Concerts in Chicago: Your month-by-month live music calendar
Find the best concerts in Chicago in the coming months with our critics' picks of music acts and festivals hitting town
Photograph: Bill Whitmire
Nashville has been dubbed Music City. Austin, Texas, carries the motto "Live Music Capital of World." We beg to differ. Frankly, it's hard to fathom a city in the world that offers more music festivals than Chicago. We throw a music festival every weekend in the summer—sometimes more than one. Neighborhood festivals, street festivals, three-day festivals, free festivals in parks, catering to fans of rock, jazz, blues, world, electronic, reggae and more. Hell, we have a music festival in January. Have you been in Chicago in January? And that's just the music festivals. We have yet to mention the beautiful baroque theaters, the dive bars, the dance clubs, the punk halls, the grassy amphitheatres, the beaches, the wineries, the historic juke joints, the hybrid restaurants and dance halls that host killer concerts every day. Yes, it can be overwhelming, which is where we come in. Here are our month-by-month picks of the best upcoming concerts.
Summer is in full swing with the Taste and other big outdoor gigs. Which of your favorite artists are coming to town? Explore our list of upcoming shows to find out.
Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, Miley, Mötley and more
Summer may be over, but the start of the fall doesn't pull any punches on live shows. See who's coming to town with our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago. How to Dress Well How to Dress Well crafts FX-laden swathes of vocals over grubby digi-beats that range from eerie pieces of sonic texture to R&B that sounds like it's been remixed by Sigur Rós. The Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest The annual throwndown on the dead end of Wabansia always brings a solid mix of roots music and '90s indie nostalgia. Neko Case, Mavis Staples and Superchunk topped the bill in 2013. Stay tuned for this year's headliners. Man or Astroman? Man or Astroman? is Auburn's quartet that likes to describe themselves as a space-age surf band. While they were on a temporary hiatus, the band has come back together and made an LP in 2013 titled Defcon 5...4...3...2...1. With some groovy guitar riffs and basslines that really sound like something from space, Man of Astroman? are the science teachers you wish you had. Yanni A bona fide New Age superstar, multimillion-selling Greek keyboardist and composer Yanni has become a byword for synthetic world music that's cheesier than a bucket of halloumi. Carrie Underwood Since winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, this 29-year-old Oklahoma native has become one of the biggest names in country music, thanks largely to rowdy tough-chick anthems such as “Before He Cheats." Expect to hear plenty from Underwood's recent No. 1 smash, "Blown Away." Jos
Fall is in full swing, ushering in one of the busiest seasons for music tours. See who's coming to town with our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago Bahamas Gentle and unhurried alt-country songcraft from Feist's former bassist. Kasabian Leicester's popular, swaggering good-time rockers—tagged as baggy revivalists with a fixation on the Mondays, Primal Scream and Oasis by many—show everyone what they're made of. Essentially, just that, but with the more epic experimental, psych-rock flavorings of new album 48:13. And plenty of chant-along opportunities. Fleetwood Mac Though the band has been touring heavily for the last couple years, there's new reason to shell out the bucks. Sixteen years after leaving the band, Christine McVie returns to the eternally great Mac. This means we can hear her again sing sunshine like "Everywhere," "Hold Me" and "Think About Me," which is a very, very good thing. Oh, and Lindsey Buckingham is still the coolest. Erasure Long-lived, almost singlemindedly upbeat purveyors of hi-NRG synth-pop/electro-glam house, iconic duo Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have notched up more hits ("Sometimes," "Ship Of Fools," "Always'," "A Little Respect"…) than you can wave a glowstick at and they're still pumping them out. Matisyahu Matthew Paul Miller, a.k.a. Matisyahu, is an alternative reggae artist who has made success by incorporating his faith into his music. For the longest time, his career was affiliated with the orthodox Jewish community, as he often perform
