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Photos: Chance The Rapper And The Roots Kick Off Taste Of Chicago

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 7, 2016 4:32PM

The Taste of Chicago was off to a resounding start Wednesday as Chicagoans came out to support their own on the stage. Chance the Rapper joined his friends and Surf collaborators Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment in opening for The Roots to a sold-out crowd.

Chicago’s Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment offered an hour-long whirlwind of energetic, alt hip-hop complete with dancers and guest appearances. Led by trumpeter Nico Segal, Chance the Rapper's touring band joyfully delivered to highlights from Surf like “Slip Slide,” “Wanna Be Cool,” and “Pass the Vibes.” Joey Purp joined the band for two songs, including “Cornerstore,” and D.R.A.M. arrived onstage for "D.R.A.M. Sings Special” from Chance’s Coloring Book.

Chance appeared at the end of the set for four songs, including “No Problems” and “Blessings.” This was his second festival appearance this week, after a guest spot on LIDO’s stage at Mamby last Saturday. Segal led the crowd in a moment of silence for Alton Sterling, a black man killed by police in Baton Rouge on Tuesday night, followed by “a moment of joy” as the band launched into “Sunday Candy” to close the set.

For a moment we forgot we were at a free, after-work food festival as Chance and Donnie Trumpet’s performance recalled their triumphant headlining set at last summer’s Pitchfork Music Fest.

If anyone could follow up this vibrant opener, it was The Legendary Roots Crew. The eclectic hip-hop icons delivered a funky, unwavering set led by Questlove’s rhythmic foundation and Black Thought’s lyrical ammunition. The crowd grooved from hit to hit, including “The Fire,” “Proceed,” and “The Seed (2.0)” along with covers of “Jungle Boogie” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” We particularly enjoyed watching individual members shine, and Kirk Douglas’ guitar licks are still ringing in our head. "Empire's" Jussie Smollett appeared to sing the chorus of “You Got Me” while his co-star Taraji P. Henson danced onstage. They may be Jimmy Fallon’s house band, but The Roots’ onstage aerobics haven’t lost any steam.

Wednesday’s dynamic Taste of Chicago performances should set the groundwork for a wonderful festival. Here’s hoping the rest of the weekend follows suit.