Concerts in Chicago in October
Local weirdo marching band Mucca Pazza brings its mismatched uniforms, horns, cellists, guitarists, drummers and enthusiastic cheerleaders to the Hideout during the month of October for a weekly residency. Every show promises to be a bit different than the last, with dancers, puppeteers and singers joining the expansive collective as it explores everything from Balkan music to big band arrangements. Frankly, we're just curious to see how Mucca Pazza manages to squeeze its 30-odd members and an audience into the Hideout's cozy confines.
Sleater-Kinney's reunion in 2015 was a welcome and needed comeback, but the group has weathered some major changes in the wake of its second album since the band's return. Enlisting Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) to handle production duties, The Center Won't Hold takes Sleater-Kinney into the realm of pop music, adding prominent bass lines and synth melodies to a collection of urgent anthems. Though the album was recorded as a trio, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker will take the stage without longtime drummer Janet Weiss—she announced her departure from the group in July, stating "it is time for me to move on." During its two-night stand at the Riviera, Sleater-Kinney is joined by singer-songwriter Shamir, who has left behind the bouyant pop of his debut album Rachet in favor of country-inflected indie-rock.
Brooklyn-based electronic record label Ghostly International marks its 20th anniversary with a showcase at Metro, featuring a selection of artists from its roster. Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman and woozy vocoder-laden synth-pop aficionado Tobacco headlines the evening, joined by the jazz-inflected beat-maker Shigeto, electro-pop duo Drama, minimalist techno artist Steve Hauschildt and Ghostly International founder Sam Valenti (a.k.a. SV4).
Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi and his partner Alex Somers celebrate the 10th anniversary of their collaborative album, Riceboy Sleeps, by presenting the first-ever live performances of the record in its entirety, accompanied by an orchestra and a choir. The tracks contained on the ambient album sound like the bits between your faviorite Sigur Rós songs, stretched out into expansive compositions that wrap layers of vocals and strings around subtle textural noises, like rustling wind and tinkling glass. Settle in for a meditative evening filled with understated sounds and swelling crescendos—you can probably leave your earplugs at home.
Though Young Thug may be best known for his Auto-Tuned verses on tracks by the likes of Camila Cabello and Post Malone, it's his unpredictable marble-mouthed delivery and improvised lyrics that make him one of hip-hop's most interesting and frequently imitated personalities. His debut album (he classifies everything he's released up to now as a "mixtape") So Much Fun plays to Thugger's strengths, letting him string stream-of-conscious rhymes together atop inoffensive trap beats while trading verses with collaborators like Future, Gunna and Lil Baby. During his stop at the Credit Union 1 Arena, Young Thug is joined by rap-rocker Machine Gun Kelly.
Madame X, the 14th studio album from Madonna, casts the 60-year-old Queen of Pop as a secret agent, taking on different guises and identities as she travels across the world—a concept that will undoubtedly serve as an excuse for a cavalcade of costume changes during live performances. Crafted in the wake of Madge's recent move to Lisbon, Portugal, her latest record oozes with the trendy sounds of Latin pop, including the sultry lead single "Medellín" featuring Columbian singer Maluma. Collaborations with rappers Quavo and Swae Lee suggest that Madonna will also be dabbling in some trap-tinged tunes, which seem destined to rank among her most desperate attempts at cultural relevance (remember the EDM bangers from her last few records?). Thank goodness that she has multiple decades worth of classic pop songs to fall back on.
The frantic, energetic presence of rapper Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks (a.k.a. JPEGMAFIA) is palpable in his erratic onstage antics, quippy lyrics and glitchy beats, solidifying him as one of the most intriguing contemporary hip-hop acts. His latest record, All My Heroes Are Cornballs, plays into the manic persona he's established with a tracklist packed with provocative song titles ("Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot," "BasicBitchTearGas"), a kinetic collage of production styles and verses that touch on everything from police violence to The Dark Knight Rises. But the real attraction of JPEGMAFIA's work is his versatile voice and flow, which he puts to use in impressively unpredictable ways amid his glitchy, reference-ridden compositions. Rising Baltimore rapper and producer Butch Dawson opens the show.
Gruff folk poet Bob Dylan and his band return to Chicago, arriving on the heels of another salvo of Bootleg Series releases, Martin Scorsese's Dylan-centric Netflix film Rolling Thunder Revue and the 2017 covers album Triplicate, which pays tribute to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday. Though many of his recent concerts have favored newer material, Dylan has shown a fondness for latter day hits like "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Simple Twist of Fate" in recent years, performing sets packed with familiar tunes. His voice still isn't quite what it used to be, but it's still impressive to see a living legend exploring and reinterpreting his catalog with the help of a killer backing band. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Dylan before, don't think twice about snagging tickets.
Young Kentucky balladeer Childers spins tales from his life as a touring musician into twangy, bluegrass-tinged anthems that reckon with loneliness, stifling routines and the challenges of being a country boy in the big city. Childers headlines the Aragon in support of his new record, Country Squire, which was produced by alternative country star (and fellow Kentuckian) Sturgill Simpson. He's joined by Americana singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews.
Hear “This is Halloween!” performed on the holiday it honors when the Chicago Philharmonic tackles Danny Elfman's classic score at this special Disney in Concert engagement. The orchestra will dress up and play along to a screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton's spooky stop-motion mash-up of Halloween and Christmas tropes. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early (and in costume) to enjoy trick-or-treating, activities and a costume contest in the theater's lobby.