Catch a hip-hop DJ set in an arcade bar and discover improvisational artists in a cemetery this week in Chicago music.
If you remember the Drums as a hokey, surf-rock band circa 2010, it’s time to catch up. The group is essentially now the solo project of frontman Jonny Pierce, trading the sunny anthems for introspective indie rock. Pierce’s new album, Brutalism, addresses isolation and longing with a heavy dose of synths and the Drums’s familiar singable energy.
Details: May 1, 8:30 p.m., at Metro; $21
Scottish trio Chvrches is set to dominate the Aragon Ballroom with its anthemic brand of elecro-pop. The band is touring in support of its latest album, Love Is Dead. Between the synth-driven epics and the charisma of frontwoman Lauren Mayberry, it’s no wonder the indie darlings have found mainstream success.
Details: May 2, 7:30 p.m., at Aragon Ballroom; $38.50
When you’ve been innovating as long as Ishmael Butler has, your side projects need side projects. The Digable Planets founder collaborated with Erik Blood in Shabazz Palaces for a decade before releasing an album as a duo under the moniker Knife Knights. Trip on the pair’s psychedelic soul experimentations as they take their combined talents way out there.
Details: May 3, 9:30 p.m., at Sleeping Village; $12–$15
Peanut Butter Wolf and J Rocc
Don’t miss the opportunity to essentially see a Stone’s Throw showcase spin in an intimate arcade bar. Stone’s Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf has developed hip-hop artists like Madlib, J Dilla, and Anderson Paak. Cross your fingers for a preview from two upcoming projects from J Rocc, beat junkie and one of the original turntablists.
Details: May 3, 8 p.m., at Emporium Wicker Park; $10–$15
Chick Corea and Béla Fleck
Piano meets banjo in this masterful duet. Corea and Fleck will play from their Latin Grammy–winning album, The Enchantment, and live set, Two, in addition to their individual tunes. Enjoy a mix of jazz, pop, bluegrass, and flamenco from two iconic musicians.
Details: May 3, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at Old Town School of Folk Music; $83–$85
Cleveland rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have been spitting rapid-fire rhymes with a melodic flow for more than two decades. After being signed by Eazy-E, the collective earned a devoted following with hits like “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “The Crossroads.” Bizzy, Krayzie, Layzie, Wish, and Flesh-n-Bone take the stage just weeks after the Record Store Day reissue of East 1999 Eternal on vinyl.
Details: May 3, 6:30 p.m., at Concord Music Hall; $16.75–$100
Lizzo is having a moment, and everyone is invited to join. Touring in support of her third album, Cuz I Love You, the pop star delivers empowering R&B anthems that make you want to bounce. She takes on racism, sexism, and body shaming with an attitude and will have you bending and snapping along.
Details: May 3 and May 4, 8 p.m., at Riviera Theatre; $29.50–$32.50
If you need to scream it out, join Pup on the tour supporting their new album, Morbid Stuff. The band got its name after Stefan Babcock’s grandmother called playing in a band a “pathetic use of potential.” The Toronto punk-rockers spew scathing tracks like “See You at Your Funeral” and “Full Blown Meltdown” with pop-punk buoyancy.
Details: May 4, 7:30 p.m., at Metro; $20–$22
Start practicing your best dog bark—DMX is coming to town. The veteran hard-core rapper is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his classic 1998 album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. Back on the road after a one-year stint in prison, there’s no doubt that “X Gon’ Give It to Ya.”
Details: May 4, 6:30 p.m., at House of Blues; $40
Exposure Series 2019
Discover new and challenging artists…in a cemetery. The fourth annual Exposure Series brings visiting improvisers Claire Rousay, Forbes Graham, and Ava Mendoza into contact with Chicagoans. The final performances of the three-day festival, hosted by Elastic Arts, will take place in Rosehill Cemetery’s May Chapel.
Details: May 4, 2 p.m., at Rosehill Cemetery; free