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Concerts in Chicago in June 2016

Tame Impala and the Cure headline a packed month of concerts (and festivals) in Chicago

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Tame Impala turned in a set in front of a crowd of thousands at Lolllapalooza on August 1, 2015.

Summer is finally upon us! We need go outside as frequently as possible, considering the entire months of January and February were spent under a comforter. Good thing the summer music festival season is now in full swing, not to mention all the great stuff happening indoors at Chicago rock venues and arenas. When you're not spending your days on a rooftop bar, you can see the Cure, Tame Impala and more great acts. Explore our picks of the top concerts in Chicago in June.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar for concerts in Chicago

Concerts in Chicago in June

Sturgill Simpson

Kentucky singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson has all the twang of a Nashville country troubadour, but he seems to enjoy expanding the scope of the genre rather than embracing its tropes. On A Sailor's Guide to Earth, Simpson turns in his more personal collection of songs to date, featuring lush string and horn arrangements as well as ruminations on his new role as a father.

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Until Fri Jun 3

Two Brothers Summer Festival

Recommended

Every summer, the Two Brothers Brewing Company puts together a weekend full of beer and music while rasing money for charity. This year, the festival moves to RiverEdge Park in downtown Aurora, where Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, The Lone Bellow and PHOX will headline the two-day event. The festival will also host the release of Two Brothers Hop Centric Double IPA and Hop Centric Black.

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Until Sat Jun 4

Do Division Street Fest

Recommended

Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and Subterranean, kicks off the summer festival season during the first weekend of June. Spanning 10 city blocks, the annual celebration brings a selection of local vendors and restaurant to Division Street, as well as family activities, a sidewalk sale and a runway fashion show. The music lineup is solid (as usual) including noise rockers A Place to Bury Strangers, retro-styled singer-songwriter Diane Coffee and instrumental hip-hop act BADBADNOTGOOD.

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Until Sun Jun 5

Dixie Chicks

A product of the late ’90s country music boom, the Dixie Chicks went from an unknown Texas bluegrass outfit to international pop stars on the back of the group's breakthrough 1998 album Wide Open Spaces. Emily Robison, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire haven't toured the U.S. since 2006, but the trio's DCX MMXVI World Tour seeks to reintroduce the Chicks, armed with a catalog of hits and covers of Lana Del Ray and Beyoncé tracks.

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Until Sun Jun 5

Blonde Redhead + Ryley Walker

Recommended

The rightly adored New York institution Blonde Redhead returned in 2014 with Barragán, an album which veers confidently into dark French pop territory. It marks a huge shift away from the band's forays into trip-hop and dream-pop, but the versatile group handles the shift with ease. Opening is local guitarist Ryley Walker, who combines rambling, psychedelic arrangements with understated style of a ’70s folk singer-songwriter. This free concert kicks off the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Until Mon Jun 6

Cage the Elephant + Portugal. The Man

Kentucky alt-rock outfit Cage the Elephant cut its teeth as raucous blues rock band, indebted to the Black Keys and the White Stripes. Its latest release, Tell Me I'm Pretty, doesn't lean on those influences quite as heavily, in spite of production by Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. Instead, the group digs into jangling, retro-styled tunes that reign in the garage rock guitars and emphasize radio-friendly production. Psych rockers Portugal. the Man open the show.

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Until Tue Jun 7

The Ponys + The Goblins + Earring

In celebration of the release of The Empty Bottle Chicago: 21+ Years Music / Friendly / Dancing—a book with chronicles the history of the Ukrainian Village venue—disbanded Chicago rockers the Pony reunite for the first time since 2010. Drawing upon all eras of the Bottle's history, the bill also include masked ’90s garage rockers the Goblins and rising local DIY duo Earring.

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Until Wed Jun 8

Tame Impala

Recommended

These psychedelic Aussie have somehow become everyone's favorite band—even Rihanna covered a Tame Impala track on her new album, Anti. 2015's Currents merged electronics with thick guitar riffs, dropping mushrooms on the dance floor while channeling vintage R&B grooves. Now, Kevin Parker and company are bringing their heady melodies to an arena, where even more people will be able to loose their minds.

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Until Thu Jun 9

Lee Fields & The Expressions + Makaya McCraven

Recommended

Veteran crooner Lee Fields cut his first single in 1969 and is still a consumate performer, thanks to four decades spent playing in countless styles. Assisted by the Expressions, Fields combines aspects of classic soul and R&B, creating music that's far more genuine than most retro devotees. Rising Chicago-based jazz drummer and producer Makaya McCraven opens the show, digging into the complex grooves of his recent In the Moment LP. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Until Thu Jun 9

The Cure + The Twilight Sad

Apply some eyeliner and prepare to sing along to all of Robert Smith's mopiest pop songs (don't call it "goth rock") as the Cure come to the UIC Pavilion for a two-night stand. The band was last seen headlining Riot Fest in 2014, but this pair of shows promises to be a career-spanning event, looking back on the group's 37-year career, complete with a new stage production. For longtime fans (or angst-ridden teens) it should be just like heaven. Scottish post-punk act the Twilight Sad will be supporting at both shows.

