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Concerts in Chicago in August 2016

Head outdoors for sets from Pearl Jam, Wilco, Billy Joel and more at some of the best concerts in Chicago in August

Photograph: Joshua Mellin
Wilco kicked off its six-night stand at the Riv, Friday Dec 5, 2014.

With Lollapalooza and Pitchfork in the rearview mirror, August is a great time to go see a show that doesn't involve walking between stages. Prepare yourself for the remainder of the summer music festival season by see a show at an outdoor venue or stadium. This month, Pearl Jam comes to Wrigely Field, Wilco takes over Pritzker Pavilion and Millennium Park's summer concert series concludes. Explore our picks of the best concerts in Chicago in August.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago

Concerts in Chicago in August

José González + Tall Heights

Critics' pick

Earlier this year José González turned in a set of haunting and hushed pop at the beautiful Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Hyde Park—now the Swedish folk artist is coming back to Chicago for a performance at the equally picturesque Pritzker Pavilion. Boston duo Tall Heights kicks off the evening with a set of lush folk rock. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion , Loop Monday August 1 2016

Wye Oak

Critics' pick

Out of all the Baltimore-based bands that trade in dreamy, synth-dappled indie rock, Wye Oak is perhaps the most interesting. Both members of the duo multitask, both in the studio and on stage, layering keyboards, guitars and drums to create songs that are intimate but without sounding small.

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Thalia Hall , Pilsen Wednesday August 3 2016

Sinkane + Mark de Clive-Lowe

Sudan-born multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallad toured with Caribou, Of Montreal, and Yeasayer, before striking out on his own under the name Sinkane. He specializes in hooky riffs, anthemic choruses and Afrobeat flourishes, harnessing a silky smooth falsetto that floats through each track on his 2014 release Mean Love. New Zealand-born producer Mark de Clive-Lowe opens the night with an eclectic blend of jazz, world and progressive electronic music. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion , Loop Thursday August 4 2016

Deerhoof + The Hot Club of Cowtown + The Blisters

Critics' pick

After more than two decades together, the effervescent and erratic energy of art rockers Deerhoof shows no signs of dissipating. The Magic, the quartet’s latest album, once again melds Satomi Matsuzaki’s chirpy vocals with blistering funk-punk arrangements.

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Lincoln Hall , Lincoln Park Friday August 5 2016

Mbongwana Star + Dos Santos Antibeat Orchestra

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mbongwana Star is a seven-piece band that fuses traditional Congolese rumba with contemporary rock and electronica. The group's 2015, From Kinshasa, features contributions from noted French producer Liam Farrell, who lends an otherworldly flourishes to the group's pulsing rhythms. Chicago's own Dos Santos Antibeat Orchestra opens the show with a set of Latin dance music. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion , Loop Thursday August 11 2016

Reggae Fest Chicago

After a false start last summer, Addams/Medill Park will be jammin' when the inagural Reggae Festival makes its debut in 2016. Expect plenty of dreadlocks, drum circles and cannabis T-shirts in addition to two stages of bands booked by the folks at Subterranean and Kickstand Productions.

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Addams/Medill Park , Pilsen Saturday August 13 2016

Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his globe-spanning collective of virtuoso musicians from the East, the West and all points in between, tour behind their latest record, Sing Me Home. The new album features a mixture of traditional and original songs arranged by members of the ensemble, celebrating the varied cultural heritage of the group, from India to Japan.

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Ravinia Pavilion , North Suburbs Tuesday August 16 2016

Snoop Dogg + Wiz Khalifa

Presented by Snoop Dogg's weed-centric online publication (called Merry Jane, naturally) this co-headlining gig teams the West Coast rapper with similarly cannabis-obsessed emcee Wiz Khalifa. Expect plenty of hazy rhymes from the duo's respective weed-themed LPs and clouds of smoke that aren't derived from a fog machine.

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Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre , Tinley Park Tuesday August 16 2016

Pearl Jam

Avowed Chicago Cubs fan Eddie Vedder can’t pass up a chance to play in Wrigley Field, especially during a season when his beloved team seems to have a shot at the World Series. Keep your fingers crossed that the storms that plagued Pearl Jam's last appearance in the Friendly Confines don't return for these shows. The band is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016, so expect a career-spanning set—that includes Vedder’s heartfelt ode to the Cubs, “All the Way.”

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Wrigley Field , Wrigleyville Saturday August 20 2016 - Monday August 22 2016


Critics' pick

Chicago's most beloved active rock act celebrates the arrival of summer with an outdoor concert at Pritzker Pavillion. Last summer, Wilco debuted its ninth studio album, Star Wars, during its headlining performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Frontman Jeff Tweedy recently revealed that the band already has another album in the can—could this show mark its (surprise) debut? Regardless, you can expect Pat, Glenn, Nels, John and Mikael to dig into Wilco's extensive catalog and deliver some deep cuts, if only to placate the super fans incessantly yelling out "Magazine Called Sunset."

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Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion , Loop Sunday August 21 2016

Billy Joel

Critics' pick

For the third summer in a row, the piano man returns to the Friendly Confines for another evening of classic ballads. Chicago may not boast a monthly Billy Joel residency like the one hosted at Madison Square Garden, but at least we get to see him outdoors every summer. Last year, Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence danced atop Joel’s piano—because even famous people love singing along to “Uptown Girl”—so it's anyone's guess as to which celebs will show up in 2016.

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Wrigley Field , Wrigleyville Friday August 26 2016