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10 Can't Miss Acts At Taste Of Randolph

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 12, 2013 6:00PM

Brooklyn disco act Escort / Photo credit: Jody Kivort

We find it interested that this year the biggest buzz surrounding Taste of Randolph—a street fest that's represented by the likes of bellyQ, Publican Quality Meats, Vivo and other dining hot spots—isn't concerning the tastes but rather the sounds. Partnering with local booking firms Silver Wrapper and Star Events, this weekend's entertainment bill is looking more impressive than ever. While there really is something for everybody, here's a few acts, both locally based and beyond, that we recommend not missing:

Missing Mumford & Sons at Lollapalooza this August? They're not the only band in town this summer that can make a mandolin sound sweeter than ever. Boasting a bit more of a twangy, down home country feel Greensky Bluegrass has both the upbeat melodies and rich vocals to show up many of their banjo-toting colleagues. Greensky Bluegrass plays the East Stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound have been Chicago's R&B and soul music darlings for years now. However, now that they're fresh off the release of their second album Howl, they're hotter than ever. If you haven't caught these guys in concert before, frankly, you've been missing out. Let that end this weekend. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound play the West Stage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

Maybe we don't always think of the English as being the funkiest bunch of folks across the pond, but New Mastersounds might change your mind. Complete with a wailing organ and slick guitar licks, this quartet knows how to make their jazz-infused funk jams downright dirty. New Mastersounds plays the East Stage at 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 16.

The music of The Kuhls is about as endearing as the fresh faces of this female-fronted young group. When Chicagoist talked to the band in March, they described their sounds as "prairie rock." We can't argue with that but we can assure you that it sounds best in a live setting. The Kuhls play the East Stage at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 16.

"Contemporary disco" sounds kind of lame in theory. Then you listen to a couple tracks by the 17-piece Brooklyn group (that includes horn and string sections) Escort and all of a sudden you find yourself thinking, "Where has this been all of my life?!" It's sexy. It's fun. It's got a great rhythm. If the weather isn't steamy this weekend, the dance floor will be. Escort play the East Stage at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

If you've ever been to aliveOne in Lincoln Park on Thursday night, then you'll know that The Heard directs their weekly "funk night." The band has also been found playing at some of Chicago's most popular venues like The Metro and Lincoln Hall. Now they're bringing the funk to the outdoors this weekend at Taste of Randolph. The Heard play the East Stage at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

Milo Greene is the type of music that's dreamy and light enough to sway along to, but tantalizing and intense enough not to put you to sleep. We can't wait to see if their beautifully blended vocal harmonies align as well in a live setting as they do on the band's self-titled folk-pop debut. Milo Greene plays the West Stage at 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 16.

Cole DeGenova is one of those songwriters whose talent is only furthered by his energy. A little ball of rock, soul, funk, R&B and just about anything else he can incorporate DeGenova is a Chicago-based artist whose name you're bound to start see popping up more and more. Cole DeGenova plays the East Stage at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

Part surfer rock, part folky pop. Part bouncy melodies, part mellow rhythms. Everything fit for a summer street fest. Trails and Ways should make for a fun late afternoon show on Saturday. Trails and Ways play on the West Stage at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

Taste of Randolph kicks off on Friday, June 14, at 6 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. Find it at the corner and Racine and Randolph. There is a $10 suggested donation.