Sound check: Better Than Ezra, Barenaked Ladies hit Chicago
Ezra, Barenaked and KT
New Orleans-born alternative band Better Than Ezra first made waves in the mid-1990s with "Good," the first single off its 1995 album "Deluxe." It quickly followed up with "Friction, Baby," which delivered the radio hits "Desperately Wanting" and "King of New Orleans," solidifying Ezra's place in the pantheon of '90s rock influencers. Five albums later and marking 30 years together, the band is still touring and playing big shows to nostalgia-seeking Gen-Xers, with frontman Kevin Griffin (an incredibly gracious performer, by the way) also playing solo shows of new and classic tunes. Catch Better Than Ezra when the band hits Chicago as part of the Barenaked Ladies' "Last Summer on Earth Tour" with KT Tunstall. Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago. $29-$75. (800) 745-3000 or livenation.com. 7 p.m. Friday, July 13
Windy City Smokeout
Country is king, but barbecue is close behind at the Windy City Smokeout, a three-day celebration of tangy country music, quenching craft beer and smoky delicacies. The fest features a stacked lineup of hot and rising country stars, including Brett Eldredge, Brett Young, Ashley McBryde, Brothers Osborne, The Turnpike Troubadours, Cale Dodds, Renee Blair, Reece Phillips and many more. 2 p.m. Friday, July 13; noon Saturday, July 14; and noon Sunday, July 15, at 560 W. Grand Ave., Chicago. General admission tickets are $45 for Friday, $55 for Saturday, $50 for Sunday and $130 for the three-day pass; VIP packages range from $200-$700. windycitysmokeout.com.
Space Camp ready for takeoff
Wealthy Habits Entertainment takes over Lisle's BaseCamp Pub this weekend for an out of this world (pun totally intended) musical event. The Space Camp Festival features three stages of music -- hip-hop and live performances at the Gravity Stage, a house focus at the Lunar Platform, and electronic, trap and more on the Rocketdyne Rage Stage -- drink specials and BaseCamp's full menu in a space-themed atmosphere. Strap in for some Chicago-area musical treats this weekend. 6 p.m. Friday, July 13, at BaseCamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle. $10-$15. (331) 777-4712 or wealthyhabitsent.ticketleap.com.
Buffett on base
Jimmy Buffett, that master of margaritas himself, brings his tropical tunes to the not-so-beachy Wrigley Field this weekend. Catch the good vibes as he performs his many hits -- "Margaritaville," "Fins," "Come Monday" and more. Maybe come early and grab a cheeseburger; just watch for flying beach balls. 7 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago. Tickets start at $28. ticketmaster.com.
Parker takes the Bottom Lounge stage Saturday, July 14, with Eddy and the Arsons, The Dead Seahorses, The Dead On and Comatoast.
- Courtesy of Parker
Parker steps up to the scene
When Chicago's Parker dropped the Adam Krier-produced single "Never Growing Old" early last month, it was a strong introduction that only hinted at what the rock band had in store for the upcoming EP. Released last week, the "Never Growing Old EP" comprises four songs of good, solid Chicago-style rock 'n' roll capped with a stirring, introspectively crafted hidden track. See Parker live when they play Chicago's Bottom Lounge with Eddy and the Arsons, The Dead Seahorses, The Dead On and Comatoast. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago. $8. (312) 666-6775 or bottomlounge.com.
The Loose Cannons play a set at Geneva's Anonapalooza fest Sunday, July 15.
- Courtesy of Angelica Dulaney
Join the Anonapalooza Sober Festival in Geneva's Good Templar Park for an afternoon of music and fellowship aimed at supporting the efforts of folks recovering from alcohol and substance abuse. The family-friendly fest, now in its 10th year, features "From Dope to Hope" author Tim Ryan, food from area vendors and musical performances from artists (many from the Chicago area) including Phil Circle, Matt Butler, Jam Alker, Smoke Filled Room, GutterFlower, The Loose Cannons and the Gary Steczo Project. The fest is free, but donations are welcome and will benefit Aurora's Hope Outreach Foundation and Naperville's A Man in Recovery Foundation. 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at Good Templar Park, 528 Eastside Drive, Geneva. Free, but donations are welcome. anonapalooza.org.
The Jayhawks, Sima Cunningham: 7 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., Chicago. $26-$60. thaliahallchicago.com.
States & Capitals, STRLING, Stellar West, Jack Loris: 7 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. $10. (312) 226-6300 or cobralounge.com.
Wilson: 8 p.m. Friday, July 13, at RocHaus, 96 W. Main St., West Dundee. $15-$20. rochaus.com.
A Night of Buddy Holly with Dean Milano: 9 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Club Arcada, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. $10. (630) 962-7000 or clubarcada.com.
The Fifth Star Band (EP release) with Mentalease and Holly, Music (formerly W.C. & the FAM): 9 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. $9-$10. (773) 549-5549 or elboroomlive.com.
D.O.A with Kevin Seconds: 9 p.m. Friday, July 13, at BrauerHouse Live, 1000 N. Rohlwing Road, Lombard. $15-$20. brauerhouse.com.
The Matches Celebrate 10 Years of "A Band In Hope": 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Metro Chicago, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago. $22-$25. metrochicago.com.
Def Leppard & Journey Concert: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago. Tickets start at $28. ticketmaster.com.
Vince Neil: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. $59-$99. (630) 962-7000 or arcadalive.com.
Margot, Poor Calvin, Brian McGrath & the Black Elms, Genna Simon: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. $10. (773) 549-5549 or elboroomlive.com.
Brookfield Zoo's Summer Sundays -- Ralph's World Concert: 11 a.m. Sunday, July 15, at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. $15.95-$21.95. (312) 573-5510 or czs.org.
CSO -- Sunday in the Park with Audra McDonald: 3 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at Ravinia Festival, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park. $10-$135. ravinia.org.
The Millennials: 5 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at Kracklauer Park, 100 N. Seymour Ave., Mundelein. Free. (847) 949-3226.
Panic! at the Disco: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at United Center, 1901 W. Madison, Chicago. Tickets start at $40. (312) 455-4500 or unitedcenter.com.
Sister Sledge and Village People: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at Rotary Green and Village Green, 150 Lions Drive, Elk Grove Village. Free. elkgrove.org.
Adult Battle of the Bands: 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at Fred P. Hall Amphitheater, 256 E. Palatine Road, Palatine. Free. (847) 496-6237 or palatineparks.org.
Rosie & The Rivets: 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at North School Park, 410 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights. Free. (847) 577-3003, ext. 1, or ahpd.org.
Miles Over Mountains: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $25-$30. app.arts-people.com.
Howie Day: 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $28-$35. (312) 733-9463 or citywinery.com.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music fanboy. You can follow him on Twitter at @thatshamieguy. Listen to Brian's "2018 Chicago Sound Check Vol. 5" Spotify playlist for a sampling of some of the local bands he's written about recently for the Daily Herald.