Red Bull 30 Days in Chicago calendar
Though Young Thug may be best known for his Auto-Tuned vocals, it's his unpredictable marble-mouthed delivery and improvised lyrics that make him one of hip-hop's most interesting (and frequently imitated) personalities. On his recent mixtape, Beautiful Thugger Girls, the Atlanta rapper strips away the trap stylings of his previous records and embraces a more subdued R&B vibe—including a track that might be the closest he'll ever come to writing an acoustic guitar ballad. Taking a short break from his daily routine of writing 10 songs, Young Thug will kick off Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days in Chicago concert series with an intimate show at Metro.
When Logan Square roommates Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich (former members of the Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively) began making music together, they found inspiration in the lovelorn, soulful folk rock of the Band and Neil Young. Whitney's 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, wears its heart on its tattered plaid sleeve, whistfully reflecting on failed relationships and youthful trysts atop easy-going horn arrangements. At this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show, the group is joined by local rockers Ne-Hi and Philly folk group Mt. Joy.
America's Got Talent finalist-turned-R&B star Kehlani has spent the past year working on her major label debut, SweetSexySavage, and appearing on tracks featured in blockbusters like The Fate of the Furious and Suicide Squad. Her quick rise to prominence makes sense—she's got the type of unassuming silky voice that's difficult to ignore and a ’90s-inspired sound that courts nostalgia without going overboard. Rapper Kodie Shane and R&B singer-songwriter Blaise Moore fill out the bill at this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show.
Over the last 10 years, blogger Andrew Barber has helped bring national attention to Chicago artists like Chief Keef, Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper (he even received a shout-out in Chance's Grammy acceptance speech) through his website Fake Shore Drive. As part of the Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago concert series, the hip-hop blog will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a show featuring Detroit rapper Tee Grizzley and what will likely be a parade of special guests paying their respects to Barber's taste-making talents.
Chicago's only indoor skate park and music venue hosts a record fair presented by online retailer Discogs, featuring rows of vinyl from local retailers. While you're searching for some LPs to add to your collection, Minneapolis synth-pop act Poliça and local rock duo Ohmme will provide live music (and probably a few more records for you to purchase).
November 5 at noon, House of Vans, free with RSVP
Want to learn about what it takes to get amazing photos of your favorite bands? Concert photographers Jeremy Deputat and Jason Peterson lead this workshop that covers the basics and intricacies of getting killer live shots—the kind that will make your Instagram account even more impressive.
November 6, The Annex (1620 W Chicago), free with RSVP
With her 2014 release, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, Mitski Miyawaki transitioned from orchestral avant-pop to yearning indie rock—a transformation that highlighted her talents for emotive melodies and pointed lyricism. Her latest, Puberty 2, is another collection of dreamy, gut-wrenching ballads that explore deeply personal topics, such as the singer-songwriter's struggles with depression and the constant uncertainty of adulthood. California indie rocker Miya Folick and Hazel English support at this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show.
As lead vocalist for the Internet, Sydney Bennett (better known as Syd) brought a breezy, unabashedly positive energy to the group's genre-bending R&B arrangements. On her debut solo album, Fin, Syd tries on multiple personas, confidently moving from sultry ballads to blustering hip-hop anthems. Fellow soul singers Charlotte Day Wilson and Bailey Wiley open the show.
November 8 at 9pm, Metro, $15
After recent collaborations with Tyler, the Creator, Dilp and Gorillaz, Columbian-American singer-songwriter Kali Uchis is an artist that you'll likely be seeing more and more of. Her 2015 debut Por Vida but her versatile voice through its paces, adding soulful refrains to production by the likes of Kaytranda and Alex Epton. Now, she's primed to make her major label debut and if the advance singles are any indication, it's another winner. Rock and soul singer Twelve'len and empowering pop artist Elley Duhé open the show.
