The Most Metal Non-Metal Bands Playing Lollapalooza 2016


The lineup for the 2016 incarnation of the annual Lollapalooza celebration doesn’t feature any outright metal acts as it has in past years (Metallica performed last year and Black Sabbath did so in 2012, to name a couple), but that doesn’t mean the four-day festival in Chicago isn’t worth attending for metalheads in the upper Midwest. Au contraire, there’s a whole lot to love about this year’s lineup for fans of the heavy, although it doesn’t necessary present itself in the form of blast beats and HM-2 pedals. Here are a few of my favorite acts on this year’s bill.


Nothing are on Relapse Records, which is itself a hell of an endorsement; if the label that signed Mastodon, Baroness and The Dillinger Escape Plan digs them — and Black Anvil, Dying Fetus, Hooded Menace, Inter Arma and countless others — then surely I will, too. There’s also the blatant Dinosaur Jr., Sunny Day Real Estate and Dinosaur Jr. worship, which, if you’re of a certain age, you’ll absolutely be into.

Die Antwoord

This hugely popular South African group is a hybrid of dance, electronic, rap and pop, and they go hard as fuck. They’re also really fucking weird. I can’t say I know too much about them, but every time I stumble upon a video of theirs — or anything visual, really — I’m transfixed. By extension, I expect their live show would be a blast. Take a look:

Leon Bridges

There’s something that’s so emotionally heavy about old-school R&B of the type Bridges plays that I’m tempted to call it “metal” on the weight of that heft alone. But no, this is not metal, or even close; it’s just really damn good music that fans of all genres should be able to appreciate. Bridges’ soulful voice that does the heavy lifting in his songs, but he’s a fine guitar player too.

The Snails

Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands fame lends his voice — and, presumably, dance moves — to The Snails, whose latest album Songs From the Shoebox is an incredibly enjoyable, upbeat affair. It’s tough for me to separate Herring’s pipes from Future Islands, so I’ll venture that anyone who likes FI will also like Snails, but there’s a bit more rock and a bit less synth-pop happening here. Show up for The Snails’ set and maybe you’ll even get some of Herring’s patented death growls.

Jane’s Addiction

Although Jane’s have roots in metal they’ll always be more on the grunge, alternative and punk tips than anything else. You’re in for a helluva show, though; big stage production, props, extensive lights (and maybe video screens and pyro too), the whole nine. Do not miss, even if you long ago wrote off Jane’s Addiction as being past their prime.

If you’re traveling to Chicago for Lollapalooza and need to find an affordable place to stay that’s centrally located, check out www.chicagohotels.org for all sorts of deals!

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