Fall preview 2014: Garth, Zac and the full-on Mac are among the can’t-miss concerts

SHARE Fall preview 2014: Garth, Zac and the full-on Mac are among the can’t-miss concerts

Just because the days are getting shorter and the kids are back in school does not mean the Chicago music scene is on mute.

Fall is traditionally the busiest time of the year as artists hit the road with new albums, and the theaters and clubs enjoy a brisker business as outdoor festivals shutter for the season.

Here are highlights for the next few months at a wide range of venues, from stadiums to small music rooms, that will surely prepare you for the looming winter blues:

Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood

Shows continue through Sept. 14 at the Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont, $65.50; ticketmaster.com

The man who made country music massive in the 1980s is returning to the road after a 17-year absence to play a world tour that kicks off with 11 shows in Chicago.

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott

7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, $24; oldtownschool.org

There’s none like Jack Elliott and there will be none after him. The 83-year-old troubadour of Woody Guthrie songs predates the Greenwich Village folk music scene, became a profound influence on an early Bob Dylan, and has since become a touchstone for generations of singer-songwriters.

Funeral Bonsai Wedding with Rock Falls

9:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $12; constellationchicago.com

Steve Dawson, vocalist and songwriter behind Dolly Varden, premieres a new band that combines his introspective writing with some of the finest jazz players in the city. All year they’ve tested the new material at Simon’s and even a slot at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park; this is an official CD release show for their debut album.

Riot Fest

Sept. 12-14 in Humboldt Park. $74.98/$189.98; riotfest.org

One of Chicago’s best outdoor festivals is also one of its last. Veteran hip-hop and rock bands, local Chicago artists, and even members of Pussy Riot make up all three days. Topping the bill are the National, the Flaming Lips, the Cure, Weezer, Social Distortion, Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Wu-Tang Clan, Slayer, Paul Weller, Television and many more.

Zac Brown Band with Cheap Trick

7 p.m. Sept. 13 at Wrigley Field, Clark and Addison. $99.50/$79.50/$69.50/$59.50; jamusa.com

The last outdoor show at Wrigley is by this Southern rock band, supported by perennial local heroes Cheap Trick.

Spoon with EMA

7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N State, $39.50; Jamusa.com

Fresh from Lollapalooza’s headliner stage, this Austin, Texas, band brandishes big pop hooks while remaining grounded in sonic experiments.

The Englewood Jazz Festival

11 a.m. Sept. 20 at Hamilton Park Cultural Center, 513 W. 72nd, Free; englewoodjazzfest.org

An all-day jazz festival on the South Side featuring Ernest Dawkins’ We Free Trio, Chico and George Freeman, the Denise Thimes Quintet, and many others.

Sam Smith with Broods

7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Riveria, 4746 N. Racine, $35; Jamusa.com

The latest blue-eyed soul crooner from Britain is Sam Smith whose impressive debut album, “In the Lonely Hour” (Capitol), has earned him accolades on his home turf.

Justin Townes Earle

8 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, $25; jamusa.com

Although only 32, country songwriter Justin Townes Earle has released six albums in eight years, establishing himself as a rival to his father Steve Earle.

Sebadoh with Wedding Dress

9 p.m. Sept. 26 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave. $20

The indie-folk band Sebadoh, featuring lead songwriter Lou Barlow, returns from a 14-year retirement with a new album and reunion tour.

The Black Keys

8 p.m. Sept. 27-28 at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison, $75/$55/$35; livenation.com

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, the favorite sons of Akron, Ohio, return to the United Center with “Turn Blue,” the band’s most musically expansive album, combining power-pop, electronic textures, and dance.

Benjamin Booker with Blank Range

10 p.m. Sept. 27 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; schubas.com

This New Orleans guitarist and his trio made a splash this summer with a national television appearance, festival slots, and an opening gig for Jack White.

Kasabian with Bo Ningen

8:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark, $25; metrochicago.com

This electro-rock band has always kept things tight on the dance floor. Kasabian enjoys a wide following at home in Britain, but American audiences can enjoy them in the clubs.

Fleetwood Mac

8 p.m. Oct. 2-3 at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison, $189.50/$129.50/$49.50. livenation.com

This classic rock powerhouse returns for another reunion tour. The lineup features Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks and — after a 16-year absence — Christine McVie.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

8 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, $76; jamusa.com

The former Led Zeppelin rock god refuses to reunite his former band in favor of quietly releasing albums that focus on American country, blues and folk music. Now a Texas resident, he’s releasing a new solo album this month.

Bonnie Koloc with special guest Ed Holstein

8 p.m. Oct. 3. at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, $28; oldtownschool.org

Here’s an opportunity to return to the days of the Lincoln Avenue singer-songwriter scene of the ’70s and ’80s with one of the premier talents in an intimate setting.


8 p.m. Oct. 10 at The Venue at the Horseshoe Casino. $24/$34/$44/$124; horseshoehammond.com

Nas is on the road to promote the 20-year anniversary reissue of his 1994 debut album “Illmatic.” As he showed during a recent Lollapalooza set, those songs remain poignant for their imagery, and woven interplay of jazz, funk and personal confession.

The Jayhawks with Trapper Schoepp & the Shades

7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, $47.60; hob.com

This beloved Minneapolis band reissued its earliest albums three years ago and this fall returns with another reissue campaign for their second and most accessible chapter of roots-pop music.

Jackson Browne

7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $44.50/$99.50. Jamusa.com

One of rock’s most enduring singer-songwriters, Jackson Browne is returns with his 14th album this fall.

Ryan Adams with Butch Walker

7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $39.50/$59.50; jamusa.com

This prolific singer-songwriter and rock traditionalist once cranked out an album every year or so, but the three-year wait for his latest, a self-titled album on the Blue Note label, is worth it.

Sinead O’Connor

8 p.m. Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 22 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, $75/$95/$115; citywinery.org

She took down Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber last year and blew the roof off this club last fall. Now the Irish singer-songwriter returns for a second three-night stand featuring songs from a new album, “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss.”

Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express

9 p.m. Nov. 7 at Fitzgerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn. $15/$18; fitzgeraldsnightclub.com

One of the best songwriters of the last 20 years who could wear Tom Petty’s crown, Chuck Prophet is out with a new album, “Night Surfer” (Yep Roc).

The New Pornographers with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

8 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N State, $30; jamusa.com

This Canadian indie-pop collective is kind of like a more experimental and quirkier Arcade Fire. A new album, “Brill Bruisers” (Matador), is just released.

Peter Hook & The Light

9 p.m. Nov. 14 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark,$21/$23; Metrochicago.com

The veteran of Joy Division and New Order has a new band he’s taking on the road to perform New Order’s third and fourth albums, “Low-Life” and “Brotherhood” in their entirety.

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz

8 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, $30; jamusa.com

This is the inaugural Chicago show from a new project featuring the lead singer of the Strokes with a five-piece punk band from Los Angeles.

Mark Guarino is a local freelance writer.

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