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Can't-miss artists at Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in Chicago festival

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

With one concert or event happening every day this month, Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days in Chicago is downright daunting. You'll catch great performances no matter which shows you decide to attend, but if you're in search of some recommendations, we've gone straight to the experts. Fake Shore Drive founder Andrew Barber and Empty Bottle talent buyer Brent Heyl have curated Red Bull Sound Select shows in Chicago, exposing audiences to plenty of essential artists on the rise. We asked Barber and Heyl to each pick their top five can't-miss acts from the 30 Days in Chicago lineup and tell us why they're so special—plan your November concert calendar accordingly.

Photograph: Courtesy Red Bull Sound Select

Andrew Barber, founder of Fake Shore Drive

1. Migos + Lil Yachty (Nov 30, Riviera Theater)
"Are you kidding me? This is going to be absolutely insane. I can't believe [30 Days in Chicago] booked these two acts on the same night on the same bill. All for $15? Crazy."

2. Tee Grizzley (Nov 4, Portage Theater)
"Tee makes the trip down from the D for his first big Chicago show. He's one of the hottest young talents in the game right now, and everyone from Jay Z to Chance the Rapper is singing his praises."

3. Daniel Caesar (Nov 20, Reggies Rock Club)
"Four out of five people I see on the streets of Chicago ask me for tickets to this. It literally sold out in 15 minutes. He must be good."

4. Music & Tech (Nov 13, Columbia College)
"This is the sleeper event of 30 Days in Chicago—and it's for the students. Do whatever you need to do to be there. Trust me. You might see some familiar faces." 

5. Big Tymers reunion (Nov 4, Portage Theater)
"I mean, come on. Birdman. Mannie Fresh. Together on the same stage? These guys haven't dropped an album together in almost 15 years, and their appearances together over the past decade have been sparse at best. They have so many hits as a duo and from their time together during the heyday of Cash Money, that it's worth the price of admission alone. Did we mention the surprise guests yet?"

Photograph: Courtesy Red Bull Sound Select

Brent Heyl, talent buyer at Empty Bottle and Thalia Hall

1. Good Willsmith (Nov 15, Empty Bottle)
"The Chicago trio at the center of a constellation of some of the city's most exciting new experimental music has been somewhat inactive for the past year while members worked on other projects. They're coming back together for our RBSS Empty Bottle 25th Anniversary show with Meat Wave—both among the current crop of Chicago bands writing the newest chapter in Empty Bottle history. If you were lucky enough to get tickets, rest up, there are some surprises in store."

2. Ne-Hi (Nov 2, Metro)
"The good guys. Watching them grow as a band over the past few years has been the ultimate treat. Stellar rock hooks and grooves that stay with you. Seeing them blow minds on the big stage at Pitchfork literally almost brought a tear to my eye."

3. Durand Jones (Nov 22, Lincoln Hall)
"Durand Jones is the truth. Quality soul music and an airtight backing band. He's got a voice and power that instantly makes you reference the greats, but he performs in a way that keeps you firmly in the present. They've packed the Bottle twice in the past year and blew people away at West Fest."

4. Junglepussy (Nov 19, Thalia Hall)
"I've been wanting to see Junglepussy live for years. She's laid-back and raw with a refreshing, unmistakable flow. It brings me back to the reason I started listening to hip-hop in the first place."

5. Ohmme (Nov 5, House of Vans)
"Though a duo at its core, Ohmme's recent full-band sets have become legendary. I can't remember the last time so many people have asked me if I caught a band. Beautiful, haunting and engrossing without being overbearing. Chicago has been in the midst of a hot streak for music and I firmly believe Ohmme will be at the forefront for our city for 2018."

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