So where does the “little blues-rock duo that could” go from here? With a headlining spot at Lollapalooza, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have headlined practically every major festival stateside. At this point, the next step is just one of those free Central Park gigs where 8 million New Yorkers, all of which are at least familiar with the band, turn the city into one giant garage-rock party. If you’re one of the few who haven’t seen them yet, the duo’s show is just like their music: stripped of all theatricality and bombast in favor of minimalist rawk.
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Red Hot Chili Peppers
The California funk rockers have risen to the top tier of touring acts by releasing incredibly catchy songs with unusually meaningful lyrics for like three decades. Bassist Flea has just started releasing solo stuff, so with any luck they’ll play some of that. Actually, with any luck they’ll play “Californication” and “Under the Bridge”!
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The second you start thinking of Sabbath's return as a novelty, check yourself. The metal forefathers have come out ferociously on their last few tours, pioneering behemoth sound intact. And no matter how bumbling Ozzy appears on his MTV dalliances and various non-singing appearances, the guy can still shriek. In tune. Spectacularly. As a bonus, you'll also get a great new memory: That time a crowd of thousands and thousands all WHOAAA-oh-OH-OH-OH'd the opening riff to "Iron Man" as a gigantic singalong.
Given how fast Jack White's tour tickets sold out this year, it would be a major blunder to miss the White Stripes maestro gone solo when he plays Lollapalooza. Working alone hasn't made Jack a dull boy—'Blunderbuss' is busting with scorching rockers like "Freedom at 21" and "Sixteen Saltines." More importantly, you should show up and support White any time he boldly enters the sunlight.
Florence and The Machine
The velvet-lunged Florence had to take a break for a moment to avoid vocal damage, but by all accounts she seems back at it in full force. With an album as solid as 'Ceremonials' still glimmering in the rear-view mirror, prognostications for Flo and co.'s performance rank somewhere between "incredible" and "have to go take a nap now 'cause that was so good the only thing that will top it is a dream."
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At The Drive-In
These guys are nothing if not intense, and intense live shows are nothing if not the best. Even if you've managed to catch one of the sparse dates the reunited post-hardcore progenitors have played since stoppering their 11-year-hiatus, that's no excuse not to be amped out of your head to spend some quality time with 'em onstage at Lolla. Who knows how long they'll stick around this time?
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At least learn to pronounce the Swedish DJ’s name before you catch his set: it’s “uh-VEE-chee.” The 22-year-old wunderkind also goes by the name of Tim Berg, and while that moniker might be unfamiliar, you definitely know his track “Levels”—Flo Rida borrowed it for his smash “Good Feeling.” Bring your most comfortable shoes and a heart rate monitor to his set —dude’s gonna make you work it out.
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This French electronic production duo had a string of hits off their 2007 album '†' and they’re known for causing cases of severe ass-shaking and mild going crazy with their Daft Punk-esque live show. But if you get too close to the stage they might blow your ears off with beats. Just kidding! They wouldn’t do that.
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Labeled both the “Songbird of his Generation” (The Source) and the “best musical talent since Michael Jackson” (MTV), Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd’s 2011 mixtape 'House Of Balloons' was not only critically acclaimed, but also probably responsible for a couple pregnancies. His sexy blend of electronica, R&B and dubstep caught the attention of fellow Canadian Drake, who put The Weeknd all over his 'Take Care' album. Check out “What You Need” and “High For This.”
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This Scottish quartet, named for the Austro-Hungarian Archduke whose assassination provoked World War I, had a major crossover hit with 2004’s “Take Me Out,” but they’ve been releasing solid dance rock tracks ever since. They’re playing Lolla in support of their forthcoming fourth album, which lead singer Alex Kapranos has promised to stay tight-lipped about, so catching them live will probably be the best way to hear their new stuff before anyone else does!
That instant in "Bad Religion" where Frank Ocean sends his voice way up high? It's Ocean 101 in a single note—honest, powerful, musically adventurous and emotionally devastating. It's a pretty inarguable standalone reason to see the guy perform right off the release of his debut, 'channel ORANGE.' Unconvinced? How about the 10-minute party-in-a-box known as "Pyramids"? Listen, this is the beginning of Frank's era, and missing an icon in his first moments just seems silly.
You’re obviously showing up to Passion Pit’s set to jump and sing along to “Sleepy Head,” but don’t stop there. The group canceled several gigs so frontman Michael Angelakos could deal with mental illness issues, so this will be a welcome return. While many electropop acts are known to fall flat live, the Massachusetts quintet stand out amongst their peers. Brush up with 2008’s 'Chunk of Change' EP and get to know their recently released sophomore album 'Gossamer.'
