September may signal the end of summer, but it's summer nonetheless—our favorite outdoor restaurants are still open and it's still acceptable to drink a mint julep. It's you last chance to go to a summer music festival before the weather takes a turn for the frigid, so take advantage of long afternoons at Riot Fest, North Coast Music Festival and Chicago Jazz Festival. There are plenty of concerts to enjoy as well, including Father John Misty at the Auditorium Theatre and Conor Oberst at the Riv. Explore our picks of the top September concerts in Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago
Concerts in Chicago in September 2017
Chicago may be best known for its blues musicians, but these days it's more of a jazz city. The annual Chicago Jazz Festival celebrates contemporary improvisers and legendary players with four days of concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park. It's all about the tributes this year, with celebrations of band leader Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk and singer Ella Fitzgerald (an Ellabration, if you will) on the schedule. New Orleans institution the Rebirth Brass Band closes the festival out on September 3.
If you need to see live EDM, hip-hop and jam bands over Labor Day weekend, North Coast delivers a diverse bill that includes headlines like Gucci Mane, Ween, Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley and a collaborative set from Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz. Just follow the colorfully-dressed attendees to Union Park from September 1–3.
Best known for his work under the Bright Eyes moniker and for fronting groups like Desaparecidos and Commander Venus, Oberst’s has lent his plaintive voice to folk rock, emo, electro-pop and everything in-between. His latest LP, Salutations, reimagines songs from this 2016 release, Ruminations, with the help of a backing band, allowing Oberst to play the role of the (gracefully) aging folk troubadour.
Riot Fest marks the end of summer music festival season with a weekend of rock, metal and punk, taking place from September 15–17, 2017. The festival will return to Douglas Park for the third consecutive year, with Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and newly-reunited punk act Jawbreaker heading up the lineup.
Bay Area punk artist John Dwyer—infamous for his prolific stints with Coachwhips and countless other groups—founded Thee Oh Sees as a garage-pop outfit, but the group's more recent output has taken a turn for the psychedelic. Proggressive arrangements, cascading guitars and propulsive rhythms characterize the band's latest EP, An Odd Entrances, which gets weird without sacrificing the accessibility of Thee Oh Sees' early records.
Former Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman bring his usual sardonic touch and penchant for ‘70s folk, country and pop to his latest album under the guise of his alter-ego, Father John Misty. Pure Comedy is a cynical examination of overriding the futility of modern life, set against lush, kaleidoscopic arrangements that only serve to heighten the impact of Tillman's world-weary lyricism. If the apocalypse is nigh, at least the human race will have some grandiose exit music. Brooklyn singer-songwriter Weyes Blood opens the show.