anyone's guess. 

But 90s nostalgia takes precedence as reunited York, Pennsylvania rockers Live take over the Tito's Handmade Vodka stage at 6PM.

One of the best selling groups to emerge from the mid-90s alt rock scene (1994's Throwing Copper album eventually went eight times platinum behind the strength of #1 singles like "Selling the Drama" and "Lightning Crashes"), Live never performed at Lollapalooza during its travelling 90s heyday. They fix that with a pair of Lollapalooza performances this weekend (they also perform Friday night at Park West).

The group is fronted by founding member Ed Kowalczyk for the first time since 2009 and is road testing their first material with him on vocals since 2006. They're also celebrating the 25th anniversary of their studio debut Mental Jewelry with a forthcoming reissue.

But expect the biggest crowds of the weekend to assemble Saturday night on the south end of Grant Park.

Organizers are attempting to offset what could be one of the single biggest crowds in Lollapalooza's Chicago history by scheduling the weekend's two biggest local names at the same time on competing stages: Kaskade at 8:30PM on Perry's stage opposite Chance the Rapper at the same time on the Grant Park stage. The only problem with that is that both of those stages are right next to each other.

And that problem is about to become a familiar one for Kaskade, who also headlined Perry's stage in 2015, a performance that fell opposite Paul McCartney on the nearby Grant Park stage and nearly drowned him out. McCartney made his irritation very clear so we'll see Saturday if Chance the Rapper's biggest homecoming concert is impacted similarly or if festival organizers learned from 2015.

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Sunday, August 6

Headliners: Arcade Fire, Justice, Rae Sremmurd, Zeds Dead
Who else: Grouplove, Big Sean, The Shins, Lil Yachty
Local artists: Whethan, The Walters, Noname
Reason to get there early: The Walters (12:50PM), Barns Courtney (1PM), Noname (2:50PM)

Coolest after shows: The Head and the Heart at Metro, Borgore at The Mid

Car Seat Headrest attracted some attention online with a cover of Talking Heads' "This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)." But the Seattle lo-fi quartet has been releasing albums since 2010 and 2016's Teens of Denial may be the best of the lot. Check them out Sunday at 3PM on the Bud Light stage.

Charli XCX is always fun in the festival setting and returns to Lollapalooza for an hour set at 3:30PM on the Lake Shore stage.

This year's Lollapalooza rap and hip hop offerings are top notch with Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty proving it Sunday at 6PM on the Tito's Handmade Vodka stage.

James Mercer and The Shins perform for one hour starting Sunday at 6:30PM on the Grant Park stage but the standout alternative act of the weekend is Arcade Fire.

The Canadian sextet makes its return to Lollapalooza for the first time since 2010, supporting an album that's not even a week old: Everything Now (their fifth).

The album has thus far gotten mixed reviews but Arcade Fire, with their uncanny ability to channel the live excitement and sound of Talking Heads, is one of the rare bands that performs just as well in front of 50,000 people as they do 500 (if not better). Expect them to steal whatever crumbs Lorde leaves them Thursday as they close out Lollapalooza 2017 Sunday night.

- Jim Ryan ( @RadioJimRyan )

(Details on Lollapalooza 2017 in Grant Park below)

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Lollapalooza
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Thursday, August 3 - Sunday, August 6, 2017

8 stages throughout Grant Park

Gates open at 11AM each day
Performances end at 10PM each day
All ages

4 day general admission passses = SOLD OUT
Single day general admission passes = SOLD OUT
VIP and Platinum packages = Still available

Click HERE to purchase tickets

Questions? Click HERE for the official Lollapalooza festival FAQ
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