April 2015 events calendar for Chicago

Plan your April in Chicago with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, theater openings and art exhibits

Photograph: Max Herman
Costumed attendees flock to McCormick Place for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2).

So long as it's not one of those Aprils cursed by snowstorms, it's finally safe to crawl out of winter hibernation and go on an Easter egg hunt. Celebrate the arrival of spring by pigging out on sizzling dishes with fellow pork enthusiasts at the annual Baconfest. Get out and see the folks behind your new favorite records, including shows from Father John Misty and José González. Slip into your favorite spandex jumpsuit and hit the floor at C2E2, where comic legends like Stan Lee will hold court amid a sea of fans and merch.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2015

Featured events in April 2015

Belle & Sebastian

Critics' pick

For years we've argued with friends that Belle & Sebastian is not just a twee act. The band rocks & rolls live, even on the tender stuff, and on its last few albums it has punched up the guitars, leaned back into funk grooves and polished the sound with an L.A. producer. The Scots' new comeback record is anything but milksop mumblecore. No, it's not EDM, but you can drop it on the dancefloor to great effect.

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Riviera Theatre Friday April 3 2015

Chicago Quarter Marathon

Critics' pick

If an entire marathon seems a little too daunting, try going one-fourth of the distance at the Chicago Quarter Marathon. The 6.55-mile race kicks off outside Soldier Field and takes participants south along the Lake Michigan shoreline before looping back to the stadium's shadow for a post-race party with snacks, awards and live music. Proceeds from the event benefit Prevent Child Abuse America.

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Soldier Field Saturday April 4 2015

CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights

Critics' pick

Vinyl lovers can sift through thousands of records, including rare finds, at this annual event hosted by CHIRP Radio. Enjoy sets from local DJs and sip on some suds (or a a cup of joe) as you dig for that original pressing of Frank Zappa's Hot Rats.

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Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall Saturday April 11 2015

Neil Diamond

Critics' pick

On his recent Rick Rubin–helmed albums, including his latest, Melody Road, Neil Diamond stripped away the schmaltzy layers that he accumulated over the decades, to fine effect. Though he's touring in support of that album, we're willing to bet that the singer may favor a more hits-based act at this show. Though Diamond has left the sequined shirts behind, don't bet on a fully austere Neil: to completely purge Neil Diamond of kitsch would be to steal his soul.

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United Center Tuesday April 14 2015

Lake FX Summit + Expo

Critics' pick

Produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the inaugural Lake FX Expo + Summit will give practicing artists and creative professionals a place to meet and learn more about their craft. The four-day conference will feature keynotes by industry leaders, workshops, networking opportunities and showcases of local music and film. Confirmed guests include Sire Records founder Seymour Stein and a Second City creative team.

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Chicago Cultural Center Thursday April 16 2015 - Sunday April 19 2015 Free

Baconfest

Critics' pick

Fried-pork cultists flock to this fest showcasing the best of the best bacon inspired foods, drinks, and crafts. This year's event will feature greasy dishes cooked up by notable chefs, including the folks from Bottlefork, Three Floyds and Trenchermen. Did we mention everything has bacon in it? Tickets for the sizzling celebration go on sale on February 16.

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UIC Forum Friday April 17 2015 - Saturday April 18 2015

The Daily Show Writers Standup Tour

Critics' pick

The writing staff behind the "fake news" staple, The Daily Show step out from behind the scenes to take their moment in the spotlight in the stand-up showcase, followed by a Q&A where you can ask all those personal questions about Jon Stewart.

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Lincoln Hall Saturday April 18 2015

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

Critics' pick

Celebrating its fifth year in Chicago, C2E2 brings a ton of comic book creators and some notable TV and movie stars to McCormick Place. If you hit the floor, you'll find costumed attendees mingling in a sea of comics, toys and assorted memorabilia. The event also offers a slate of panels, including another appearance by Stan Lee. If you want to nerd out for a weekend, this is the con you’re looking for.

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McCormick Place Friday April 24 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015

Concerts in April 2015

Amen Dunes

Critics' pick

Amen Dunes, the tripped-out bedroom-psych vehicle of Damon McMahon, takes the stage in support of a new effort, Love. He crafts lackadaisical psychedelic rock, with some nice melodies and scratchy violin as well as guitars and drums. If you're brave enough and you can find a patch that isn't too sticky, lie down on the floor and soak it up.

