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The Five Best Concerts in Chicago This Weekend

See Alarm Will Sound, the new Riverwest Music Festival, an emo double billing, and more—there’s music out there for every type of listener over the long weekend.

Alarm Will Sound performs Zappa’s Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat.   Photo: Cory Weaver

The long holiday weekend is upon us. Which means, on top of more fireworks displays than you could ever hope to watch, an extra night to get out there and see some live music.  

Despite it being a relatively quiet weekend of Chicago’s otherwise bursting concert season, there are still a handful of shows worth checking out. If you aren’t too busy with hotdogs and sparklers all weekend, here’s where you should be.

Classical

Alarm Will Sound plays the music of Aphex Twin

When: Thursday, July 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Millennium Park.
How Much: Free!
Why You Should Go: If you’ve ever listened to Aphex Twin’s hyper-jagged electronica, you know it doesn’t exactly lend itself to adaptation by a chamber orchestra. Still, that didn’t stop the New York Times from calling Alarm Will Sound “the future of classical music.” This one will be truly flooring.

World

International Festival of Life

WHEN: Thursday, July 3 to Sunday, July 6 from 12 to 10 p.m. (4 to 10 p.m. on Thursday).
WHERE: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph.
HOW MUCH: $15 in advance, $20 at the park.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: You’ve celebrated American culture every Fourth of July of your life, and have the rest of your life to do the same. Mix things up this year with music from more than 40 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.

Electronic

Riverwest Music Festival

When: Friday, July 4 at 11 a.m. to Sunday, July 6 at 10:30 p.m.
Where: 1111 W. Elston.
How Much: $70 for a one-day pass, $170 for the weekend.
Why You Should Go: If outdoor EDM fests are your bag, this is your last chance to rage in the sunshine until North Coast—which, for all we know, could be blanketed in snow. German techno DJ Dixon is well worth seeing on Saturday, but Sunday is your best bet for an even spread of commercial EDM (Rusko, Excision, Morgan Page) and deep house (Guy Gerber, Art Department, Benoit and Sergio).

Emo/Punk

Dowsing and Spraynard

When: Friday, July 4 at 7 p.m.
Where: Township , 2200 N. California.
How Much: $10.
Why You Should Go: You’ve probably heard enough about the #emorevival to incentivize checking it out in the flesh, and what better way than with local sad-dudes Dowsing? Richard Album and Anomaly open.

Jazz

Kurt Elling

WHEN: Friday, July 4 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 5 at 9 p.m.
WHERE: The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway.
HOW MUCH: $15 cover.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: How often do you get to see a Grammy-winner for 15 bucks?

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