Concerts in Chicago in November 2018
The Lyric Opera continues its production of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle with a staging of the third installment, Siegfried. The opera follows the titular hero on his journey to collect the fragments of a legendary sword, which he reforges and uses to vanquish a dragon that guards a hoard of gold and treasure. The five-hour production (with two intermissions) also introduces a cursed ring—a MacGuffin that should sound familiar to Lord of the Rings fans.
Putting the band's pristine vocal harmonies and sparse arrangements through a digital blender, Low's latest album Double Negative is a daring permutation of its signature sound. The beautiful song-craft of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker is still recognizable, but producer BJ Burton finds interesting ways to deconstruct it, obscuring melodies with bursts of noise and turning rhythms into a serious of distorted thumps. It's the band's boldest reinvention since its 2007 album, Drums and Guns, and it's just as affecting as anything else in the Duluth, Minnesota act's catalog over the past 25 years. Minneapolis synth artist IN/VIA opens the show.
Love, jealousy and revenge dominate the twisting plot of Giuseppe Verdi's classic opera, which explores the relationship between aristocrat Count di Luna, the noble lady Leonora and the troubador Manrico. Il trovatore is known for its four strong lead roles, featuring baritone, tenor, mezzo-soprano and soprano singers that showcase the full range of opera compositions.
If you caught Jack White headlining Lollapalooza or his intimate aftershow at Metro earlier this year, you know that the former White Stripes frontman is in a nostalgic mood as of late. While he acknowledges the funk, hip-hop and jazz experimentation of his recent album Boarding House Reach in concert, White's live show is built around the bluesy riffs of his previous bands, including the White Stripes, the Dead Weather and his recently-revived side-project the Raconteurs. Yes, that includes an end-of-the-evening rendition of “Seven Nation Army.” Don't expect to get any killer Instagram shot during White's appearance at the Aragon—the Third Man Records owner has always expressed a preference for analog technology, so attendees at the show won't be allowed to use their digital gizmos and gadgets. All guests will be issued a Yondr pouch to keep their phone in upon entering the venue—the pouches lock themselves during the concert and can only be unlocked at the end of the show or in a designated Yondr Phone Zone.
Local rapper Mister Wallace and Anthony "aCeb00mbaP" Pabey founded FutureHood as a platform for queer artists of color, removed from the restrictions and barriers imposed by a traditional record label. As part of the Red Bull Music Festival, the FutureHood crew will come together for a Black Friday showcase, turning Subterranean into an intergalactic space station with a killer soundtrack. FutureHood artists like transgender rapper KC Ortiz and librarian emcee Roy Kinsey will be joined by drag performer the Vixen, the DJs behind TRQPiTECA and DJ Rae Chardonnay for an evening that demonstrates the strength of Chicago's homegrown music communities.
For the second year in a row, member of Chicago's hip-hop community come together for John Walt Day, a tribute to the rapper who was murdered as he walked away from a CTA station last February. Walt's cousin Saba headlines the benefit, performing tracks from his recent album, Care For Me, which deftly grapples with the loss of a friend, mentor and collaborator. He'll be joined by members of the Pivot Gang hip-hop collective that Walt co-founded, including local rappers Joseph Chilliams, MFN Melo and FrshWaters. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the John Walt Foundation, a nonprofit that helps provide young artists with mentors.
Drummer and composer Makaya McCraven is the J Dilla of Chicago's jazz scene, but instead of chopping up his record collection into new beats, he uses tapes of improvised performances to craft taut grooves in the studio. McCraven's latest album, Universal Beings, takes his predilection for re-composition to new levels with an international cast of collaborators, who gathered for jam sessions in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and London. At the Red Bull Music Festival, McCraven will gather 10 of the album's players (including Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and London saxaphonist Nubya Garcia) for a special performance at the South Shore Cultural Center.
In the two years since the release of her revelatory debut album HEAVN, Chicago poet and singer-songwriter Jamila Woods has brought her soulful anthems to life on stages throughout the world. For the final night of the Red Bull Music Festival, Wood will turn in her final performance of HEAVN in the city where it was created, joined by an expansive cast of collaborators, including a string section, choir, poets, dancers and visual artists. It could be the last time you'll ever be able to hear some of these songs performed live, but the auspicious occasion should leave you looking forward to whatever Woods has in store.
Billy Corgan has been feeling awfully nostalgic as of late, reuniting with original Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin (bassist D'arcy Wretzky was left out, for some reason) on a tour that draws liberally from the band's first five albums. The Shiny and Oh So Bright performances aren't for casual fans of the group—prepare yourself for a three-hour tour of the Pumpkins' catalog, with special attention paid to seminal records Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream. If you're the kind of person who went out of their way to visit Corgan's Highland Park tea shop, you'll probably enjoy yourself. EDM-inspired alt-rocker Grandson and Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. open this 101WKQX The Nights We Stole Christmas show.