Concerts in Chicago in November 2019
Drummer for the Roots, Tonight Show bandleader, author and Twitter personality Questlove returns to Chicago for a DJ set at Smartbar, but he'll only be spinning tracks by a single artist throughout the evening. Celebrating the life and work of the Purple One, Quest will turn in an all-Prince DJ set, covering a body of work that ranges from his 1978 debut For You to his final studio album, Hit n Run (we're hoping for a few tracks featuring Prince from the Minneapolis funk compilation, Purple Snow, as well). Show up early for an opening set from local DJ Shazam Bangles and get ready to party like its approximately two decades ago.
Inspired by European clubs that are open for days at a time, Metro and Smart Bar are hosting another 23-hour party that should test your endurance on the dance floor. The festivities begin at 7am on Saturday, November 2 and the music won't stop until the the club's doors close at 5am on Sunday, November 3 (thanks to the end of daylight savings time). This year's edition of the expansive party features some heavy-hitters behind the decks, including LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy (performing an extended set), Miami bass producer Danny Daze and German electro pioneer Anthony Rother. You'll also hear from Smart Bar residents like Garrett David, Justin Aulis Long, Michael Serafini, Ariel Zetina, DJ Heather and Olin. Drink plenty of coffee, wear something comfortable and prepare to party for almost an entire day!
"'Cause ain't no next life, so now I'm tryna live my best life," a clean-cut and no longer gap-toothed Danny Brown raps on his new album, U Know What I'm Sayin?, reflecting on a life well-lived. The Detroit rapper's latest is a his most straight-forward record in years, dialing back the experimental trappings of his last few releases in favor of more subdued, sample-ridden beats that accentuate his rapid-fire wordplay and adaptable flow (as well as features from the likes of Run the Jewels and JPEGMAFIA). It's a bold move for an artist who has always thrived on a sense of escentrcity, but it's further proof that Brown is a talent with clear vision. Headlining Metro, Brown is joined by blue-haired rapper Ashnikko and Detroit MC Zelooperz.
Like any other larger-than-life pop star, Lana Del Rey is ultimately a persona that has been crafted over the course of several albums—and it's a character that only continues to become more compelling. On Norman Fucking Rockell!, Del Rey oversees a collection of profane, insightful, wordplay-ridden ballads that act as sepia-tinged snapshots of life and love in 2019. Did we mention that she also turns in a breezy cover of Sublime's reggae-fusion hit "Doin' Time" for good measure? She's never as flashy as Gaga, or as woke as Beyoncé but Del Rey's tragically romantic vision of the modern world is as intoxicating—and timely—as its ever been.
Are you ready for an evening of break-up ballads, pole dancing, martial arts and eleaborate costumes? Avant-garde R&B singer FKA Twigs brings her sophomore album MAGDALENE—written in the wake of her split with Twilight star Robert Pattinson—to life with an intricate new stage show, which transforms the artist's catalog into a theatrical experience that showcases both her vocal and dancing skills. Chicagoans got a taste of FKA Twigs's artistic vision when she headlined Pitchfork Music Festival in 2016, but her latest production (which has already been staged in New York, Los Angeles and Berlin) seems to take her ethereal melodies to the next level.
Going from a grocery store bagger with a SoundCloud account to a featured artist on Cardi B's smash hit "I Like It" in just a matter of years, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (a.k.a. Bad Bunny) has become one of the leading voices in the burgeoning Latin trap scene. The Puerto Rican artist with a penchant for shaving intricate patterns into his buzz cut returns to Rosemont in support of his debut album, X 100pre, though he'll probably pepper his set with a few tunes from Oasis, his recent collaboration with Columbian singer J Balvin. For fans of hip-hop en español, there's no bigger show left this year. ¡Vamos!
Ramshackle rockers Twin Peaks have spent the majority of their careers (and some of the most formative years of their early adulthood) channeling classic rock influences and honing an energetic live show. On the it's latest album, Lookout Low, the group shows some signs of settling down, delivering a collection of decidedly downtempo tunes about riding ferries, weathering rough Chicago winters and chasing the natural high of new love. It's a bit lackadaisical, but it's welcome new territory for a band that's clearly looking for something more nuanced that another raucous anthem. After celebrating with in-stores at Chicago record stores earlier this year, the dudes return for a blow-out at the Riviera Theatre, joined by North Carolina rockers the Nude Party and local experimental trio Ohmme.