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Lollapalooza 2015: 20 Must-See Acts

Your guide to Chicago’s loudest weekend, with Paul McCartney, Tove Lo and more

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza concertgoers in 2014

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Getty

Lollapalooza is about to explode across eight stages in Chicago's Grant Park. Here is our annual guide to the essential acts — bands justifying their headliner status, emerging acts having their moment and the huge DJs who will be drawing some of the weekend's hugest crowds. 

Tame Impala

C Flanigan/WireImage

Tame Impala

Tame Impala have been touted for penning punchy, psychedelic pop songs since 2009. After several years following lineup changes, solo projects and producing friends' records on the side, the band just released quite the comeback album, the critically acclaimed U.K. Top Five debut Currents. It's not the one you'd expect: the psych rockers are resurrecting a kind of darkened, languid disco. Though the new songs are appropriately synth-heavy, Tame Impala isn't skimping on the heady, improvisation-filled sets fans love, as evidenced by their recent Conan appearance.

Tove Lo

Erika Goldring/WireImage

Tove Lo

Beneath the electro-pop sheen of Sweden's Tove Lo are some of contemporary pop's most intense and subversive lyrics. Her debut album, Queen of the Clouds, contained singles "Habits (Stay High)" and "Talking Body," with both keeping cozy on the charts. Since the release, she's been spreading the Top 40 love, writing hits for Hilary Duff ("Sparks") and Ellie Goulding ("Love Me Like You Do"). She was one of the absolute hugest side-stage draws at this year's Bonnaroo and will embark on her first headlining tour across North America this October.

The Weeknd

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: Recording artist The Weeknd performs onstage during the 2015 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Christopher Polk/BET/Getty

The Weeknd

Four years ago, the Weeknd was Drake's best kept secret. At that time, the elusive R&B singer's biggest foray into the world of "pop" was maybe covering "Dirty Diana." Now he nearly headlines Coachella, joins Taylor Swift on stage and bears a resemblance to Michael Jackson in "Can't Feel My Face," his single produced by Max Martin and currently the Number Two song in the country. The Weeknd's latest hits, along with Fifty Shades of Grey's "Earned It" and "The Hills," have been his biggest in both sound and success. This week, he became the first artist to occupy all top three spots on Billboard's Hot R&B chart. 

Young Thug

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15: Young Thug performs onstage at Beer N Tacos during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Brazos Hall on March 15, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Waytao Shing/Getty Images for SXSW)

Waytao Shing

Young Thug

In just two years, Young Thug has become one of hip-hop's most popular and controversial voices. He occasionally raps of violent stick-ups and molly-fueled threesomes, though what polarizes hip-hop fans is how he does this — gleefully, with a high-pitched voice that slurs, whoops and yelps through his tall tales. His flow is one of today's most influential, his fashion is one of music's most intriguing, and his upcoming debut album HiTunes is one of the year's most anticipated.