These days mega-fests, those massive music extravaganzas that fold a flurry of buzz building newcomers into the same bills as established hit-makers, are a staple of the American concert industry and, arguably, Lollapalooza, which turned 26 this year, is the granddaddy of them all. As the festival is produced by C3 Presents, the Austin company that also runs Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza sets often give us a preview of our own behemoth fest.
Here are five artists who logged standout sets at Lollapalooza who will play ACL Fest this fall.
Chance the Rapper. There was never a doubt that the the hometown hero would draw a crowd, and the Chicago Tribune reports “it seemed like the whole festival turned out” to see the young rapper. He entered on a motorbike and closed his set with fireworks. The Tribune says his set went “heavy on sentimentality and light on hits” which was sometimes problematic, but the overall consensus of coverage describes him uplifting the masses.
Run the Jewels. The rap duo Killer Mike and El-P are known for their blistering live performances, and their high octane Lollapalooza set was no exception. They are also known for connecting with their crowds, who they encouraged to form mosh pits and not sexually abuse women. (Addressing a rising number of sexual assaults at festivals, Killer Mike told the crowd, “Don’t violate women or we will punch you in your (expetive) face.”) But the standout moment came when they pulled up a kid in the crowd who was holding a sign that said “Let me rap ‘Legend Has It’.” He destroyed it.
Spoon. Our own hometown heroes were headliners default, as Thursday night storms rained out sets by Muse and Lorde and they celebrated with a veritable hit parade. “Britt Daniel led indie rock veterans Spoon through what can best be described as a greatest hits show. From “Don’t You Evah” (off “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”) to “Do You” and “Rainy Taxi” off “They Want My Soul,” plus its latest hit “I Ain’t The One” off “Hot Thoughts” — there were no sleepers in this rapid fire rock set,” writes Billboard.
The XX. Programmed against Chance the Rapper, the British dream pop outfit had the worst set time ever and Consequence of Sound says for a headline set their crowd was “shockingly small.” But, the blog notes, the fans who were in it were all the way in. “Everyone who was there was there not because they’d just wandered over, but because they wanted to dance their way into the dreamy, melancholic spiral that consumes everyone it touches.”
The Lemon Twigs. The recent South by Southwest breakouts and 2017 Grulke Prize winners thrilled the Lollapalooza crowd too. “The music of Lemon Twigs is amusing and likable enough on its own — a curious hybrid of psychedelic mischief and classic-rock glam that hits harder than it has any right to (no wonder Tim Heidecker is a fan). But Long Island’s D’Addario brothers stood out on Friday for their playful yet still powerful covers from the late ’70s and early ’80s,” notes Consequence of Sound.