Weekend Music Spotlight - Live Music Highlights Friday 12/2 - Sunday 12/4

Weekend Music Spotlight - Live Music Highlights Friday 12/2 - Sunday 12/4

This is your guide to catching the best live music throughout both the city and suburbs... This week catch Jerry Lee Lewis, Kelly Clarkson, Brian Setzer and more...

In The City…

Poi Dog Pondering (9PM Friday 12/2 and Saturday 12/3 at Metro. Each show $26, 18+) – A cool series of shows dubbed "A Tale of Two Cities," will see the band's Austin, TX lineup (featuring Abra Moore) on Friday and the Chicago lineup on Saturday (featuring Dag Juhlin) as well as songs from each era performed on corresponding nights.

Rock for Kids 23rd Annual Rock and Roll Auction (6PM Friday at Park West. $75) - Get in the giving spirit and head out to the live and silent auction to bid on ridiculously one  of-a-kind, signed items from artists who don't sign many items like Clarence Clemons, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince, Bob Dylan and a ton more.  Benefits Rock for Kids (Read my preview of the event for more information HERE).

AM Taxi (10PM Friday at Lincoln Hall. $12, 18+) – The Sweeps and Young Distractions open.  Quality pop-punk from the still smoldering ashes of Lucky Boys Confusion.

Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot! (9PM Friday at House of Blues, $55, 17+) – Hot Rod Hucksters open.  The show will also feature a special set with Slim Jim Phantom.  Setzer's solo shows, while entertaining, have become fairly predictable so what sets this tour apart is the fact that he's once again teaming up with fellow Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom for what should be a rollicking take on the band's fifties/rockabilly influences (not to mention Stray Cats hits like "Rock This Town").

Kyuss Lives! (7PM Friday at the Vic Theatre. $41, All Ages) – Black Cobra, The Sword and Bible of the Devil open.  While Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme wants nothing to do with this reunion, he has by all accounts given it his blessing so the original members have decided to give it another go with what has been an incredibly well-received tour (a new album is also supposedly in the works featuring Nick Oliveri and company but not Homme).

WTMX “Miracle on State Street” featuring Kelly Clarkson, The Fray and Christina Perri (7:30PM Friday at Chicago Theatre. $69-90, All Ages) – Get there on time because Perri is surprisingly good live (as I found out in August at Schubas), not only singing her heart-on-the-sleeve songs, but also playing guitar and keys. 

Smith Westerns (9PM Friday at Hard Rock Hotel.  No Cover, 21+) - Franki Chan, Black Light Saints, Windy City Soul Club, and Kirby Kaiser open.  RSVP in advance for the "VitaminWater Winter Escape" free show with the local darlings HERE

Thursday (5:30PM Friday at Bottom Lounge. $19, All Ages) – Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Zechs Marquise and Native open.  After thirteen years, the New Jersey punk-emo band is calling it a day, going on indefinite hiatus with what is supposed to be their final tour so catch them one last time on Friday.

Smooth Jazz Christmas featuring Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Johnathan Butler and Candy Dulfer (8PM Friday at Auditorium Theatre. $58-99, All Ages) - There's no better place to hear instrumental music than amidst the acoustic perfection that is the Auditorium.

Jerry Lee Lewis (6:30PM Saturday at Congress Theater. $30-95, All Ages) –  This show was rescheduled after a previous cancellation a few months back following some health issues with the 76 year old rock pioneer.  "The Killer" released a star-studded album in 2010 (Mean Old Man) but there's no telling what to expect from him live.  Hopefully he fares better on the Congress Theater stage than Chuck Berry did nearly a year ago.

Straight No Chaser (3PM and 8PM Saturday at Chicago Theater. Each show is $41-62, All Ages) – The a capella vocal stylings of the songs of the season sung throughout the weekend in the city and suburbs.

93XRT Big Holiday Show featuring Florence & The Machine and Laura Marling (7:30PM Sunday 12/4 at Chicago Theatre.  All Ages, SOLD OUT) – I caught Florence earlier this year at the Aragon and was not impressed (though admittedly, the acoustically-challenged Aragon Ballroom is not the type of place you go to see an act that is heavy on ornate instrumentation like the harp).  The Chicago Theatre, however, features great acoustics so this should help decide once and for all whether Florence is worth seeing live.

M. Ward (8PM Sunday at Schubas. 18+, SOLD OUT) – Mike Coykendall and Carlos Forster open.  Saw M. Ward with The Monsters of Folk and had a blast.  This guy is just involved in so many cool projects (She & Him) that it should be quite interesting and fun to see his folksy take on adult alternative within the intimate confines of Schubas.  There's no better way to spend a Sunday night.

Shawn Colvin (7PM Sunday at Old Town School of Folk Music.  All Ages, SOLD OUT) – Jake Amerding opens.  One of the more underrated singer-songwriters in recent years, Colvin's unmistakably sweet voice will be great in one of my favorite small venues in the city.

In The Suburbs…

Marcia Ball (9PM Friday 12/2 and Saturday 12/3 at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. Each show is $20, 21+) – Bill Kirchen opens.  Long, tall Marcia Ball, y'all!  Blues, rock, killer vocals... Singing pianist, Marcia Ball does it all and her live shows are basically one big party.  These shows will blow you away.

Brandi Carlile (8PM Friday at SPACE in Evanston. All Ages, SOLD OUT) – The Secret Sisters open.  Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to catch Carlile at a private, industry event with approximately thirty other people.  Its been a while since I was caught so offguard by a voice.  Brandi Carlile can flat out sing and if this was the type of music being played on contemporary country radio, the world would be a better place.  Carlile serenaded the crowd solo-acoustic with songs she hasn't gotten to play much on this tour (like the unreleased "Keep Your Heart Young" which was stellar) and great stories like the time she met legends Wanda Jackson and Little Jimmie Dickens at the Grand Ole Opry.  If Friday's show is even half as good as the half-hour sampler I saw... well let's just say you'll be blown away. 

Rick Springfield (8PM Friday at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. $49-125, All Ages) – Bad Medicine opens.  What can I say about Rick Springfield that hasn't already been said?  How about the fact that he has a Bon Jovi cover band opening Friday's show?

America (8PM Saturday at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. $39-69, All Ages) – With special guest Jim Messina.  What a weekend in St. Charles!  What, no Kenny Loggins?

Demi Lovato (7:30PM Saturday at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont. $51-62, All Ages) –

Enuff Z’Nuff (8PM Saturday at Tailgaters in Bolingbrook. $10-20, 21+) – Hessler and Paradoxx open.

The Ides of March (7:30PM Saturday at the Norris Cultural Arts Center in St. Charles. $22-40, All Ages) –

Lisa Lampanelli (7:30PM Saturday at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. $55-77, 21+) –

Tantric (7PM Saturday at Mojoes in Joliet. $15, 21+) – Eve to Adam, Persistance of Memory and Man Made Machine open.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – (3PM and 8PM Saturday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Each show is $40-82. All Ages) – Eighties metal done in a seasonal fashion.  Happy holidays!

Sevendust (7PM Sunday 12/4 at Mojoes in Joliet. $25, All Ages) – Seven Day Sonnet, Eye Empire and Candlelight Red open.

Straight No Chaser (7:30PM Sunday at Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont. $37-58, All Ages) -

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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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