After a year off, we are so so excited to be returning to Lollapalooza in our hometown of Chicago! We’ll be recapping the 4-day weekend events in a normal post like usual, but with even more coverage since we were also accredited with a photo pass for the first time this year. Who’s ready?!
Hope to see you in Grant Park in just 8 days!
In chronological order:
Finish Ticket, 12:50-1:30pm
Genre: Indie rock
RIYL: Bad Suns, COIN, Vacation Manor
I found Finish Ticket a few months ago through another band that I really love, and honestly I went to listen to them because I assumed I might like them by association. And although their sound is a lot heavier and darker than the one I’m used to from my usual indie boy bands, you can tell they can be a force on the stage.
The strong guitars and upbeat drums sound just about perfect for a sunny afternoon concert, and I am so glad I’ll be getting to hear them for the first time in that exact scenario. Plus they just seem like three very low-key dudes! Which I think is always nice to see in the midst of all the try-hard rockstars and cocky artists you can find at a festival. – Javi
The Beaches, 1:15-2pm
RIYL: The Aces, The Regrettes, Beach Weather
Despite making music together for several years, The Beaches have only recently had their breakout, thanks to, you guessed it…TikTok!! Their viral single “Blame Brett” is a hilariously funny, goofy, and poignant song that tells the story of becoming jaded after a bad breakup and the hopes of learning from your mistakes.
The Canadian band first released their debut album in 2018, which led them to winning the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year. So it’s pretty evident the group has been making waves in the Canadian scene, and I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time before they conquer the US.
Matt Maltese, 1:15-2pm
Genre: Alt. pop
RIYL: Oscar Lang, Vansire, Charlie Burg
Every time I talk about Matthew I talk about how deeply depressed he makes me, but in a good way, in the way he forces me to connect with my deepest darkest feelings. If you’re looking for a calm, heartfelt way to start out a crazy festival, Matt Maltese is your man. He brings the perfect mixture of minimalistic music and some of the most profound lyrics you’ll ever hear, and he’s just a really nice dude on stage.
The Brit will be in charge of opening the T-Mobile stage for the weekend and leave everybody reconsidering their life choices for the rest of the year, so approach his set with caution (but approach it no matter what). – Javi
Dope Lemon, 2-3pm
RIYL: Cub Sport, Lime Cordiale, Tash Sultana
Angus Stone is no new to the music industry, but his latest alter ego, DOPE LEMON, is one of the newer names showing up on festival lineups. The Australian has been making music for over two (two!) decades, originally following his parents footsteps in the quintessential folk reign, but more recently he’s transitioned into a chill, beachy indie rock, although still bringing some of the folk energy into it.
The 37-year-old’s latest album, titled after his biggest hit “Rose Pink Cadillac”, is a hodgepodge of genres, as Stone takes a stab at a variety of styles (even jumping into R&B territory with “Every Day Is A Holiday” and succeeding) which I’m sure will turn his set into a nice treat for casual bystanders and attendees looking for fresh new music. – Javi
RIYL: Sam Fender, Catfish & The Bottleman, The Wombats
If you’re looking for that one band that is playing on the main stage at Lollapalooza and seems to sound like a British rock band ready to play in a stadium, you’ve come to the right place. I had only heard of Lovejoy in passing before the Lollapalooza lineup, but once I started listening I was convinced of this band’s potential.
Lovejoy’s music reminds me of early 2000s Brit-rock music, like The Wombats and The Arctic Monkeys, along with the likelihood that Lovejoy is going to be the next group to fill that space in the scene right now. If you’re looking for a solid rock performance, definitely check out Lovejoy.
Spacey Jane, 4-5pm
Genre: Indie Rock
RIYL: Soccer Mommy, The Wombats, Local Natives
The Spacey Jane Aussies have become one of my comfort bands in the past year, they’re just so musically pleasing and really transmit the sunny energy of being down under through their music (says someone who has never been to Australia in her life). Caleb Harper’s voice is so easily distinguishable and different from the ones I’m used to hearing in indie bands, it’s become like a little nice surprise to hear his voice when I’m shuffling my songs.
