Monday, April 05, 2010

Don't Miss Out: Downtown Sound

Chicagoans, the time has come for free music in the park. Millennium Park's Downtown Sound concert series last year kicked so much ass (Dirty Projectors, Sea and Cake, The Feelies, Icy Demons, Black Moth Super Rainbow, St. Vincent), and this year looks just as good. Maybe even a little better. Here are the shows I'll be at, and I hope you will be too:

Monday, May 24 - The Besnard Lakes

One of the many great bands on Jagjaguwar, The Besnard Lakes latest album (The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night) has a thick, cloudy aura like a recently doused forest fire. Plus, a song called Chicago Train, which they will surely play for us when they kick off Downtown Sound's New Music Mondays.

Monday, June 7 - She and Him

I still haven't heard the whole album of Volume 2 yet, but Zooey and Matthew Ward are worth a trip downtown the day after my birthday. I'm sure there will be hundreds of high schoolers at this one, but real music fans will be there to support M Ward. But when it comes down to it, this will be the summeriest show of the season. Bright colors and brighter melodies will abound.

Monday, June 14 - Great Lake Swimmers

Get there early for this one, because Great Lake Swimmers are opening. This may be the perfect show for the lawn. Wine, cheese, friends, sunglasses and digital cameras are in order. Indie folk without the quirk makes for the best background music in the summer you know.

Monday, June 21 - The Books

Absolutely the can't-miss, get-there-early-so-you-can-see-the-projections, free concert of the year. The Books always put on one of the best shows, and with a new album slated for this year, it's gonna be a crowded Millennium Park on June 21st. If you've never seen The Books before, even if you don't know who they are, go to this show. This is some of my favorite music being made today, period.

Monday, July 12 - Caribou

I forget which year exactly, but Caribou played early in the day one year at the Pitchfork fest. They were the best show over the whole festival. Unpredictable percussion, surprisingly sharp outdoor sound engineering, and dancy melodies turned everybody into a Caribou fan instantaneously. If you missed that one, no worries. They're playing for free this summer.

Monday, July 19 - Konono No. 1

They're opening for Chicago's Kid Sister, but world music fans cannot miss Konono No. 1. Actually, I might be most excited for this show, because it's the one group on the list I haven't seen yet. I only thought they played in Africa actually... But raise your hand if you don't like the mbira. That's right. Everybody likes the mbira. Especially when it's amplified electronically, DIY style.

**All shows start at 6:30 p.m., and take place at the Pritzker Pavilion

You may also want to check out Hum (May 31) or The Thermals (July 5)

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