By Sarah Jester, Staff Writer
On November 9th, a chilly Thursday night, crowds of people screamed with excitement as Kali Uchis’ unmistakable voice rang out through Thalia Hall’s large speakers. Known for her frequent collaborations with Tyler, The Creator, as well as her glowing EP “Por Vida,” Kali was one of twenty-nine other performers who were invited to participate in Red Bull Sound Select’s first annual “30 Days in Chicago” series, which follows in the footsteps of “30 Days in LA.” Red Bull Sound Select, whose purpose is to bring together music curators and critics, highlight emerging artists, and organize festivals, organizes thirty unique concerts in Chicago each fall.
The shows, which were all for those aged 18+, were booked in a variety of Chicago music venues. Metro, Thalia Hall, Subterranean, Reggie’s Rock Club, and Lincoln Hall housed just a few of the stages graced by Red Bull Sound Select artists. One of Red Bull Sound Selects’ strengths is that they prioritize a diverse lineup — this year’s lineup included artists from nearly every genre, excluding country. Since the individual shows are relatively affordable (the Kali Uchi’s show cost just $15), it was easy for concertgoers to attend more than one.
Three of Red Bull Sound Select’s national curators are housed in Chicago, including Consequence of Sound and 1833. This was reflected in the Chicago-centric lineup of the festival, which showcased popular local bands like Whitney and Fake Shore Drive alongside talented, Chicago RnB artists Ravyn Lenae and Xavier Omar, and rappers Smino and Noname. Big names like Migos, Lil Yachty, Kehlani, Syd, and Mitski rounded out the eclectic group of performers. The distinctive, dispersed festival mirrors the city’s multifaceted music scene. For decades, musically gifted Chicagoans have evolved from playing small house shows and local venues to sold-out stadiums. Red Bull Sound Select’s new concert series serves as a platform to simultaneously celebrate and facilitate these musical transitions, and will hopefully continue to elevate local artists while bringing people from all over the city together for thirty nights of musical talent.