Northalsted Market Dayssecond only to Taste of Chicago for city fests in scope and scaleis our city's real Pride Fest, if not in name, then in every other way. While "Pride" is celebrated in many other towns ( and some would say in many better ways ), Market Days has no equal. Like music festivals, Market Days can be daunting, and if you're not careful, one can miss a great act if you don't map out your trajectory.
First, if you're here from out of town, go explore on Friday night. It's a great big town outside Boystown. Hit up Downtown, West Loop, River North, Andersonville or Bucktown. Save Lakeview/Boystown/Halsted for Saturday and Sunday, starting on Saturday ( post-brunch ) with possibly Jake Miller.
1:20 p.m./Nissan Stage*: There's always one teen sensation at Market Days. We all walk past the line of 200 tween girls and scattered twinks and wonder aloud, "Who are they waiting for?". The answer this year will be Jake Miller. With looks that exceed Bieber's and skirt Jonas' ( pick one ), plus some talent to skim both, he's a dreamy all-in-one rap/pop/folk nugget. His new single, "Overnight," gets him more into Zayn territory and that sounds promising. ( *Nissan stage is Roscoe and Halsted )
4:30 p.m./North Stage at Addison: You may know Diana King from her hits, "Shy Guy" and her classic cover of "I Say A Little Prayer," featured in My Best Friend's Wedding, but Ms. King has a sweet catalog of pop, reggae and soul to get to know. Let's just pray she leans toward the remix of "Little Prayer" to please the queens who still know that mix better.
6 p.m./Belmont Stage: Just hunker down here for a bit. We start with hip-hop/soul star Lizzo, who is hitting that Nicki Minaj sweet spot in the 'hood right now and will not disappoint. Soon, you will be saying you "saw her when." '90s stars La Bouche and Deborah Cox follow right after, bookending the decade with early euroclub vs. pre-millennium soul and house. It does have to be said La Bouche singer Melanie Thornton died in 2001, with singer Sophie Cairo now filling in, so if you need to break for a brat, don't miss the powerhouse, Cox.
What can I say about Sunday? You might come see yours truly spin our Tea Dance ( Tea in A'ville ) party at the Nissan Stage, 3-6 p.m. It will be the biggest party that day, but I might be biased.
5 p.m./Belmont Stage: I will say I won't throw you a look if you have to sneak away for the amazing DJ/producer RJD2, as he is far cooler than me, but unless you're hooked, start making your way to the North Stage at Addison for the 5:45 p.m. set by Glee breakout star, Alex Newell, who's put out one brilliant song and EP at a time over these past few years. Think a more club-oriented Shamir or a new, shiny Sylvester: All gender-fucking and falsetto realness.
6:15 p.m./Belmont Stage: If Glee's not your glee, stay south for the stunning party that is always Catfight. Rival only to 16 Candles ( and Rod Tuffcurls, same time, Roscoe Stage ) in fan enthusiam and cover band perfection, imagine all your favorite female rockers rolled into one, times ten.
8 p.m./Belmont Stage: Now the eight o'clock slot creates issues. You could go see our friends 16 Candles at 8:30 p.m. at Addison. They are always a massive lovefest of '80s rock that brings all the boys to their yard, but at Belmont you have the magnetic Erika Jayne. Not only is she the biggest breakout star of any Bravo show in years ( Real Housewives of Beverly Hills ), but unlike her show contemporaries, she can sing and perform for real. She's filthy, she's gorgeous and there's not one sleeper song in the bunch.
Check out Moose at "Moose the DJ" on FB for more info on Sunday's Tea Dance set.