Amid the chaos of preparing for a shortened, ticketed, less musical Taste of Chicago in Grant Park and a Mike Orlove-free future at Millennium Park, Chicago’s cultural minions have announced some of this summer’s musical acts.
Home girl Jennifer Hudson will headline Taste at 5:30 p.m. on July 11 with an opener to be determined; Death Cab for Cutie will do the same at 5:30 p.m. on July 12; Chaka Khan will perform on July 14 after an opening set by the great Raphael Saadiq at 5:30 p.m., and Dierks Bentley and Lindi Ortega will play starting at 3:30 p.m. on July 15.
Holes in the schedule still include July 13 and an early show sponsored by Radio Disney on July 14.
According to Cultural Affairs and Special Events spokeswoman Cindy Gatziolis, the music at taste was booked by “Commissioner Michelle T. Boone and Programmer Erin Bauer [who] booked what was called the Taste Stage (Now Bud Light Stage) when we did the record label days in 2010.”
Yet despite the restructuring in the new department, the longstanding practice of leaning on local commercial radio powerhouses to corral talent seems to have endured, with the same longstanding mixed results. (Death Cab for Cutie is sponsored by XRT and Chaka Khan by V-103.)
The difference this year is, as the press release says, “For the first time, Taste attendees will be able to purchase tickets to the seating area at the bandshell. A total of 3,000 seats will be available beginning in late May for only $25. Details on how to purchase tickets to the seats will be available on the Taste website at www.tasteofchicago.us. Lawn seating for more than 30,000 people remain free.”
Meanwhile, Millennium Park will offer a much more enticing roster of free music thanks in part to Pitchfork Music Festival promoter Mike Reed, who has worked with Orlove on New Music Mondays and other programs over the last few years, and who has tried to fill some of the gap left by his recent departure.
In addition to the New Music Mondays/Downtown Sound series, this year introduces a new electronica program called Loops and Variations. But the popular Music Without Borders world music series has been axed (with supporters organizing a petition to bring it back here, and so far collecting 487 signatures).
New Music Mondays at Millennium Park start at 6:30 p.m. and include Kelly Hogan and Scott Lucas and the Married Men (May 28); Jonathan Richman and Joel Paterson and the Modern Sounds (June 4); the Eternals and Wild Belle (June 11); Cloud Cult and Judson Claiborne (June 18); Occidental Brothers Dance Band International and Chico Trujillo (June 15); Joan of Arc and Daniel Knox (July 2); the Sadies and James Vincent McMorrow (July 9); Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires and Abigail Washburn (July 16); Ana Tijoux and Sidi Touré (July 23), and SMOD and M.A.K.U. Soundsystem (July 30).
The Loops and Variations shows start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays and feature Chris Clark, Jan Jelinek and Andrew Pekler and Casino Versus Japan (June 7); Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente (June 14); eighth blackbird (June 28); A Winged Victory for the Sullen and American Contemporary Music Ensemble (July 5), and Third Coast Percussion (July 12).