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Until Sat Jun 11

Spring Awakening Music Festival

Recommended

With the Copa América Centenario international soccer tournament taking over Soldier Field throughout June, Chicago's biggest EDM festival is moving to Addams/Medill Park this summer. In its new location, local promoter React Presents is planning the biggest Spring Awakening to date, featuring more than 100 acts, five stages and carnival rides. Headliners for the 2016 fest include Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Flying Lotus, A-Trak more of the biggest and best electronic acts.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Chicago Blues Festival

Recommended

The largest free blues festival in the world brings living legends and local 12-bar regulars to Grant Park for three days of music. Those expecting Blues Brothers cover bands should steer clear (though you're likely to hear a few renditions of "Sweet Home Chicago"). This year, headliners include singer Shemekia Copeland, trombonist Fred Wesley & The New JB's as well as an all-star tribute to Chicago musician Otis Rush.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Florence and the Machine + Of Monsters and Men

Recommended

English singer-songwriter Florence Welsh knows how to belt out a refrain—for proof, just listen to any song from her solid 2015 release, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Backed by the Machine, she's also a sight to behold in concert—during her headlining set at Lollapalooza last summer she pranced across the stage in front of a flowing sequin backdrop, seemingly unperturbed by the lightning flashing in the distance. On this stop in Tinley Park, she'll be joined by Icelandic indie-folk juggernauts Of Monsters and Men.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Rodrigo Amarante + Leyla MaCalla

Imagine a Brazilian version of Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas who favors quirky folk-pop over glossy garage rock—that's the easiest way to describe Rodrigo Amarante. Best-known for fronting Rio de Janeiro rock group Los Hermanos, Amarante recently embarked on a solo career, composing a varied collection of tunes sung in his native Portugese on the 2013 release, Cavalo. Haitian-American cellist Leyla McCalla opens the show. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Until Mon Jun 13

Bonnie "Prince" Billy + Bitchin Bajas

Recommended

Alt-folk oddball Will Oldham (better known by his more regal moniker) teams with Drag City labelmates Bitchin Bajas to perform twisting tracks from the pair's aptly-named collaborative Record Store Day release, Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties.

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Until Fri Jun 17

107.5 WGCI Summer Jam: Fetty Wap + Jeezy + 2 Chainz

Local hip-hop station WGCI (which Chance the Rapper name-dropped on his single "Angels") throws its annual summer bash, featuring some of the genre's biggest names. Headlining is New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap's, best known for his ubiquitous drug-slinging ode, "Trap Queen." The bill also features a trio of prominent Atlanta emcees—Jeezy,  2 Chainz and T.I. Rising trap ground Migos and college football star-turned-rapper Piles.

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Until Fri Jun 17

LakeShake Festival

Recommended

After a successful first year, the LakeShake Festival returns to Northerly Island for three days of country music. This year, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Brooks & Dunn headline a Nashville-rich bill. The lakefront hoedown also features Martina McBride, Travis Tritt and Thomas Rhett—dust off your cowboy hat and polish those boots. (Note: There are no single-day tickets available for this festival)

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Until Sun Jun 19

Taste of Randolph

Recommended

On the same streets as some of Chicago's (and America's) best-known restaurants, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drink and music. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the event is welcoming 20 restaurant, including Belly Q, Gus's Fried Chicken, Publican Quality Meats and Cemitas Puebla. Swedish indie-pop act Peter, Bjorn and John, electro duo MS MR and Australian rockers Atlas Genius headline the music lineup.

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Until Sun Jun 19

Paul Simon

Though he achieved fame as one half of Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon cemented his place in popular culture with a string of seminal solo albums in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The South African-influenced melodies of Graceland have inspired modern acts like Vampire Weekend and St. Lucia—how many artists have that kind of impact with just a single record? The adult-pop titan comes to Ravinia behind his latest, Stranger to Stranger.

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Until Sat Jun 18

Grouper + Breadwoman + Good Willsmith + Simulation

Empty Bottle revives its Beyond the Gate concert series, bringing four bands to the Bohemian National Cemetery. The unique setting provides an fittingly eerie backdrop for the subdued, ambient music of Grouper, the solo project of West Coast musician and artist Liz Harris. She'll be joined by performance artist Breadwoman, psychedelic improvisers Good Willsmith and local electronic duo Simulation.

