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Concerts in Chicago in April 2016

The spring season is in full swing, as April brings Rihanna, the Avett Brothers and more great concerts in Chicago

Photograph: Camilla Akrans
Rihanna

Winter is over! That wasn't so bad, was it? Celebrate the arrival of spring by eating at an outdoor restaurant, taking a walk in one of Chicago's best parks and seeing some of the best concerts around the city. Rihanna will be bringing her latest album to the United Center, the Avett Brothers are taking up residence at the Chicago Theatre and Father John Misty will serenade the Riviera. Check out all of the best concerts to see in Chicago this April.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago

Concert in Chicago in April

Le1f

After studying modern dance and ballet, Khalif Diouf turned his attention to hip-hop, first as a producer and then as an emcee. Under the moniker of Le1f, he combines stark, undulating electronic beats with rapid-fire lyricism that frequently confronts his experience as an openly-gay, black artist. His debut studio album, Riot Boi, harnesses off-kilter production from the likes of Sophie, Evian Christ and Dubbel Dutch, positioning Le1f as a rapper who is unafraid to bend the conventions of the genre to fit his unique vision.

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Until Sat Apr 2

Murder by Death

Bloomington, Indiana country rock outfit Murder by Death took its name from a satirical mystery film, starring Truman Capote and Alec Guinness. The origins of the band's moniker are appropriate, considering the cinematic scope of the tracks on its 2015 album, Big Dark Love. Backed by horns, strings and crescendoing guitars, frontman Adam Turla's gravelly baritone has all the gravitas of a narrator dictating a harrowing plot. Singer-songwriter Tim Barry and Lil Bub (The Band) open the show.

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Until Sat Apr 2

David Gilmour

Now that Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour has put his former band to bed, the British musician is one more focusing on his solo career. His latest record, Rattle That Lock, serves up another helping of grandiose rock arrangements and indulgent guitar solos. In concert, Gilmour puts on a laser light show, accompanied by some selections from the Floyd catalog that should leave you comfortably numb. He'll play three nights in Chicago, splitting his time between the United Center and the Auditorium Theatre.

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Until Fri Apr 8

Pusha T

Recently promoted to president of GOOD Records, Pusha T has gone from turning in featured verses on Kanye West tracks to running Ye's record label. Known for his novelistic crack-slinging tales and nimble flow, the Virginia-native MC has been teasing his latest record, King Push, for more than a year now—hopefully he'll offer up some new material in concert.

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Until Tue Apr 5

Iggy Pop + Joshua Homme

Perennially shirtless rocker Iggy Pop is about to release a new record, Post Pop Depression, which—in spite of its name—features some of his most vital songs to date. Assisted by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme, Pop fronts a band that features members of Arctic Monkeys and the Dead Weather. During this special engagment at the Chicago Theatre, the entire group will be in tow, performing sinewy new tracks as well as selections from Pop's formiddable catalog. Even if you saw him at Riot Fest last fall, you don't want to miss one of the last remaining embodiments of rock n' roll slinking across the stage while growling, "I'm gonna break into your heart."

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Until Wed Apr 6

Quilt

Piecing together ’70s folk rock and ’60s psychedelic guitar riffs, Quilt brings a patchwork of influences to the table. The Boston trio comes to Chicago behind its latest LP, Plaza, a cozy collection of songs that draw on influences like Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds and other folk-oriented acts with a taste for the psychedelic.

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Empty Bottle , Ukrainian Village Tuesday September 20 2016

Dawn of Midi

Recommended

Brooklyn trio Dawn of Midi may appear to be a standard jazz outfit, but the incredibly taut arrangements favored by the group draw inspiration from contemporary electronica instead of from Red Garland. Its sophomore release Dysnomia highlights complex rhythmic interplay and synchronicity, showcasing three players truly performing together.

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Until Thu Apr 7

Savages

Recommended

Clad in black and peddling distortion-ridden anthems rife with angular melodies and existential angst, Savages have clearly studied the post-punk handbook. On its new album, Adore Life, the British foursome simultaneously crank up the volume and lyrical intensity, through a collection of songs that examine the dark yet empowering facets of love.

