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Cherry-picking the Lollapalooza lineup: We’ll take Outkast for ACL

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 26, 2014

Lollapalooza released the festival’s 2014 lineuptoday. Three-day passes to the Chicago festival presented by Austin’s C3 Presents, the same company that produces Austin City Limits Festival, sold out in less than two hours yesterday. Single-day tickets to the festival were released and promptly sold out today. But unless you were planning to hop a plane to Chicago to get your festing on, the Lollapalooza lineup is only relevant in that it gives us a platform to speculate about potential ACL Fest artists. So guided by nothing but personal preferences, instincts and eight years of experience covering the festival I’m going to dig into the lineup to pull out likely candidates for a Zilker Park appearance this fall.

Let’s start with the headliners. ACL Fest will complete its transition from folksy fest of yesteryear to modern music juggernaught by booking OutKast. This transformation has been in the works for years, and it’s not the first year the festival has had a hip-hop headliner, Kanye played in 2011, but OutKast will still feel like an epic shift. The ATL rapper’s reunion tour is 2014’s hip-hop highlight. That show will sell out in minutes.

However, my money says ACL Fest is not ready for two hip-hop headliners and Lollapalooza headliner Eminem will not make the cut. This is all for the best. Em’s 2013 release “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” revisits many of the themes that were pervasive in the first “Mathers” album that dropped in 2000. Thirteen years later, the daddy issues and murderous rage against the women in his life that propelled his early career just feel sad and trying. We can definitely do without that one.

The rest of the Lollapalooza headliners include rockers Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon who both played ACL Fest last year, the latter as a Saturday night headliner. Neither are likely to repeat. Holding up the Electronic Dance Music component of the festival are genre superstar Skrillex and Scottish DJ/Producer Calvin Harris. After several years spent increasing the presence of electronic music — Skrillex was a headliner in 2011 — ACL seemed to scale back on EDM last year. Nonetheless, there is an element of ACL Fest that feels like it’s booked for folks in their 40s-50s and their teenaged kids and therefore either or both of these guys could show up.

On the second tier, the Avett Brothers, who seem to show up every couple years could easily be on deck for ACL 2014. New Zealand’s teen sensation Lorde would also make a good bet for the sunset set as would perennial Austin fave Spoon who are set to drop a new album this year. Last year’s breakout act Chvrches, who are mid-tier on the Lollapalooza lineup could be bumped up to early evening for ACL Fest as could Fitz and the Tantrums who also seem to show up every other year.

Foster the People, who were all over South by Southwest could make an appearance as could Broken Bells the Danger Mouse/James Mercer project. Unless the contract was signed before his lukewarm Auditorium Shores SXSW show, it’s unlikely that Childish Gambino will be back. Cage the Elephant, The Head and the Heart and Young the Giant are all ACL vets who could put in a repeat appearances.

Deeper into the ACL lineup it gets interesting. Chance the Rapper, the Chicago upstart who took the Internet by storm last year would be great in a 2-4 p.m. set. Phantogram, Phosphorescent and Warpaint all had great SXSW showings and are likely to return as are 2014 SXSW breakout acts London Grammar and Betty Who. Another SXSW breakout act Future Islands is not on the Lollapalooza lineup, but I fully expect them to be back for ACL Fest.

I would love to believe that ACL Fest was progressive enough to book Run the Jewels, the excellent rap collab project from Killer Mike and El-P or Blood Orange, the amazing avant R&B undertaking of Devonte Hynes. Shoot, I’d even take Jhené Aiko but those might all be pipe dreams. Radio-friendly Australian rapper and model Iggy Azalea on the other hand seems likely.

Missing from the Lollapalooza lineup are the solid heritage acts that ACL Fest hinges its lineup on and traditionally closes with. The Replacements who played Riot Fest in Chicago last year and are on tap to play Coachella Fest this year fit that bill. I could see them as the Saturday headliner but Sunday tends to go bigger and older, so I’ll throw out another pipe dream. Bruce Springsteen kicks off a tour in support of his new album “High Hopes” next month. He plays March Madness Fest in Dallas on April 6 and New Orleans Jazz Fest on May 3. If ACL Fest booked the boss it would be a huge “get,” but hey, as long as we’re dreaming, let’s dream big.