Music festival season is creeping upon us. Some of the more large-scale names such as Bonnaroo, Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Beale Street (Memphis), Warped Tour (Final Tour) amongst many others have already released their full-scale lineups. Didn’t it feel like we just finished 2017? Well, we did. And now here we are, about to embark on the 2018 season.

One of the fantastic draws of Chicago is its music scene. Regardless of a festival, a weeknight or even weekend show, you’re bound to come across an exciting experience. For those of you who are looking for new artists or an urge to give an artist you’ve heard of a full listen, this post is for you. Here is your guide to the top three best tours of 2017 which you may have missed!

The Killers, Wonderful, Wonderful – from Spin.com, the Killers newest release is “their strongest statement since 2005.” That’s only an album review. Now take that review, amongst Consequence of Sound’s “most self-conscious Killers album ever,” and pair it with the rest of their catalog in a live performance – I think you’ll get my point. After 22 songs of intricate placement, pairing and delivery – it’s difficult to not include this show as a top contender. A close friend of mine managed to see them three times in 2017, and this person wasn’t even a “die-hard” fan. Guitarist, Dave Keuning, and bassist, Mark Stoermer did not tour with the group due to a grueling tour schedule of at least half of 2017 and a good majority of 2018 – yet, this didn’t take away from the experience or delivery. If in the upcoming months you find time for a Killers show in your area, give it a chance – you’ll see yourself smiling like you mean it.

Justice, Woman – From Cross to Audio, Video Disco and now Woman, Justice’s progression in their albums is saddening, yet their live show creation is brilliant. What likely caught many fans from your early blog-house days was the “car exhaust” or “gritty” sounds similar to that of Cross. Bloghouse was “an informal grouping of electronic-focused artists who rode wave of buzzy success off of coverage from small-scale MP3 blogs.” Justice was one of the groups during this time that managed to sneak a number of remixes for listeners: “As Above, So Below” by Klaxons, “Skitzo Dancer” by Scenario Rock, “Nazis” by fellow Ed Banger family member, Mr. Oizo, “Love Stoned” by Justin Timberlake, and “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz. A handful of remixes, to playing behind a couple of tables which would then later develop into 18 Marshall Amps with a center cross, and now a full open stage with hanging and moving cables of lights, their show is one to be sought after. You’ll be greeted by their newest hit single “Safe and Sound” which was first featured at Sonar Music Festival in Pedro Winter’s set; along with other fan favorites “Stress,” “D.A.N.C.E.,” “Audio, Video, Disco” and “Phantom.” Why #2? It’s their ability to reinvent and remaster old tracks that stuns the audience. If you were to hear D.A.N.C.E. in 2008 and then hear their take ten years later (today), you’d be shocked at its advancement. That’s what we call an artist who reinvents themselves. Their tour still holds strong as they are overseas to play in Germany, France, Russia, Spain, and Italy. The big question – will they follow suit and release a live album?

Nothing But Thieves, Broken Machine – Unmatched sound accompanied by an incredibly talented band: that’s how you can describe Nothing But Thieves. With an impressive self-titled debut album, I was hungry for the next course from Nothing But Thieves. On a cold October evening in Lincoln Park, Lincoln Hall welcomed a sold-out crowd to the five Southend musicians who came roaring in and left the stage in that same manner. At one point, lead-singer Conor Mason asked the audience “have you heard our new album?” The response was an outcry of “YEAH!” With their lead hit, “Amsterdam,” it’s hard to believe it’s shadowed amongst many others from the new album.

The show is precise– a mix between their first and newest album, an even balance. Crowd reactions to each song were stronger than anything I’ve seen in a venue like Lincoln Hall. From that energy, it allows your performers to excel and vibe with the crowd. This isn’t anything foreign to Nothing But Thieves, it’s what they itch for with their performances.