This is your guide to catching the best live music both in the city and throughout the suburbs... This weekend, the highlight of January rolls on as Buddy Guy continues his annual monthlong residency at Legends, Sound Tribe Sector 9 arrives for two shows in Bucktown and The Kills rock The Riv. All of this plus much more...
In The City…
Buddy Guy (9PM Friday 1/20, 9:30PM Saturday 1/21 and 7:30PM Sunday 1/22 at Legends. Friday & Saturday are SOLD OUT. $55 tickets remain for Sunday. All shows 21+) – John Primer opens Friday, Jimmy Burns opens Saturday, and Lurrie Bell opens Sunday. The start times listed above are for the opening acts (Acoustic performances take place earlier in the afternoon. Doors open at the club as early as 11AM depending on the day and table seating is on a first-come, first served basis. Non-table seating is general admission, standing-room-only. It is strongly advised that you check www.buddyguy.com for all details). With the possible exception of Blues Fest every July, this is the best month of live blues you'll see annually in Chicago as the city's living legend plays every Thursday through Sunday in January at his own club. For my money, Friday's opener John Primer ("The Real Deal" was once rhythm guitarist for both Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon) might just be the month's best and should not be missed.
Sound Tribe Sector 9 (8PM Friday and Saturday at the Congress Theater. Each show is $35, 17+) – RJD2 opens Friday and Savoy opens Saturday. STS9 is known for its highly danceable form of jam band music. Influenced by different types of world music as well, STS9 has developed quite the following as evidenced by this pair of shows.
Jimmy Webb (8PM Friday at the Old Town School of Folk Music. $26-30, All Ages) – Del Barber opens. One of the greatest songwriters of his time, Webb will be in town to perform hits that he wrote like "Wichitaw Lineman," "MacArthur Park" and more in one of the city's most intimate rooms.
The Kills (8PM Friday at the Riviera Theatre. $36, 18+) – Jeff The Brotherhood and Hunters open. I love the fact that the White Stripes really made the whole rock duo thing palatable again. There's just been so many cool different ones lately. Jack White's Dead Weather bandmate Allison Mosshart joins Jamie Hince for a bluesy, sometimes bordering on psychedelic, take on punk rock.
Me'Shell Ndegéocello and Christian McBride Perform the Music of Charles Mingus with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (7:30PM Friday at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. $18-48) – If you only know Ndegéocello from the Mellencamp video, you're missing out. Friday night, expect these two great bassists (McBride's acoustic bass precision is particularly intriguing) to team up for an interesting take on Mingus.
Tea Leaf Green and Ha Ha Tonka (9PM Friday at Lincoln Hall. $20, 18+) – A solid lineup to keep you out of the snow and kick off your weekend. Tea Leaf Green will pop and jam while Ha Ha Tonka delivers southern, mandolin fueled rock courtesy of Springfield, Missouri via Chicago's very own Bloodshot Records. This will be a good show.
The Luck of Eden Hall (9PM Friday at Abbey Pub. $10, 21+) - I Lost Control and The Bright White open. Local psychedelic rock at its finest. Check out my full concert preview HERE.
Red Plastic Buddha (7PM Saturday at The Hideout. $10, 21+) - Dark Fog, Classic Plastic Crimewave Sound, Rabble Rabble and Verma also perform (part of Third Eye Visions: Chicago Psych Fest 3). I have to admit, I didn't know just how deep and talented Chicago's psychedelic scene is until I posted a concert preview for The Luck of Eden Hall earlier this week (see the entry above) and received a bunch of emails. So a special thanks to Tim of Red Plastic Buddha for letting me know about this show. If Friday with The Luck of Eden Hall isn't enough psychedelic rock for you this weekend then be sure to head to The Hideout on Saturday too. You want to talk about concert value? Well this show is the epitome of it (one of many reasons to love The Hideout).
Elisa Grace (8PM Saturday at Subterranean. 21+, SOLD OUT) - The Oak Park native celebrates the recent release of her self-titled, debut album as the opening act for Ty Stone and Vintage Blue so get there on time! A rock/pop hybrid with a dash of country via pedal steel. Read my full concert preview HERE.
Brubeck Brothers Quartet (7PM Saturday at Old Town School of Folk Music. $24-28, All Ages) – America's first family of jazz is represented in this quartet by Chris on bass and trombone and Dan on drums (sorry, no Dave).
Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival (2PM Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre. $50-70, All Ages) – Del McCoury Band, Joe Purdy, David Grisman, The Giving Tree Band and many more. Live performances take place on stages set up throughout the Auditorium Theatre (and I believe that the Auditorium is literally the city's only acoustically perfect theatre so you really couldn't ask for a better sounding venue for this day long affair). This cool series continues next Saturday at the Congress Theater with Dawes, Drive-By Truckers and more. Get all of the details HERE.
Corey Smith (10PM Saturday at Joe’s Bar. $20, 21+) – A country singer and guitar player who apparently likes to party. Well... he's playing the right venue!
Kool Keith (7:30PM Sunday at Reggie’s Rock Club. $15, 18+) – Kid Static, Phillip Morris, Second City Citizens, Kid Slim and Dezert Eez also perform. He may not have an official release since 2009's Bikinis N Thongs but the Ultramagnetic MCs founder has kept busy. This should be an interesting show at such a small venue. Did you know legend has it that Kool Keith was once institutionalized? The more you know!
Machine Head (5PM Sunday at House of Blues. $37, All Ages) – Suicide Silence, Darkest Hour and Rise to Remain open. Bay area metal. Yes. Hell yes. Machine Head is currently touring in support of the September release of Unto the Locust.
In The Suburbs…
Eric Burdon & The Animals (8PM Saturday at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. $29-69, All Ages) – Catching a live performance of "House of the Rising Sun" is never a bad thing.
Ronnie Baker Brooks' Birthday Bash (8PM Saturday at the Beverly Arts Center in Beverly. $22-25, All Ages) – As a member of Chicago's first family of the blues (son of Lonnie Brooks, brother of Wayne Baker Brooks), Ronnie's fiery guitar and soulful vocals lend itself well to wide ranging collaborations with artists anywhere from Kapone to Jellybean Johnson or Shemekia Copeland.
Webb Wilder (9PM Saturday at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. $20, 21+) – The Nashvegans and The Hoyle Brothers open. Wilder once described the music of his band The Beatnecks as "Rock for Roots fans and Roots for Rock fans" and it doesn't get any better than that.
Filed under: Weekend Music Spotlight