Lollapalooza’s 2017 Lineup: One Day Later

A close look at this year's highlights, surprises, omissions, and least interesting gets


There’s something achingly nostalgic about Lollapalooza’s 2017 lineup. Maybe it’s seeing Muse at the top of the bill for a third time in a decade? Or the fact that Arcade Fire and The Killers are together again like it’s 2005? Or perhaps it’s all the blatant indie rock? Wait, is that fucking Live on there? As in, Ed Kowalczyk’s Live? It is!

Yeah, there are plenty of reasons to be reaching for that pair of rose-tinted lenses while looking at this lineup, and not all of them are entirely positive. Because really, the strongest hallmarks of this poster aren’t what defined us 10-15 years ago, but what’s happening right now in the present, and for that, it’s not too shabby.

Chance the Rapper gets to finish his marathon year at home to arguably his biggest crowd. Lorde gets to be trusted with a headlining slot, despite the fact that this could have happened three years ago (no lie). Run the Jewels look primed to take the big stage after slumming it on the sidelines multiple times. And yes, we got Migos.

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Oh, the Atlanta collective aren’t the only gem to be found in the rough. Ryan Adams, who’s been missing from so many lineups this summer, returns for the first time in over a decade, bringing with him this year’s best record. Spoon is also joining in for the fun, as are The xx, Cloud Nothings, The Japanese House, and Liam Gallagher.

Of course, that doesn’t make up for the downright ugly inclusions on this lineup, all of which we’ll get into in the pages ahead. These range from festival repeats/leftovers to downright carnival fare that simply doesn’t belong on a Lollapalooza lineup, at least not where they’re all currently at in their respective careers. Oh well?

That’s one way to see it. Another way is to step back, look at it as a whole, and take this lineup for what it is: an agreeable tribute to the core values of Lollapalooza with a top line that stresses a love for alternative music. Sure, some of their choices may be uninspiring, to say the least, but you can’t fault them for trying to be succinct.

So, see you in August? Sure, why not.

–Michael Roffman



Chance the Rapper

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Photo by Heather Kaplan

By far the biggest story of the weekend will be Chance the Rapper’s hometown showdown. Out of all the headlining spots he’s got booked this summer, none hold as much weight as this one. It’s another graduation story for the books — going from Lolla’s BMI Stage in 2013 to Pitchfork’s main stage in 2015 to whatever field the White Sox play on these days in 2016 to back to Lolla as a headliner — and it’s all the better because it’s a local hero. Here’s hoping he actually invites his friends to join him on stage this time around, especially since Lil Yachty and Noname are on the lineup and Grant Park is more or less a train ride away for Saba, BJ the Chicago Kid, and the Chicago Children’s Choir. If he’s lucky, maybe Obama stops by! –Michael Roffman


Arcade Fire

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Photo by David Brendan Hall

Talk has cooled about Arcade Fire’s forthcoming new album, mostly because we know so little about it. But with the band’s first North American headlining set of 2017, that is likely to change. While it’s hardly guaranteed that the Canadian indie rock institution are going to be debuting new songs in Chicago, that possibility adds prestige to a lineup that generally lacks it. Plus, there’s the little known fact that Arcade Fire are one of the best live bands on the planet. That’s a win any day in our book. –Philip Cosores


Ryan Adams

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Photo by Heather Kaplan

Fun fact: Ryan Adams hasn’t played Lollapalooza since 2006. For awhile there, we were starting to think he had a miserable experience, or that he was maybe allergic to something in Grant Park. Nevertheless, he’s back, and with arguably his greatest album in nearly two decades, which only adds more oomph to the ahh. And considering he’s been slotted on hands down the weakest day of the festival, this dickhead writer is going to pretend he’s the true Friday night headliner and leave shortly after his set, preferably humming every song off Prisoner as he makes his way to the closest train home. –Michael Roffman



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Photo by Ben Kaye

The top line of Lolla’s billing looks a little backwards for our preference, but that second line at least lands squarely into some of the brightest stars of the present. Tops among them is Lorde, whose sophomore album will be a month old come festival time. With a set that’s likely to take place on the lower stakes Bud Light stage, and competing against one of the fest’s top-billed acts, Lorde will be eased into the art of festival headlining. At that point, she’ll already be performing at festivals, meaning that Chicago should be in for a well-tuned machine from one of music’s most exciting young artists. –Philip Cosores




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Raindrops, drop tops, one of America’s hottest rap groups is on the lineup. Migos is a group that might have gone to Pitchfork in the past, but demonstrates a pretty strong swell of critical successes that opted for Lolla this time around (also of note: 21 Savage, Rae Sremmurd, Noname, Kaytranada, Run the Jewels, Mac DeMarco, Spoon, Sampha). Sure, many of these groups are big commercial successes, too, but with a bill that largely skews to the mainstream, it’s important to get these crossovers and not lose out to artists looking to align themselves with Chicago’s hipper, other festival. –Philip Cosores


