Navigating the Lollapalooza lineup can feel like taking an eye exam. In order to learn about lesser-known performers, festival-goers have to read the fine print and do diligent research. Luckily for you, Redacted Magazine did that work already.
Here are 12 artists performing at Lollapalooza 2021 that you might not know about, but you should.
*Times and days of performances subject to change
2:45-3:45 p.m. T-mobile stage
It’s hard to decide whether to compare Orville Peck to Josh Groban or Johnny Cash. His retro brand of country evokes early artists like Cash or Elvis Presley, but his silky baritone could only be a product of classical training. No one knows who Orville Peck really is (he performs with a mask), which adds to the allure of his live performances.
Black Pistol Fire
2:00-3:00 p.m. Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage
If Jack White was from Texas, he’d sound like Black Pistol Fire. Black Pistol Fire is a duo on vocals, guitar and drums that packs the grit and sheer ampage of the Stripes or the Raconteurs, but with Southern twang. Plus, singer and guitarist Kevin McKeown is known to crowd surf while shredding.
12:00-12:30 p.m. Grubhub stage
If you’re into 1980s synthpop with rock n’ roll flourishes, the Tampa four-piece Glove is for you. The group’s haunting lyrics and candy shop synth riffs make for an alluring and addicting listening experience. This is the perfect performance to rock those Christian Roth sunglasses you’re on the fence about.
12:15-1:00 p.m. Lake Shore stage
Fans of Sam Cooke will love Jac Ross. He has mad gospel pipes and uses his R&B chops to tackle huge topics like racism, mortality and evil. His 2020 release “It’s OK To Be Black” is a bona fide protest song – as joyous as it is defiant. Audience members should be prepared for a roller coaster of a show, ranging from teary-eyed crooners to songs you want to dance to.
12:15-1:00 p.m. Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage
R&B singer and rapper Charm La’Donna isn’t new to the music scene. A choreographer by trade, she’s worked for A-listers like Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa. Now, the choreographer from Compton is flexing different muscles. Her debut EP La’Donna flaunts infective beats and rhythmic dexterity. And you can expect Charm’s Lollapalooza performance to include powerful choreography.
1:45-2:45 p.m. Lake Shore stage
Hinds’ raucous brand of indie rock is informed by mainstays like Guided by Voices and the Vaccines, but also has elements of garage rock revival that roughen their sound. This past year’s album The Prettiest Cure brought Hinds closer to solidifying their place in indie rock cannon. And unlike the male-dominated groups that front the garage rock scene, Hinds boasts four women.
UPDATE: Hinds cannot attend Lollapalooza due to visa complications.
5:45-6:45 p.m. Lake Shore stage
Punk, hardcore, garage rock and indie all inform the Louisville, Kentucky-based White Reaper. Tracks like “Make Me Wanna Die” exhibit clear Ramones influence, from the racing BPM to their signature countdown. But the band’s latest release You Deserve Love is mellower, evoking artists like MGMT. What they’ll choose to play at the festival is yet to be seen.
1:50-2:30 p.m. Grubhub stage
The indie rock singer from Michigan (surprise) fits right into the cannon alongside artists like the Lumineers and Peach Pit. But with his earnest lyrics and ethereal instrumentals, he brings something new to the scene. Michigander’s EP Everything Will Be Ok, released this year, hones the artist’s upbeat indie sound.
12:00-12:30 p.m. Grubhub stage
This four-piece La Mirada, California. rides on bad girl nostalgia. Their indie rock tracks like “Our Love Will Always Remain” have a 1960s doo-wop flavor, while their punkier music like “Suck on This” oozes im-cooler-than-you energy. And if you crave a dose of early aughts pop punk, they cover of “Take me Away” from Freaky Friday.
12:50-1:30 p.m. Grubhub stage
The pop punk/punk trio from Missouri sounds like blink-182’s evil twin. Their music would be decidedly pop-punk, except shredding guitar solos and the lead singer’s rumbling voice err on the punk side. Radkey’s tracks are catchy, and their performance will encourage some head banging.
1:15-2:00 p.m. Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage
Sofía Valdés’ voice is the aural equivalent of a luxury spa experience. It’s one of the most soothing, angelic singing voices ever heard from a pop singer. It’s clear that Valdés knows how to write for her voice, because the mellow instrumentals on her tracks complete the package.
2:10-2:50 p.m. BMI stage
Chicago-based pianist and singer Neal Francis embodies all things retro, and he’s got a Roger Waters haircut to prove it. His music incorporates jazz, gospel, rock n’ roll, soul and Motown without sounding cluttered or lost. Francis has a knack for sensing the perfect spot for a Hammond organ chord or a sax solo, and at a high level, his music makes you want to dance.
Featured image: Lollapalooza 2021 © ItchyEyePhotos – All Rights Reserved
Kira Leadholm is the co-editor-in-chief of Redacted Magazine. Kira recently returned from a year living in Kazakhstan where she reported on the climate crisis, LGBT+ rights, labor issues and the arts. Currently, she studies social justice and investigative reporting at Medill School of Journalism, and she holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago.