Concerts in Chicago in May
On her sophomore album LEGACY! LEGACY!, local poet and singer-songwriter Jamila Woods looks to the artists of color who came before her, devoting every track to a different pivotal figure. Each tribute provides a platform; a track devoted to actress Eartha Kitt expresses a desire to not compromise your values in the name of love while a song backed by a distorted guitar riff examines the life of blues guitarist Muddy Water and lashes out against the continued appropriation of black music. Harnessing arrangements rooted in jazz, house and blues music, Woods' appreciation for the lessons imparted by her forbearers takes the shape of insightful verses delivered with soul and reverence. Brooklyn rapper Nitty Scott opens this special hometown show.
Chicago-born rapper Juice WRLD is a textbook SoundCloud rapper success story, boasting a major label record deal, a string of trippy music videos directed by Lyrical Lemonade head honcho Cole Bennett and a hit single ("Lucid Dreams") that seemingly came out of nowhere. In reality, 20-year-old Jarad Higgins has been creating Auto-Tune-drenched emo rap for years, developing a plaintive, heart-on-your-sleeve style that falls somewhere between the music of rapper Chief Keef and emo-rockers My Chemical Romance. Before he returns to Chicago later this summer to headline the Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash in Douglas Park, Juice WRLD hits the Aragon Ballroom with support from Ski Mask the Slump God.
George Clinton (a.k.a. the Godfather of Funk) recently announced that he'll hang up his hat and retire from touring with Parliament Funkadelic in 2019. Before that happens, you'll get one final chance to see him fronting the modern incarnation of P-Funk, which incorporates hip-hop arrangements and dancing contortionists alongside renditions of classic tracks like "One Nation Under a Groove" and "Give Up the Funk." New Orleans jam band Galactic, ska act Fishbone and funk outfit Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf support.
A decade ago, Empire of the Sun released its debut album Walking on a Dream and introduced listeners to a world of glam electro-pop anthems performed by a duo in elaborate costumes and glittering eye-liner. Inspired by classic disco beats and contemporaries like Daft Punk and Phoenix, the Australian duo was mining the popular culture and retro synths of the ’80s long before Stranger Things came along. Now, Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut with a three-night stand at Metro that are nearly guaranteed to feature sci-fi headdresses, slick grooves and hude crowds dancing to the beat.
Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and Subterranean, kicks off the summer festival season during the first weekend of June. Spanning several city blocks, the annual celebration brings a selection of local vendors and restaurants to Division Street, as well as a petting zoo for the kids, a sidewalk sale and a runway fashion show. This year's music lineup includes Why?, the Meat Puppets, Mikal Cronin, Pile, Ryley Walker and Laura Stevenson, as well as local acts like Russian Circles, the Cool Kids, Makaya McCraven and Paul Cherry.