This fall may be one of the busiest yet for shows coming through Chicago.
Post Malone, Iron Maiden, Tom Jones, Arcade Fire, Paramore, Eric Clapton, Carrie Underwood, Marcus Mumford, Muse, The Who, Stevie Nicks, The Killers, Demi Lovato, Gorillaz, Florence + The Machine, Jack Harlow, Alice Cooper, Mary J. Blige, Roxy Music, Panic! At The Disco, and not to mention Riot Fest and Cold Waves, are all headed to town at some point through Thanksgiving.
And there are still 10 more shows to write home about!
Here are our top picks for what to see the next few months:
WH Moustapha Photo
The guitar is a powerful instrument, especially in the hands of this West African phenom. Called the “Jimi Hendrix of the Sahara,” he’s a master crafter of tishoumaren (desert blues) whose songs are rally calls for peace and justice in his homeland of Niger. Indie powerhouse Matador Records released his latest, 2021’s “Afrique Victime.” Combining Tuareg folk and field recordings with unmistakable licks from the Zeppelin and Van Halen playbook, it was hailed as one of the best of the year and even made an entrance on Obama’s prestigious playlist. (Sept. 6, Thalia Hall, 8:30 p.m., $25+. thaliahallchicago.com)
Lil Nas X
It’s hard to believe that Lil Nas X has never gone on tour – until now. In the past three years, the country-trap star, LGBTQ icon and rhinestone cowboy fashionista has been a cornerstone of the cultural conscience, as much for his music (the ubiquitous “Old Town Road”) as for his blurred lines persona that preaches inclusivity. Finally, the “Long Live Montero” tour will bring all that mystique into 3D with an anticipated show that’s sure to be a stacked visual feast too. (Sept. 10-11, Aragon, 7 p.m., $79.50+. livenation.com)
Amyl and The Sniffers
Riot Fest will have left the building by this point, but if you’ve still got pangs for more ballsy punk rock, this super-charged Australian four-piece is a good Riot adjacent pick. Fronted by the breathing exclamation point Amy Taylor, the group is a solid mix of riot grrl, raw garage rock and pure ’70s punk with hints of Bikini Kill, Blondie, The Clash and even demo days Nirvana. Their appearance at the Vic will feel like a night at CBGBs. (Sept. 28, The Vic Theatre, 7 p.m., $30, axs.com)
Ancient folk music and metal can make a real great marriage. Recently the wild popularity of The Hu the past few years (combining Mongolian folk with metal) has given new attention to the unique style. Bloodywood is another newer standout that combines Indian folk with nu metal. The band started out with viral covers of Linkin Park, but their original work takes on a loud life of its own with important messaging about social causes and mental health. (Oct. 3, Beat Kitchen, 8 p.m., $20, beatkitchen.com)
Fresh off a prominent role in partner Olivia Wilde’s feature film, “Don’t Worry Darling,” Harry will be setting up house at the United Center for a mini, 6-date residency for his Love On Tour. Hitting only five North American markets, the super selective trek comes after lauded “one night only” affairs in New York City and London where he debuted a new set design (a neon outline of a home, dovetailing with the title of his latest album) and a stacked set list full of his solid solo hits “As It Was” and “Watermelon Sugar” that show a pop star truly coming into his own. (Oct. 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, United Center, 8 p.m., Sold out, ticketmaster.com)
Goodbyes are never easy, especially having to bid adieu to this zany, out-of-the-world dance rock troupe. Now on their “Final Tour Ever Of Planet Earth,” The B-52s will put an end cap on an illustrious and fun 45-year career that started humbly in Athens, Georgia and has blessed us with the retro pop chic of “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack” — but not before two boisterous sendoffs in Chicago. (Oct. 7-8, Chicago Theater, 7:30 p.m. Sold out, ticketmaster.com)
It’s “About Damn Time” 2022’s Top 40 Queen got an arena tour — and you can be sure she’ll fill every inch of the space with her over-the-top personality brimming with wit, charm and a whole lot of sass. A little Missy, a little Beyonce, a little Aretha, Lizzo has perfected the ratio of pop star/hip-hop diva, coming a long way from her earliest days in Minnesota working with Lazerbeak and the Doomtree Collective, but no less down-to-earth in her approach. (Oct. 16, United Center, 8 p.m., Sold out, ticketmaster.com)
The Record Company
The name of this L.A. trio is a very good indicator of their rough-hewn style — if a crate full of dusted off 45’s had a sound, this would be it. Proudly wearing their influences of the Stooges and the Stones, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page, The Record Company interprets classics through a modern lens and makes rock sound fresh and exciting again. On tour they bring a full ensemble to really turn it up. (Nov. 4, Park West, 8 p.m. $28, axs.com)
The Smashing Pumpkins & Jane’s Addiction
The Spirits on Fire Tour will have you asking what year it is again as two of the ’90s bests team up for a night of nostalgic wanderlust and golden era hits. Featuring Chicago’s own Smashing Pumpkins and Chicago’s adopted son Perry Farrell fronting Jane’s Addiction, there’s a real local flavor to this event. Precursors have been welcomed the past few months as Billy Corgan and Farrell have collaborated on a number of occasions not the least of which was a benefit for the those affected by the Highland Park shooting. (Nov. 5, United Center, 6:30 p.m., $39+, ticketmaster.com)
America has been craving a holier than thou rock band like M?neskin, we just had to go to Italy to find them. The young, slick, soon-to-be megastars have gone from busking to building a Roman empire since winning the Eurovision contest last year, magnifying audiences with their catchy choruses on “Supermodel,” “I Wanna Be Your Slave” and a cover of Frankie Valli and the Four Season’s “Beggin’.” From their plugged-in talent to their unabashed fashion and super swagger, they are the epitome of a bygone era of rock star idolization. (Nov. 17, Aragon, 7 p.m., $59.50, livenation.com)