Chicago’s first Red Bull Music Festival is all over the map, with Pusha T, Makaya McCraven, Merzbow, and more | Bleader

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Chicago’s first Red Bull Music Festival is all over the map, with Pusha T, Makaya McCraven, Merzbow, and more

Posted By on 09.18.18 at 10:00 AM

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click to enlarge Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble on November 29 at the South Shore Cultural Center. - IMAGE VIA MAKAYA MCCRAVEN'S FACEBOOK
  • Image via Makaya McCraven's Facebook
  • Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble on November 29 at the South Shore Cultural Center.

Festival season ain't over till Red Bull says it is. The energy drink's music operation has so far thrown six festivals in New York and one in Los Angeles, and in November it'll host a similar event in the midwest for the first time. (Last year's 30 Days in Chicago—one big show every night, with Red Bull's muscle and money allowing for relatively inexpensive tickets—was a different beast.)

Red Bull Music Festival Chicago will present sprawling concerts, curated showcases, and a handful of lectures and panels across the city throughout November. Thankfully the events won't be happening every night (making it somewhat more plausible for normal humans to attend the majority of them), and even better, they focus more on local artists. The fest begins Saturday, November 3, with a showcase by Kanye West's GOOD Music label, and ends Friday, November 30, with a celebration of Jamila Woods's breakout debut, Heavn.

Between those dates, Merzbow and Sun O))) founder Stephen O'Malley will play a show along with a phalanx of local experimental musicians, Fake Shore Drive founder Andrew Barber will host a conversation with foundational Chicago hip-hop producer No I.D., and forward-thinking jazz composer and drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble. Throughout the month, Red Bull Radio hosts will present live recordings of their programs, featuring local artists for each date. (Full disclosure: I hosted a Red Bull Music Academy Radio program about Chicago music from 2016 to 2017.)

RBMF events are scheduled for a variety of venues, including Thalia Hall, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Saffron Rails, an industrial space on Goose Island that Red Bull appears to have built out for this series. The full lineup is below, and includes links to Reader coverage where applicable. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 25, at 10 AM; tickets and schedule updates are available at redbullmusic.com/chicago.

Saturday, November 3
GOOD Music showcase:
Nas
Pusha T
Teyana Taylor
Valee
Desiigner
070 Shake
Venue: Wintrust Arena

Monday, November 5
Red Bull Radio's Peak Time, with special guests:
DJ Heather
Noncompliant
Eris Drew
Venue: Smart Bar

Thursday, November 8
Vic Mensa
Venue: Saffron Rails

Friday, November 9
Drone Activity, a three-stage event featuring drone, experimental, and noise artists:
Merzbow
Stephen O'Malley
Olivia Block and Negative Scanner's Rebecca Valeriano-Flores
Ono
Thoom
TALsounds
Quicksails
Bruce Lamont
Matchess
Carol Genetti
Hogg
Fire-Toolz
Katherine Young
Venue: Saffron Rails

Saturday, November 10
Cupcakke
DJ Funk
DJ King Marie
Venue: Thalia Hall

Sunday, November 11
Xicago, a two-stage mini festival celebrating Chicago's Latinx music:
Pachanga
Future Rootz
Boi Jeanius
Esso Afrojam Funkbeat
Tatiana Hazel
Navarro
Dos Santos
Kaina
Victor
Dave Mata b2b Daniel Villarreal-Carillo (DJ set)
Venue: Saffron Rails

Thursday, November 15
Damon Locks's Black Monument Ensemble performing Where Future Unfolds—Flowers for Chicago
Venue: Garfield Park Conservatory

Monday, November 19
Red Bull Radio's Interdimensional Transmission with special guests:
Robert Williams
Ron Trent
Greg Collier
Venue: Smart Bar

Tuesday, November 20
A conversation with No I.D. moderated by Andrew Barber
Venue: To be determined

Friday, November 23
LGBTQ-focused rap label Futurehood presents a showcase of its roster and friends:
Mister Wallace
KC Ortiz
The Vixen
Kidd Kenn
Roy Kinsey
Blu Bone
Anthony "Aceb00mbap" Pabey
Trqpiteca
Hijo Pródijo
Rae Chardonnay
Venue: Subterranean

Sunday, November 25
Last Night a DJ Saved My Soul, a celebration of the intersection of dance and secular music:
Farley "Jackmaster" Funk
DJ Pierre
Byron Stingily
Ann Nesby
Mark S. Hubbard & the Voices
Katrina Alston
Edward "Get Down" Crosby
Venue: Thalia Hall

Monday, November 26
Red Bull Radio's Peak Time with special guests:
Won Kim
Brian Case
Venue: Lincoln Hall

Thursday, November 29
Makaya McCraven performs with 11 musicians who helped him record the forthcoming Universal Beings, including:
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
Jeff Parker
Junius Paul
Carlos Niño
Joel Ross
Dezron Douglas
Brandee Younger
Josh Johnson
Nubya Garcia
Ayana Contreras will perform a separate DJ set
Venue: Paul Robeson Theater at the South Shore Cultural Center

Friday, November 30
Jamila Woods's final performance of her breakout debut album, Heavn
Venue: Harold Washington Cultural Center

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