On the heels of their recent turn at the Grammy Awards, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z continue their tuxedo-clad bromance with today's announcement that they'll bring their co-headlining tour to Soldier Field July 22 (tickets go on sale Thursday 28 at 10am). This is a treat for Chicago fans, who haven't seen Hova since he and Kanye West passed through town in 2011 on the Watch the Throne tour, and who haven't seen the former 'N Sync singer since a two-night stand at Allstate Arena nearly six years ago. The flip side to all this is that it effectively rules out Jay-Z as a potential headliner at Lollapalooza, which has yet to reveal its lineup. In other fest happenings, the city released a few details this week about the Chicago Blues Festival. Now in its 30th year, the free lakeside fest expands to four days, June 6–9, with a Thursday evening kickoff in Millennium Park featuring Shemekia Copeland, who has inherited the "Queen of the Blues" title from the late Koko Taylor. Consummate bluesman Bobby Rush headlines Friday, June 7, the first day in Blues Fest's traditional Grant Park digs, representing the genre's Southern roots as part of this year's theme, "Rollin' Up the River." Other new calendar additions include aspiring reggae singer Bruno Mars, whose Moonshine Jungle World Tour arrives at the United Center July 13 with support from avid runner and Skrillex ex Ellie Goulding. In non-arena news, Greg Ginn's reconvened, Henry Rollins–less Black Flag stakes out Reggie's Rock Club for two nights in June. Find these and many other new concert announcements below or visit timeoutchicago.com/bookingahead for a more extensive list of upcoming shows.
Singer-songwriter Trixie Whitley brought her big vocals to the Schubas stage last week. She is touring in support of her solo debut Fourth Corner. Check out our photos from the show.
Before rapper Prodigy reunites with his Mobb Deep collaborator Havoc for the groups' 20th-anniversary tour this spring, the MC treated a packed audience at the Shrine to an expansive solo set. With producer the Alchemist joining him on stage as his DJ, Prodigy coolly rocked Mobb Deep favorites like the grimy “Eye for an Eye,” bouncy solo classics like “Keep It Thoro,” and the slow-rolling “Stuck On You.” The set was well received, but local openers Mass Hysteria also proved to be a highlight of the evening. An impromptu tag-team freestyle session between host Dirty MF and Mr. Greenweedz was the type of moment that made the show feel more like a party and less like a performance. Early arrivers at the Shrine also enjoyed a four-turntable, ‘90s-leaning DJ set by Rude One and Pumpin' Pete.
Booking Ahead | Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Of Monsters and Men, Wavefront Music Festival and Man or Astro-Man?
In an unlikely pairing, comedian and Grammy-winning banjoist Steve Martin and former New Bohemians singer Edie Brickell ("What I Am," anyone?) have teamed up for a forthcoming album and tour, backed by Martin's trusty comrades in the Steep Canyon Rangers. The ragtag crew arrives at the Chicago Theatre July 25 with bluegrass licks aplenty and probably a few yuks, too. Another group enjoying the current folk resurgence is Of Monsters and Men, who return to the Riv May 22 after selling out two nights there in December. The following month brings Southern surf-rock futurists Man or Astro-Man? to the Empty Bottle for two nights. The dates for a number of street festivals were revealed this week, among them Wicker Park Fest, Green Music Fest, Do-Division Street Fest and the EDM-flavored, clothing-optional Montrose Beach bash known as the Wavefront Music Festival, though lineups are still forthcoming. Find these and many other newly announced concert dates below, or visit timeoutchicago.com/bookingahead for a more extensive list of upcoming shows.
Instead of spending all that money on Hallmark Cards every year, guys should watch how Kishi Bashi does Valentine’s Day: The sold-out crowd at Lincoln Hall fell in love with his virtuosic blend of originality and depth (with a handful of tacky Valentine’s confetti thrown in for good measure).