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Photo by Eric Forberger

When we spoke with Live last month, the band noted their excitement at playing 2017 music festivals, and in many ways, they might be the next Third Eye Blind, in that they are a 90’s act getting placed among the best of contemporary music on lineups. Lollapalooza is Live’s biggest festival gig that’s since been announced, and will likely play huge in Grant Park. Fans turn up for songs that they know, and Live promises that in spades whenever they perform. –Philip Cosores

So Much Indie Rock

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Photo by Philip Cosores

What is this, 2007? For a genre that continues to dig one foot deeper into its grave every year, Lollapalooza sure as hell tripled-down on the indie rock/pop. Read between the lines and you’ll see stuff like The Shins, The Head and the Heart, Tegan and Sara, Car Seat Headrest, Whitney, Grouplove, Foster the People, London Grammar, Mac DeMarco, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Sylvan Esso, Little Dragon, The Drums, Alvvays, et al. We’re not complaining, it’s just a surprising change from the festival’s more recent proclivity to book EDM and dance rock. Just don’t forget your corduroy. –Michael Roffman



Kanye West

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Photo by Killian Young

Prior to his health problems at the end of 2016, Kanye West was in line to headline his hometown festival, industry sources have told Consequence of Sound. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a little longer before Yeezy makes his long-awaited return to Grant Park. –Alex Young

The Weeknd

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Photo by David Brendan Hall

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Last night we reported that, along with Arcade Fire, Chance the Rapper, and Muse, The Weeknd would be among the headliners announced on Wednesday morning. So, what happened? Sources tell CoS that the Toronto crooner dropped out Tuesday night over a disagreement with his billing on the poster. The Killers were tapped as a “25th hour” replacement. –Alex Young

30 Seconds to Mars

Jared Leto Joker

Not that we’re losing sleep over this, but 30 Seconds to Mars are opening for Muse on their summer tour, so it begs the question, “Why didn’t C3 go after Jared Leto’s misfit act?” Perhaps they hated Suicide Squad, too. –Michael Roffman

The Smashing Pumpkins

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Photo by Heather Kaplan

Remember when Billy Corgan was teasing a proper reunion of The Smashing Pumpkins not too long ago? And, remember when there were reports about the band shopping one around? Guess nobody took a bite, which is unfortunate because this one could have been a great get for the festival, and for a number of reasons. For starters, the Pumpkins haven’t played the festival since 1994, which tipped off the legendary feud between Corgan and Pavement mastermind Stephen Malkmus, and even better, there’s been a lack of outstanding reunions this festival season. Fingers crossed for Riot Fest? –Michael Roffman


Least Interesting


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Photo by Philip Cosores

Oh, where the hell do we even begin? Okay, let’s go back to 2009, when Blink-182 initially reunited. This would have been a choice time to grab the outfit. They were years ahead of 2011’s Neighborhoods, and more importantly, Tom DeLonge was still singing alongside Mark Hoppus. Instead, they double-dipped on past rock ‘n’ roll headliners and left them to Riot Fest, who wisely booked the band for their 2013 installment. So, now they go after them years and years after the reunion has come to pass, and it’s not even the same band! (Sorry, we love you, Matt Skiba, but you’re replacing one-half of the core songwriting team. It’s not Blink-182.) Seeing them at the top of the lineup is a joke to the Lollapalooza brand name. Who’s going to grace the bill next year? Stone Temple Pilots feat. Chester Bennington? Journey with Arnel Pineda? Laws no. –Michael Roffman


The Killers

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Photo by Philip Cosores

Déjà vu, anyone? –Michael Roffman



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Photo by David Brendan Hall

Muse have taken an awkward approach to headlining festivals in support of their last album, Drones. They opted to focus on their own tour last year, and thus their 2017 festival run is coming off as an afterthought, when they’d have been a much fresher choice in 2016. Fortunately, Lorde is also playing Thursday night, meaning that Lolla’s largely unnecessary extra day won’t be a complete wash. But as it stands, Drones was a flop that didn’t really add anything to the band’s hits catalogue, and the idea of a performance behind it isn’t pumping us up in the slightest. –Philip Cosores


All Those Festival Leftovers

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Photo by Lior Phillips

Okay, now while Blink-182, Muse, and The Killers may not be exciting festival names in 2017, at least there are arguments to be made for the anthems they will deliver. That can’t be said for some of the drivel that found its way on the poster. There’s Wiz Khalifa, maybe the biggest name rapper in the world that I don’t know anyone who actually listens to him. There’s Capital Cities, a band that had one hit song several years ago and are still riding that good will. There’s George Ezra, a dude with a weird low voice that made a minor radio splash a couple years ago and still seems to be getting the label push. There’s The Pretty Reckless, an argument for a return to ’80s hard rock when one should never be made. And Vance Joy, a snoozy songwriter that toes the line between alt and pop without really appealing to fans of either. Lolla will always have a spattering of this major label crap, and we can just hope that there are competing options at the same time. –Philip Cosores