The quartet arrives at Lolla one year after releasing, “Here Comes Everybody,” an album that is just perfect for a live performance that is guaranteed to have an audience that are not necessarily your fans. I’m so excited for them to be performing on big American stages and hope that they get the love they deserve in this other half of the world. – Javi
Junior Mesa, 12:30-1:15pm
RIYL: Lostboycrow, Inner Wave, meija
I’m still not sure how to describe Junior Mesa or his music, other than by saying that it’s impressive and genre-jumping. His biggest song to date, “Losing My Grip,” is an upbeat folk-pop song where he sings excitedly and chirpily, but then you jump into “What’s Enough pt.2,” his second most streamed, and it’s a perfect mix between indie pop and R&B song.
The man knows exactly what he’s doing in both cases and I don’t think I fully comprehend how.He’s one of the smaller artists in the lineup (you can spot him literally on the last row of the poster,) but I think he has some of the biggest potential to make a very big impression. He gets to open up Tito’s stage, which is right by one of the main stages, and even though he plays really early, hopefully he still gets a nice enough crowd to leave in absolute awe. – Javi
Hemlocke Springs, 1-1:40pm
RIYL: Beabadoobee, Clairo, Grimes
I’m not sure how many artists with only five songs manage to get on the lineup of one of the biggest festivals in the wold, but hey, Hemlocke Springs did it! Springs’ name may sound familiar because her 2022 single “Girlfriend,” which was only her second released single, did that thing and went crazy viral on TikTok and is now about to hit 30 million streams on Spotify.
I don’t believe Springs, who is only 24-years-old, has much live performance experience, so I definitely think this is an artist to arrive early for. One day, she’ll be the person we all talked about seeing before they made it big. Mark my words!
Sincere Engineer, 1:15-2:15pm
Genre: Pop punk
RIYL: Against the Current, The Front Bottoms, Mom Jeans.
How can you not root for a pop punk artist whose career plans were once built around studying to become a dentist? That’s the actual truth behind Chicago-native (Orland Park, to be exact) Deanna Belos’ project called Sincere Engineer. The band just finished a run performing on the Sad Summer Festival and will be making their debut at Lollapalooza to close off a successful month of touring.
While Sincere Engineer’s music doesn’t sound like the genres I tend to gravitate towards, their pop punk sound reminds me greatly of the bands that made me fall in love with the live music experience as a pre-teen and teenager. And if being sentimental about a past time in your life because of music doesn’t click for you, I don’t know what will. – Kristin
Sudan Archives, 2:45-3:45pm
RIYL: SZA, Jamila Woods, Amber Mark
The following paragraph was written by Emma M. on Staged Haze’s Best Albums of 2022 post:
“Sudan Archives’ Brittney Parks got her start as a violinist; she learned mostly by ear during her childhood in Cincinnati. It wasn’t long until she decided to, in her own words, “show the blackness of the violin” by making her own music. That sonic innovation practically explodes on Natural Brown Prom Queen, a project that draws on a litany of musical traditions: rap, R&B, electronica, pop, and more.”
I’m all for taking the opportunity to see someone perform that you may not see in outside of a festival, and Sudan Archives absolutely fits that bill. – Kristin
Charlotte Sands, 4:30-5:10pm
RIYL: PVRIS, Lilyisthatyou, Amelia Moore
I think anyone who’s a moderate music fan knows that the pop punk space is incredibly over-saturated with men, so I am very much rooting for Charlotte Sands.
