This week’s concert lineup is stacked. Enjoy a holiday weekend with guitar hero Jim James and Chicago songstress Jamila Woods, or celebrate the city’s homegrown music genre at the Chicago House Music Festival.
Start summer with a kick in the teeth from the Swedish Scream tour, coheadlined by the garage-rocking Hives and hard-core punk outfit Refused. The Hives are best known for rocking out in matching suits to late-’90s hits like “Hate to Say I Told You So.” Their new single, “I’m Alive,” announces their return to the stage with a crescendo of guitars.
Details: May 20, 7 p.m., at Vic Theatre; $36.50
Grunge goddesses L7 are back with their first new album in 20 years. Scatter the Rats, released on Joan Jett’s Blackheart label, finds the quartet serving up their snarling mix of punk, metal, and pop like they never left. Arrive early to kick things off with Mexican punks Le Butcherettes.
Details: May 21, 7:30 p.m., at Metro; $27.50
Their generation may be getting up there in years, but the Who is still one of the best live acts in rock. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are joined on their North American tour by a 49-piece orchestra. If you think you know “Baba O’Riley” and “Join Together,” you haven’t heard them with the backing of a full symphony.
Details: May 21, 7:30 p.m., at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre; $32–$326
Even if you’re not familiar with the Godfather of Neo-soul, you’ll likely recognize Ayers’s music, which is among the most sampled in hip hop. The 78-year-old vibraphonist is a living legend of jazz, funk, and soul who has collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Talib Kweli. What better than the smooth sounds of “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” to groove into a holiday weekend?
Details: May 22 and 23, 8 p.m., at City Winery; $35–$48
Multi-instrumentalist Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood) explores how to find meaning in this fraught moment in time on her latest release, Titanic Rising. With its psychedelic take on Carole King–esque ’70s folk traditions, the album is indeed a soothing antidote to the daily news. Ride Mering’s wave of mellow West Coast–inspired pop before she joins Kacey Musgraves on tour this fall.
Details: May 22, 8:30 p.m., at Lincoln Hall; $16–$18
Chicago House Music Festival
Celebrate a musical genre born in Chicago with the multiday Chicago House Music Festival. DJs and musicians from around the world will perform different styles of house music, including headlining sets by London-based Reel People, Antonio Ocasio of New York, and local artist Gene Hunt. A conference at the Chicago Cultural Center includes panel discussions on topics related to the culture, artistry, and business of house music.
Details: May 23–25 at Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and venues across Chicago; free
After a decade in the game, we need Local Natives’s dreamy, California indie rock more than ever. The L.A. band’s fourth album, Violet Street, is tailor-made for a sunny West Coast road trip. The band has partnered with PLUS1 to donate $1 from every ticket to supporting gender-based violence prevention and intervention programs.
Details: May 23 and 24, 8 p.m., at Thalia Hall; $37–$101
You would think that spending nearly two decades fronting one of the world’s biggest rock bands, My Morning Jacket, would keep James busy. Yet he is embarking on his Uniform Distortion tour, supporting his third solo album. Uniform Distortion sees James performing gritty guitar-driven feats with his signature edgy energy.
Details: May 23, 7:30 p.m., at Riviera Theatre; $41
Blood Orange might not be the most obvious choice to open for Florence and the Machine, but this is actually not the first tour that Dev Hynes has joined the chamber-pop powerhouse. It’s worth arriving early to watch Hynes dominate the stage by singing, dancing, and jumping from instrument to instrument. His groovy, ’80s-influenced intersection of R&B and electronica supports lyrical themes of marginalized sexual and racial identities.
Details: May 23, 7:30 p.m., at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island; $60–$129.50
Chicago poet and singer Woods is soaring. Three years after her acclaimed debut album, Heavn, she celebrates creative people of color on her follow-up, Legacy! Legacy! Woods addresses life’s challenges with songs named after Eartha Kitt, Muddy Waters, Zora Neale Hurston, and more in a jazzy neo-soul style.
Details: May 26, 7 p.m., at Thalia Hall; $31–$66