September 9 at 9:30pm, Thalia Hall, $15
Singing in English, French and Yoruba (a Nigerian language), twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz create captivating harmonies that transcend any language barriers. The pair's latest album, Ash, features contributions by Kamasi Washington and Chilly Gonzales, who flesh out the imposing vocals with some equally entrancing production. Local R&B singer the MIND and ambient producer Koda support.
November 10 at 9:30pm, Metro, $15
The Weeknd may be the reigning king of dark and moody hip-hop, but Atlanta rapper 6lack can get just as dour about failed relationships and career struggles. That's probably why he ended up as a featured artist on the Weeknd's recent Legend of the Fall tour, appearing during a break in the headliner's set to perform his breakout single "PRBLMS" from his 2016 debut Free 6lack. Now he's at the top of the bill for a Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago concert, joined by Chicago rapper and singer Tobi Lou and Seattle R&B artist EMI.
The 30 Days in Chicago lineup is filled with singer-songwriters who mine the seductive sounds of ’90s R&B, but Sabrina Claudio effortlessly captures the breezy but lush atmosphere of the era's production. Her latest single, "Belong to You," is another empowering anthem that doesn't let its retro trappings obscure a progressive message. Fellow R&B singers Kiya Lacey and Amanda Delara open the show.
November 12 at 9pm, Schubas, $15
Columbia College hosts a conversation with music industry leaders, highlighting the increasingly important relationship between artists and technology. Experts will share the story of their careers and offer advice to young artists about how to break into the industry by harnessing emerging technologies and platforms.
Novemeber 13 at 7pm, Columbia College, free with RSVP
There's no better way to get noticed than by being featured on a pair of tracks on a new Drake album. British singer Jorja Smith's contributions to More Life exposed her to a wider audience but listening to the soulful, Amy Winehouse-inspired vocals, you get the feeling that she would have eventually found the spotlight on her own. Minneapolis R&B singer Dizzy Fae and fellow Drake collaborator Snoh Aalegra open the show.
November 14 at 8pm, Subterranean, $15
Since their debut as Parquet Courts, brothers Max and Andrew Savage have proven that guitar rock can still be intelligent and subversive. On the band's latest stripped-down, Velvet Underground-inspired album Human Performance, the New York group puts its razor-sharp wit to good use, lashing out against gentrification one minute and lamenting the departure of a girlfriend the next—an artful and snotty display that doesn't get lost in pretentiousness. Local punk rockers Meat Wave support at the Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show.
Guernsey-born wunderkind producer Alex Crossan (a.k.a. Mura Masa) became interested in electronic music after listening to Hudson Mohawke, James Blake and Gorillaz—a mish-mash of influences that gives his self-titled debut LP a distinctly British flair. Collaborations with the likes of Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky and Damon Albarn play to the strengths of the vocalists, echoing the approach of Crossan's favorite cartoon band. If his music is this self-assured, his live set seems sure to impress. Canadian synth duo Tennyson and mysterious Irish singer Bonzai open this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago concert.
As one-half of Crystal Castles, the voice of Alice Glass was often an ethereal presence, drifting in and out of jagged beats and melodies. On her self-titled solo debut, Glass comes to the foreground, presiding over peppy electro-pop that's reminiscent of contemporaries like Grimes and Purity Ring. Moody electronic producer Nolife and Swedish-Iranian pop-singer Nadia Tehran support.
November 17 at 8pm, Subterranean, $15
A hip-hop outsider with a buoyant personality, a distinct sense of humor and a steadfast point of view, Aminé is the kind of talent worth championing in the era of SoundCloud rap. The Portland native's debut LP, Good For You, bristles with the kind of genre-bending creativity that Outkast once channeled (fittingly, Aminé considers himself to be a protégé of Andre 3000). New Orleans hip-hop wordsmith Pell and UK producer A2 open the show.
November 18 at 8pm, Metro, $15
She isn't headlining arenas yet, but spend just a few minutes watching Lizzo perform and you'll know that she'd be up to the task. The Minneapolis singer is unrelentingly self-assured, armed with a scathing sense of humor—whether she's celebrating her body or calling out her exes, Lizzo pulls no punches. After signing to a major label and contributing a breakout track ("Good As Hell") to the latest Barbershop movie soundtrack, she seems poised to headline stages even bigger than Thalia Hall's. Boston rapper Bia and New York emcee Junglepussy support at this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show.
