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10 Must-See Acts at Lollapalooza

Bassnectar, Passion Pit, Sharon Van Etten and more artists you’ve got to see this weekend

sharon van etten porter robinson tallest man

Gus Stewart/Redferns; Dustin Finkelstein/WireImage; Gus Stewart/Redferns

This weekend, over 140 acts will descend on Chicago's Grant Park for this year's three-day Lollapalooza festival. And while there's no doubt we'll be rocking out to headlining sets by Black Sabbath, Jack White and Red Hot Chili Peppers, they're far from the only awesome artists hitting the stage. Do yourself a favor and show up early enough to catch these must-see acts that are a little lower on the bill, from Bassnectar to The Tallest Man on Earth.

By Dan Hyman

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thenewno2 dhani harrison

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Thenewno2

Dhani Harrison, son of late Beatles guitarist George Harrison, returns to Lollapalooza with his experimental rock crew three years after performing in Grant Park in 2009. While officially a six-piece, thenewno2 is, for all intents and purposes, the brainchild of Harrison and otherworldly sound-maven Paul Hicks.  Prepare to be doused in sonic textures: the band, which recently released their second album, thefearofmissingout, regularly infiltrates their tunes with electronic undulation and synth sorcery. Says Harrison, "You never know what you're going to get."

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Jeff The Brotherhood

Jonathan Leibson/WireImage

JEFF the Brotherhood

Expect to get the early-afternoon Saturday sweat blasted off your face courtesy of Nashville duo JEFF the Brotherhood. Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall have been unloading a whiplash scuzz-rock attack since the early 2000s, but they've seen their star rise in recent years thanks to their over-the-top live performances. The pair linked up with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach for their latest, Hypnotic Nights, a rapid-fire affair. "We tried to stretch it out and keep working," Jake says of the seven-day recording session at Auerbach's Easy Eye Studios. "Hopefully next time we can try and take our time more."

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Michael Kiwanuka

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Michael Kiwanuka

This 24-year-old British soul singer just released his first full-length album, but he's already drawing comparisons to the likes of Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. Kiwanuka's husky croon and affection for the Band-style roots-rock makes Home Again one of the year's best debuts. The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who is featured on a Kiwanuka track called "Lasan," is also gigging on Friday – so don't be shocked if he pops up for a special guest appearance.

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porter robinson

Dustin Finkelstein/WireImage

Porter Robinson

The future of EDM may be in the hands of this 20-year-old DJ from North Carolina. Robinson, who's signed to Skrillex's OWSLA label, will throw down at Lolla founder Perry Farrell's sure-to-be sweaty dance stage on Friday. Prepare yourselves for some seriously heavy trance-flavored beats: "I found that in America, if you're into trance artists like Mat Zo and Arty, you're kind of considered a tastemaker, cool and underground," he says. "I would love to be the person to bring the next sound."

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the gaslight anthem

Griffin Lotz/RollingStone.com

The Gaslight Anthem

In the three years since the Gaslight Anthem last performed at Lollapalooza, the Springsteen-loving New Jersey punks have elevated themselves from a rising side-stage act to bona fide rock stars. Their latest album, Handwritten, ups the bombast to new heights, thanks in large part to frontman Brian Fallon's growing sense of self-reliance. "For the first time, I'm not scared that people aren't going to like this record," he says of Handwritten. “If you want to hang with us, you've got to grow with us."

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of monsters and men

Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty Images

Of Monsters and Men

Thanks to their breakout single "Little Talks" – and its four-on-the-floor remix courtesy of Passion Pit – this Icelandic six-piece, whose sound calls to mind the uplifting folk-pop of Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire, has quickly developed a major Stateside following. Their Lollapalooza appearance marks their biggest US gig to date. The sudden global popularity that followed their debut LP, My Head is an Animal, is still shocking to the band, says co-lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir. "When we were making this album, we weren't thinking about even going out of Iceland to tour or anything like that," she says. "It's very weird. But it's wonderful."

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tallest man on earth

Gus Stewart/Redferns via Getty Images

The Tallest Man On Earth

Excited for Tempest, Bob Dylan's forthcoming new album? Lapping up every minute of the centennial celebrations for Woody Guthrie? You just might love Kristian Matsson, the ironically short-statured Swedish singer-songwriter whose warbly croon, singsong strumming and penchant for poetic folk-pop hits a high-water mark on his latest album, There's No Leaving Now. Aside from a pair of New York gigs in June, Matsson has not played his newest creations in the States yet. "It's gonna be fun to play these new songs," says the 29-year-old, whose sprightly guitar runs are perfectly suited for an afternoon affair. “But also a bit scary."

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passion pit

Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

Passion Pit

The breakout synth-pop stars behind 2009's Manners will arrive at Grant Park armed with a new batch of tunes from their just-released follow-up LP, Gossamer. The festival date took on extra significance for the band after they canceled several recent gigs for reasons relating to frontman Michael Angelakos' mental health. But they're still set for Lollapalooza – so get ready for some of the first-ever performances of Gossamer's Pixie Stix-fizzy pop.

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bassnectar

FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Bassnectar

It's not just this California DJ's sound – a full-on aural assault that draws on dubstep, hip-hop and even metal  – that will throw you: a Bassnectar gig may very well explode into a mosh pit. That's just the way the ex-metalhead DJ, born Lorin Ashton, likes it. "I love mosh pits when the energy's good," he says.

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