As one of the greatest music hubs in the country, Chicago is famous for its diverse music culture. From jazz and blues to hip-hop and rock, the city has bred pioneering artists in nearly every major genre. While Chicago will host shows from huge names such as Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, U2 and Chance the Rapper this summer, The PHOENIX has decided to celebrate Chicago’s indie music scene. We’ve compiled 10 smaller upcoming gigs in and around the city that are likely to blow audiences away.
Forgotten Tropics — June 2 (The Cubby Bear, Wrigleyville, Chicago, $5)
Drawing most of their influence from the blues and psychedelic rock of artists such as Jimi Hendrix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Forgotten Tropics is a band focused on the feel of their music. Steady blues riffs and long solos are the staple of the group’s unique sound, and fans of the style will not be disappointed.
Jamestown Revival — June 15 (Park West, Lincoln Park, Chicago, $29)
Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay make up this rocking bluegrass duo. The group keeps true to its southern roots while infusing modern rock and soul. Known for their rich harmonies and expressive vocals, Jamestown Revival is a perfect show to catch this summer.
Iris Temple — June 21 (Subterranean Music Hall, Wicker Park, Chicago, $10)
A hip-hop and R&B duo out of Chicago, Iris Temple is a name to watch. The group’s smooth vocals and tight, well-produced beats intertwine perfectly with its unique use of old-school jazz riffs. It’s worth changing your plans to catch this group live.
Band Called Catch — July 7 (Fred P. Hall Amphitheater, Palatine, IL, FREE)
A hidden gem of the Chicago indie music scene, Band Called Catch is a folk-rock group led by singer-songwriter Tim Frank. Every show they play is bursting at the seams with energy and charisma, and their smart vocals, infectious music and strong stage presence demands they be seen live.
Canyon Spells — July 7 (Schuba’s Tavern, Lakeview, Chicago, $12)
This Wisconsin based group provides a unique blend of pop vocals over an alternative-rock backing to create a style all its own. The band’s music feels old and new simultaneously, showing audiences that it can seamlessly shift from pulsing pop-rock anthems to quiet, emotional folk tunes.
The Belvederes — July 9 (Lindy’s Landing, Wauconda, IL, FREE)
This Chicago-based group pulls listeners right back into the rock-and-roll tradition of decades past. Led by singer-songwriter John Michael Ford, The Belvederes have been champions of the high-energy rock show style of Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley, playing various bars and clubs all over the city since 2011. Catch them at the great beachside venue of Lindy’s Landing in this northwest suburb this July.
Gregory Porter — June 19 (Millennium Park, Chicago, FREE)
Another jazz artist on the list, Gregory Porter is a renowned singer and student of his craft. He has emerged as more than an imitation of the old-school crooners of the ‘40s into something completely unique. Porter is able to bring a slight edge of modern R&B to his jazz, making him a compelling voice in today’s music industry.
Lake Street Dive — July 20, 21, 22 (Thalia Hall, Little Italy, Chicago, $56)
Give a jazz singer a full rock band and you get Lake Street Dive. Fronted by vocalist Rachael Price, the group pushes the boundaries of jazz by adding rock influences from the British Invasion, such as The Beatles and The Who. Fans looking to catch the group live have three chances during its three night stint at Thalia Hall.
Andrew Bird — July 23 (Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, $48)
Chicago native singer-songwriter Andrew Bird has been performing for nearly two decades, captivating audiences with his beautiful lyrics and folk accompaniment. Bird only seems to get better with each new album and his latest, “Are You Serious,” may be his best record yet. He’s one of the finest lyricists working today, and any fans of folk music should drop everything to see him this July.
Gregory Alan Isakov — August 24 (The Vic, Lakeview, Chicago, $47)
Continuing in the tradition of such legends as Leonard Cohen and Jim Croce, Gregory Alan Isakov brings his moody style of folk music to Chicago this August. Often armed with just his guitar and voice, Isakov is able to draw audiences in with his hypnotic melodies and sincere delivery.
Check out this Spotify playlist to hear a number of songs from the artists mentioned above: