Good news for the fickle music fan: More marquee musicians are skipping out on the big Chicago festivals than in years past. Instead of dropping $130–$230 on a three-day energy drainer, pace yourself this summer with a similarly priced à la carte menu. I’ve *’ed my ultimate fest below, which tallies $162–$222, depending on what tier of tickets I buy.
PICK ONE HEADLINER
Drake + Waka Flocka Flame
Drake, the lotion-soft kingpin of radio, teams with the loudest cat in crunk. This should be interesting. It’s not quite Watch the Throne, but we’ll call this Watch the Bench. First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. 7pm; $35.75–$109.75.
*Radiohead + Caribou
Don’t tell a Radioheadhead to his face, but the Oxford hall-of-famers are turning into a jam band. Thom Yorke funks up the newer stuff with two drummers and a stunning light show. Canadian krautrock starts things off. First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. 7:30pm; $39.50–$69.50.
Wilco + Andrew Bird
Jeff Tweedy is a baseball nut, and we imagine he’s geeking out to play this minor-league park. Bonus: Andrew Bird whistles and charms. Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. 5:30pm; $50.
Coldplay + Marina & the Diamonds
Aug 7, 8
At Lolla last year, Chris Martin and co. were an explosion of fireworks, neon and smiles. Drummer Will Champion punches up this arena pop live. Britain’s version of Katy Perry opens. United Center. 7pm; $49.50–$110.
CHOOSE TWO FROM THE MIDDLE TIER
Swedish party punks slip back into tuxedos for more Mick Jagger moves and outrageous showmanship. The new Lex Hives is a blast. Vic Theatre. 7pm; $28.50.
Her The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do is great. Aaand we’re out of space. Chicago Theatre. 7:30pm; $45–$75.
Death Cab for Cutie
Hear “You Are a Tourist” sung to tourists! Lighten up, corn is in season. Grab the buttery emo sentiments of Death Cab at the Taste. Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell. 5:30pm; $25, free on lawn.
Refused + OFF!
Coachella scored the reunion of futurist hardcore icons Refused. We get them in capacious sweat house the Congress, with the killer nitro punk of OFF! Congress Theater. 6:30pm; $29.50.
Wiz Khalifa + Mac Miller
The hip-hop bill of the season pits teenage America’s favorite weed fiend and a white scamp against far better, L.A.-bred opening acts Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. 5:30pm; $25–$75.
The operatic piano balladeer returns a little Bowier with Out of the Game, his poppiest platter yet, produced by Mark Ronson. Bank of America Theatre. 7:30pm; $39–$69.
GRAB FOUR OPENING ACTS
*The Eternals + Wild Belle
Dubby collage rockers the Eternals (with TOC’s Areif Sless-Kitain on drums) and sultry, hyped band Wild Belle show how to tastefully work Jamaica into your art pop. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion. 6:30pm; free.
Walk the Moon
Looking for the next Foster the People? Well, the labels are. Our money is on this ebullient neon indie act. Heck, it could be the next Coldplay. Lincoln Hall. 8:30pm; $12.
This NYC street pop is so summery everyone should BYO bucket of sand. We’re pretty obsessed with the chill swagger of “I’m His Girl.” Schubas. 10pm; $12.
The dreampop duo does Siouxsie-Sioux-gone-shoegazer with hints of early, early Radiohead. Empty Bottle. 8pm; $12.
The lovely and precocious folk gamine does for Joni what Adele did for Aretha. The blond can disarm with just an acoustic and her husky voice. Athenaeum Theatre. 8pm; $22.
The requisite ’90s reunion. The pioneering slowcore kings hypnotize with snow-capped spirit dirges. As mellowing as the name suggests. Lincoln Hall. 7pm; $15.
Japandroids + Cadence Weapon
Wordy music critic–ternt-rappa Weapon opens for the thrashy Canadian bros and their smokin’ new Celebration Rock. Lincoln Hall. 9pm; $15.
The Budos Band
Deep funk with a desert vibe, this nasty Daptone Records act gives double meaning to the word horny. No vocals, just boogie. Subterranean. 10:30pm; $15.