We Sort Through The Show Calendars... So You Don't Have ToCan't Miss Shows This Month from Kaytranada, Kanye West, James Blake, M83, St. Lucia, Neon Indian and Classixx, as well as a busy Halloween Weekend
October can be overwhelming for any avid concert-goer. Every year there is a steady spike in shows throughout the Chicago and Milwaukee areas – and this month features a few of those can’t-miss, tell-all-your-friends-about-it, shows.
With that in mind, we’re here to help you sort through those calendars, and decide where to spend that hard-earned capital… remember October is the last month of the year where it’s okay to not think about the dreaded holiday season, and all the cold that comes with it.
w/ Lou Phelps, Sahar Habibi, John Simmons
Concord Music Hall – CHI | Tickets: $22Read more
Haitian-born, Canadian-raised DJ/Producer Kaytranada has had quite the year. After first making his name on Soundcloud and as a dance DJ, Kaytranada released his debut album 99.9% earlier this year to rave reviews from Pitchfork, Fader, and many more tastemakers.
Kaytranada’s beats and musical inspiration span multiple decades and multiple genres, reminiscent of Madlib and J Dilla; utilizing crates of soul, funk, and R&B records. But somehow, his music retains a contemporary feel – 99.9% features multiple guests, Anderson .Paak, Vic Mensa, BADBADNOTGOOD, AlunaGeorge, Craig David, Little Dragon, to name a handful, which all assist in keeping the album fresh and genre-spanning, keeping you on your feet throughout the entire album.
When performing live, the best DJs or producers don’t just create mixes, they create atmospheres. It is then up to the crowd to utilize the ambiance on the dance floor. Kay will bring his remixes, his original recordings, and some dance floor classics to Concord on Thursday, October 6th, and the vibe is sure to be extraordinarily unique.
Check out Kaytranada’s 90s-inspired video for “You’re The One” below.
w/ Surgeons In Heat
Cactus Club – MKE | Tickets: $8Read more
A measly eight bucks gets you in to catch one of the best new bands to surface over the last year. Brooklyn, NY’s EZTV is led by Ezra Tenenbaum, and have gained a ton of hype since their debut album Calling Out was released last year.
The group released their sophomore album, High In Place, on September 30th via Captured Tracks. The record features guest appearances from some of indie music’s best, including Jenny Lewis, Martin Courtney of Real Estate, Chris Cohen, and Quilt’s John Andrews. The 70s-esque jangly power pop features plenty of pleasant noise and Ezra’s voice seems more assured, the music more confident.
Check out EZTV’s latest single, “High Flying Faith” ft. Jenny Lewis below.
October 7 | United Center – CHI | Tickets: SOLD OUT
October 8 | AllState Arena – CHI | Tickets: SOLD OUT
Contradictory to the EZTV show, you’ll have to shell out a little more cash to get a ticket to Kanye West’s two night run in Chicago. The Saint Pablo Tour has been all the talk in the cities it’s visited thus far, and Kanye has been more prone to surprise performances lately, recently popping up at Chance The Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day in Chicago. This is a stark contrast to West’s last major tour following the Yeezus album. The Yeezus tour was a set piece – a performance art piece that featured a big fucking mountain, multiple Margiela masks, and even an appearance by Jesus. It was all a bit heady, looking back on it, but still ranks in my list of All Time Greatest Concerts.
The Saint Pablo Tour features a levitating stage adorned with beaming lights along the sides and bottom of the stage’s platform. Mosh pits form below wherever Kanye steps, and everyone goes absolutely nuts. Everything Kanye West does with his music is a meticulously picked-over piece of art, and his concerts lately are no different. But make no mistake, Pablo is going to be a lot of fun.
Oh, and make sure to set aside about $50-$200 worth of funds for that merch.
w/ Moses Sumney
Cadillac Palace Theater – CHI | Tickets: $36 (Limited View Only)Read more
There are few things better than a James Blake show. Seeing him at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom a few years back was one of the best I’d ever seen at the venue I’ve been in hundreds of times. Now, we get the pleasure of seeing the English singer/songwriter/musician/producer in a gorgeous theater that periodically hosts Broadway shows.
Blake’s latest album, The Colour In Anything, was released earlier this year, and is starkly soulful and filled with beauty. His sets are intricately curated, so it will be intriguing to see how Blake interweaves older selections with his much more robust new material. Mark my words, this show will be one of the best of the year, so if you don’t have tickets yet, the $36 for “limited view” is a must-buy.
James Blake will be joined by crooner Moses Sumney for the show.
Check out James Blake’s latest “remix” of his track “Timeless” which adds Vince Staples to the mix.
Pabst Theater – MKE | Tickets: $39.50
Listen to M83’s “Go!”, one of the best songs of the summer, below.
