Taste of Chicago's Best Headliner Lineup Yet

Taste of Chicago’s Best Headliner Lineup Yet

The underrated musical acts at Petrillo Band Shell are worth checking out; the Chicago Tribune recently proclaimed this is the best lineup ever at this event.

Delicious yet exotic eats like jollof rice with sauteed goat meat, potato cheddar and jalapeño pierogi, and traditional poutine aren't the only things to experience at this summer's Taste of Chicago in Grant Park. But if you have had any of those dishes before, congratulations. You're officially a Taste veteran.
The Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, one of the city's greatest summer events.  Photo Source: Adam Alexander

The Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, one of the city's greatest summer events. Photo Source: Adam Alexander

The Taste runs from today, Thursday, July 9, to Sunday, July 13, and occupies its normal spot.  The vast majority of restaurants are on Columbus Drive between Monroe and Balbo; there are also a few on Jackson just east of Columbus and event tents surrounding the Buckingham Fountain. The Petrillo Music Shell, located at the northeast corner of Jackson and Columbus, is home to all ticketed music events.  And that's where we come in!  Note that Taste admission is free, so this is the only ticket you'll need.

Thursday, July 10: Janelle Monae and Gary Clark Jr.

Janelle Monae.  Photo Source: billboard.com

Janelle Monae. Photo Source: billboard.com

28 year old Janelle Monae is an extremely well-received R&B artist by music critics and fans alike.  She's been piling up awards in recent years, although she's still waiting for her first Grammy after six nominations.  Her music is inspired by her Kansas City roots; song "Ghetto Woman" refers to her mother as a portrayal a working class black woman's life.  2013 album The Electric Lady is highlighted by its first single, "Q.U.E.E.N.", which also has a widely-acclaimed music video.  She's often spotted in a tuxedo, loving the classiness it represents. Texas blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. has won a Grammy, taking home the Award for Best Traditional R&B performance for performing song "Please Come Home" at the Grammys this year.  He plays a modernized version of blues rock, influenced by blues, jazz, soul, country, and hip hop.  Clark Jr.'s breakout began in 2011 with the release of his Bright Lights EP.  Song "Bright Lights" can be heard in video game Max Payne 3, the premiere of House of Lies, and near the end of Think Like a Man.

Friday, July 11: Nickel Creek, Emmylou Harris, and Parker Millsap

Nickel Creek.  Photo Source: npr.org

Nickel Creek. Photo Source: npr.org

No longer known as The Nickel Creek Band, Chris Thile, Sara Watkins, and Sean Watkins make up Nickel Creek.  They're an acoustic progressive bluegrass group that is back in action in 2014 after a seven-year hiatus.  They had released five albums since 1993, including breakout album Nickel Creek (2000), which was nominated for a Grammy.  This Side (2002) did win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and they're currently promoting A Dotted Line (2014). 13-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris is a pretty big deal.  She's a well-documented folk, country rock, and bluegrass singer.  She has performed with countless other big names over the years and as part of bands Gram Parsons and The Hot Band.  Successful evolution of music has helped her stay relevant; her most recent Grammy came this year!  Harris has been a part of 24 charted original albums and seven singles that topped the US Country chart at one point.

Saturday, July 12: Jeff Tweedy and Lucinda Williams

magic arrows

Jeff Tweedy. Photo Source: magicarrows.wordpress.com

Alternative rocker Jeff Tweedy, often compared to Neil Young, is on his second band after establishing a name for himself in his first one.  Tweedy and a high school friend formed The Plebes in the early 80s, but a personnel change led to their being renamed Uncle Tupelo.  Uncle Tupelo released four albums in the early 90s that received great commercial success.  But more conflicts broke them up.  The two-time Grammy winner Tweedy then formed Wilco in 1994 with three companions.  Although he tried to recreate Uncle Tupelo in his first album, Wilco has become much more experimental in punk and country alternative over its next eight albums. Folk and country rock singer Lucinda Williams recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980.  Despite winning a Grammy for Best Country Song in 1994, she didn't gain great success until 1998 with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.  It mixed rock, blues, Americana, and country in a big commercial success.  She was named America's best songwriter by TIME magazine in 2002, and her albums after that have charted even better.  World Without Tears (2003), West (2007), Little Honey (2008), and Blessed (2011).   The Taste of Chicago is a must-go summer event.  With its reduced schedule of the last few years, it's easy to forget it only runs through one weekend now.  37 permanent restaurants, 13 pop-up restaurants, and 17 food trucks are participating this year. But while you can just show up and buy food tickets to get your grub from Lou Malnati's, Mayan Sol Latin Grill, Taco Joint, Vee-Vee's African, or any other you're headed to the Taste for, Gold Coast is your hookup for the best tickets of the Taste concert series!
  • Buy Janelle Monae and Gary Clark Jr. Tickets here
  • Buy Nickel Creek, Emmylou Harris, and Parker Millsap Tickets here
  • Buy Jeff Tweedy and Lucinda Williams Tickets here
  • Taste of Chicago 2014 Brochure (include map and menu!) here
  • Taste Daily Event Schedule here
  • Follow the Taste's Twitter feed to find out what's going on today here
 Photo Source: City of Chicago
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