Best concerts of the weekend | June 21–24, 2012
There's no shortage of activities in Chicago this summer—and today, the season officially begins. This weekend, there's a myriad of concert options in the city: Here are some of our very favorite upcoming shows.
5pm, Union Park, free
Millennium Park's Summer Dance series may be on permanent hiatus, but Union Park is picking up the slack with weekly Thursday evening sessions featuring ample DJs spinning house, techno, dubstep and drum'n'bass under the setting sun.
Make Music Chicago Grand Finale: Third Coast Percussion
6pm-9pm, St. James Cathedral, free
The daylong festival climaxes in a grand finale with Lyric singers, CSO players, Third Coast Percussion and the Davis Square Park Community Band. Just in case you missed it at Blues Fest, "Sweet Home Chicago" is the jam, in a less conventional manner.
Foster the People + Tokyo Police Club + Kimbra
7pm, Congress Theater
It's easy to see why L.A. indie rockers Foster the People are making major inroads in the Top 40—with their dashing good looks, danceable hooks, and cute, clipped beats, the three boys are naturals for a pop takeover. "Pumped Up Kicks," a radio-friendly hit delivered partly from the perspective of a Columbine-style shooter, emerged as last summer's indisputable anthem—and based on this sold-out run, it's got legs.
Leon Fleisher and Friends
8pm, Ravinia, $10-$60
Fleisher is joined by violists Paul Biss and Kim Kashkashian, violinists Miriam Fried and Pamela Frank and cellist Ralph Kirshbaum for some Mozart and Korngold.
9pm, Lincoln Hall, $15
If you’re under 25 or a die-hard emo nerd, you might be won over by guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse’s earnest vim. The dual-vocalists sing (or, well, holler) about heartbreak and debauchery over uplifting, powerhouse riffs that burn with energy.
Access Contemporary Music
7:30pm, Roosevelt University, $12-$20 ($5 for seniors and students)
Each week, Access Contemporary Music records a work by a living composer posts it to its website. ACM has chosen five of its favorite "Weekly Readings" pieces for this live performance, including Aaron Alon's Spell Amy Wurtz's Ekhlas.
8pm, Star Plaza Theatre, $55-$80
Despite the dramas and tragedies that have haunted this family, it’s a good bet this homecoming gig will be a feel-good reunion.
8pm, Drury Lane Oakbrook, $65
She's a sturdy showwoman with the bittersweet twang of a coal miner's daughter. Country music legend Loretta Lynn will also perform at Drury Lane on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
8pm, Ravinia, $10-$75
Like a latter-day Nancy Wilson, singer Nnenna Freelon glides between jazz and R&B. However, here she sings a tribute to a different vocalist, the late Lena Horne.
Symphony Center Presents Series
8pm, Symphony Center (Orchestra Hall), $26-$205
Riccardo Muti leads the final program of his second season, the same that follows on Saturday and Sunday (see below) with the CSO—Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Bruckner's Sixth.
10pm, Spy Bar, $20
U.K. vet Lee Burridge guarantees a nutty, versatile set of house and techy material when he takes to the decks—he's so freaky, he goes to Burning Man without blinking. Like his cohort Craig Richards, Burridge has held down innumerable residencies, often serving as opening DJ, which—contrary to what you might think—means he's an expert at crafting the night. When he starts stretching out, he's known to cover house, techno, acid and breakbeats.
Ralph "Soul" Jackson
8pm, Martyrs, $15
Ralph Jackson delivered the goods on just a few singles executed with ace musicians at the legendary FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. But John Ciba, local owner of the Rabbit Factory label and the Logan Hardware record store, decided to produce the first full-length album in Jackson's five-decade career. And though the finished product is a lot different than the tracks he would have made on his own, Ralph loves the album. Ralph will play Chicago this week with his band.
Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms
8pm, The Green Mill, $12
The man who keeps the vibraphone vital sits with his wonderful swinging trio, complete with bassist Nate McBride and drummer Mike Reed. Some guests might pop in, too.
Philip Glass and Tim Fain
8pm, Ravinia, $10-$60
Titan of minimalism Philip Glass, 75, sits at the piano with Steans Music Institute alumnus Timothy Fain on violin for an "evening of chamber music." Obviously, you witness Glass in person whenever you can.
Colin Stetson + Frank Rosaly + Sarah Neufeld
10pm, Schubas, $12
The Canadian saxophonist coaxes incredible, layered sounds from his instrument, sounding almost ambient electronic at times. He's worked with Arcade Fire, and that band's violinist, Sarah Neufeld, opens.
10pm, Lincoln Hall, $10
The skyscraping, pummelling local instrumental post-rock act (no relation to Lana) plays what might be its last gig ever.
Green Music Fest
noon-10pm, Wicker Park, $5
The street shindig nabbed two great rock acts to headline, Dinosaur Jr. and the Raveonettes, both of which have new albums due in September.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival
noon-8:30pm, Ellis Park, free
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Mary Mary & the Blind Boys of Alabama headline a festival that stretches from traditional to modern to secular soul.
Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
7pm, Ravinia, $27-$80
Steve Martin is a comedian, actor, playwright, screenwriter, novelist and appreciator of fine art. Of course, the white-haired renaissance man has long possessed at least one other knack: He's a capable banjoist who has played with such notables as Bela Fleck, Earl Scruggs and the Muppets. His concerts are funny and loose—he's no Billy Bob Thornton, ashamed of his stardom—and his albums are lovely. Martin's touring behind his second music LP, a collaboration with the estimable Steep Canyon Rangers entitled Rare Bird Alert.
Scissor Sisters + Rye Rye
7:30pm, The Vic, $37.50
Enjoy a magical hour with New York's fab four (on Pride Sunday, no less!)
Destroyer + Sandro Perri
9pm, Metro, $18
When Dan Bejar isn't fiddling around with the New Pornographers, he mans the hyperliterate Destroyer. The band hits the Metro behind his groovy latest, Kaputt, which sets Bejar's songs against a leathery soft-rock backdrop. Toronto's Sandro Perri starts off the night, playing behind last year's Impossible Spaces.