When three pop superproducers need to blow off some steam after working with Britney Spears, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Bruno Mars, what do they do? They form an indie pop band! Miike Snow scored a big hit with “Animal” in 2009 and are probably looking to follow that up with another hit. Actually, they don’t even need any more hits!
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It’s been four years since the release of Bloc Party’s last album (2008’s 'Intimacy'), so we’re guessing fans will show up from far and wide to hear new tracks off the British rock band’s next release, 'Four,' due out just a few weeks after Lolla. A friendly reminder—no matter how romantic or nostalgic lead singer Kele Okereke has you feeling, do not text your ex.
The Afghan Whigs
If you read ‘zines in the mid-90s, or have a cool older brother, you’re most likely excited about the reunion of indie rock quintet Afghan Whigs, led by frontman Greg Dulli’s tales of woe and self-loathing. After breaking up in 2001, the group reunited briefly in 2006, only to go quiet again until earlier this year, when the band headlined indie rock haven All Tomorrow's Parties. Will they wait another six years before playing again? Yeah, you’re gonna want to catch this one.
Sharon Van Etten
Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten writes brittle folk with a bite. It's just the right sound for that "early" Friday 3pm slot; something to get you geared up for the rockness to come.
The Swedish soul-synthpop quartet might have come from a quiet place but lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano is anything but. The group blends Motown influences with pop sensibilities, so don’t be the only a-hole in the crowd not dancing when you show up to their set. Prep yourself with Little Dragon’s 2011 release, 'Ritual Reunion.'
Ever since Skrillex has gone from young Sonny Moore to uber-mega-superstar, the dubstep DJ/producer has paid it forward, establishing his OWSLA label and signing 19-year-old North Carolina DJ/producer Porter Robinson, who King Skrillex has dubbed "one of the most incredible songwriters in EDM." Robinson's debut EP Spitfire quickly reached No. 1 on influential dance music chart Beatport, but it's all about the live show, right? The Chapel Hill musician already has traveling EDM festival Identity and a cross-country tour with Tiësto on his résumé. This’ll be his chance to impress a more general crowd.
This UK dance producer, who started out releasing songs that he sang on with 2007’s “I Created Disco,” has recently started making huge beats (read: Rihanna’s “We Found Love”) and doing a solo EDM thing on tour. He’s incredibly tall, which has nothing to do with his music but lends him a magisterial quality, giving him the appearance of king of the dancefloor. Catch his set if you like to shake your rump.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Second chances are rare in hip-hop, but Seattle rapper Macklemore has battled from substance abuse problems—documented in the Red Hot Chili Peppers-sampling “Otherside”—to become an increasingly popular live draw. Buoyed by Ryan Lewis’ soulful beats and creative samples, the duo use Lollapalooza as the jumping-off point for a four-month tour through Europe and the U.S. Expect to hear the Gaelic pride anthem “Irish Celebration” and ode to corporate lambasting “Wings” as part of the high-energy set.
The War On Drugs
The brainchild of singer-songwriter Adam Granduciel, War on Drugs blend traditional Americana with Granduciel’s love of ’80s and ’90s British rock. On last year’s ‘Slave Ambient,’ the Philly psych-folk group mix swirling synths, chugging guitars and woozy melodies to create an album equally informed by Spiritualized, Springsteen and side two of David Bowie‘s ‘Low.’
JEFF The Brotherhood
This Nashville duo was one of our Bands You Need to Know this spring, largely based on their electrifying strengths as a live act. It'd be uncool of you—if not downright unpatriotic—to miss the fuzzed-out clanging and the often fuzzily comforting spectacle these two brothers harness onstage with nothing but a guitar, a drum kit and a dream.
LP is Laura Pergolizzi, a singer-songwriter who penned Rihanna's 'Loud' hit "Cheers (Drink To That)" and a song Christina Aguilera sang on the 'Burlesque' soundtrack (hey, you can't win 'em all). But on her own, the Los Angeles-based artist has bold, gripping songwriting style—each one of her songs make you think you've known it for years. That being said, you probably do know her solo track "Into the Wild" from that Citibank commercial. Live highlight: The singer's earnest, howling version of Beyonce's "Halo."
The psychedelic sister band to Australian indie rock outfit Pond has album number two coming out this October. It's called 'Lonerism,' but the atmospheric, melodic jams these Aussies embark on don't feel solitary. Tame Impala are much more likely to produce a communal head-bobbing session, like a bunch of hipsters at space rock camp.
Emily Haines's synthpop outfit has been producing confessional pop anthems (yes, such a thing is possible) for more than a decade now, and they never disappoint. In a Fuse Q&A, Haines summed up her aesthetic perfectly: "I love the idea of this vulnerability and honesty on the one hand, but then the music behind it has such confidence and energy and strength."