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in the spotlight Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

It may be hyperbole to name Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as America’s best rock and roll band, but not by much. At 63, Petty is still playing with attitude. “I’m going to keep on fighting ’til I get it right,” Petty sings on “American …

DakhaBrakha brings global revolutionary vibe to folk-modern mash-up

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DakhaBrakha’s music is rooted in Ukrainian folk melodies but with added modern beats that jettison it into a realm all its own.

World Music

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Earlier this summer the Ukrainian folk quartet DakhaBrakha got a warm welcome at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee. It was their first performance in front of a large American audience not totally comprised of world music fans. Safe to say it was a thrilling …

IN THE MUSIC SPOTLIGHT: Andrew Bird

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Heading into a bleak mid-winter, Andrew Bird’s last hometown appearances filled the gothic confines of Fourth Presbyterian Church on four consecutive nights for his annual Gezelligheid concerts. Although soothing and hymnal textures are natural components of Bird’s arrangements, the seasonal shows amplified a sense of …

Science-meets-symphony in ‘Northern Lights’

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Summer in Chicago is an odd time to see the northern lights. We’re thousands of miles from the frigid northern lands where those dazzling, color-filled displays, also known as the aurora borealis, periodically light up the skies. This weekend the Grant Park Music Festival brings …

Motley Crue ready to rock out on top

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The notoriously hedonistic glam-metal pioneers are calling it quits with a Final Tour that comes to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park on Friday.

IN THE MUSIC SPOTLIGHT: Echo and the Bunnymen

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With the pop masterwork “The Killing Moon” Liverpool’s Echo and the Bunnymen helped define the sound of alternative rock radio during the ’80s.

Heart stays the course and stands the test of time

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Two sisters fronting a rock band in the early ‘70s was a rarity, but that fact never fazed Ann and Nancy Wilson, the women who provide the songs and the voices behind Heart. After four decades, 30 million albums sold and induction into the Rock …

A ‘Midsummer’ treat from Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

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Chicago Shakespeare Theatre created Shakespeare in the Park to bring admission-free, family-friendly productions of the Bard’s plays to parks throughout the city.

in the spotlight Matthew Sweet

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Fans of finely tuned power-pop rejoice when Matthew Sweet comes around. After gaining national attention with his breakthrough third album “Girlfriend” in 1991, Sweet earned the luxury of charting his own course. Sweet’s knack for crafty confections remained in evidence when he released “Sick of …

4th of July weekend offers an array of concerts worth celebrating

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When the allure of listening to firework bombasts wears off this July 4th weekend, there’s a hefty lineup of concerts waiting for you. From an instrumental salute in Grant Park to a bonafide country queen and a trio of legendary rockers, here are 10 ways …

IN THE MUSIC SPOTLIGHT: Phish

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If Phish sells out one night of a multi-night stand, you can expect the entire run to follow suit. That’s because the band is the focus of a community that observes Phish dates like joyful family reunions. It’s easy to get caught in the crowd’s …

in the spotlight Janelle Monae

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The Taste of Chicago includes a healthy side of pop music to accompany its main course of local cuisine. Running from July 9-13, the festival features headlining acts at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park. Recent line-ups have included veteran talent like Robert Plant of …

Sarah McLachlan celebrates new beginnings with ‘Shine On’

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‘I started to write breakup songs again, but this time it felt boring to me.” Sarah McLachlan is throwing us all for a loop on her latest album.

Since the beginning, the Canadian singer-songwriter behind such tearjerkers as “Angel” and “I Will Remember You” has …

Phillip Phillips hoping ‘Light’ shines brightly

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Two years removed from his “American Idol” win and gargantuan hit “Home,” Phillip Phillips is settling into the path that will define his career over the long haul.