5 concerts to see this week
Festival season officially kicks off with the first local edition of the Electric Daisy Carnival, the standard of EDM festivals in America. It's at a racetrack. (RECOMMENDED: 5 best nightlife events this week.)
Janelle Monáe and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Due to health concerns, Aretha Franklin had to pull out of the CSO's 24th annual Corporate Night. Those are big shoes (and hats) to fill. But kudos to the Chicago Symph for pulling this ace out of their maestro's sleeve. Atlanta future-soul darling Janelle Monáe steps in, hot off a monster fun. collaboration (that you can't really hear her in) and a fresh new jam with Erykah Badu, "Q.U.E.E.N." Not the Queen of Soul, no, but Symphony Center just got way hipper on the blogs. The 27-year-old's sci-fi concept album The Archandroid was dripping with cinematic strings, so this is totally going to work wonders. Symphony Center. May 20 at 7:30pm. $75–$175.
Laura Marling + Liam Hayes Here's something we keep saying each with each Laura Marling release: It's a modern classic, her best yet. The intense, radiantly lovely young English singer plays behind Once I Was an Eagle, her just-released fourth album. The 16 tracks (yeah, it's a trek) flow in one long uninterrupted strum. The Joni Mitchell, Julie London and Fairport Convention comparison are still apt, but there's more muscle flexing in this folk. I hear a lot of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" and Led Zep III. Few artists in their twenties can do so much with so little, just a guitar and air. Local baroque pop man Liam Hayes of Plush opens. Athenaeum Theatre. May 23 at 8pm. $25–$30.
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound + Yoko and the Oh No's + The Ye Ye's Chicago's hardest-working, hardest-hustling R&B band, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, celebrate a new album on Bloodshot, Howl. Recorded in Montreal, the platter sees the soul act impressively stretching out. "I hope we just get better, better, better," Brooks croons on "Rouse Yourself." Considering all the modern touches, they have. Lovable girl-group the Ye Ye's cover French pop of the '60s with garage vigor. Absolutely Not is the brainchild of Donnie Moore and generates infectious one-two beat punk chords. All in all, a fantastic bill of retro-minded locals. Mayne Stage. May 25 at 9pm. $28.
Chance the Rapper It's inevitable and stupid that Chance the Rapper will be compared to Chief Keef. The headier and occasionally silly hip-hop of Chancellor "Chance" Bennett has nothing to do with trap. Because of geography, Kanye comparisons are common, too, but that's not exactly right, either. Well, Chance perhaps calls to mind College Dropout, when Kayne was nerdier and hungry. No, the first rapper that came to mind when hearing Chance was Childish Gambino, who appears on his fantastic new mixtape Acid Rap. Acid is an apt description. Both nights are sold out, but tickets can be found online. Jump on them. Metro. May 25, May 26 at 7pm.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. + Tunde Olaniran Are you one of those people who goes to the sundae bar and puts every topping on your ice cream? Then you'll slrup up this genre-blurring pop bill. Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., now underdogs on Warner Bros., craft maximalist feel-good ditties that bring to mind a candy Passion Pit, especially the new "If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't on the Dancefloor)." Fellow Michigander Olaniran is a fascinating WTF three-way between TV on the Radio, Major Lazer and Antony, drop shifting from melodramatic crooning to bhangra fire spitting. Huh? Lincoln Hall. May 24 at 10pm. $15.