Which of your favorite artists are coming to town this February? Explore our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago to find out The Black Angels + Roky Erickson at Park West; Feb 5 The retro-psychedelic band brings along its Texas scorch-rock spiritual godfather, Roky Erickson, and its "Mustachio Light Show." Taste the colors. Neutral Milk Hotel at Riviera Theatre; Feb 6, 7 The most successful band to come out of the infamous Elephant 6 Collective in Athens, GA, the cult icon returns. 2 Chainz + Pusha T at Chicago Theatre; Feb 7 Two creators behind two of the best hip-hop albums of 2013 team up for the 2 Good to Be T.R.U. tour. Dr. Dog at Riviera Theatre; Feb 8 Over eight albums and 15 years, Dr. Dog has established itself as an approachable, artisanal take on jam bands and Pearl Jam. Wild Cub at Subterranean; Feb 8 Wild Cub is one of those new breed of acts that comes out of the box with the pop polish of the Killers. Pixies at Riviera Theatre; Feb 9 Now with bassist No. 3. The new stuff is really not that bad, people. Com Truise at Lincoln Hall; Feb 14 Seth Haley, despite adopting the dubious musical moniker Com Truise, makes smart, vaguely '80s-tinged electronic music. 10,000 Maniacs at City Winery; Feb 14 Natalie Merchant left the band ages ago, but classically trained violinist Mary Ramsey is a solid stand-in. A Tribe Called Red at Bottom Lounge; Feb 14 Canada's A Tribe Called Red are a Native electronic act that fuses the very, very old with the very, very new. Justin Tim
Which of your favorite artists are coming to town this March? Explore our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago to find out Broken Bells + Au Revior Simone at Vic Theatre; Mar 1 The Danger Mouse and Shins-dude duo returns with a second album, After the Disco. Dead Meadow + Redgrave at Double Door; Mar 1 A smörgåsbord for those who prefer their rock slow as molasses and heavy as a tanker truck full of molasses St. Paul & The Broken Bones at Lincoln Hall; Mar 1 Those looking for more fresh shakes from Alabama, here come precocious retro-soulers St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Singer Paul Janeway (we are unsure of what miracles he has performed) can belt it as well as Brittany Howard, and his suit-wearing group's debut, Half the City, was produced by the keyboardist for the Alabama Shakes, those these boys lean harder on the horns and rhythm than the blues. Badfinger at Mayne Stage; Mar 2 High off a revival of "Baby Blue," used in the closing moments of Breaking Bad, the '70s pop act returns. Well, what's left of it. We Were Promised Jetpacks at Lincoln Hall; Mar 2 Scotland's We Were Promised Jetpacks delivers impassioned indie-rock bombast. Get there early to hear the bittersweet but tough jangle of fellow Scots Honeyblood. Bob Mould at Old Town School of Folk Music, Mar 1; City Winery, Mar 2 The Hüsker Dü and Sugar man presents "25 Years of Workbook," which means an intimate exploration of his first solo album and likeminded material. Cibo Matto at Lincoln Hall; Mar 6 The playfu
Which of your favorite artists are coming to town this April? Explore our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago to find out The Orwells + Twin Peaks Two hot young Chicago bands, no foolin'. Mac DeMarco Expect clever guitar licks and eye-winking shenanigans. We love this Canuck. David Guetta The French electro-house chart topper and superstar DJ Guetta rocks up to Uptown for one night of huge mainstream appeal. London Grammar The band is led by Hannah Reid's mannered, Florence-ish vocals, and it has picked up plenty of comparisons to the xx for its downbeat instrumentals. Tinariwen One of the world's most enthralling live acts, the Tuaregs play two sets at the wine joint. John Newman [CANCELED] He looks like an Arctic Monkey in bespoke black tie, but John Newman represents a newer kind of British rock star, one that blends blue-eyed British retro-soul with modern beats. Emmylou Harris The American songbird celebrates the 20th anniversary of Wrecking Ball The Jezabels The Julie Ruin Rock icon Kathleen Hanna returns, touring the long-awainted debut album of her Julie Ruin alia, Run Fast. Fanfarlo Layering several genres such as folk, indie rock, and dream pop gives Fanfarlo's songs a calming, entrancing sound. Juana Molina Argentine marvel Molina brings to mind the playful boundary pushing of South American trailblazers like Caetano Veloso and Os Mutantes Phantogram The coed keyboard-guitar duo plays a big ol' date at the Riv behind its brand-new Voices album Tweens Crush, cr
Which of your favorite artists are coming to town this May? Explore our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago to find out Yo La Tengo The indie icons headline the sixth CIMMfest (Chicago International Movies & Music Festival), running May 1–4. Lo-Fang Matthew Hemerlein, who performs as Lo-Fang, shows off his modern-day singer-songsmithery, which matches soulful crooning to beats equally indebted to hip-hop and chamber music. Cloud Nothings It's essential adolescent stuff, shot through with fuzzy electricity like the Get Up Kids high on coffee and the early Replacements. Chromeo The two have turned themselves into a kind of ZZ Top of disco revivalism. Queens of the Stone Age Josh Homme, "the ginger Elvis," and his thrillingly intense band stir up their irresistibly sexy mixture of desert rock, blues, stoner metal and grunge. Wolfmother The three scruffy and skinny lads from Sydney play not-classic classic rock. Joseph Arthur New York fixture Joseph Arthur plays a heart-on-sleeve tribute to Lou Reed, digging into his hits and deeper cuts from the '80s and '90s. Woods The jangly, folky fuzzheads from Brooklyn play from their new album With Light and With Love. File next to Thee Oh Sees and Wye Oak, and remember to wear your burnous. Jessy Lanza Secret diva of the frigid north, Canada's Lanza proves that frigid can be deeply sexy. Her downtempo soul recalls the ethereal babydoll synth-pop of Grimes, and James Blake, albeit with chillier R&B beats and steamier vocals. OFF! + Cerebr
