You may or may not have heard of many of the acts coming to Millennium Park this summer for the annual Downtown Sound series and the new Loops and Variations program. Needless to say, that's no reason to let your eyes glaze over and assume you still have no plans for any of these dates.
Click here for a PDF of the full Millennium Park summer calendar, but first take a look at these highlights. Sure, it's no Lollapalooza, but it is free!
Kelly Hogan, Monday, May 28, 6:30 p.m.
Get a preview of "I Like to Keep Myself in Pain," the new record (out June 5) from this folk singer with a voice that simply cannot be denied. Scott Lucas and the Married Men opens.
Jonathan Richman, Monday, June 4, 6:30 p.m.
The singer-songwriter perhaps best known for his appearance in "There's Something About Mary" has made a career out of cheeky, well-crafted pop with no concern about coloring inside the lines. Joel Paterson and the Modern Sounds opens.
Wild Belle, Monday, June 11, 6:30 p.m.
A buzzworthy act that undercuts glossy pop with a laid-back, borderline reggae vibe. This is how you do cool without sounding detached. The Eternals headline.
Deerhoof, Thursday, June 14, 6:30 p.m.
I may be in the minority, but in the debate of bands with "Deer" in the title, I prefer the relative accessibility of this veteran experimental pop act to the atmospherics of Deerhunter. Ensemble Dal Niente open.
Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Monday, July 16, 6:30 p.m.
Do yourself a favor and track down "No Time For Dreaming," the debut album from this fantastic soul singer. He released it at the age of 62; here's hoping he's got plenty more records ready to go. (Side note: The picture above is taken from the documentary "Charles Bradley: Soul of America," the best movie I saw from the recent Chicago Movies and Music Festival. I'll let you know as soon as I hear about any wider release.) Abigail Washburn opens.