Concord Music Hall – CHI | Tickets: $23Read more
It might not seem like it, but at this point St. Lucia can be considered indie pop veterans. South African singer Jean-Phillip Grobler has been releasing music as St. Lucia since 2012, but over the course of those four years has released two EPs and two LPs. The most recent two, 2013’s When The Night and this year’s Matter are incredibly rambunctious synth-pop. The live performance of their epically joyous island-pop on a Saturday night is guaranteed to get the Concord audience dancing.
Watch the group’s (semi-absurd) video for “Help Me Run Away” below.
What adds to the draw of this show is the addition of Baio. The project of Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio released a wonderfully-produced solo album, The Names, last year. VW is a top-shelf group, made up of top-shelf musicians, and seeing them branch off to perform solo is a treat in its own. Don’t sleep on the eccentric bassist, Baio’s set should not be missed.
Watch the video for Baio’s “Sister of Pearl” below.
Neon Indian & Classixx
w/ Alex Frankel, Harriet Brown
Wednesday, October 26 | Turner Hall Ballroom – MKE | Tickets: $20
Thursday, October 27 | Concord Music Hall – CHI | Tickets: $25
This show boasts an incredible double bill, promising to be one of the best indie dance parties of 2016.
Let’s start with Classixx, one of the best live electronic bands in recent memory. Their albums – 2012’s Hanging Gardens & this year’s underrated Faraway Reach – are infectious dance records laced with house, disco, funk and new wave. The duo perform many of the songs with live instrumentation, and really know how to work a crowd, building and releasing throughout the course of their set.
Classixx’s latest album Faraway Reach features some stellar guest appearances from the likes of T-Pain, How To Dress Well, and De Lux, as well as Harriet Brown and Holy Ghost!’s Alex Frankel, who will be on tour with the group performing as well.
Watch the group’s video for “Whatever I Want” featuring T-Pain (it’s also a great homage to a classic Smiths video).
Alan Paloma has been creating indie dance music for going on ten years now, with his most successful project Neon Indian getting critical acclaim since its first release, Psychic Chasms, in 2009. Two albums later, and Palomo has evolved the sounds of Neon Indian even more. Neon Indian’s latest offering Vega Intl. Night School is slick, dark, and incredibly funky.
After seeing the group live at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, I was finally able to witness the sheer brilliance of Palomo’s knack for live performances. The man does not stop during a live set – switching instruments between songs and dancing, all while never missing a beat vocally. His performances are alluring and hypnotizing, setting the tone and energy for the crowd to feed off of.
Check out the video for “Annie” by Neon Indian below.
Also Performing: St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Diane Coffee, & more
October 29 | State Street – MAD | Tickets: $10
The days of State Street being shut down for college students to swarm the bars, get drunk, get arrested for open containers, and potentially pepper sprayed by riot police are gone! For the last few years, Madison has shut down the State Street area to host FreakFest, an event that has progressively drawn nationally acclaimed artists to perform. Ten bucks is all it will cost to surround yourself with drunken college students while you watch two incredibly talented live performers.
Anderson .Paak has drawn an incredible amount of praise for his riveting live shows. His unique brand of hip-hop, soul, funk, and jazz has caught the attention of plenty throughout the country this year, and seeing Anderson .Paak live is a dazzling experience. Check out his recent performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk.
Har Mar Superstar is one of those performers who will fully embrace the FreakFest atmosphere. In between his songs about sexual liberation, Har Mar will sprinkle in banter about sexual liberation, and also, probably, take off a good amount of his clothing. On the surface, Har Mar’s performance is always a raucous affair, but his songs can really steal the show if you’re paying attention. Songs like “Lady, You Shot Me”, “Youth Without Love”, and his performances of Prince’s “When You Were Mine” brilliantly showcase Sean Tillman’s voice and his band’s ability to pull at your heartstrings. The kids will come to party at Madison’s FreakFest, and a party is exactly what Har Mar will give them. Watch his video for “It Was Only Dancing (Sex)” for a little taste of the joyousness that is Har Mar Superstar.
Freaky Deaky ft. Disclosure, Schoolboy Q, A$AP Ferg, Claptone
Also Performing: Tiesto, DJ Snake, Travis Scott, DJ Khaled and many (many) more
Toyota Park – CHI | Tickets: 3-Day Passes $169/Single-Day Tickets $59
Freaky Deaky is what happens when a festival industry gets its hands on a weekend built around dressing up in costume and behaving badly. Sure there is potential that you break down into an existential crisis, but the “festival” actually gets its hands on some incredible talent this year, and this lineup delivers plenty of reasons to join the fun, as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into and prepare accordingly.
Friday features a DJ set from Disclosure and Travis Scott, Saturday brings in DJ Khaled, Metro Boomin, and A$AP Ferg, and Sunday is headlined by Tiesto, with Schoolboy Q and Desiigner also performing. Head over to the Freaky Deaky website for the full lineup.