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Schubas Wednesday April 1 2015

Father John Misty

Critics' pick

With a voice like a cactus, one man Band Joshua Tillman has managed to fill the void of his erstwhile group Fleet Foxes (what ever happened to them?). The bearded crooner brings windswept indie-folk from his new Sub Pop release, I Love You, Honeybear. He's the kind of artist who once stuffed a novella into the liner notes of a record. We're assuming the new one is not a concept album about the former Chicago Bears cheerleading squad, but who knows?

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Vic Theatre Friday April 3 2015

OK Go

Critics' pick

The playful power-pop quartet and masters of the viral music video return to their former hometown, bringing songs from its fourth album, Hungry Ghosts, along with "Here It Goes Again" (the treadmills), "This Too Shall Pass" (the Rube Goldberg device), "This Too Shall Pass" (the Notre Dame marching band hidden in a field). Go watch the stunning optical illusions. They are the Cheap Trick of the YouTube era.

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Metro Chicago Friday April 3 2015

Wand

Critics' pick

Los Angeles’ Wand released their fuzzed–out psych–rock debut on Ty Segall's God? Records in 2014, and those music fans who like Segall's more far–out excursions should defintely cotton to Ganglion Reef. Like–minded hooligans Heaters open.

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Empty Bottle Sunday April 5 2015

Jessie Ware

Critics' pick

On her debut, Devotion, the breathy British crooner brings buttery Sade sexuality to dubstep, building a bridge between Adele and James Blake. In 2014, she returned with grander ambitions, teaming on Tough Love with wunderkind pop producer Benny Blanco, who crafts candy bangers for Katy Perry. Thankfully, the vibe remains understated and downtempo. Bring a date. If not, go home with one.

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Metro Chicago Monday April 6 2015

Hookworms

Critics' pick

Leeds–based neo–krautrockers Hookworms ride their motorik grooves into the Empty Bottle on the heels of November's sophomore release, The Hum, an apt title given the quintet's penchant for drone–y but danceable rock.

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Empty Bottle Friday April 10 2015

Nosaj Thing + Clark

Critics' pick

LA-based Jason Chung crafts synthetic, ambient hip-hop as Nosaj Thing. Expect some new tracks thrown in among tracks from his debut LP Drift. He's produced beats for Chance and Kendrick, but is dreamy by his lonesome, too. Opening is Warp Records veteran Clark, who stunned us with his recent self-titled release, which sounds like the used future of Blade Runner.

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Lincoln Hall Friday April 10 2015

Caribou

Critics' pick

If you liked 2010's Swim, then Caribou's new album of pure, exacting electronica will make your heart sing. It's intimate, ambitious and certainly not for everyone; too slow and strange to dance to, Our Love forces a more concentrated appreciation of its soulful tribute to love. Live, Dan Snaith turns his intimate electronica into mesmerizing motorik. Bliss out.

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Metro Chicago Saturday April 11 2015

José González + Ólöf Arnalds

Critics' pick

A delightful pairing of graceful, minimalist chamber-folk from Scandinavia, this bill brings González, who's haunting and hushed Swedish pop won new fans in Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty movie, and the mystical domestic Icelandic charms of Arnalds, who has a voice like an elf knitting you a sweater. González drops his first LP in eight years in early 2015, Vestiges & Claws, while Arnalds released the ornate Palme in 2014.

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Lincoln Hall Tuesday April 14 2015

Milky Chance

Critics' pick

Because an acoustic guitar is involved, this German duo is tagged with the "folk" label, which is not appropriate. It's like calling Soul Coughing "jazz," and in a way Milky Chance has more in common with that act's chillaxed college-dorm beat. There is the air of a curious '90s one-hit-wonder to this Simon & Garfunkel for the EDM generation. Thankfully, the rest of the twosome's material is interchangeable with that one hit, "Stolen Dance." The other half of the band's formula, opposite raspy rap-crooner and guitarist Clemens Rehbein, is the electronic rhythm of Philipp Dausch. There's a steady locked groove to this electroacoustic dance-pop, making for the most melancholy of dancefloors.

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Vic Theatre Friday April 24 2015
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