Shows In Chicago
Our city has a long history of terrific music, a long list of breakout performers, and dozens of great venues to see shows in Chicago.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Chicago was a hotbed of new music, as African-Americans came to city from the south, bringing delta blues, gospels and spirituals, and jazz to the city. Some of the greatest shows in Chicago’s history featured players of early jazz, like Earl Hines, Benny Goodman, and Jelly Roll Morton. They called the city their home and pioneered a style of Dixieland jazz with a distinctly Chicagoan character, playing shows in Chicago venues like the Grand Terrace Club, and the Green Mill, which is still open today!
The first few decades of 1900s also saw the blues blossom in Chicago as local musicians, brought the delta style into the new century by adopting electric guitars and basses, and amplifying their harmonicas. At that time, the city was home to blues greats like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, who played shows in Chicago’s South Side, and whose music was spread to national audiences by vital Chicago labels like Bluebird and Chess. The House Of Blues Chicago was originally founded to preserve this music. Now this style of music can be found at the Congress Theatre Chicago‘s Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Fest.
Chess had long history in Chicago, originally pressing predominantly jazz and blues, by the 1960s and 1970s the label began releasing music from the soul scene. Soul music in Chicago featured such notables as Curtis Mayfield, Chaka Khan, and Lou Rawls, all of whom played many shows in Chicago. The Beatles first US album, “Introducing… the Beatles,” was released by Chicago soul label Vee-Jay Records and the band would play a show in Chicago later that year for 13,000 fans at the International Amphitheatre.
Even today, Chicago activities continue to revolve around a vibrant music scene. It is home to influential independent record labels like Thrill Jockey, Drag City, Kranky, Carrot Top, and Touch & Go. The city has dozens of venues, many with long histories. Clubs like the Vic, Schubas, the Empty Bottle, and the Subterranean, showcase both national and local acts, and have served as a stepping stone for breakout bands like Wilco, OK Go, and Andrew Bird. For information on acts like those make sure to check out our Chicago events calendar.Chicago is also home to a rich festival scene; every summer the city hosts the Downtown Sound series, the Chicago Blues Festival, Lollapalooza Chicago, and the Pitchfork Music Fest. For any aficionado, there are ample means to experience music, in history, from labels, to festivals, to shows in Chicago.