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Summer concert preview: Hot, hot, hot

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

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The key

♣ = indoor venue

 = outdoor venue

✓ = critic’s pick

 = rising star

★ = classic performer

TM = ticketmaster.com

J = jamusa.com

O = Other ticketing

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Updated: June 11, 2012 10:10AM



Last week, former “American Idol” finalist Haley Reinhart sounded absolutely exhausted. Running through the wringer ahead of the release of her debut album, “Listen Up!” (due May 22), the Wheeling native has been sprinting through a promotional tour, making appearances, doing interviews and even returning to the “Idol” stage to sing her new single, “Free.”

Only one thing perked her right up during our interview.

“Lollapalooza? Yes, I’m so excited. I can’t believe it,” Reinhart said of her summer booking at the annual three-day music fest back in her hometown. And which means she’ll be the first “Idol” contender to perform at Lollapalooza.

“I actually just looked up the schedule they just posted. It looks like I’m on the first day, right with the Black Keys, Black Sabbath, the Shins. It’s pretty amazing. I’ll be seeing those three, for sure. I want to see some others: Alabama Shakes, JJ Grey & Mofro, Jack White. I hope I’m able to stay the whole weekend.”

Taking over Grant Park on Aug. 3-5 (and paying taxes for the first time this year, thus charging more for tickets), Lollapalooza tends to be the biggest gravity well in Chicago’s summer concert solar system.

Summer 2012 looks bustling and healthy, compared with recent summer concert seasons, since it offers more big headliners and a growing crop of festivals.

The city may be charging for the close-up seats at this year’s Taste of Chicago, but its other festivals have found new life on their own again (rather than last year’s budget-inspired experiment of packing them into themed days at Taste). Multi-day celebrations like the Chicago Gospel Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival are spreading out this year, programming events in the downtown parks but also other locations in an effort to achieve wider inclusion above focused destination.

The free Monday evening Downtown Sound series of concerts is back in Millennium Park, and an additional regular schedule of cutting-edge shows has been added: the Loops & Variations series, focusing on electronic and experimental music.

Here’s a list of some of the biggest and most noteworthy shows scheduled in the area thus far:

Childish Gambino, May 9 @ Riviera Theatre: Geek-glory hip-hop from Donald Glover of “Community” fame, rescheduled after a broken foot derailed him in March. ♣ ✓  J

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, May 10 @ Cubby Bear: You will dance. You might think you won’t. But you will. ♣ ★ O

St. Vincent, May 11 @ Vic Theatre: Niece of a great jazz guitarist wallows in some edgy new rock material. ♣ J

Andrew Bird, May 12 @ Auditorium Theatre: The whistling fiddler’s new album, “Break It Yourself,” is some of the cheeriest of his formidable career. ♣ J

Mayer Hawthorne & the County, May 17 @ Park West: The Ann Arbor, Mich., native started life as a DJ, then discovered the surprisingly scorching soul man inside. ♣  J

“Fantabuloso,” May 18 @ Allstate Arena: “Kiss” WKSC-FM (105.3) lines up another star-studded package show, featuring Enrique Iglesias, Gym Class Heroes, B.O.B, the Wanted, Karmin, Cobra Starship, Havana Brown, Neon Hitch, Dev and Outasight. ♣ TM

“This Land Is Your Land,” May 19 @ Metro: A concert celebrating the 100th birthday year of American folk singer Woody Guthrie, featuring Tom Morello, the Klezmatics, Jon Langford, Holly Near, Son del Viento, Bucky Halker, Kevin Vocal, Toshi Reagon and more. ♣ ✓ ★ O

Alt-Q Festival, May 19 @ Old Town School of Folk Music: Scott Free’s 12th annual celebration features Chicago soul man JC Brooks, Alix Dobkin, Daphne Willis, Nhojj, E Nina Jay, Band Practice and more. ♣ ✓  ★ O

Bonnie Raitt, May 19-20 @ Chicago Theatre: The veteran interpreter and blues guitarist just delivered a fine new album and sounds smoky as ever. ♣ ★ J

The Beach Boys, May 21-22 @ Chicago Theatre: Celebrating a 50th anniversary, the surf-centered, harmonizing beach bums are back, with new music, too. ♣ ★ J

David Guetta, May 25 @ Congress Theater: The No. 1 DJ in the world returns for more manic music in the crusty ol’ Congress. ♣  O

Summer Camp Music Festival, May 25-27 @ Three Sisters Park (Chillicothe, Ill.): Get your jams out with moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Jane’s Addiction, Pretty Lights, Primus, Common, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, G. Love & Special Sauce, Leftover Salmon and many more.  J

