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Concerts in Chicago in July 2015

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: Chris La Putt
Taylor Swift

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. The biggest star in American pop, Taylor Swift shake-shake-shakes her way into Soldier Field. Meanwhile, Weezer and Spoon entertain the hungry crowds at the Taste of Chicago. Explore our picks of the top July gigs.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago

Top concerts in Chicago in July 2015

Russell Howard

Critics' pick

In England, Russell Howard is a household name, a stand-up who can fill arenas. Here, he's on the level of Neon Indian, but his humor translates.

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Until Wed Jul 1

The Grateful Dead

Critics' pick

The Grateful Dead reunite with Trey Anastasio of Phish in Jerry's place. Who better? Bruce Hornsby, who does not have an ice cream flavor (yet), joins in the 50th anniversary celebrations, too.

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Until Sun Jul 5

Fucked Up

Critics' pick

The epic, sprawling Canadian punk act plays tunes from its annual Zodiac EP series in Garfield Park Conservatory. Try not to break the glass, dudes.

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Until Mon Jul 6

Weezer

Critics' pick

From in the garage to Grant Park, the greatest dork-rock band in America brings its power-pop to the Taste.

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Until Wed Jul 8

Erykah Badu

Critics' pick

The neo-soul pioneer comes to Grant Park for the Taste.

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Until Thu Jul 9

Morrissey

Critics' pick

Let's try this again. Moz was slated to play the Opera House last summer, too, but canceled. We're itching to see him perform World Peace Is None of Your Business, his best album in years, but maybe put this on your calendar in pencil.

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Until Thu Jul 9

RuidoFest

Critics' pick

Another three-day summer music festival in Chicago, you say? We'll take it! This one fills an empty void—Latin American rock en español, pop and electro. Huge acts from south of the border like Café Tacuba, Zoé, Kinky, Molotov and more come to a park in Pilsen. It's a fantastic bill.

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Until Sun Jul 12

Fall Out Boy + Wiz Khalifa

Critics' pick

Fall Out Boy went from emo and pop-punk latecomers to something like the new REO Speedwagon (hey, same state), though they're aiming for Queen. The foursome's new sound is big, brash and built for sports arenas.

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Until Sat Jul 11

Mamby on the Beach

Critics' pick

React Presents, the folks behind Spring Awakening, deliver another festival—on a beach! Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, Phantogram, Röyksopp, James Murphy, Cut Copy and more get the party going.

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Until Sun Jul 12

Spoon

Critics' pick

The Texan indie veterans return to Chicago for a Taste of Chicago gig, led as ever by inscrutable frontman Britt Daniel. The deliciously stiff power-pop act keep cruising with new material from They Want My Soul.

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Until Sat Jul 11

Square Roots Festival

Critics' pick

The Square Roots festival returns to Lincoln Square for a weekend of brews, food and music presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. This year, the lineup includes the Mekons, King Sunny Ade, Kermit Ruffins, Tiempo Libre, Lost Bayou Ramblers and more.

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Until Sun Jul 12

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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Until Sat Jul 11

Penguin Prison

One of the more tragically named acts of recent history, Penguin Prison (real name Chris Glover) brings an arsenal of disco-pop gems, like a bubblier version of LCD Soundsystem. Glover frequently deejays under the moniker, but here he plays the tunes live.

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Until Mon Jul 13

Melt Banana + Torche

Invest in a welder's mask, because there will be some face melting. Spazzy Japanese noise duo Melt Banana have been grinding for decades. Miami headbangers Torche released its latest riff-heavy album of doom-pop, Restarter, earlier this year. It's pot versus speed, but all heavy metal in the end.

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Until Tue Jul 14

Raekwon & Ghostface Killah

Critics' pick

The two strongest rappers of the Wu Tang Clan (sorry, RZA, GZA and Meth, we love you, but it's true) team up for Shaolin action and Cuban linx.

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Until Tue Jul 14

Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Critics' pick

The alt-folk oddball Will Oldham returns to the Old Town School of Folk Music for a show with labelmates Faun Fables. Last year, the Louisville native released Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, a reimagining of his 2011 album Wolfroy Goes to Town. Oldham probably already has a new batch of tunes, so expect to hear a mix of old favorites and fresh cuts from this prolific songwriter.

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Until Wed Jul 15

Natalie Prass

Critics' pick

Natalie Prass, who once played keyboard in Jenny Lewis' live band, comes to town on the eve of the Pitchfork Music Festival to play tunes from her expertly-crafted country-and-soul-tinged self-titled debut. Arrive early to catch local supporting act In Tall Buildings.

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Until Thu Jul 16

Panda Bear

Critics' pick

As Animal Collective lies low, its two main frontmen go solo again. (They're like the hipster Genesis.) Avey Tare has his Slasher Flicks, while the more Beach Boys inspired Panda Bear tours with new tunes from an LP Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. Expect lots of loops and harmonic rounds.

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Until Thu Jul 16

Jason Aldean

Platinum (the record certification, not the hair dye) country stud Aldean tours his sixth album, last year's Old Boots, New Dirt. Why, yes, there is a song about his truck. Cole Swindell, Tyler Farr and Dee Jay Silver (who is probably not a DJ) open.

