Tag Archives: chicago

Chicago Humanities Festival: Sounds of Freedom Review

It’s a cool day in Chicago, but at least the sun is out and lighting up the magnificent UIC Forum.  With it’s large windows all around, it stands out on campus.  The event is taking place on the second floor in rooms GHI, three adjacent rooms with sliding walls to divide them for other uses.  Today its all open with a stage up front containing a single podium.  To each side, large screens are being projected.  They are showing slides about the festival including a quote from the Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel.

Johari Jabir is introduced and he takes the stage. He begins by explaining that he will not be singing today. The description of this event (http://chicagohumanities.org/events/2014/journeys/the-sounds-of-freedom) was a bit misleading. An hour of music is not in store but rather a lecture about music.  Oh well, on to the next event!

Chicago and REO Speedwagon at Northerly Island

It’s a windy night in the Windy City. The crowd awaits REO. A voice on the loud speaker encourages us to welcome to the stage the opener. Turns out, there is a bonus act. One which is not listed on the Live Nation site or anywhere else of note. The crowd puts up with him and thankfully his set is short. Again, the crowd waits for REO.

The wait is short and they take the stage. The crowd, filled mostly with fans who were in their 20s when these bands first hit the scene, welcomes them warmly. At one point during the show he “takes” a call from his lady. She asks him to bring home a loaf of bread. He responds he can’t bring in the garbage cans because he is playing to 15,000 fans. Oops!

Next up, Chicago takes the stage. As play “Saturday in the Park”, fireworks are blasting in the background from Navy Pier.  Every day IS like the fourth of July with Chicago in Chicago.

Finally, Chicago and REO Speedwagon play together for a final set of hits.  Everyone knows every word.  Everyone has a huge smile on their face.  THIS is summer in the Windy City.

Lollapalooza Preview Friday

The week has finally come. It’s Lollapalooza time in Chicago. Grant park is already being prepared for the big three day music festival. PlaylistHQ is here to guide you through the mayhem.

First up are a few concert tips.

1. Wear sunscreen, find shade when possible, and wear a big hat. Lolla is during the hottest time of the year in Chicago and the sun can be brutally hot. Avoid the heat as much as possible to make it though each day.

2. Drink water. Lolla provides many water filling stations across the park. Take advantage of these, it’s one of the things this festival does best. Take note Pitchfork.

3. Don’t plan your whole day. You will exhaust yourself running around from stage to stage. Also, part of the appeal of Lolla is ability to stumble upon bands you wouldn’t normally discover.

Next up, our bands picks.

1. Courtney Barnett – This Australian is quickly rising to fame. Catch her now at a small side stage before she starts only appearing in large venues. Sing along to “Avant Gardener” because we all hate Mondays.

2. Glen Hansard – The star of the Oscar winning film Once (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0907657/) is playing Kidzapalooza. Most of his songs are quite adult themed, so it’s quite a mystery what he’ll be playing.

3. Broken Bells – What do you get when you mix The Shins and Danger Mouse? An excellent music collaboration that is a must see at this years festival. Since these artists are involved in other projects, you never know when you’ll get a chance to see them together again.

See our Lolla playlists here: http://www.playlisthq.com/festivals/LollaIndex.aspx


July Concerts to see in Chicago

Ah, summer is here. The warm weather has finally started to hit Chicago. Now, you should take this opportunity by attending some exciting music festivals and concerts! Lots of great artists are coming to the Windy City in July. Below is a list of some events you don’t want to miss. Let’s go out and see some of the finest acts this summer.

1. Dave Matthews Band
July 4-5 at Firstmerit Bank Pavilion

What’s a better way celebrating July 4th weekend than a thrilling set from Dave Matthews Band along with an incredible view of the city?

2. 311 feat. Ballyhoo!
July 11 at Firstmerit Bank Pavilion

90’s alternative-rock band. Good vibes. Mellow jams. Classic sing-alongs. This is certainly going to be an energetic show worth seeing.

3. Pitchfork Music Festival
July 18-20 at Union Park

From indie to hip hop, this three-day festival includes 40+ powerful acts. Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Neutral Milk Hotel, Grimes, and the Tune-Yards, just some names you can’t miss.

4. Phish
July 19-20 at Firstmerit Bank Pavilion

A new 12th album that was recently released at the end of June, you can expect to hear a lot of Fuego this summer. Every set they play is always so fresh and unique in its own way. Let’s get groovy!

5. Nine Inch Nails feat. Soundgarden
July 24 at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Since headlining Lollapalooza 2013, Nine Inch Nails are taking on a 23-date summer tour along with Soundgarden. One of the first stops being in Chicago, it’s undoubtedly going to be a great performance by the two.

6. Jay Z & Beyoncé
July 24 at Soldier Field

The famous hip-hop couple will be joining together for their “On the Run Tour” this summer. You can expect a jam-packed set list that will certainly get the crowd singing along. This is going to be an epic night.