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Until Thu Apr 7

Chance the Rapper

A few years ago, Chancelor Bennett was just another young Chicago rapper with a mixtape. Fast forward to the present and he's singlehandedly holding up the release of Kanye West's The Life of Pablo so that the pair can finish up a track (he's also featured on the album's best song, "Ultralight Beam"). Aided by his unbridled creativity and charming personality, Chance the Rapper supplanted Kanye as Chicago's reigning hip-hop icon with the release of his breakthrough mixtape, Acid Rap, which filters humorous and positive mantras through jazz and soul-tinged production. If his recent singles are any indication, Chance is gearing up for a new full-length release—perhaps he'll debut some new songs at this Power 92 anniversary concert?

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Until Fri Apr 8

Glenn Jones + The Few

Plenty of contemporary musicians have found inspiration in the deceptively simple acoustic guitar compositions of John Fahey, but very few counted themselves as personal friends of the legendary guitarist. Glenn Jones was not only a close friend of Fahey, he also collaborated with him and has continued to build on the style he developed. Jones' latest, Fleeting, is another collection of intricate finger-picked songs that sound as if they're being played by a guitarist with four hands.

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Until Sat Apr 9

The Mountain Goats + William Tyler

Even as John Darnielle's records have become more esoteric (the most recent, Beat the Champ, focused on professional wrestling) the Mountain Goats' fanbase has expanded. Armed with energetic folk rock songs and literate lyricism delivered with a nasal lilt, the once-cult act seems to have found its niche. American Primitive acoustic guitarist William Tyler open the show.

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Until Wed Apr 13

Smashing Pumpkins + Liz Phair

Recommended

In the early ’90s, the Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair ruled Chicago's burgeoning alt-rock scene. A few decades later, the pair is teaming up for a co-headlining tour that should make you feel like you're hanging out at the Rainbo Club circa 1992. For Phair, it's her first tour since her brief string of date behind her 2010 album Funstyle nearly 6 six years ago. Expect to hear acoustic and electronic renditions from the Smashing Pumpkins' catalogue and maybe a few tracks from the group's upcoming LP, which reunites frontman Billy Corgan with the band's original drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin.

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Until Thu Apr 14

Father John Misty

Recommended

Former Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman lends a sardonic touch to the folk ballads that populate his latest LP, I Love You, Honeybear, released under the guise of his alter-ego, Father John Misty. The bearded crooner is never without a witty retort in his back pocket, but Tillman's cynical tendencies are tempered by lush arrangements and a wry, self-depreciating sense of humor. ’70s pop devotees Tess & Dave, featuring singer-songwriter David Vandervelde, open the show.

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Until Fri Apr 15

Rihanna + Travis Scott

Recommended

Everything about Rihanna’s new album, Anti, is a bit unconventional, including its sudden digital release, its scattershot production and the inclusion of a Tame Impala cover. As much as we enjoyed last year’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” we’re happy we can finally blast the full record in our cars and look forward to the accompanying arena tour. RiRi may have embraced the avant-garde, but we doubt she can resist dazzling choreography, fiery pyrotechnics and preemptive song-of-the-summer campaigning.

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Until Fri Apr 15

Poliça

Recommended

Poliça's seductive blend of trip-hop and synth-pop bought the Minneapolis band high-profile fans including Jay Z and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The latter had a guest vocal spot on Poliça's follow-up, Shulamith, which went even further towards perfecting their languid sound, with Channy Leaneagh's vocals drifting hazily over Portishead-like beats. The group comes to Thalia Hall behind its new album United Crushers.

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Until Sat Apr 16

Santigold

"I can't get enough of myself," Santigold declares on the opening track of her new LP, 99¢, announcing her return, four years after the release of Master of My Make-Believe. Santi is still firing on all cylinders, collaborating with producers such as Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij and EDM duo Zeds Dead on her most varied collection of energetic, upbeat pop tracks to date.

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Until Sun Apr 17

Parquet Courts

Recommended

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. The prolific band injects taut power chords with a bit of motorik intensity on its latest album, Human Performance. Gainesville punk rockers Soda open the show.

