Home / News / The 10 best pop, rock and hip-hop concerts in Chicago fall 2023

The 10 best pop, rock and hip-hop concerts in Chicago fall 2023


Autumn is here, the season of seasonal respite that truly offers live music fans excitement and plenty of opportunities to see their favorite artists. This fall is no exception.

In fact, this year is likely to be the most prolific fall music season since before the pandemic, with artists of every genre and every generation imaginable making tour stops in the city. Unlike the summer music season, which typically focuses on major stadium and arena touring acts, the fall season allows local, emerging and larger acts to mingle with our increasingly smaller stages.

Chai: Don’t let their charming names and pink aesthetic fool you. Japanese band CHAI is a terrific group making new genre-bending classics. Blending elements of experimental pop, dance and punk, CHAI musicians have distinguished themselves by not being afraid to create a brand of music that challenges expectations rather than conforming to them. On his newest self-titled album, released this month, CHAI sings “NEO KAWAII, K?” It contains more funk, post-punk and mutant disco elements in tracks such as. and “MONEY PARA,” proving that these four tracks are never afraid to surprise and delight listeners. 20:00 Oct. 2, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St.; tickets $25-$270 (ages 17+) ticketweb.com

Slow dive: In 2017, after a 22-year hiatus, Slowdive effortlessly returned to the music scene with a self-titled album featuring updated touches on their signature ambient, dream-pop sound. After a long break, the band released its latest album “Everything Is Live”. Experimental and sparkling, this album carries a flamboyant and mysterious effect. Don’t underestimate their latest releases and live shows. Who knows when this influential group will return to the city? 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave.; tickets $67-$223 Biletmaster.com

Jessie Ware: Before the pandemic, British vocalist Jessie Ware was better known for her slow, sometimes somber, but always romance-filled ballads. Of course, long-time fans knew that this downtempo sound wasn’t the full embodiment of his musical background. But Ware very rarely stepped outside these boundaries. Fortunately, the pandemic has seen Ware turn to images and sounds that are dramatically reminiscent of his underground and dance-oriented roots. The one-two punch of their masterful album, “What’s Your Taste?” and that! Feels Good!” proves that Ware has so much more up his sleeve. In the case of his latest album, that means house, disco, and plenty of upbeat sounds that will move audiences. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Blvd.; $122-$394; Biletmaster.com

Yeule: Although Singaporean singer-songwriter and producer Nat Ćmiel, who performs as Yeule, has released numerous solo albums, his 2022 release “Glitch Princess” proved to be his breakthrough. Although her music is often classified as pop, Yeule weaves through a multitude of underground aesthetics and sounds, including seapunk and witch house. At its core, Yeule’s sound is raw, melodic and futuristic, despite its sometimes abrasive exterior. This month, she released her latest album, “softscars,” which features the artist’s light and gentle vocals paired more intensely with alternative and indie rock instrumentation. 8 p.m. Oct. 10 Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.; tickets $26-$31 (ages 18+) metrochicago.com

Reneé Rapp and Alexander 23: Actress and Broadway star Reneé Rapp took a risk by leaving the hit Max television show “The Sex Lives of College Girls” and embarking on a solo career. But their efforts were not in vain. Rapp had already proven his songwriting prowess with his debut EP, “Everything to Everyone,” which featured many tracks that went viral on TikTok. And then there’s the thing about being the star of the Broadway show “Mean Girls: The Musical” when you were younger. Powerhouse vocals and Gen Z’s signature charismatic showmanship made Rapp successful at an early age, and it’s the same traits that made his debut album, “Snow Angel,” a success. Catch it in all its pop glory here. Deerfield native Alexander 23, who did production work on some of Rapp’s music, is opening. 8 p.m. Oct. 11, Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave.; tickets $89 (17+) livenation.com

Raphael Saadiq at the 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago's Union Park.

Raphael Saadiq and Tony! Tony! Ton!: The post-pandemic music world has become the perfect time for beloved artists of the distant and recent past to reunite. Tony! Tony! Tone! no exception. The popular ’90s R&B and new jack swing band will embark on its first tour in more than 25 years. The event also celebrates the 30th anniversary of their third album, “Sons of Soul,” which featured hit songs like “Anniversary” and “(Lay Your Head On My) Pillow.” Band member Raphael Saadiq, a formidable artist and producer in his own right, will be performing for both his own work (from his solo career and collaborations with bands like Lucy Pearl) and as part of the Tony! Tony! Ton!. Longtime fans shouldn’t miss this seemingly once-in-a-lifetime experience. 8 p.m. Oct. 12 Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.; tickets $63-$250 Biletmaster.com

Victoria Monet: After more than a decade of success in the background, producing songs for other artists like Fifth Harmony and, most importantly, Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét is ready to step out of the shadows. His emergence as a dynamic solo artist in his own right began in 2020 with the release of his magnum opus EP, “Jaguar.” Blending elements of groove-heavy contemporary R&B with exuberant pop, Monet proved that the most interesting artists were always willing to create something that went against the mainstream sounds of the day. Monét continues to experiment on her debut solo album, “Jaguar II,” this time adding elements of 70s funk and soul (including a collaboration with the beloved Earth, Wind and Fire) with sharp songwriting and eclectic orchestral arrangements. A triple threat—she sings, writes, and dances better than almost any artist—Monét is sure to reach new superstar heights this year. 7 p.m. Oct. 22, House of Blues Chicago, 329 N. Dearborn St.; tickets $110 (17+) livenation.com

Singer-songwriter Liz Phair in Los Angeles in 2019.

Liz Phair: Musically, Liz Phair has gone through several sonic iterations. Most famously and influentially, the release of his debut album “Exile in Guyville” will be celebrated as part of his latest tour, aptly titled “Guyville Tour.” As part of this cross-country series of shows, Phair will perform her masterpiece album debut and fan favorites. A truly cross-generational and underrated icon, seeing Phair in such a unique live show setting should make for a special concert experience. 8 p.m. Nov. 18, The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.; tickets $69.50 Biletmaster.com

Miss Lauryn Hill and Fugees: You wouldn’t be wrong to be tired from the Lauryn Hill concert. Past live shows have shown that Hill isn’t the most reliable performer, especially when it comes to getting on stage at a reasonable hour. But this reviewer saw Hill at the Ravinia Festival earlier this year and was blown away by both his showmanship and the effortless nature of his live show. Hill fascinated the audience by performing her iconic debut album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” with a strong and live band accompanying her. Hill looks set to continue delighting concertgoers with this latest series of shows to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her debut album. Hill’s original rap group, the Fugees, who introduced the star to the world with hits such as “Ready or Not” and “Killing Me Softly”, will also perform at this unforgettable show. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28, United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.; tickets $55.50-$1,515.50 Biletmaster.com

Doja Cat performs at the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.

Doja Cat/Ice Spice: In another world, Doja Cat and Ice Spice would align musically this year along the same lines of infectious, radio-friendly, pop-rap music. But lately, Doja Cat has stepped outside the norm, both musically and visually. It’s been a public battle of sorts for Doja Cat, who is actively angering fans who are screaming for the first time because of the success of singles like “Kiss Me More” and “Woman” from the singer’s latest studio album. But fans who listened to his music before he went mainstream and won Grammy Awards will still find plenty to enjoy in his latest singles, which focus more on kinetic flow than sharp melodies. Opening up is rising star Ice Spice, who makes light and rhythmically kitsch rap music with collaborators like Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.; tickets are between $105-1,750 Biletmaster.com

Britt Julious is a freelance critic.


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