Concerts in Chicago in July

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

Photograph: cousindaniel.com
Nine Inch Nails return to Chicago this July after headlining Lollapalooza 2013.

Summer is legitimately on. We need to spend as much time outside as possible, considering the entire months of January and February were spent under a comforter. Good thing the summer music festival season is now in full swing, and Pitchfork Music Festival is just the tip of the iceberg. Get ready to jam your sandals off. If Ben & Jerry's has an ice cream flavor based on a band, it's probably playing at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion—Dave Matthews, 311 and Phish hit Northerly Island back to back to back. Explore our picks of the top July gigs.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago

New Order

Critics' pick

"Temptation," "Blue Monday," "Bizarre Love Triangle," "Regret"—nobody had a run like New Order in the 1980s. We'll exclude Prince, because he is not human.

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Aragon

The Hold Steady

Critics' pick

The new record, Teeth Dreams, gets back to the meatier AC/DC riffs of the early stuff, with a harmonic polish redolent of the Foo Fighters.

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Concord Music Hall

Dave Matthews Band

Dave and the gang are working on a ninth album with Green Day producer Rob Cavallo. Head to Northerly Island and see how the band is holding up.

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FirstMerit Bank Pavilion

Afrojack

Critics' pick

EDM and 4th of July fireworks. It seems like a marriage made in Heaven—if Heaven were a Las Vegas casino. Afrojack, the DJ that has more money than he knows what to do with (according to The New Yorker), brings huge beats and a bunch of sky explosives to 6000+ people on the eastern tip of Navy Pier.

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Navy Pier

Shellac

Critics' pick

Still recommended for those dreaming of the Minutemen playing Zep covers in a metal workshop.

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Lincoln Hall

Paul McCartney

Critics' pick

In 2011, Sir Paul played Wrigley. See you at Soldier Field in 2017?

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United Center

Taste of Chicago

Critics' pick

The music lineup at Petrillo is as strong as it's ever been, with AWOLNATION (Jul 9), Janelle Monáe (Jul 10), Nickel Creek + Emmylou Harris (Jul 11), Jeff Tweedy (Jul 12) and Aloe Blacc (Jul 13). We can't wait to see what band Rahm awkwardly dances to this year!

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Grant Park

Fucked Up

Critics' pick

The epic, sprawling Canadian punk act, the closest thing this generation has to Fugazi, hits Bottom in support of its howling latest, Glass Boys. Always blistering and uninhibited, the progressive post-hardcore crew from Toronto should serve up new songs just as cultish, noisy and thrillingly subversive as its old stuff.

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Bottom Lounge

311

311 playing on 7/11. Aww, man, tasty, bro. Grab you some taquitos and a Slurpee and just vibe out to "My Stoney Baby."

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FirstMerit Bank Pavilion

The Budos Band

Critics' pick

The Budos Band is part of the fine Daptone Records roster. The instrumental combo – which came together in an after-school jazz program in Staten Island – points heavily to Fela and often invokes blaxploitation soundtracks from back in the day.

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Metro Chicago

Dengue Fever

Critics' pick

Excellent L.A. band Dengue Fever features a bunch of indie vets playing in the style of ’60s Cambodian rock music—but it's more spooky than kitschy.

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City Winery

Veruca Salt

Critics' pick

Two decades later, you still can't fight the "Seether." The Chicago one-hit-wonders of '90s alternative nation return with nostalgic grungy power pop.

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Lincoln Hall

West Fest

Befitting its location on the hip Chicago Avenue corridor, West Fest can be counted on for a great sleeper of a summer street fest bill.

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Chicago Ave between Damen Ave and Wood St

Downtown Sound: Noura Mint Seymali

Critics' pick

Think of her as Mauritania's Björk, a Saharan Sade. Noura Mint Seymali melds Arab and North African music with touches of Western pop. Her griot rock entrances with fluttering strings and psychedelic washes of wah wah.

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Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion Free

OOIOO

Critics' pick

Yoshimi of Boredoms (and "Battles the Pink Robots" fame) returns with her bonkers Japanese experimental rock band OOIOO. Titled Gamel, the band's seventh LP and first in ages dips into the heavy trance of gamelan. It's as groovy as it is batship trippy. A Chicago performance is rare, so pack your psilocybins and robes.

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Lincoln Hall

Cloud Nothings + The Wytches

"I'm not telling you all I'm going through," Dylan Baldi repeats on "I'm Not Part of Me," the first single from Cloud Nothing's Here and Nowhere Else. Well, hey, have it your way, Dylan, but that's kind of your job as a songwriter.

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Schubas

Billy Joel

Critics' pick

We're guessing there's not a lot of bleed between this audience and that of Pitchfork Fest. Otherwise, tough choice, right?

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Wrigley Field

Liars

Critics' pick

The ever mutating Liars have shifted to throbbing industrial on their latest and weakest album, Mess. The Eastern European dancefloor maneuvers of the album should be at home in the Mid, at least. Regardless of their current jones, the long-running art-rockers are an exhilarating presence live. The dark and heavy Vatican Shadow opens with miltary-grade goth-techno. This is an Urban Outfitters Pitchfork Music Festival after-party (because of course it is).

