Your NPR news source
June 2024 concerts

June presents a steady month of concerts. Here are some of the best that you can find at smaller Chicago venues.

Photos courtesy of (starting top left, clockwise) Galaxy Francis; George Walker IV/Invision/AP; Matthew Gilson; Casey Mitchell

June stages shine with roots, rap, blues and soul. Here are 10 concerts to see.

These shows are the antithesis of sweaty festivals. They’re more intimate and feature performers at the top of their craft.

This weekend’s Chicago Blues Festival downtown is just a kickoff for a steady month of concerts. Here are the best of smaller venues and clubs.

Shannon & the Clams with Tropa Magica

7 p.m. on June 11 at Lincoln Hall

No, it isn’t a summer seafood joint — Shannon & the Clams is a lean, mean, psychedelic-tinged rockabilly band from Southern California that, for 15 years, has incorporated surf rock, garage, and classic R&B. This spring the band released The Moon is in the Wrong Place, its seventh album produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and released on his boutique label, Easy Eye Sound. 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., tickets from $30.


Chicago-based Galaxy Francis will perform at Schubas on June 11.

Courtesy of the artist

Galaxy Francis with J Bambii, Kayo, and Rhome

7:30 p.m. on June 11 at Schubas

This is a release show for Galaxy Francis, the Chicago-based rapper, singer, and producer formerly known as L.A. VanGogh. Born Lamont Anderson, Galaxy prepped the release of Metal Gear, his debut album, by steadily releasing a twin set of EPs over the last two years. The prolific run of music originated from Studio Shapes in Albany Park, where he works as a studio president. His latest music is a mix of EDM, classic hip-hop and old school soul music. 3159 N. Southport Ave., tickets from $10.

S.G. Goodman with Secular Pets

7:30 p.m. on June 12 at SPACE

Kentucky-born S.G. Goodman is among a new vanguard of country singer-songwriters (Tyler Childers, Kelsey Waldon) who have embraced the Appalachian musical roots of their home state. Over two albums, her first in 2020, Goodman has made a splash combining country twang, folk storytelling, and the ever-present squall of indie rock guitars. 1245 Chicago Ave. in Evanston, tickets from $30.

2023 CMT Smashing Glass - Arrivals

Country musician Roberta Lea will perform at FitzGeralds on June 12.

George Walker IV/Invision/AP

Roberta Lea

8:30 p.m. on June 12 at FitzGeralds

This is the year of Black women in country music, but the conversation isn’t just about Beyoncé. In recent years, Roberta Lea has been making music as a member of the Black Opry, an artist collective for Black roots musicians. Last year, the Virginia native released her debut, Too Much of a Woman, which garnered comparisons as diverse as Shania Twain and Tracy Chapman for its rich storytelling detail and country pop hooks. 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn, tickets from $15.

Bethany Pickens

The Bethany Pickens Quartet will appear at the Jazz Showcase this month.

Courtesy of Jason Marck

Bethany Pickens Quartet

8 p.m. on June 13-16 at the Jazz Showcase

Chicago pianist and composer Bethany Pickens is steeped in jazz tradition due to her father, the acclaimed jazz pianist Willie Pickens. Along the way she has worked with a long list of greats including trumpeter Clark Terry, drummer Louis Bellson, Chicago tenor saxophone pioneer Von Freeman and vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. Some of her greatest strides have been in the classroom: Pickens has taught music in Chicago Public Schools for more than two decades, most recently at Kenwood Academy High School. This residency is an opportunity for this hometown notable to showcase her latest work. 806 S. Plymouth Court, tickets from $25.

Steve Dawson

Steve Dawson will perform in Evanston on June 16.

Courtesy of Matthew Gilson

Steve Dawson

7 p.m. on June 16 at SPACE

One of the lynchpins of Chicago’s flourishing songwriter scene is Steve Dawson, a songwriter, vocalist, and educator who elevates everything he touches. At first, Dawson helped front Dolly Varden, the critically praised Americana quintet.. But from there, Dawson stretched out and, through successive solo albums with various collaborators, has woven together his own unique brand of poetic lyricism and blue-eyed soul, much like “Astral Weeks”-era Van Morrison. Dawson is also active as a producer, having helmed multiple projects in recent years for songwriters from around town, including those from the Old Town School of Folk Music, where he teaches. This is an album release show for Ghosts, his latest record on Chicago’s Pravda Records. 1245 Chicago Ave., in Evanston, tickets from $15.

Quasi with Marnie Stern

8 p.m. on June 19 at Lincoln Hall

Guitarist-keyboardist Sam Coomes and drummer Janet Weiss emerged from the Pacific Northwest in the mid-1990s with a heavy sound that draw from a long list of impressive former bands: Weiss as the previous, full-time drummer for Sleater-Kinney and Coomes with Elliott Smith, Built to Spill and the Shins. Now back together as a band, the duo is enjoying icon status. This show will feature a complete performance of the band’s beloved third album Featuring ‘Birds.’ 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., tickets from $25.

The Young Fresh Fellows with Aunt Kelly

8:30 p.m. on June 22 at the Hideout

This show reunites the Young Fresh Fellows, an indie-pop group from Seattle that pre-dated grunge by a decade. Over the years, singer/songwriter/guitarist Scott McCaughey became largely known for his many other bands, as well as a 17-year run as the “fifth member” of R.E.M, both onstage and in the studio. This tour promotes a new deluxe edition of Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest, the first Young Fresh Fellows record, and a new line-up that features Chicago drummer John Perrin. 1354 W. Wabansia St., tickets from $15.


Ivan Gomez Singh Band will bring a West Side guitar sound to Rosa’s at the end of June.

Courtesy of Casey Mitchell

Ivan Gomez Singh Band

9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on June 22 at Rosa’s

This Argentinian-born guitarist is now an active member of Chicago’s blues scene. He combines the rhythms of his native country with a fiery West Side guitar sound, which he honed for years by sharing the stage with long-standing standard bearers such as Lurrie Bell, John Primer and Jimmy Burns. 3420 W. Armitage Ave., tickets from $15.

Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express

8:30 p.m. on June 22 at FitzGeralds

If Bay Area rocker Chuck Prophet had started his career in the mid-1970s, he might have given Tom Petty a run for his money. Instead, Prophet has been tearing up club and festival stages over the last two-plus decades thanks to his songs, all riddled with anthem-sized hooks and lyrics wrought with wry humor. Years ago, he also wrote “Summertime Thing,” a perfect song for the season, which will likely be a highlight of this show. 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn, tickets from $29.

Mark Guarino is a journalist based in Chicago and the author of Country & Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival.

Want more culture news in your inbox every week? Subscribe toGreen Room, a newsletter from WBEZ’s Arts & Culture desk.

The Latest
This summer, brush up on your local history with tours that highlight everything from architectural styles to underground critters.

With legal troubles behind him, the Chicago native will play the Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival on Sunday — his first performance in the area in over 10 years.
As her three-year tenure comes to a close, Jessie Montgomery reminisces over her time with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and shares her inspirations.
Some residents and business owners are happy to see the traffic and noise leave and for the community to regain access to green space. Others are sorry to lose the excitement and crowds.
Looking for a retreat in or near the city? Here are 10 trails, parks, forest preserves, urban gardens and lesser-known spots to escape the hustle and hurry.