Millennium Park’s Monday-night rock concert series, “Downtown Sound,” wrapped up on July 25 with a show by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists — but it’s hardly the end of this summer’s music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The “Made in Chicago” jazz series begins Thursday, while the “Lunchbreak Music Series” and Grant Park Music Festival continue. And Monday nights will shift to the “Dusk Variations” theme next week — experimental classical music mixed with electronica, folk, rock and the avant-garde — including a must-see performance Aug. 8 by My Brightest Diamond. Check out the schedules here.
Like some of the other concerts at Pritzker, Monday’s featured a somewhat odd pairing of headline band and opening act. Ted Leo is a real rocker, while opener Rachel Ries is more of a troubadour type. Pritzker’s concert bookings can make for some unusual contrasts, but it’s rather cool to see this sort of diversity on the same stage in the same night. Ries (until recently, a Chicago resident) played a nice set of folk rock songs with a jazzy tinge. And then Leo and his Pharmacists treated the crowd to a complete performance of his first album from a decade ago, The Tyranny of Distance, preceded by several songs from his other records. Leo was playing with an injured knee, and he apologized for not being to jump around quite as much as usual, but it didn’t stop him from singing and playing those guitar chords with sweaty vigor.