I first stumbled upon Sands after her 2020 viral single “Dress,” inspired by the unnecessary controversy over Harry Styles wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue. While that song feels a bit poppier than the rest of Sands’ discography, she seems most at home in the pop punk space: her feature on the song “Loved You A Little” with Taking Back Sunday and The Maine is about to hit 23 million streams on Spotify. – Kristin
Sabrina Carpenter, 5:45-6:45pm
RIYL: Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Julia Michaels
Not going to lie, I somewhat regret Staged Haze leaving Sabrina Carpenter’s Emails I Can’t Send off our Best of 2022 list. To be fair, the album didn’t really resonate with me until it was too late, and it’s better to show some well-earned love late than not at all! Sabrina’s about to embark on Taylor Swift’s Europe dates of The Eras Tour: easily the biggest opportunity of her career thus far (she got her start on the Disney Channel).
My only qualm is that Lollapalooza tends to put rising female artists on a smaller stage compared to a main stage, which guarantees that Carpenter’s crowd is going to be insanely massive in a tight space. It is what it is! – Kristin
Declan Mckenna, 6:30-7:15pm
Genre: Indie Pop
RIYL: Wallows, Sam Fender, Inhaler
If you know me, you know how much I adore this little indie white boy, but I think I have valid arguments for it. Even while trying to write this I had to stop and think about potential artists he could be similar to, because to me his sound is very much his own brand. It leans into rock, but it also gets psychedelic and poppy at times, and it can even sound a little bit folky.
It’s like the selection of sounds shouldn’t make sense but it does, and it always ends up feeling like quality music. Yes, Brazil went viral on TikTok eight years later and that has brought a whole new world of listeners into Declan’s crowd. But to me he was one of the first artists to open a door into the spectrum of indie artists that are constantly experimenting with the kind of music they can make, and hopefully his performance can get other people to also see his talent and musical uniqueness. – Javi
RIYL: almost monday, JAWNY, Summer Salt
Arlie’s another one of my comfort bands from the last couple of years, they just make feel good music with lyrics that are also very aware of how we’re not feeling too good, and that is a very safe place for me. To be honest, they’re potentially one of the sets I’m most excited about even if I’ve already seen them live before and know that they’re not that big.
Their debut album came out about a year ago and it was even better than I expected, so it’ll be fun to hear some of those songs live, and although their set is shorter than average for some reason, they put on such a good show that I’m sure they will be able to go full out for the fans and the new spectators during the time they have. – Javi
Arcy Drive, 2:10-2:50pm
RIYL: flipturn, Briston Maroney, Sarah and the Sundays
Including Arcy Drive on this list is kind of funny considering they have only two songs officially released, but even the rest of songs’ live versions they have on Spotify sound incredible. Their sound is fully representative of what at least I consider indie rock, like they fully embody indie rock without having to try.
Their latest single “They Don’t Dance” still sounds raw and self-produced, but it only adds onto the charm of it all – it allows you to see that these are just friends that wanted to make music, and that just happen to be stupidly good at it. I have a feeling that seeing them live might also feel like watching your friend’s band perform for the first time and being shocked at how good they actually are. – Javi
Genre: Alt. pop
RIYL: Del Water Gap, Winnetka Bowling League, The Regrettes
I went through the lineup to look for new names when we were planning this write up, and I surprised myself when I realized I actually had multiple Windser songs saved. I just hadn’t actually looked into the artist himself, but he makes the exact kind of music I tend to hyper-fixate on every few months (which means incredibly good music, must I add).
His songs feel effortless and flowy, verging into the alternative but still staying friendly enough for the average music listener, which is a perfect mix in my opinion. If you love feeling pretentious but actually just LOVE pop music, Windser might be the perfect new artist you need in your life 🙂
Aidan Bissett, 5:40-6:20pm
RIYL: 5 Seconds of Summer, Claire Rosinkranz, Peter McPoland
Let me just start by saying that I’m still shocked and disappointed to see that Aidan is only getting a 40-minute set at the smallest stage of the festival. The boy has 1.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify and a decent-sized following for God’s sake, so I’m not sure what that’s about. However, I am convinced that his set will not go unnoticed. Aidan’s indie pop is as fun as it gets, it’s the type of music that will get everyone jumping up and down and just having the time of their lives during the short amount of time Lollapalooza is giving him.
