Concerts in Chicago in August
Gallagher Way teams up with nearby Chicago institution Metro to present a free two-day block party in the shadow of Wrigley Field, welcoming 12 bands and a stack lineup of local food vendors. On Saturday, bluesy rockers Black Pistol Fire headline a bill that includes Local H, Touched By Ghoul, Montrose Man, The Bleacher Bum Band and DJ Chuck Wren. Sunday's enterainment includes Afrobeat collection Anitbalas and indie-rock stalwarts Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, joined by Foxing, Now, Now, Quarter Mile Thunder and DJ Rob Sevier. Plus, Big Star, Maddon's Post, Mordecai and more area eateries will be on-site to keep you well fed throughout an evening on the streets of Wrigleyville.
Flying Lotus' burbling electronics and mercurial jazz rhythms infiltrated hip-hop and pop music long ago, but rather than doubling down on the sound he helped popularized, the Los Angeles producer has continued to reach for the strange and unexpected. His latest album, Flamagra, is an expansive grab bag of possible new directions, roping in guests like George Clinton and rapper Tierra Whack to oversee tracks that experiment with funk, sweeping orchestral melodies and R&B. FlyLo was set to headline the now-cancelled Mamby on the Beach music feastival, so he's bringing his 3D tour (which outfits everyone in attendance with a pair of 3D glasses) to the Vic instead, accompanied by collaborators Brandon Coleman Stacetalker, Salami Rose Joe Louis and PBDY.
Fronted by Midwestern-raised singer-songwriter Craig Finn, the Hold Steady has always worn its flyover state origins on its sleeve. The group's first new album in five years, Thrashing Thru The Passion, is another collection of tracks that follow interesting characters who weartuxedo T-shirts and get robbed in seedy motels. As usual, Finn's evocative lyrics are backed by searing guitar riffs and rousing horn melodies that often sound as if they were ripped from the grooves of forgotten classic rock records. During their latest visit to Chicago, the Hold Steady perform two nights at Thalia Hall (August 22 and 24) and an extremely intimate show at the Empty Bottle (August 23).
Aussie psych-rock explorers King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard geek out about mythological monsters and unconventional time signatures, creating songs that unfold like Heavy Metal magazine vignettes set to a trippy soundtrack. On its fifteenth studio album (and it's second record to be released in 2019) Infest the Rats' Nest, the group takes is psychedelic sensibilities into the realm of heavy metal, unleashing chugging riffs and winding solos that suggest that there's no genre too techincal for this collective of hardcore music nerds to tackle with aplomb. King Gizzard brings along two Australian band as support acts, including prog-rockers Orb and psych outfit Stonefield.
Taurus Bartlett (a.k.a. Polo G) wrote his breakout single "Finer Things" while serving time in Cook County Jail on cannabis possession charges—a few months (a tens of millions of YouTube views) later he'd signed a distribution deal with Columbia Records. Though he started as a drill rapper, Polo G's debut album Die A Legend takes a more melodic and heartfelt approach, meditating on the violent streets that he grew up on, the people he's lost along the way and the lasting effects of his tumultuous childhood. Though he now lives with his family in Los Angeles, Polo G returns to Chicago in his Die A Legend Tour, with support from St. Louis R&B singer Luh Kel.
Philadelphia rapper and former Drake-feuder Meek Mill teams up with woozy trap beat aficionado Future for the co-headlining Legendary Nights tour, but you'll want to make sure to arrive early to catch the opening acts that are tagging along. XXL 2019 Freshman Class member (and hot girl summer originator) Megan Thee Stallion, producer-turned-emcee Mustard and "Big Bank" rapper YG are along for the ride, making this one of the best bills of the season for serious hip-hop fans.
Entering its 10th summer in Chicago, change is in the air for the North Coast Music Festival in 2019. The Labor Day weekend music festival is vacating its former home in Union Park and moving to the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, where it will host a two-day event (down from its usual three days of music). And while past North Coast lineups have included jams bands, indie rockers and hip-hop acts, its 2019 slate of performers is squarely focused on electronic artists, including headlining sets from EDM titan Bassnectar and Diplo's dancehall project Major Lazer. Spread across two stages, the rest of the lineup features Jai Wolf, Flux Pavilion, Tchami, Juaz, Gorgon City and more than 20 other acts.