LMFAO, May 26 @ Allstate Arena: The party-rocking duo is already playing arenas. Be prepared to be sprayed with champagne. ♣  TM

Red Hot Chili Peppers, May 28 @ Allstate Arena: Speaking of party rockers. Well, slightly more serious. Slightly. ♣ ★ TM

Kelly Hogan, Scott Lucas & the Married Men, May 28 @ Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park: The city’s Downtown Sound series kicks off with free Monday music in the park, spotlighting two underappreciated local greats.  ✓ 

Nickelback, May 30 @ Allstate Arena: The lunkhead rockers return with more in tow, including Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days. ♣ TM

The Cult, June 1 @ Congress Theater: The saucy, mystical heavy metal stylists with new music and an acclaimed stage show. ♣ ✓ ★ O

One Direction, June 2 @ Allstate Arena: The manufactured boy band is so hot right now, they’re also selling tickets for two shows next summer: July 13-14, 2013 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheater. ♣  TM

Drake, June 2 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: The former TV star turned rapper trots out his latest rhymes on tour “with special guests.” ♣ TM

“Loops and Variations,” June 7 @ Jay Pritzker Pavilion: The inaugural concert in the city’s new free series features three electronic wizards: Chris Clark, Jan Jelinek & Andrew Pekler, and Casino vs. Japan.  ✓ 

Roger Waters, June 8 @ Wrigley Field: The Pink Floyd leader returns to rebuild “The Wall” in its entirety inside the ballpark.  ✓ ★ TM

Chicago Blues Festival, June 8-10 @ Grant Park: Headliners this year include Texas Johnny Brown, Floyd Taylor and Mavis Staples.  ★  O

Brad Paisley, June 9 @ Wrigley Field: Another handsome hat act takes us out to the ballpark, with Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, the Band Perry and Jerrod Niemann.  TM

Dr. John, Iron & Wine, June 10 @ Ravinia: A curious pairing, featuring the veteran Delta piano-pounder and the delicate indie-folk band. Please play together.  O

Radiohead, June 10 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: The loose-limbed alt-rock iconoclasts finally return to the road, with Caribou opening.  ✓ ★ TM

Spring Awakening Music Festival, June 16-17 @ the green outside Soldier Field: Action-packed electronic/DJ bill features Skrillex, Afrojack, Moby, A-Trak, Benny Benassi, Flux Pavilion, Diplo and many more.   O

B96 Summer Bash, June 16 @ Toyota Park: Flo Rida, Big Time Rush, the Wanted and more at this annual sweatfest.  TM

Chicago Gospel Music Festival, June 21-24 @ multiple locations: Splitting time between the Loop and Bronzeville, this annual fest comes alive this year with Fred Hammond, Blind Boys of Alabama, Take 6 and more. ♣  ✓  ★ O

Aerosmith, June 22 @ United Center: Walk that way to find out if these spent classic rockers can still walk onstage. ♣ ★ TM

The Jacksons, June 22 @ Star Plaza Theater in Merrillville, Ind.: Michael’s surviving brothers carry on the family tradition, landing close to home. ♣ ★ O

Marillion, June 22-23 @ Park West: The British cult rock band tours ahead of its 17th album, “Sounds That Can’t Be Made,” due at the end of summer. ♣ ★ ✓ J

Sugarland, June 23 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: The country supergroup comes through with Lauren Alaina and Canaan Smith.  TM

Green Music Fest, June 23-24 @ Damen Ave. between North and Schiller: This eco-friendly awareness-raiser features Dinosaur Jr. and the Raveonettes.  ★ O

Esperanza Spalding, June 25 @ Ravinia: The wickedly talented bassist with the big hair puts on a rich show.  ✓  O

Ministry, June 28-29 @ Vic Theatre: When you look down and see the snowmen skating in hell, you’ll know Al Jourgensen and his Ministry brethren have returned to town. ♣ ★ ✓ J

Jimmy Buffett, June 30 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: Still touring, still wasting away.  ★ TM

Phish, June 30-July 1 @ Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis.: The drummer for these perennial jazzy jammers just led a group of 1,600 people to break a world record for largest cowbell performance. Yes.  ★ TM

Wavefront Music Festival, June 30-July 1 @ Montrose Beach: More spotlighted electronic music, featuring Duck Sauce, Erick Morillo and James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem).  O

Neil Diamond, July 6 @ United Center: Are you a believer? Do you still bring flowers? Will you be a woman soon? Will you be forever in blue jeans? ♣ ★ TM