He’s only 21-years-old and at the beginning of his career, so I’m sure we will see him at Grant Park again soon (at a much bigger stage or I will throw hands), so I hope he has the time of his life this year and that the audience is able to appreciate the potential of the artist in front of them and they get to enjoy the songs because they’re all bops! – Javi
RIYL: Taylor Swift, UMI, Madeline the Person
Niki Zefanya caught my ears last year when I heard her single “Before,” one of my favorite songs of 2022, thanks to Zefayna’s incredible, imaginative storytelling ability that paints a picture for the listener in the same way Taylor Swift can (I know this is a heavy compliment, and I wholeheartedly believe it). After hearing the full album, Niki, that comparison grew even stronger in my mind, thanks to songs like “Facebook Friends,” “High School in Jakarta,” and “Backburner.”
Niki’s music is heavily influenced by artists like Destiny’s Child and Aaliyah, but also by folk and pop artists like Taylor Swift (of course). She cites growing up in Indonesia as influencing her worldview as well as her music. – Kristin
Sarah Kinsley, 12:15-1pm
Genre: Indie Pop
RIYL: Mitski, Dora Jar, Quinnie
Gen Z artist Sarah Kinsley has skyrocketed to landing on some of the country’s biggest music festival lineups this year after her song “The King” found viral success on TikTok in 2021, and her debut EP of the same name was named one of the “top debuts” of the year by NME.
Thanks to Sarah’s classically-trained background as well as her experience studying music theory in college, Kinsley has quickly become an artist to watch this year. – Kristin
Ella Jane, 1:50-2:30pm
RIYL: Maude Latour, Chloe Moriondo, Gracie Abrams
21-year-old Ella is not only an amazing singer, but also one of the best pop songwriters I think have been around in the last couple of years. She’s not only relatable in a Taylor Swift way, but also knows how to touch on common subjects without falling into the clichés, and she’s been open about both the creative and personal ways the industry has affected her as a young woman in the industry.
I think I just love her because she’s not only super talented, but she also feels genuine and real, something that sometimes can be hard to do when you’re trying to make it big. I’m so excited for what’s next for Ella and her career, and I’m so happy that she’s getting big opportunities to showcase her stardom potential. – Javi
Magdalena Bay, 3:30-4:30pm
RIYL: Kim Petras, charli XCX, Sofi Tukker
I’d just like to start out by reminding you all that I tend to dislike electronic music, but there are probably less than 10 artists in this space that 1) I actually like and 2) would see live if I had the chance, and Magdalena Bay is at the top of that list and a few others also made the Lolla lineup this year.
I haven’t had the chance to see Magdalena Bay live, but I have seen snippets of their live performance online, and I absolutely envision everyone who chooses to see Magdalena Bay on Sunday afternoon will have an absolute blast.
RIYL: Moses Sumney, Leon Bridges, Joesef
Once in a blue moon, I will actually venture out of my very small genre comfort zone of pop and indie music and I really should do it more often, because when I do, I find artists I love like Gabriels. Gabriels is a R&B/soul trio born out of Los Angeles whose 2022 debut album Angels & Queens co-produced by Sounwave, known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs, Red Hearse (who dropped my favorite album of 2019), and more. They also played a handful of shows opening up for Harry Styles last year in Austin.
If you’re looking to experience a unique performance during Lollapalooza weekend, this is the one not to miss. – Kristin
Holly Humberstone, 4-4:45pm
RIYL: Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo, The 1975
It’s hard to believe that 2023 is Holly Humberstone’s first time at Lollapalooza, but better late than never! If you’ve followed Staged Haze in any capacity, you’re probably familiar with Humberstone, who first gained notoriety back in 2019 when she made her debut at Glasttonbury, on the BBC Music Introducing stage.
Afterwards, she quickly signed with Polydor Records in the UK and Interscope in the US. Humberstone, who has toured with the likes of Girl in Red and Olivia Rodrigo, is set to release her highly-anticipated debut album Paint My Bedroom Black on October 13. – Kristin
Check out all of our previous festival coverage here.