Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Music Mondays in Millennium Park

Fans of free outdoor concerts rejoice: The series of no-charge Monday night spring-summer concerts in Millennium Park - presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the park - will soon return for a 2010 season. This year the roster features 10 double-bill concerts, kicking off May 24 and closing July 26.

See below for a detailed roundup of the scheduled performances as provided in the press release announcing the series, and visit for more information.

May 24 at 6:30pm
Besnard Lakes with The Ponys

The Montréal-based psychedelic and ethereal indie rock group, The Besnard Lakes, open the Downtown Sound series on the heels of their highly acclaimed, recently released new CD, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night. Featuring husband and wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goereas, they come to Chicago following a two month European tour.

Coming back from a two-year hiatus can be hard for any band, but The Ponys have managed to return stronger then ever. Now, the Chicago rock group is poised for their first summer tour in two years, and is excited to play to a hometown crowd in Millennium Park.

May 31 at 6:30pm
Hum with Volcano!

Reuniting sporadically over the past ten years, Hum continues to pop up and rock out Chicago every so often. Millennium Park is proud to present the Champaign-Urbana rockers in their first show in Chicago in over a year.

The post-punk, experimental band Volcano! loves to play Chicago. Their performance as part of the Downtown Sound series will be their first hometown show of the summer, and will, no doubt, provide a sneak preview of their greatly anticipated new album, Insurance, expected to drop in early 2011.

June 7 at 6:30pm
She & Him with Hollows

The indie/country fusion sound of She & Him is as alluring as it is unique. Conjuring a comparable bittersweet, dreamy and romantic mood prevalent in their 2008 debut, the much sought-after duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward will promote their innovative new album, Volume Two, with a highly anticipated addition to the Downtown Sound series this summer.

Comprised of four women and one lucky guy, Hollows is not your typical pop-punk garage band. Rooted in Chicago's DIY punk scene, the group is pumped to bring their fresh and distinctive sounds to the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

June 14 at 6:30pm
Tony Allen with Great Lake Swimmers

Master drummer Tony Allen has released countless albums, and played shows worldwide for over forty years. Born in Nigeria and living today in Paris, Allen has long been acknowledged as Africa’s finest kit drummer and one of its most influential musicians, who helped create the style of Afrobeat.

The ambient, unassuming sound of the Great Lake Swimmers has become a welcome staple of the folk music scene. Coming off the release of their fourth studio album, Lost Channels, the Canadian folk rockers are making multiple U.S stops including this can’t-miss performance in Chicago.

June 21 at 7:30pm (note late start time)
The Books with Via Tania

The New York based duo of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong have been on the forefront of electronic folk for over ten years. Their library of recorded sound samples includes a quickly growing collection of video, which they intend to use on stage as well as in installations and film. Their new album, The Way Out, will hit stores this spring.

The folky, electro-acoustic Via Tania is so appealing, she was able to build a loyal following, even before she had an album officially released. A native of Sydney who has been part of the Chicago music scene for the past decade, Tania Bowers is spending the summer touring in support of her new album, Moon Sweet Moon.

June 28 at 7:30pm (note late start time)
Huntsville with On Fillmore featuring Nels Cline

Huntsville is one the most successful experimental, Americana bands ever to come out of Norway. Fresh off the release of the double disc Huntsville: Eco, Arches & Eras, (one disc is live, one disc is new studio material) the band is making a rare U.S stop in Chicago as part of Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays.

Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and bassist Darin Gray have been busy as of late. Over the last year and a half, On Fillmore has released its fourth studio album, Extended Vacation, and found time to score the soundtrack to J.T. Petty's film, "Blood Red Earth.” Look forward to this mid-summer show featuring the experimental, progressive duo joined by Wilco guitarist Nels Cline.

July 5 at 6:30pm
The Thermals with Disappears

With their new hit single “Canada” drawing national attention, Portland indie rock group The Thermals looks to continue their success by performing everywhere from Shanghai to Chicago. Their recently released fourth album, Now We Can See, is full of hi-fi power, raw punk energy combined with brilliant melodies and intelligent lyrics.

The minimalist rock sound of Disappears has been a welcome addition to the Chicago music scene for some time now. In support of their new album, Lux, due out in mid April, the band is setting off on a summer long, nationwide tour, which happily includes a stop in Chicago at Millennium Park.

July 12 at 6:30pm
Caribou with The Budos Band

Daniel Snaith, aka Caribou, has been perfecting his psychedelic, electronic sound for over ten years. With his new album, Swim, expected to drop early this summer, Caribou is working overtime doing both a full European and American tour.

Coming off their ‘Anti-Spring Break’ tour in which they played only venues in the Northeast and Canada, The Budos Band will bring their funky, afro-beat sound to the warm summer nights of New Music Mondays.

July 19 at 6:30pm
Kid Sister with Konono N°1

After exploding onto the national music scene with the hugely popular single “Pro Nails” featuring Kanye West, Kid Sister’s (Chicago’s own Melisa Young) star has been on the rise. With the release of her album, Ultra Violet, and her new single, “Day Dreaming”, featuring Cee-Lo, her first hometown show of the summer is without a doubt a can’t-miss.

The internationally renowned Congolese street band Konono N°1 ushers in a distinctive change of pace to Downtown Sound with its powerful, ‘junkyard sonics.’ The group’s new album, Assume Crash Position, recorded in Kinshasa, DR Congo, is due out in May.

July 26 at 6:30pm
Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens with Bomba Estéreo

New York-based Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens bring their unrelenting, powerful sounds to help close out this year’s Downtown Sound series. They were last seen in Chicago in the fall, bringing down the house at the final night of World Music Chicago 2009 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The electro-tropical sound of Bomba Estéreo has been known worldwide for almost a decade. Organized by Simon Mejia in 2005 and featuring the fierce sounds of Liliana Saumet, the group plays an explosive dance-fusion of electronic dub and hip-hop, mixed with Colombian rhythms like cumbia and champeta. With their newest album, Blow Up, less than a year old, this last performance of the Downtown Sound series is sure to be full of fresh Colombian flare.

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