Dave Matthews Band, July 6-7 @ Alpine Valley Music Theatre : No Caravan festival this year, but the DMB is back on the road.  ★ TM

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, July 7 @ Soldier Field: The two country buddies reunite for another joint tour.  ★ TM

Vans Warped Tour, July 7 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: The feisty punk tour is still going, this year featuring Taking Back Sunday, Anti Flag, New Found Glory, Emily’s Army (Billie Joe Armstrong’s kids) and Chicago’s Rise Against.  TM

Wilco, July 8 @ Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva: Chicago’s favorite roots-rockers play a non-Wrigley ballpark, with Andrew Bird and soul band the Congregation opening.  ✓ ★  J

“The Last Summer on Earth,” July 9 @ Charter One Pavilion: All the creaky ’90s rock you can stomach (part 1) from Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd & the Monsters and Cracker.  ★ TM

Santana, July 9 @ Ravinia: The guitarist with the golden touch is an easygoing rock-and-pop treat at Ravinia.  ★ O

Fiona Apple, July 10 @ Chicago Theatre: The turbulent singer-songwriter is back with new music. ♣ ✓ J

Taste of Chicago, July 11-15 @ Grant Park: The now-ticketed Taste concerts feature Jennifer Hudson, Death Cab for Cutie, Chaka Khan, Dierks Bentley and more.  ★ O

Barry Manilow, July 12-14 @ Chicago Theatre: Are you ready to take a chance again? Can you not smile without him? Are you trying to get the feeling? Who writes the songs? ♣ ★ TM

Pitchfork Music Festival, July 13-15 @ Union Park: This year’s lineup includes Wild Flag, Sleigh Bells, A$AP Rocky, Dirty Projectors, Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Beach House, Vampire Weekend and much more.  ✓  O

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Abigail Washburn, July 16 @ Jay Pritzker Pavilion: This former James Brown impersonator has a deep and rewarding soul all his own. Washburn, wife of Bela Fleck, is a force of folk nature, too.  ✓ 

Diana Krall, July 17 @ Ravinia: She’s an elegant singer, a subtle jazz pianist and, most recently, Paul McCartney’s collaborator.  O

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, July 21 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: Serious hard rock slung by Motorhead, Slipknot, Slayer and a series of special guests.  TM

Square Roots, July 20-22 @ Lincoln Square: A new festival, billed as “a craft beer and music experience,” created in the wake of ye olde Folk & Roots Festival. Featuring Sidi Toure thus far.  O

Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, July 27 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: A double-barreled blunt of the hottest hip-hop.  TM

Summerland Tour, Aug. 3 @ Allstate Arena: All the creaky ’90s rock you can stomach (part 2) from Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit and Marcy Playground. ♣ ★ TM

Lollapalooza, Aug. 3-5 @ Grant Park: Headliners include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, freshly reunited bands Black Sabbath and At the Drive-In, the Black Keys, Jack White, Florence + The Machine, the Shins and Passion Pit, plus spotlighted electronic music including Swedish house titan Avicii, French dance duo Justice and DJ-producer Bassnectar.  ✓

Jennifer Lopez & Enrique Iglesias, Aug. 3 @ United Center: Judge J-Lo returns to the stage at last, with the baby Iglesias in tow an Wisin y Yandel. ♣ TM

Coldplay, Aug. 7-8 @ United Center: The tender rockers return for a full-on stadium show. ♣ TM

Rufus Wainwright, Aug. 8 @ Bank of America Theatre: His funereal phase past, the youngest Wainwright returns to pop on his sunny, soft-rocking new album. ♣ ✓ J

My Morning Jacket, Aug. 22 @ Jay Pritzker Pavilion: A perfect venue for this homespun band’s ambitious but soft-hearted alt-rock.  ✓ J

The Honda Civic Tour, Aug. 24 @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre: All the creaky ’90s rock you can stomach (part 3) from Linkin Park and Incubus.  ★ TM

Chicago Jazz Festival, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 @ multiple locations: Ken Vandermark will be artist in residence at the 34th annual fest.  ✓ ★ O

North Coast Music Fes­tival, Aug. 31-Sept. 2 @ Union Park: The other big fest on the West Side has so far announced Pretty Lights, Axwell (from Swedish House Mafia), Atmosphere and Big Boi.  ✓  O

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Sept. 7-8 @ Wrigley Field: The Boss swings through with a very large band (minus Clarence)to tear down the ballpark with his new “Wrecking Ball.”  ✓ ★ J

Madonna, Sept. 19-20 @ United Center: The Material Girl just dropped “MDNA” and brings the theatrical dance party back to Chicago. ♣ ✓ ★ TM



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