After a solid opening by Plume Giant, a goofy Brooklyn-based folk act with promising harmonies, the porcupine-headed Bashi strolled onstage. There were some concerns in the audience regarding the state of his voice, which he had earlier declared tenuous via Twitter; but all worries were dispelled once he opened his mouth. Flanked by banjo player (and Zach Galifinakis lookalike) Mike Savino and drummer Elizabeth Ziman, Bashi launched immediately into his set to Champagne-augmented cheers.
There's a laundry list of concerts to choose from this weekend. Weekly club nights, Geoff Farina, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are all calling your name.
Friday February 15
6pm, The Whistler
The former Karate frontman brings his signature guitarwork to the Logan Square cocktail lounge.
6:30pm, Corbett vs. Dempsey
Catch the experimental toy pianist and composer in action ahead of her ICElab concert at MCA. Chen performs Mobius for music box with electronics, plus original works for toy piano and a duet with ICE flutist Eric Lamb.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
7pm and 9:30pm, Old Town School of Folk Music (Maurer Hall), $43-45
The Zulu name for this a cappella troupe’s music (isicathamiya) is a certified tongue twister, but the vocal blend of leader Joseph Shabalala & co. is so infectious that statesiders haven’t given up on it just yet. And it turns out that the Ladysmith's high-stepping antics make its show as dazzling to watch as it is to listen to. The group's latest is 2012'sLadysmith Black Mambazo & Friends.
The New York rock band Coheed and Cambria took the stage at the Congress Theatre on February 9. Coheed and Cambria has been successfully showing off their two-part concept album The Afterman: Ascension and The Afterman: Descension. Their album continues with the theme of their albums past with a science-fiction narrative. Coheed and Cambria shared the stage with openers Between the Buried and Me and the group Russian Circles.
Ah, the Grammys. The night where music, its biggest stars (and even bigger diamonds) shine. Yet here we are, the day after, with our Grammy hangover, and it's all a glittering haze of WTF moments and memories of Katy Perry's cleavage. No seriously though, DID YOU SEE KATY PERRY?! Priscilla Presley "homage" aside, last night's awards were a ploy to remain relevant, from LL Cool J's incessant Twitter hash-tag jokes to J.Lo's leg. Let's recap, shall we?
My mom and I sat in my living room watching America's favorite lovesick post-teenager, 23-year old Taylor Swift, open the show with that song that we agreed we never, ever, ever want to hear again. To be honest, I forgot it even happened, I just remember the circus theme where Swifty's latest victim (a stand in for One Direction's Harry Styles?) was tied down to a target. Then returning host LL Cool J reminded the audience, both at the Staples Center and at home, that he had a music career that actually garnered some Grammy love…years ago. A lackluster performance by Taylor's tourmate Ed Sheeran featuring Sir Elton John followed—do you know what that song was called? Me either.
FINALLY an award was given out for Best Pop Solo Performance, which went to Adele for her live version of "Set Fire to the Rain"—obviously deserving, but an upset since she also swept last year's awards. As the beautiful and bubbly new mom accepted her ninth Grammy (she also won Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2009), my mom threw in a "Could she look any more like a frumpy couch?" Fashion policing aside, the show at least began to resemble an awards event after about 20 minutes.
Unlike plenty of other artists today, Ty Segall knows how to keep his fans interested: He’s got a new album in the pipe every few months, he tours relentlessly, and when he comes through Chicago, he usually plays The Empty Bottle. Segall knows it’s more fun to hear scorching garage rock at a hole-in-the-wall which sells $2.50 Hamm’s than at many of our town’s tonier venues, even if he could pack those as well. On Saturday, Segall sold out both the early and late shows.