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Until Fri Jul 17

Parquet Courts

Brothers Max and Andrew Savage, along with their bandmates, are doing the once-a-generation job of stripping rock & roll back to something tight and brilliant. Here, the prolific, fruitfully quirky indie-rock faves turn up at Thalia Hall with Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan to open.

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Until Fri Jul 17

Pitchfork Music Festival

There are a few things you can expect to see every year at Pitchfork Music Festival—a guy with a beard in short, short shorts; the entire summer collection from Urban Outfitters; and, most importantly, the hottest new bands in indie, rap and the underground.

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Viet Cong + Ryley Walker

Critics' pick

Sensuous, hard-driving Alberta postpunk crew Viet Cong—a spin-off of Women, which broke up in 2010 at the height of its buzz—continues to accumulate rave reviews for its self-titled debut on the tastemaking Jagjaguwar imprint. Local guitarist Ryley Walker opens this official Pitchfork Music Festival aftershow.

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Until Sat Jul 18

How To Dress Well + Lower Dens

Critics' pick

Working as How to Dress Well, Tom Krell composes haunted love letters to the ’90s R&B jams of his youth. Expect to hear from his most fleshed-out statement to date, the often gorgeous What Is This Heart? Supporting act Lower Dens combines the shimmering sound of Beach House with krautrock tendencies.

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Until Sun Jul 19

Rise Against

The Chicago natives in Rise Against delighted hometown fans at last year's Riot Fest, in addition to marking the band's 15th year. The political punk rockers and heirs to Bad Religion are still touring their latest release, The Black Market.

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Until Fri Jul 17

Taylor Swift

Critics' pick

You'll have to make a choice: Taylor Swift or Pitchfork Fest? Oddly, that's no joke in today's pop climate.

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Until Sun Jul 19

Toe

Critics' pick

Japanese quartet Toe rarely tour here, obviously, but fit right at home in Chicago, the birthplace of post-rock. The band's intricate, clean and pretty instrumentals bring to mind the work of Tortoise, Jim O'Rourke, Owen, Pele, etc.

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Until Sun Jul 12

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

Critics' pick

As other retro-soul acts have tried to modernize (we're looking at you, Alabama Shakes), lifer Charles Bradley keeps mining that raw gold ore from R&B's classic era.

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Until Thu Jul 23

Mac McCaughan

Critics' pick

The Superchunk frontman tours his first eponymous solo album, Non-Believers. The mood is mellower and more keyboard-driven, though "Box Batteries" whips up his ageless power-pop storm.

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Until Thu Jul 23

Milky Chance

Critics' pick

The exploding German duo returns for a third Chicago show this year. There's a steady locked groove to this electroacoustic dance-pop, making for the most melancholy of dancefloors.

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Until Fri Jul 24

Van Halen

Critics' pick

'Merica's favorite and most 'Merican party metal band is back and still hot for teacher. I know what question is on all your minds: Is Eddie's kid Wolfgang still playing bass?! Yes. Yes, he is. Oh, and David Lee Roth is the singer this time.

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Until Fri Jul 24

Dawn of Midi

Critics' pick

Even if you know your state-of-the-art jazz piano trios—the Bad Plus, the Bandwagon, Vijay Iyer's band—there's still a good chance Dawn of Midi will surprise you. The handsomely controlled interplay  showcased on Dysnomia suggests an unplugged translation of contemporary electronica, or an introspective sonic cousin to avant-rock futurists like Battles.

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Until Sat Jul 25

Wicker Park Fest

Critics' pick

Headlining this year are tasteful art-rock vets Blonde Redhead, soul man Charles Bradley, hipster metal act Deafheaven and local '90s flashback Veruca Salt.

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Until Sun Jul 26

Bastille

British synthpop act Bastille pumps up the melodrama on its smash debut, Bad Blood, updating the New Romantic polish of the 1980s for the EDM generation. Dan Smith piles harmonies and oohs and aahs atop tumbling programmed drums, as if Chris Martin programmed a machine to digitally emulate Mumford & Sons. The band returns for the Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour. RSVP REQUIRED.

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Until Wed Jul 29

Laura Marling

Critics' pick

The elegant folk songstress plays a Chicago shows, channeling Fleetwood Mac with the soaring, emotional vocals and electric strumming of her new album Short Movie.

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Until Wed Jul 29

Shania Twain

Critics' pick

Mark Twain's great-great-granddaughter (we totally just made that up) is making a comeback with her first major tour in 11 years. The country-pop megastar plans on dropping a new album when she hits 50, which is later this year.

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Until Wed Jul 29

Madeon

Hugo Leclercq is only just out of his teens, but he can already count Lady Gaga and Annie Mac among the thousands going nuts for his big, poppy disco-house beats. The Daft Punk-inspired, French-born wunderkind swings into town to play an explosive show at this Pandora Invasion event at the chic, industrial Morgan Manufacturing. RSVP REQUIRED.

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Until Thu Jul 30

Lollapalooza

Critics' pick

Chicago's mega-festival returns to the city's front lawn for a weekend of meticulously scheduled music and fun. This year, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence and the Machine, Sam Smith and Bassnectar top the bill. Beyond the headliners, the lineup is bit weak, but that didn't stop the fest from selling out in minutes.

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Grant Park, Loop Friday July 29 2016 - Sunday July 31 2016

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