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Until Sat Jun 18

Julianna Barwick

Recommended

Few artists can match the ethereal allure of Barkwick, a Southern-born, Brooklyn-honed artist who layers her voice into wordless soundscapes. Her latest, Will, was partially recorded at the Moog Factory in Asheville, North Carolina, introducing synthesized textures to her sonic palette.

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Until Sat Jun 18

Flight of the Conchords

Though its HBO show (sadly) remains dormant, New Zealand comedic folk duo Flight of the Conchords is returning to the stage with some new songs in tow, as well as its beloved odes to the Hiphopopotamus and post-apocalyptic robots. This is one outdoor show that you'll want to be present for this summer.

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Until Sun Jun 19

The Lumineers + Soak

Ho! Hey! After providing the rollicking folk soundtrack to countless movie trailers and commercials, the Lumineers have returned with a brand new record, Cleopatra. The Denver-based group's latest batch of tunes are bit more moody and reserved, reflecting upon its rapid rise to fame with spare acoustic instrumentation. Don't worry—you'll still have plenty of opportunities to sing (or shout) along. Irish singer-songwriter Soak supports.

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Until Sun Jun 19

Steve Gunn

Recommended

Once a guitarist in Kurt Vile's band, Steve Gunn struck out on his own to craft a signature blend of acoustic Americana, bluesy boogie and deep, nomadic jams. His new album, Eyes on the Lines, showcases both jangling guitar chops and growth as a singer-songwriter.

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Until Thu Jun 23

Bob Dylan + Mavis Staples

Recommended

The venerable Bob Dylan and his band come to the Ravinia Festival, bringing his signature gruff folk lyricism to the pavilion stage. Last year, Dylan released Shadows in the Night, a collection of traditional pop ballads that were originally recorded by Frank Sinatra. However, you shouldn't expect a concert that sticks to his latest tunes. Dylan's performances are notoriously erratic, reaching back into various corners of his catalog in the same fashion as the singer's regular Bootleg Series releases. Chicago gospel legend Mavis Staples (who once received a marriage proposal from Dylan) will open up the evening.

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Until Fri Jun 24

Phish

After fronting the Grateful Dead's gigantic Fare Thee Well performances last summer, Trey Anastasio returns to the head of jam band titan, Phish. While even hardcore fans are quick to pan the band's studio work, its live shows are a potent coktail of extended instrumentals and thick clouds of pot smoke. In short, it's probably the trippiest night you'll ever experience in Wrigley Field.

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Until Sat Jun 25

Logan Square Arts Festival

Recommended

Last year, the Logan Square Arts Festival (formerly the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival) moved back to the Illinois Centennial Monument square for three days of local art, food, cocktails and music. This year, the event boasts headliners such as soulful R&B singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos, punk trio Screaming Females and Americana rockers Blitzen Trapper.

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Until Sun Jun 26

Selena Gomez + Bahari

Filled with steamy songs, Gomez’s 2015 album Revival was a less-than-subtle announcement that the former Barney & Friends star is entering adulthood. A similarly provocative, Madonna-inspired arena show from the pop star (and former Justin Bieber flame) seems almost guaranteed. Alt-pop trio Bahari—best known for contributing vocals to Zedd's "Addicted to a Memory"—open the show.

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Until Sat Jun 25

Ariana Grande + Calvin Harris + Meghan Trainor + Iggy Azalea

Recommended

Pop superstar and master impressionist (look up her Saturday Night Live sketches) Ariana Grande headlines this radio station-sponsored summer blowout. She's joined by EDM mainstay (and Taylor Swift's beau) Clavin Harris, "All About That Bass" singer Meghan Trainor and outspoken rapper Iggy Azalea. Still need more reasons to show up? Charlie Puth, Mike Posner and Daya are also slated to perform.

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Until Sun Jun 26

James Taylor + Jackson Browne

Adult-contemporary mainstay Taylor hits the North Side ballpark behind his recent album, Before This World—his first collection of original songs since 2002. Keep your fingers crossed for a fiery performance devoid of rain. Taylor will be joined by Jackson Browne, another singer-songwriter who came to prominence in the ’70s.

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Until Thu Jun 30

Comments

1 comments
Craig L
Craig L

Ribfest Chicago is often overlooked as one of Chicago's longest-running indie music festivals (since 1999) that features all ORIGINAL local and touring bands. This year features: Jukebox The Ghost, COIN, Kevin Devine, Freakwater, Ivan & Alyosha, Waco Brothers, Hemmingirds, The Kickback, The 4onthefloor, Hey Monea, The Pact, and a ton of local faves.