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Free Live Music & Movies in Millenium Park - The Downtown Sound

While many big cities bring bands to their free concert series, Chicago is booking musical artists, worthy of the incredible space in which they are allowed to perform: the futuristic looking and technically perfect Jay Pritzker pavilion in Millenium Park.  This years crop have a rarefied air about them and there are no less than five or the summer's dates that we have circled on our calendar for their headliners.

But the Dowtown Sound series is about much more. Each of these acts, and indeed nearly every artist that's a part of the series, is paired with a another lesser known band. It makes for a slightly longer evening, but all the better to spread out your blanket, bring a picnic (and your favorite beverage), and settle in for the night.

I'm going to use this post to spotlight some of these openers.

Thursday, June 11, 6:30pm - Brooklyn rock revivalists The London Souls are your headliners. They are joined joined by Eggnoise, a band from, of all places, the Czech Republic. They will be in town as a part of the city's Prague Days festival.

Thursday, June 25, 6:30pm - Coming off a pair of intimate performances at Chicago's City Winery, next level jazz band Snarky Puppy will hit the big stage on Thursday. Third Coast Percussion & Friends will provide the support with an act in which they promise to "Celebrate Terry Riley’s 'In C'”.

Monday, June 29, 6:30pm  -Poi Dog Pondering is something of a Chicago institution so they are sure to draw big for a free show right downtown. Opener Caroline Smith first caught my eye with this bold and beautiful video for "Magazine" a few months ago and this should be a good chance to show what she's got in front of a good sized crowd.

Thursday, July 2, 6:30pm - The big July 4th weekend is bookended by a pair of show featuring afrobeat. Antibalas kicks things off in the shadow of the annual Terrapin 5k in adjacent Grant Park and a city ready to explode with excitement. Sonny Knight and The Lakers kick things off with some retro-soul.

Monday, July 6, 6:30pm - If you've still got stamina after the weekend, stick around for Monday's show. The legendary King Sunny Ade takes the stage with Mathew Tembo opening. Tembo's music is not easy to find on YouTube, but this song "Dadi" has a tragic message the belies its tune.

Monday, July 20, 6:30pm - Murder by Death + Banditos. I love both these Bloodshot artists so much that won't even make the opener / headliner distinction. Here's recent videos from both.

The full lineup is below. Additionally, the park's state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen will serve as backdrop for the Tuesday night summer film series. as part of the Summer Film Series. On the musical tip, Almost Famous will be screened on 7/28 and Drumline on 8/3. There are classics throughout the summer of every genre however. 6:30 start time.

2015 Downtown Sound Lineup

Monday, June 1, 6:30pm
San Fermin + Sō Percussion

Thursday, June 4, 6:30p
The Very Best + Glass Lux

Monday, June 8, 6:30pm
Andrew Belle + Birds of Chicago

Thursday, June 11, 6:30pm
The London Souls + Eggnoise

Monday, June 15, 6:30pm
The Mighty Diamonds + Charley Organaire

Thursday, June 18, 6:30pm
Hayes Carll + Mother Falcon

Monday, June 22, 6:30pm
Active Child + Matt Ulery’s In The Ivory featuring eighth blackbird

Thursday, June 25, 6:30pm
Snarky Puppy + Third Coast Percussion & Friends Celebrate Terry Riley’s “In C”

Monday, June 29, 6:30pm
Poi Dog Pondering + Caroline Smith

Thursday, July 2, 6:30pm
Antibalas + Sonny Knight and The Lakers

Monday, July 6, 6:30pm
King Sunny Ade + Mathew Tembo

Thursday, July 9, 8pm (NOTE START TIME)
Judah & the Lion

Monday, July 13, 6:30pm
Matthew Sweet + In Tall Buildings

Thursday, July 16, 6:30pm
Ondatrópica + Helado Negro

Monday, July 20, 6:30pm
Murder by Death + Banditos

Thursday, July 23, 6:30pm
Los Cojolites + David Wax Museum

Film Series

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Back to the Future

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Apollo 13

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Big Night

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Edward Scissorhands

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Almost Famous

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Drumline

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The Aviator

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Dirty Dancing

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Mahogany

Tuesday, September 1, 201
The Breakfast Club

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