Josh Kohn (Intern)

May Concerts

May is the month where everyone is coming home from college, school is ending, graduations are happening, and summer music festivals are beginning. But first, there are some shows in Chicago that are happening which you should DEFINITELY check out. Here are some of groups that I’ve been really into lately:

May 5 – Chromeo @ Lincoln Hall

I’ve been really into Chromeo recently. Just a big dance party. You gotta check it out.

May 8 – Milk Carton Kids @ Old Town School of Folk

I am just real excited that MCK is going to be at this venue. Old Town is a small, intimate setting that is perfect to sit back and enjoy some drinks. A date night even. I am totally bummed to be missing this show. 

May 8 – Ray LaMontagne @ Park West

If you’re really not into MCK or are more into LaMontagne, then head to Park West that night and get more of a singer/songwriter vibe that night. He’s definitely on a more relaxed route as well, but totally something to get to.

May 9 – Nickel Creek @ The Riv

I mean, why WOULDN’T you want to go to this show? They JUST released another album since 2006! It is absolutely amazing. This album strongly highlights each member and their talents. The songwriting is incredible, and I’m going to put on my musician hat for a moment, but the whole composition of each song is just amazing and smart. I would LOVE to see this show.   If you can’t catch this show, be sure to see them at The Taste of Chicago!

May 10 – Lily & Madeleine @ The SPACE

Any artist that The SPACE brings in is just wonderful. They’re always so fun and talented. Up North of Chicago, Evanston to be exact, this little place is attached to a hipster, new age space. Before this show, grab a pizza and some craft beer. Last time I was there, I was offered to try their beer of the day which was from a new brewery that opened up in town. 

May 14 – Cage the Elephant @ Aragon Ballroom

If you haven’t been to Aragon, you need to check this out. Cage is amazing and I’m surprised I haven’t even seen them yet. This is a perfect show to grab some drinks, a group a friends, and just rock out for a few hours. Dress light…it gets pretty hot in there.

May 16 – Foster the People, feat St. Lucia @ The Riv

FOP has finally released their second album and it’s pretty good. They somehow have the capability of writing extremely morbid & unsettling lyrics and make them the happiest most upbeat songs possible. Another show you can grab some friends and go to. St. Lucia is rumored to support, and I hope it’s true because they are pretty sweet and have been on repeat for the past few months for me.  If you miss this show, catch Foster the People at Lollapalooza!

May 16 – Of Montreal @ Lincoln Hall

This group is just groovy. I’m not going to say anything else.

May 17 – Haim @ The Vic

This group of sisters is so groovy. They have catchy guitar/bass licks and their voices have some haunting quality about them. They are fun to watch and just bring a new sound and look to music & girl bands.

May 30 – JD McPherson @Subterranean 

Flashback to the 1950s. Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, all radiate out of JD McPherson. It’s so fun, full of life, and just makes you want to dance all night. Bring your parents. They are also playing at Do Division Fest!

May 31 – Kishi Bashi @ Smart Bar 

You might know this artist by his one song on the Windows 8 commercials… It’s so catchy and fun. I’m definitely heading to this show to see how it works out. This guy is extremely talented. He has toured with of Montreal and Regina Spektor, the latter who is a wonderful songwriter and musician. 

It was extremely hard to narrow all of these down…ask me if you want to know about any more of them!

–Julie Campbell (PlaylistHQ Intern)


March Madness

So it’s almost March…WHAT?! I can’t believe it. I have only been to a couple of shows this semester and there are PLENTY coming up in March. 

Two weeks ago, I went to Chicago to see Graham Colton and last week I saw Avett Brothers in Bloomington, IL. WOW. Avett Bros were definitely amazing. This next month I’m going to a few shows….but these are some shows I WANT to go to / I AM going to.

5. MARCH 7: MILEY CYRUS @ ALLSTATE ARENA. I want to go to this sooooo bad. As much as she’s a train wreck, this would be an awesome show to go see. I heard it’s as crazy as she is. 

4. MARCH 7: DAN DEACON @ SUBTERRANEAN. If you’re not into Miley, then you should check out Dan Deacon. I saw him at 80/35 a few years ago and it was AMAZING. He’s totally worth it. 

3. MARCH 19: CHILDISH GAMBINO @ THE RIV. Oh my gosh I’m probably going to cry because I can’t see this. I actually might snatch some tickets up since my friend is selling some…I’ll see you all there. 

2. MARCH 22: YOUNG THE GIANT @ THE RIV. I’m actually seeing YTG in STL the 21 of March so I’m not too disappointed to be missing this one. It’s going to be amazing. Vance Joy is opening and he’s another artist you should check out. 

1. MARCH 18: LORDE @ ARAGON. She has been getting so much crap from everyone, but i think she’s an amazing singer/songwriter and I believe that she will learn and develop so much more talent. She’s 17! That’s insane. 

There are others this month…like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. w/Chad Valley, Greg Laswell, Reel Big Fish, Broken Bells, Warpaint, Martin Sexton, Art Garfunkel….

If you are a jazz lover then head to the SPACE in Evanston on March 8 to see Cecile McLorin Salvant. A-MA-ZING.

–Julie Campbell (PlaylistHQ Intern)