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Until Wed Apr 20

Freddie Gibbs

Recommended

Hailing from Gary, Indian, the hard-spitting mixtape marvel Freddie Gibbs has established himself as one of the most blunt voices in hip-hop, unabashed in his pursuit of the American dream (his latest single was entitled "Money, Cash, Hoes"). What he lacks in subtlety, he makes up for in great production (handled by the likes of Madlib and Boi-1da) and a relentless work ethic. Gibbs comes to Thalia Hall behind his latest, Shadow of a Doubt, on an internationally-celebrated stoner holiday—he'll likely be greeted by a dank cloud of smoke.

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Until Wed Apr 20

The Avett Brothers

Long before Mumford and Sons picked up banjos, Scott and Seth Avett were perfecting a blend of folk, bluegrass and pop balladry that made the brothers a critical and commercial sensation. The group recently recorded its ninth album with producer Rick Rubin—expect a taste of the upcoming record during this three-night stand.

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Until Sat Apr 23

Justin Bieber

He's been arrested, roasted and said that he's "Sorry," but the best reason to pay attention to Justin Bieber is, miraculously, his music. Purpose is an album that plays to his strengths as a maturing singer, filled with undeniably catchy EDM-inspired anthems and poppy R&B tracks that just might turn you into a bonafide Belieber.

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Until Fri Apr 22

Woods + Ultimate Painting

Recommended

On a nearly annual basis, Brooklyn folk-rockers Woods release another collection of jangly tunes. The band's latest, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, adds a horn section to the mix, resulting in a cinematic suite of songs that recalls the soundtracks of composer Ennio Morricone. At Lincoln Hall, the group will be joined by UK duo Ultimate Painting, who draw inspiration from ’60s and ’70s pop.

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Until Sat Jul 16

Frankie Cosmos + Eskimeaux + Yowler

At just 22 years old, Greta Simone Kline has already released dozens of self-recorded albums and EPs under a variety of pseudonyms, but her work as Frankie Cosmos stands out amid her various projects. Her latest album, Next Thing, is another collection of upbeat songs that deal with the trials of growing up. In lesser hand, the subject matter could be trite, but Kline has a knack for melody and endearingly honest lyricism that makes her concise output all the more interesting. Bedroom pop artists Eskimeaux (Gabrielle Smith, who plays in the Frankie Cosmos band) and Yowler (Maryn Jones of All Dogs and Saintseneca) open the show.

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Until Wed Apr 27

Courtney Barnett

Recommended

Young Aussie singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett recently received a best alternative album Grammy nod for her 2015 release, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit—a testament to just how quickly she has become an indie rock star. Her witty, monotone musings about everyday life are filtered though psychedelic guitar arrangements, exuding a casual charm that is amped up in a live setting. Though Barnett's music is frequently cast as the anthems of a slacker, she's no slouch: She is already hard at work on her next album, which will more than likely be released by her self-owned label, Milk! Records.

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Until Thu Apr 28

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

Recommended

A former James Brown impersonator who only recently achieved success performing his own songs, Charles Bradley is a goddamn inspiration. The 67-year-old singer is as authentic as they come, effortlessly inhabiting classic soul and R&B grooves on his new Daptone Records release Changes. They don't call him "The Screaming Eagle of Soul" for nothing.

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Until Thu Apr 28

White Denim + Sam Cohen

Recommended

Austin-based White Denim is a band that enjoys playing with Southern rock tropes, crafting energetic songs with winding guitar solos that flirt with psychedelic, jazz and funk influences. On its recent album Stiff—recorded with Ryan Adams and Kings of Leon producer Ethan Johns—the band settles into an Allman Brothers-inflected groove. Former Apollo Sunshine frontman Sam Cohen opens the show.

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Until Sat Apr 30

Comments

1 comments
Miguel d
Miguel d

On April 30th, Chicago native Haley Reinhart will be performing at Durty Nellie's in Palatine to benefit PAVE  (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment), a Chicago based non-profit that fights to reduce sexual violence. 

Haley's sophomore album will be released the day before. This will be the first time she performs the songs on her new album in public live with a full band.