Even before he joined Chance the Rapper on Late Night with Stephen Colbert to debut an untitled song, Daniel Caesar was one to watch. The Toronto singer's debut LP, Freudian, combines sultry R&B lyricism with pious gospel harmonies, confronting the duality of devotion and deviance. TDE signee SiR and Somali singer Cherrie support.
November 20 at 8pm, Reggies Rock Club, $15
As a teenager, Fatimah Warner was part of the same Chicago Public Library art program that mentored artists like Chance the Rapper and Saba. The Bronzeville native's background as a poet shines through in the stark yet beautiful lyrics that populate her debut mixtape, Telefone, delivering verses that confront her insecurities and mortality with low-key candor. Compton emcee Buddy and indie hip-hop singer the Last Arful, Dodgr open this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago concert.
Stocking cap-clad singer Jacob Banks has the kind of arresting, full-bodied voice that can capture attention no matter where (or how) you encounter it. Just listen to the British artist belt out the chorus to his latest single, "Unknown (to You)," and you'll hear why he can make any R&B, blues or soul tune sound impassioned. Jøseph and Durand Jones & the Indications support.
November 22 at 9pm, Lincoln Hall, $15
She was featured on Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book ballad "Same Drugs" and recorded songs with Prince before his death, but Chicago singer Eryn Allen Kane's sophomore EP Aviary: Act II is the best introduction to her vocal prowess. On tracks like "How Many Times," Kane confronts the untimely loss of black lives with an R&B ballad, incorporating impassioned, gospel-informed vocal gymnastics that you can't help but pay attention to. Local hip-hop and soul ensemble Sidewalk Chalk open this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago concert.
Local emcee Kweku Collins lives in Evanston, so he won't have to go far to headline his hometown's most prominent music venue during Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days in Chicago festival. While Collins is often lumped in with Chicago's rising hip-hop talent, his latest EP, grey, doesn't ride anyone's coattails, differentiating itself with hazy production and a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' track "Maps." Heady rapper Kamau and Wisconsin emcee Trapo support.
Formed by rapper Smino, singer Ravyn Lenae and producer Monte Booker, the Zero Fatigue crew is one of Chicago most interesting collaborative hip-hop outfits. Here, the founding members showcase their latest tracks at this special group performance, accompanied by associates Bari and Jay2.
November 25 at 9pm, Lincoln Hall, $15
Xavier Omär is no stranger to Chicago—his recent EP, The Everlasting Wave, is packed with production from local heavy hitters like Peter Cottontale and Thelonious Martin, who each provide a fitting backdrop for Omär's smooth, unassuming vocals. Singer-songwriter Jesse Baez and Los Angeles R&B duo Jake&Papa support.
November 28 at 8pm, Chop Shop, $15
Hot off of a Best New Artist win at the MTV Video Music Awards and the platinum single "Location," 19-year-old R&B singer Khalid's only real problem is that he's got a name that's easy to get confused with DJ Khaled. While his debut album, American Teen, is peppered with youthful allusions to Uber, texting and subtweets, the breezy arrangements that surround them are classic and soulful, right down to the bouncing basslines and sparse rhythms. Headlining the penultimate night of Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago, he'll be joined by young pop sensation Amber Mark and singer-songwriter (the teenager behind "Sriracha") Marteen.
Atlanta trap crew Migos (the guys behind "Bad and Boujee") are so hot right now that even Katy Perry tried to hop on the bandwagon by featuring them on a song. SoundCloud sensation Lil Yachty is already showing up in Target commercials and inspired teens to scale fences and poles to catch a glimpse of his packed set at Lollapalooza. Separately, these two hip-hop acts are a big deal, but the finale of Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago will see them sharing a stage, with support from Ro Ransom and Shaboozey. Hopefully you already have tickets.