Weekend Music Spotlight - Live Music Highlights, Friday 12/16 to Sunday 12/18

Weekend Music Spotlight - Live Music Highlights, Friday 12/16 to Sunday 12/18

This is your guide to catching the best live music throughout both the city and suburbs.  This weekend, Wilco caps off it's impressive Chicago residency, Morrissey makes good in Bucktown, and the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart lands at Lincoln Hall.   All of this plus much more...

In The City...

The Bad Plus (8PM and 10PM Friday 12/16 and Saturday 12/17.  4PM, 8PM and 10PM Sunday 12/18 at Jazz Showcase.  All shows $25-30 each, 21+) - The jazz power trio scored a big hit in the early 2000's with an instrumental jazz cover of Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit." 

Wilco (8PM Friday at Metro, 18+ SOLD OUT.  And 8PM Sunday at Lincoln Hall, 18+ SOLD OUT) - The Paulina Hollers open on Friday.  Fred Armisen opens on Sunday.   The biggest concert event in Chicago in quite some time and accordingly, one of the hardest tickets to score in quite some time (the "Incredible Shrinking Tour" consists of five sold out Chicago club shows).  I caught the band at the Civic Opera House on Monday and at the Vic on Thursday and was blown away.  I always expect a great show from Wilco but Monday's set truly managed to raise the bar.  The band used to feature frequent lineup changes but experiencing a rare period of stability, the current members have performed together since 2005, longer than any other and it shows in their incredibly tight live sets.  It's always a treat to see them in such small venues and Sunday's show at Lincoln Hall benefits Inspiration Corporation

Big Sam's Funky Nation (Friday at Lincoln Hall) - Mos Socious opens.  I caught Big Sam's open up for New Orleans natives Better than Ezra a few years ago at House of Blues and had a blast.  If you're looking to dance to the sounds of funky rock and soul, look no further.

White Mystery (11PM Friday at Subterranean. 21+, SOLD OUT) - With The DirtbombsFrancis Scott Key White drums in a simple but effective, straightforward manner that accompanies Miss Alex White's fuzzladen guitar and vocals nicely.  They also channel a more seventies influenced version of the White Stripes (on their facebook page, they cite Gary Glitter, MC5 and Black Sabbath as "artists we also like").  Caught them at the Hideout Block Party in September and they were one of my favorite acts of the day.

Sister Hazel (9PM Friday and Saturday at House of Blues. Each show $40, 17+) - Vintage Blue and Amy Lenard open.  1997's "All For You" might be one of the few songs that you hear on the radio these days from Sister Hazel but make no mistake:  this is a band that's been at it for just short of twenty years and eight studio albums.  They have an incredibly dedicated fan base and tour frequently and as such, I wouldn't wait until the day of the show to get tickets.

Kill Hannah's 8th Annual "New Heart For Christmas": (6:30PM Saturday at Bottom Lounge. $20-60, All Ages) - Comasoft and Awaken the Empire open.  Fans vote on the setlist and VIP packages are available.  The local road warriors have been at it since 1999 but haven't released a new album since 2009.  AllMusic Guide describes the band as "indie-shoegaze-electro-post-hardcore-emo-dream pop-rock" but I think it's easier to just compare them to a cross between The Cure and KMFDM. 

Mickey Hart (9PM Saturday at Lincoln Hall. $31, 21+) - The former Grateful Dead drummer arrives in Chicago for a rare show in such an intimate venue that promises to be quite heavy on percussion of all types. 

Morrissey (7PM Saturday at Congress Theater. $40, All Ages) - Kristeen Young opens.  Tickets from November 10th will be honored (The November 10th show was cancelled after a member of Morrissey's band suffered visa issues).  The former Smiths frontman has pretty hardcore fans and I wouldn't be surprised if this one sells out.

The Sea and Cake (10PM Saturday at Empty Bottle. $18, 21+) - Luke Roberts and Brokeback open.  Archer Prewitt and Sam Prekop just released their ninth studio album The Moonlight Butterfly.  They've been touring extensively and have worked out enough material for their tenth album in 2012 so this show should fine the band's indie pop in fine sound.

Five Finger Death Punch (5:30PM Sunday at the Riviera Theatre. $46, All Ages) - Hatebreed, All That Remains and Rains open.  Thrash metal at its finest!

In The Suburbs...

Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials (8PM Friday at SPACE in Evanston. $15-25, All Ages) - Part of the Alligator Records 40th Anniversary series.  Ear splittingly loud slide guitar in an intimate club.  Does it get any better than that to start the weekend?

Cathy Richardson (9PM Friday at Ballydoyle Pub in Aurora. $10, 21+) - I had the chance to catch one of my favorite  Chicago area Grammy nominees a few weeks ago at Fitzgerald's and as always she did not disappoint.  The Jefferson Starship singer belts it out live and as I've said before, you haven't seen anything until you've experienced her cover Janis Joplin live.  For more about Cathy, as well as my brief interview with her, click HERE.

Larry the Cable Guy (5PM and 8PM Saturday at Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. Each show $53, All Ages) - Reno Collier opens.  If Blue Collar Comedy is your thing, Joliet is the place for you this weekend.

Mannheim Steamroller (7:30PM Saturday at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino Chicago in Hammond, IN. $56-98, 21+) -  Christmas music put to loud guitars.  A seasonal favorite.

Paul Revere & The Raiders and Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (7:30PM Saturday at Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont. $41-88, All Ages) - Fun for the whole family!

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    Jim Ryan

    Jim Ryan has written about music in print and online for a variety of Chicagoland publications for over fifteen years. In addition to duties filling in as Traffic Anchor on CLTV or in the helicopter on NBC 5, you can also catch him Sunday nights at 6PM central as host of "The Rock N' Roll Radio Program" on AM 1420 WIMS and AM 1060 WHFB (streaming at wimsradio.com and via the TuneIn Radio app for the smart phone or tablet). Jim has also worked locally for WXRT-FM, lives within walking distance of the Metro and is an avid White Sox and Blackhawks fan whose first live concert experience came at Comiskey Park in 1984 during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour.

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