MEN IN BLACK HATS: Ne-Yo plays Taste on July 1st; The Blues Brothers screens in Independence Park on July 2nd.
As the Fourth of July approaches, what’s more American, we ask, than supersizing? To that end, we interrupt our regularly scheduled Five for a very special Ten: double-dip pairings of top-notch concerts (and one musical flick), organized by genre and featuring one suburban and one city option each (bonus: All city picks are free). Now, get out there and pursue happiness with these don’t-miss to-dos for the week of Wed 07.01.09 through Tue 07.06.09:
‘burbs Conrad Tao
He might not be on your radar—yet—but that should change after the 15-year-old prodigy and former Napervillian plays his Ravinia debut, a piano concert featuring sonatas by Vine, Beethoven, and Barber.
GO: July 6 at 8. $10-$40. Ravinia, Lake Cook Rd and Green Bay Rd, Highland Park. ravinia.org
city Grant Park Music Festival
Another first: The Grant Park Orchestra plays its inaugural Independence Day concert on, yep, Independence Day. While the city’s whiz-bang fireworks still take place on July 3rd at 9 (a smaller show launches from Navy Pier on July 4th at 9), the GPO’s patriotic salute (Copland, Sousa, Key) moves to what we say is its rightful day.
GO: July 4 at 1:30. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. millenniumpark.org
‘burbs American Music Festival
The suburban roadhouse FitzGerald’s Fourth of July weekend features continuous blues, rock, country, and more from midafternoon to past midnight. Highlights include Joe Ely, Marcia Ball, and Robbie Fulks; plus, roots-rock hero and fest godfather Dave Alvin helps bring things to a close on July 4th with his new band, the Guilty Women.
GO: July 1-4. Doors open Wed, Thu at 4:30; Fri, Sat at noon. $25-$30 each day. FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn. fitzgeraldsnightclub.com
city THE Blues Brothers
More Chicago blues—this time onscreen. The iconic flick The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and our fair city, screens as part of the Movies in the Parks series.
GO: July 2 at 8:30. Free. Independence Park, 3945 N Springfield. chicagoparkdistrict.com
‘burbs King Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti
The North Shore will rock to the incredibly effervescent sounds of yoruba-jùjú, courtesy of the Afrobeat pioneer Ade and the next-generation activist Femi Kuti, son of the late great Fela.
GO: July 1 at 7:30. $16-$40. Ravinia, Lake Cook Rd and Green Bay Rd, Highland Park. ravinia.org
city OumOu SangarÉ
Get a second helping of Afropop the following night, when the West African superstar Sangaré plays vibrant Malian folk supercharged with modern dance rhythms in the heart of downtown.
GO: July 2 at 8. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. millenniumpark.org
‘burbs Bill Frisell Quartet
The guitarist’s pastoral musings might not always sound like jazz, but his knack for sonic exploration fits squarely within the genre’s tradition.
GO: July 6 at 8. $35-$52.50. SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston. evanstonspace.com
city Corey Wilkes
If he continues to release a new album every ten months, this dynamic Chicago trumpeter’s catalog just might catch up to his busy gig schedule.
GO: July 7 at 5:30. Free. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org
Fill up on ribs, then check out this suburban fest’s music lineup. We recommend skipping the biggies (Heart, Huey Lewis) in favor of the local bluegrass outfit Dime Store String Band (Sat at 7:40). Because if nothing says “Fourth of July” like barbecue, nothing says “music to eat barbecue to” like bluegrass.
GO: July 2-5 noon-10. $8-$10. Knoch Park, West St and Martin Ave, Naperville. ribfest.net
city Taste of Chicago
Grazing is fine and good, but Taste’s audio buffet is even better. On July 1, catch Ne-Yo, the terrific young songwriter who builds hit after R & B hit for himself as well as Beyoncé and Rihanna (at 5:30). On July 2, skip the main stage cover bands for a Thrill Jockey showcase, featuring two of the record label’s best local jazz treasures, the ageless Fred Anderson (at 1:45) and the incendiary 8 Bold Souls (at 7), plus the adventuresome indie acts Bobby Conn (at 3:30) and Eleventh Dream Day (at 5:15).
GO: Taste runs daily 11-9 through July 4; 11-6 on July 5. Free. Grant Park, Michigan and Congress. tasteofchicago.us