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The Mid Free

Phish

The jam institution returns for its now regular counter-programming to Pitchfork Music Festival.

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FirstMerit Bank Pavilion

Pitchfork Music Festival

Critics' pick

Beck, Kendrick Lamar and Neutral Milk Hotel headline a hip-hop–heavy edition of the annual party in Union Park.

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Union Park

Wild Beasts + Mutual Benefit

England's Domino-signed, Mercury-nominated and all-round-brilliant Wild Beasts play a Pitchfork after-show. Their shimmering, elegant indietronica, all entwining melodies and suggestive lyrics, has been sharpened to a fine pop point on their new album Present Tense, and—we promise you—they're truly awesome live.

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Lincoln Hall

Earl Sweatshirt

Critics' pick

Tyler The Creator may have the Twitter followers and the online column inches, but the thinking person's favourite member of L.A. skate-rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All is Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, a.k.a. Earl Sweatshirt. He's in Chicago for Pitchfork Fest and to bust out tracks from his excellent debut album, Doris.

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Metro Chicago

David Crosby

Critics' pick

American folk-rock icon Crosby tours his first album in 20 years, Croz (that's really what it's called).

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City Winery

Alvvays

Critics' pick

Alvvays have nothing in commong with Chvrches, aside from injecting Vs in their names and giving us a reason to clear space in our heart for yet another neatly-formed trad indie band. Appling reverb to jangly guitars like Doritos adds cheese dust to chips, the Canadians recall the swooning pop of rain-soaked Scotland—your JAMChains, Pastels and whatnot. The group's self-titled debut for downstate label Polyvinyl hugs Velocity Girls LPs close to its chest. A more contemporary comparison: Veronica Falls, with all the same pvnch, noir bvbblegvm, chevvy hooks and heart-on-sleeve tvvee. Hey, like we said, they're infectious.

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Beat Kitchen Saturday January 17 2015

Jack White

Critics' pick

Two years after headlining Lollapalooza, Mr. White (Stripe) returns to Chicago to wail and shred.

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Auditorium Theatre

Nine Inch Nails + Soundgarden + Death Grips

Critics' pick

Two titans of classic rock (that's what we're calling '90s alternative now) bro down for a summer tour. Hardcore rap act Death Grips is opening. What, were Candlebox and Stabbing Westward not available?

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First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Aerosmith

For a minute there, Aerosmith seemed to be on the brink of breakup—a permanent vacation, you could say—that would have finally ended a corporatized second-act facsimile of its former self. Alas, none of us get off that easy.

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First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Camera Obscura + Laura Cantrell

Critics' pick

Lindsay Boyd and her Camera Obscura crew do their misty Glaswegian indie-pop thing, playing from their rich and lovely latest album Desire Lines. Early champions included both John Peel and Belle And Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, who produced Camera Obscura's debut album.

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Thalia Hall

Jurassic 5 + Dilated Peoples

Critics' pick

Dilated Peoples and J5 were the last wave of conscious rap to make it on major labels. Los Angeles is hot right now, and these SoCal crews are due for a comeback.

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Aragon

Diarrhea Planet

Critics' pick

The Nashville pop-punk group is coming to Chicago to make some noise on Belmont. Their moniker may be crude, but it's totally made up for with their explosive sound found in their 2013 LP I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams.

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Beat Kitchen

Jeff the Brotherhood

Critics' pick

Despite the overt simplicity of the lyrical content, Jeff the Brotherhood’s style-sampling punk can be viewed in several ways: as sharpened, gutted psychedelic-rock jams, or as reverb-soaked pop meditations with some blues shuffled in. Whatever you call it, it’s compelling, face-melting stuff on the duo's latest, We Are the Champions.

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Double Door Wednesday December 31 2014

Wicker Park Fest

The Crotch hosts this hipster-friendly fest that features three stages of Pitchfork-quality tunes on the cheap. On Saturday, neo-Neko Lydia Loveless belts her soulful bar tunes, Cap'n Jazz spin-off Owls blow the dust off, Mad Man theme man RJD2 drops breaks, and cool throwback Nick Waterhouse rips through '50s-ish rock. Day two bring garage rockers Jeff the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet, the Grateful Deadish lo-fi darlings Woods, and post-Promise Ring troopers Maritime.

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Milwaukee Ave

John Fogerty

Critics' pick

Throughout his solo career, John Fogerty has had a tempestuous relationship with his old band Creedence Clearwater Revival, but we're glad he's made his peace with his back catalog. On this tour, he'll play his greatest hits.

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Chicago Theatre

Crocodiles

Critics' pick

Charles Rodwell and Brandon Welchez have been the center of the psych-punk group. Their sound rages from fuzzy psychedelic to raging punk. The two rip into tunes from last year's underrated Crimes of Passion , which was given a coat of candy and dirt by producer Sune Rose Wagner of the Raveonettes. Milwaukee's dumb-fun punk Jaill and Chicago's very own Heavy Times get the PBR bottles poppin' early, so throw on a Canadian tuxedo and expect velocity, hooks and riffs all evening.

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Empty Bottle

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