Lake Villa's Ax and the Hatchetmen set to take Lollapalooza stage Thursday

'If Bille Eilish is around, I'd love to say hello'

Rob Elgas Image
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Local band Ax and the Hatchetmen set to take Lollapalooza stage
Ax and the Hatchetmen, who practice in a Lake Villa garage, are part of the Lollapalooza lineup.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A seven-piece band that practices in a north suburban Lake Villa garage will debut on stage at Lollapalooza Thursday.

College students by day, rising stars by night, this young band from the north suburbs called Ax and the Hatchetmen have scored a spot on this year's Lollapalooza's lineup.

"Hatchetmen's another word for hitmen which we are...not an ounce of," lead man Axel Ellis said

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Several members including Ellis have never been inside the Lolla gates.

"I've grown up like watching Lollapalooza from the lakefront," Ellis said. "Like I would bike to the lakefront."

The band spends a lot of time in a garage built by Ellis's father, melding their diverse musical backgrounds together.

"We've got a really fun concoction as least I feel like of influences of jazz, blues, and classic rock and alternative and surf," Ellis said.

While Ellis feels incredibly lucky to perform at the festival, his bandmate Hunter Olshefke feels slightly differently.

"Yeah no, it's...I'm really nervous," he said.

When asked what advice he would give to young aspiring artists like himself, Olshefke urges them to "just keep doing it."

"If little me was asking, yeah, playing at Lollapalooza would be the most fun thing I'd had in my head growing up in Chicago," Ellis said.

Ax and the Hatchetmen are proud to be from the Chicago area and they have a special love for the city's outdoors and food selections.

"Red Hot Ranch is a burger joint you'll catch us at very often," Ellis said.

If you happen to catch their set at Lollapalooza, the group hopes you "genuinely have a good time."

"I mean. if Bille Eilish is around, I'd love to say hello," Ellis said.

Ellis is grateful for his bandmates' dedication to each other and their music.

"I kind of won the lotto in that regard," he said.

You can catch Ax and the Hatchetmen on the Bacardi stage Thursday at 2:50 p.m.