Which of your favorite artists are coming to town this June? Explore our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago to find out. Do Division Street Fest 2014 Kicking off the summer festival season with shopping, street-side eye candy and, of course, the music. J Mascis The grandaddy of grunge takes to the stage solo again to remind us of just how many strings he has in his slacker-rock bow. Die Antwoord A third album, Donker Mag (that shouldn't need pancultural parsing), should deliver more songs like "Cookie Thumper" and "XP€N$IV $H1T." Band of Skulls + Deap Vally Zeppelin never dies. Two '70s-rock revivalists team to bring tight jeans and titanic riffs back to the mainstream. Vampire Weekend Their third album, Modern Vampires of the City, is chock-full of subtle, original songwriting. In fact, we'll now confidently call it the best pop-rock album of 2013. Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle A true American original from deep in the heart of Virginia, Steve Earle has made his mark as a righteous roots troubadour, author, actor and political activist. Here he teams up with for a night of song swappin' and yarn spinnin' Austin singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin. Styx + Foreinger Dubbed as "The Soundtrack of Summer," Styx and Foreigner are joined by Don Felder, former guitarist for the Eagles. Poliça Channy Leaneagh's vocals once again drift hazily over Portishead-like trip-hop beats. Jamie Cullum At 33, English jazz-pop phenomenon Jamie Cullum's star is higher than ever. Yann Tiersen Enormously
Chicago summer music festivals
Concert photos and live reviews
With canceled shows, inaccessible acts and extra costs, the inaugural EDM event had issues.
Logan Square gets down to a horde of local acts.
So many bros.
Ezra, Rostam and the two Chrises bring 'Modern Vampires' to our city.
Ninja, Yolandi and DJ Hi-Tek premiere bonkers hip-hop from their new 'Donker Mag'.
We came for Este's bass face and stayed for the Beyoncé cover.
The controversial chanteuse eschews 'Ultraviolence' to stick with her hits amidst wicker furniture, flowers and teen screams.
The beautifully bonkers Swedish group blends aerobics, space cults, gender politics, glitter and drums.
The rising Australian rapper brought a bit of Miami to Chicago and did "Work" with fresh hits from debut album 'The New Classic'.
Hip-hop's "Man of the Year" delivered hits from 'Oxymoron' to a packed house and cloud of smoke.
The soulful U.K. singer ended the American leg of his tour with a preview of new songs from debut album 'In The Lonely Hour'.
Check out our best shots from weekend one of Coachella 2014, from crowd-surfing kids to barely-clothed babes
The sharp-dressed gentlemen bring 'Trouble' to the historic venue on State Street for the first show of a four-night stand.
The New York duo brings pop hooks, hip-hop beats and a boatload of strobes to a sold-out crowd.
Dan Smith brought huge hits like "Pompeii" and big hair to a crowd of screaming fans.
Sub Pop's gothic girl group rocked a sold-out show with its black bubblegum pop. Check out shots of the band.
The all-female quartet whipped up eerie harmonies and dark grooves from its mesmerizing new record
The 17-year-old gothic pop sensation sings 'Royals' under chandelier light
Bedazzled weed swimwear is the least weird thing on the Bangerz tour
The Followill boys bring the Southern garage boogie of strong comeback album Mechanical Bull to the home of the Bulls
A massive career-spanning set (well, minus 'N Sync) from JT
James Mercer and Brian Burton tour a second album of sci-fi pop, After the Disco, in a very Logan's Run stage set.
J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wriggleworth meld old radio and post-rock.
Different bassist, new songs. Same old awesome Frank Black.
While his lyrics and stage show will not force Kanye West to lose any sleep, the man can bark about the baller lifestyle with wit.
Yeezus on the mountaintop
Our favorite moments and faces in the crowd
The hip-hop success story of 2013 hits Uptown
Aussie house-pop kings shake the Riv. Literally
Hey, girl. Drake has a ring for you
Madeon joins in for an end of 2013 blowout
The Texas act channels the lush prog-rock of groups like Pink Floyd and Camel
So she is basically Cirque du Soleil now
Two of the biggest stars in pop, together, on their suit and tie shit
The Swedish pop duo sport lamp hats and serve up catchy cuts from This Is… Icona Pop
Zooey D. and M. Ward dish out more adorable retro pop
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