Soundboard has as many concert recommendations as ever over the next few days, but the music that matters most to Chicago this weekend is the blues. This is a time to wallow, to sing raggedly about love lost, to slide on a guitar because there’s nothing else. The Chicago Blues Festival kicks off this evening at Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park with a show headlined by Shemekia Copeland (joined by teenage Buddy Guy collaborator Quinn Sullivan). On Friday, the festival moves to its usual home in Grant Park, where it runs through Sunday. Five stages host music all day and blues and soul legends headline at night, including Irma Thomas, Bobby Rush, and Otis Clay.
Also this weekend, Chicago Ribfest hosts two stages of live music (one sponsored by the Reader). The Features and Mucca Pazza headline Friday, California Wives and Jason Isbell headline Saturday, and We Were Promised Jetpacks and Bobby Bare Jr. close out Sunday.
Friday, Reggie’s hosts a blues fest of its own, the Chicago Women in Blues Festival. Featuring more than a dozen female blues singers, it will honor Koko Taylor’s charity work.
Darren Criss plays House of Blues on Saturday, prompting me to learn via Google that Glee is still on TV. Also, Chicago free-jazz bassist Joshua Abrams leads a quartet at Constellation. On Sunday, handlebar shunners Flobots play at Mayne Stage. Oscar winner Glen Hansard plays at Metro.
More Soundboard picks after the jump: