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Concerts in Chicago: April live music calendar

Which of your favorite artists are coming to town this April? Explore our list of upcoming concerts in Chicago to find out

Photograph: Zen Sekizawa
OK Go come home on their little Japanese scooters for one of the top concerts in Chicago in April.

Winter is over! That wasn't so bad, was it? Oh, right, it was the worst. Which means Chicagoans are going to go H.A.M. once the weather warms up—eating outside as much as possible, going running… and getting out of the apartment to see concerts, of course. Good thing there's a fantastic slate of gigs to choose from. Check out all the top concerts in Chicago this April.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago

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 Until Wed Apr 1

Clean Bandit

Critics' pick

A year ago, Clean Bandit were an underground crew picking up tastemakers’ respect for their weird-but-it-works blend of classical strings and funky house-pop. Then came "Rather Be", followed by their Top Five debut album New Eyes (named iTunes Dance album of the year), and they became one of 2014’s biggest new acts. This Metro show should be quite the celebration.

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Metro Chicago Until Wed Apr 1

Belle & Sebastian

Critics' pick

For years we've argued with friends that Belle & Sebastian 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. But then frontman Stuart Murdoch had to go an make a B&S movie, God Help the Girl, which was twee as fuck, nearing parody. Chalk that up to nostalgia, as the Scots' new comeback record is anything but milksop mumblecore. It is bold, bright pop. "The Party Line," the first single from Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, is pure synthetic dancefloor silver. No, it's not EDM, but you can drop it on the dancefloor to great effect.

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Riviera Theatre Until Fri Apr 3

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 Until Fri Apr 3

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 Until Fri Apr 3

Public Service Broadcasting

Critics' pick

This peculiar and utterly English duo is the brainchild of one J. Willgoose, Esq., a young man dressed like a baby-faced Oxford prof. Wrigglesworth, his companion, is on drums. They chop up bits of old British film, television and radio and sprinkle the samples over driving motorik grooves fueled by electric guitar, vintage synths and banjo. The two have a new album about space exploration.

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Schubas Until Fri Apr 3

Walk the Moon

Critics' pick

Walk the Moon is one of those modern acts that looks like baristas, sounds like Foster the People, and bangs on drums and hollers in unison. The Ohio quartet are in a large pool of acts fighting to be the next Killers or Coldplay.

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House of Blues Friday July 31 2015

La Dispute

Critics' pick

Head to the Metro to hear Michigan quartet La Dispute's newest post-hardcore endeavor: Rooms of the House, the band's third and best album. You’ll quickly recognize Jordan Dreyer (on vocals and percussion), responsible for writing, and subsequently screaming, intense poetry. Forget pretending you’re a cool and collected adult and relive your angsty teen years as you awkwardly sway to alt-rock.

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Metro Chicago Until Sun Apr 5

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 Until Mon Apr 6

Foxygen

Critics' pick

Foxygen's recent third release, ...And Star Power, is fueled by dischord, a sprawling album of guitar arguments that can't decide whether to be '70s soft-rock or middle-finger garage-punk.

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Metro Chicago Until Thu Apr 9

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Critics' pick

The retro-rockin' sibling trio are back to peddle their Louis Prima-style bop-alongs, with occasional forays into country, soul, Phil Spectorish pop and even ska. Their latest platter of Amy Winehouse-gone-skiffle, The Third, is produced by Mick Jones of the Clash.

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Lincoln Hall Until Thu Apr 9

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 Until Fri Apr 10

Twin Shadow

Critics' pick

Since George Lewis Jr. introduced himself to the public as North Brooklyn's one-man laptop act Twin Shadow, he's added a live band to the fray and made for some kind of indie-Prince, slick-dance-ballad endeavor—which is to say that it's awesome. He recently signed with Warner Bros. to complete his delayed Eclipse, so be on the lookout for sparkly new jams in 2015.

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Metro Chicago Until Fri Apr 10

Caribou

Critics' pick

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.

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Metro Chicago Until Sat Apr 11

Duke Dumont

Critics' pick

British house producer Adam Dyment, a.k.a. Duke Dumont, has a sound iright at home in Chicago, where this stuff of dancefloor dreams was invented.

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The Mid Until Sat Apr 11

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 Until Tue Apr 14

Damien Rice

Critics' pick

Irish singer-songwriter and perpetual raw nerve Damien Rice has gotten a lot of traction over the last decade with his longing, emotionally bare balladry. His latest LP, My Favorite Faded Fantasy, delivers the kind of lovelorn, lyrically anguished tunes fans have come to expect.

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Auditorium Theatre Until Tue Apr 14

They Might Be Giants

Critics' pick

They Might Be Giant have made a good living over the last decade by playing to toddlers. Kiddie music made a lot of sense for a band so big into storytelling, quirk, toy instruments and punchlines. Judging by the 9pm start time, this gig looks to draw in the parents who grew up wearing out their Flood cassettes. Recent records like Nanobots and Join Us hit the same peaks as their early '90s salad days and went underappreciated. Even when dealing with adult themes, the geek pop band still tickles the brainy adolescent in all of us. This concert is the rare 14 and older show.

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Park West Until Fri Apr 17

Action Bronson

Critics' pick

Nasal-voiced, 315-pound Albanian-American phenom Action Bronson is steeped in New York hip-hop culture in a way that few are. Expect Bronson to come out swinging to celebrate his dope major-label debut, Mr. Wonderful.

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House of Blues Until Tue Apr 21

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 Until Fri Jul 24

Kiesza

Critics' pick

You've probably heard her debut single "Hideaway"—now catch her live as she continues to ascend that slippery slope to superstardom. How about an aftershow in Smart Bar?

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Metro Chicago Until Mon Apr 27

Sufjan Stevens

Critics' pick

We Chicagoans should feel lucky. Illinois is one of two states checked off the list in Sufjan Stevens's not-really-ever-gonna-happen 50 states album project.

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Chicago Theatre Until Sat Apr 25

Alison Wonderland

Critics' pick

Straight outta Sydney, Alison Wonderland brings some much needed sunshine to the American EDM scene. Her bass-rich pop utilizes all the tricks of modern dance and hip-hop, with an added shine that is all Australian.

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The Mid Until Fri Apr 24

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Critics' pick

Alynda Lee Segarra, the 27-year-old Bronx-reared singer-songwriter behind blues-folk collective Hurray for the Riff Raff, taught herself music through immersion in Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.

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Lincoln Hall Until Wed Apr 29

Manic Street Preachers

Critics' pick

One of the greatest British (and no worse than second greatest Welsh) rock acts of the last quarter century makes a rare appearence in Chicago. The Manics are celebrating the 20th anniversary of its pinnacle achievement, The Holy Bible.

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Metro Chicago Until Wed Apr 29

Death Cab for Cutie

Critics' pick

Death Cab are carrying on as a trio, after the departure of guitarist and producer Chris Walla. Hey, it worked out pretty well for Genesis.

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Chicago Theatre Until Fri May 1

Speedy Ortiz

Critics' pick

Fuzzed-out, lyrical indie-rock quartet Speedy Ortiz heralds the release of a new album, Foil Deer. Singer Sadie Dupuis has studied her Breeders and Pavement well.

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Empty Bottle Until Thu Apr 30

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