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 music venues and arenas. When you're not spending your days on a rooftop bar, you can see U2, Tom Petty 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
Now that the backlash to U2's covert delivery of Songs of Innocence to every iTunes library has become a distant memory, Bono and company are hitting the road once more. After selling out five shows at the United Center in 2015, the band will come to Soldier Field to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its seminal album, The Joshua Tree. U2 will be performing the record in its entirety, including setlist staples like "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," but you may also hear some cuts from the group's forthcoming 14th studio album. Folk rockers the Lumineers will support.
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") but anyone with an appreciation for blistering guitar riffs and soulful singers can get their fix here.
Chicago's largest EDM festival returns each June, armed with some of the biggest DJs and electronic acts in the world. Just like last summer, the fest will take up residence in Addams/Medill Park—an upgrade (in terms of space and aesthetics) from the somewhat cramped confines of the event's former home in Soldier Field. Expect bass drops, pyrotechnics and dancing bros galore.
Though his music oozes with the kind of experience that only comes with time, bluesman Otis Taylor isn't a career musician—for several decades he was an antique dealer and professional bicycle team coach. Eventually, the guitarist was drawn back to the 12-bar arrangements that filled his teenage years, and 15 albums later he's solidified himself as a figurehead of the genre. His latest LP, Fantasizing About Being Black, looks back on the history of African-American life, from the horrors of slavery to the continuing struggle for civil rights. Cellist and folk singer-songwriter Ben Sollee and his band Kentucky Native open the show. This free concert is part of the 2017 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
As its name suggests, the Richmond, Virginia-based No BS! Brass Band is a horn-filled outfit that doesn't pull any punches. Bringing a New Orleans-style brass treatment to funk, R&B, soul and jazz arrangements, the 13-piece outfit fills out any stage it graces with trumpets, trombones and some punk rock attitude. Cuban jazz singer Dayme Arocena opens the show. This free concert is part of the 2017 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge is best known for his role in Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, in which the musician sang David Bowie songs in Portuguese, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Paying tribute to the the recently departed musical legend, Jorge digs back into Bowie's catalog throughout his new live show, backed by an intricate stage set modeled after a boat (complete with sails).
Fronted by Midwestern-raised singer-songwriter Craig Finn, the Hold Steady has always worn its flyover state origins on its sleeve. The group's seminal 2006 release Boys and Girls in America was a Bruce Springsteen-inspired suite of songs about people frustrated with small town life, but unable to escape it. More than a decade later, the group is embracing its past, welcoming instrumentalist Franz Nicolay back into the fold and reissuing it first three records. Finn and company will hold down two nights at Thalia Hall before playing a special show at the Empty Bottle, celebrating the venue's 25th anniversary.
In the heart of restaurant row, 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. This year Americana act Dawes, electronic one-man band Robert DeLong, indie jam band Moon Taxi and costumed funk outfit Here Come the Mummies headline the festival. Standing around all day will make you hungry, so look forward to grub from Nando's Peri Peri, Publican Quality Meats, Formento's and more.
After more than half a decade, the reigning Queen of Soul is still putting her formidable pipes to work singing classic songs like "Respect" and "Chain of Fools." During her appearance at Ravinia, there's a good chance that Frankline will dig into her most recent release, The Great Diva Classics, which includes soulful renditions of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Etta James's "At Last."
With its name scrawled in the margins of countless high school notebooks and a catalog of songs that have achieved veritable classic rock status, Metallica has weathered decades of heavy metal history with relative grace. Sure, there have been well-documented breakdowns, band therapy sessions and faulty microphones, but what's metal without a bit of well-placed anger? Metallica's latest album, Hardwired...To Self-Destruct is a calculated throwback to the rapid tempos and thrashing riffs of the band's early days. The latest material might sound a bit forced at times, but the group clearly knows its strengths—played alongside "Master of Puppets" in a rowdy arena, you'll hardly notice the difference.
Grammy-winning California jazz and soul singer Gregory Porter headline Millennium Park's Juneteenth Celebration, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Porter's latest record, Take Me to the Alley, is a sparse but capable showcase of his silky vocals and powerful delivery (which you may already be familiar with if you heard Disclosure's "Holding On"). He's supported by local cellist Tomeka Reid and her jazz quartet. This free concert is part of the 2017 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
Self-taught singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra ran away from home at age 17 to hop freight trains and busk playing banjo. At the head of Hurray for the Riff Raff, she applies her rebellious ethos and Puerto Rican heritage to traditional folk and country melodies, crafting songs that expand upon the melodic framework of a bygone era. Local indie-rock singer-songwriter Matthew Santos opens the show. This free concert is part of the 2017 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
For country music fans in Chicago, there's no bigger event than the Country LakeShake Festival on Northerly Island. Headliners at this year's fest include Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert and Rascal Flatts—you'll also get to sing-along to "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" when Big & Rich show up on stage. In a city where most festivals tend to ignore country music, there's no better hootenanny in town.
Each year, the Logan Square Arts Festival Illinois sets up stages, tents and kegs at the foot of the Centennial Monument square for three days of local art, food, beer and music. Headlining act at this year's festival include Canadian noise rockers METZ, local avant garde singer-songwriter Circuit des Yeux and Speedy Ortiz frontwoman Sadie Dupuis' solo project Sad13.
If you can't afford a vacation to the ocean this summer, you can at least enjoy some music with sand beneath your toes at Mamby on the Beach. The lakefront festival takes place on Oakwood Beach, featuring a mix of indie, electronic and hip-hop acts, including Walk the Moon, MGMT, Flying Lotus and Local Natives. Show off your new bathing suit, admire the skyline views and soak in beach season while you have the chance.
Norwegian outfit Jaga Jazzist have been mashing up jazz, electronics and rock via intriguing instrumental compositions since the group's founding members met in high school. Fans of similarly genre-fluid acts like Tortoise and Stereolab will feel at home among the lush, progressive arrangements of the band's 2015 release, Starfire. Central African electronic producer Afrotronix opens the show, combining traditional rhythms with EDM flourishes. This free concert is part of the 2017 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
In the late ’90s, Nicole Wray launched her career as an R&B singer with an album written by Missy Elliot featuring the minor radio hit "Make it Hot." These days, she goes by the stage name Lady Wray and performs retro ’60s- and ’70s-indebted soul, backed by a band that includes Meehan Street Band member Tom Brenneck. In Pritzker Pavilion, she'll be joined by Chicago soul singer Zeshan B and his band the Transistors. This free concert is part of the 2017 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
One of the most successful rock icons of our time, Tom Petty celebrates the 40th anniversary of his long-running backing band, the Heartbreakers, with a concert in Wrigley Field. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has settled into senior rock stardom comfortably, releasing the occasional new record (most recently, 2014's Hypnotic Eye) and hosting his own satellite radio show. Of course, Petty's live show is still the "Free Fallin'" experience you'd expect it to be. Southern rocker Chris Stapleton supports.
If you thought the Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well shows at Soldier Field marked the end of the legendary jam band... you were wrong. Made up of surviving core members of the Dead and fronted by guitarist John Mayer, Dead & Company reheats the familiar catalogue of genre-blending, psychedelic tracks. Our only question: With all the construction in Wrigleyville, where will diehard fans find room to hawk homemade tie-dye shirts and merchandise?