After shutting down the Super Bowl, Beyoncé's global takeover continues with the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which arrives at the United Center July 17. Let's hope management has some backup generators just in case. Also in the midst of a comeback is Chicago's own Fall Out Boy, who on Monday dropped a new single, "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)"—with an accompanying video starring 2 Chainz—and played an intimate, last-minute gig at Subterranean that sold out in a heartbeat. Fans have a better chance of catching the Wilmette band when it plays the Riviera Theatre May 16. The lineup for Soldier Field's Spring Awakening Music Festival was revealed this week, or at least "Phase 1" of it was, which includes headliners Bassnecatar and Calvin Harris in addition to other EDM heavies such as Paul Oakenfold, Wolfgang Gartner and Zedd. Find these and many other new concert announcements below or visit timeoutchicago.com/bookingahead for a more extensive list of upcoming shows.
Wielding big riffs and a post-punk sound that called to mind fellow British exports like the Smiths and the Psychedelic Furs, the Vaccines sold out Lincoln Hall last night, delivering a performance that—by all appearances—was as sweaty and unhinged as their latest record.
There are plenty of awesome concerts this weekend, so choose wisely. Retribution Gospel Choir is at Schubas and Coheed and Cambria is at the Congress Theater with their two-part concept album—but those are just a few that caught our eye.
Friday February 8
7pm, Chicago Temple, $30-$50; seniors and students $20
American Chamber Opera transposes the action of Puccini's classic opera from Japan to Mombasa, Kenya, in this thought-provoking production. Tenor and Verismo Opera Club founder Bradley Schuller stars as an American navel officer, Lt. Pinkerton, who betrays his faithful wife, Butterfly. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Aid for Africa, which supports the education of women and children in Kenya.
7:30pm, Harris Theater, $15-$30
Chamber-music blockbusters are on the cards this evening. Strauss's lyrical and technically demanding Violin Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 18, shares the bill with Ned Rorem's punch-packing Aftermath for piano and voice trio. César Franck's ultra-expressive Piano Quintet in F minor, allegedly written while he was infatuated with one of his students, brings the evening to a close. Baritone Randall Scarlata is joined by a first-class crew including pianist Gil Kalish and violinist Ani Kavafian.
University of Chicago Folk Festival 2013
8pm, Mandel Hall, $25; seniors $20; students $10
The University of Chicago kicks off its annual Folk Festival, now in its 53rd year, with performances by acclaimed Irish music duo James Kelly (fiddle) & Daithi Sproule (guitar, vocals), old-timey duo Kirk Sutphin & Bertram Levy, bluesman Elmore James Jr., Irish music practitioners Brian Miller & Randy Gosa, and Sheryl Cormier & Family. A weekend pass is available for $55, or $45 for seniors. For more information, visit uofcfolk.org.
Wane's World: A History of "Things"
8pm-11pm, Soccer Club Club, Free
Local racketmaker Running performs at the opening of Becca Mann's solo exhibition at the Northwest Side gallery run by Drag City. The L.A.-based artist is perhaps best known for her work on album covers, most notably Joanna Newsom's Have One on Me.
Yo La Tengo and Chicago have a history, a fact that bandleader Ira Kaplan alluded to several times during the group's nearly three-hour performance at the Vic on Friday night. Back in 1986, the city was a stop on one of the band's first national tours, and they would return throughout the ensuing decades with local groups like the Sea and Cake in tow. More recently, Chicago was the site of YLT's infamous reading of an entire Seinfeld episode during a show at the Metro.
The trio was a fixture in Wicker Park this past summer as they holed up in Soma Studios with John McEntire to record Fade, their latest album, which marks a return to the more subdued sound the band demonstrated on their 1997 release I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One.
Still touring in support of their Epitaph debut, last year’s On the Impossible Past, opening band the Menzingers seem to be finding their home in the comfy confines of pop-punk. They've always been better live than on record, and that's doubly true for the glossed-up simplicity of songs from their record Impossible Past. The band usually displays a bit more energy and tightness onstage than they did tonight, almost flubbing a couple of rhythm changes, but guitarist Tom May did mention that they barely arrived in time for the show. By the end of the set, they’d warmed up enough to knock out “Irish Goodbyes” with aplomb.