This is your guide to the best live music throughout both the city and suburbs... This weekend, three tremendous days of live blues kick off 2012 as Buddy Guy begins his annual residency in the South Loop at Legends, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials rock Rosa's, Ronnie Baker Brooks brings it in Berwyn... Not to mention area appearances by Wu-Tang Clan and Local H. All of this plus much more...
In The City...
Buddy Guy (9PM Friday 1/6/12, 9:30PM Saturday 1/7 and 7:30PM Sunday 1/8 at Buddy Guy's Legeneds. $65, 21+) - Deitra Farr opens Friday, Big James & The Chicago Playboys open Saturday, and Jimmy Johnson opens Sunday (Johnson replaces previously mentioned opener Carl Weathersby who is unable to perform due to a scheduling conflict). 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.
Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials (9:30PM Friday and Saturday at Rosa's Lounge. Each show is $15, 21+) - Ear splittingly loud slide guitar in an intimate blues club. Does it get any better than that to start the weekend?
The Tossers (9PM Friday at Abbey Pub. NO COVER, 21+) - It's the first Friday of the month... As a child growing up in Catholic school on the south side, that meant going to Church. Now, as an adult living on the north side, first Friday services take place in the form of acoustic performances by The Tossers at Abbey Pub. I've probably seen The Tossers twenty times and these acoustic shows at the Abbey always end up being some of my favorites. Traditional Celtic meets contemporary punk and for my money, only The Pogues do it any better. Drink up... The band will be!
Nature Show (9PM Friday at The Hideout. $10, 21+) - Kory Quinn & The Comrades and Jonas Friddle & The Majority open. A high-energy show based upon solid lyrics and melodies can be expected at this show celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album.
Wu-Tang Clan (6:30PM Sunday at the Congress Theater. $25-100, All Ages ) - Featuring RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, U-God and Inspectah Deck. Member for member, arguably the most successful hip-hop outfit of all-time, creating a brand we've yet to see the likes of since. Even without the deceased Ol' Dirty Bastard, Wu-Tang remains one of the more immediately recognizable sounds in rap.
In The Suburbs...
Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts (9PM Friday at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn. $10, 21+) -ThinGrin opens. Studebaker John & The Maxwell Street Kings perform free in the SideBar. Yes, Miles is the son of Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen but the comparisons end there and his prior work with Harmony Riley speaks for itself.
Local H (9PM Friday at Austin's Fuel Room in Libertyville. $12, 21+) - Trigger Fish opens.
Local H (9PM Saturday at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. $5, 21+) - One of alt rock's most underrated and one of Chicago's finest, the band has released some of its best music in the past few years (2008's 12 Angry Months was outstanding and Icon - The Island Years represents a nice cross section of the band's early years). At only $5, this show is the bargain of the weekend and maybe the month.
Ronnie Baker Brooks (9PM Saturday at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn. $15, 21+) - There really is a ton of great live blues to be seen this weekend in the Chicagoland area. 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.
Iris Dement (8PM Saturday at SPACE in Evanston. SOLD OUT) - While you may not hear her on the radio and she hasn't released new material since 2004, Dement received a Grammy nod for her collaborations with John Prine in 1999 and remains one of country's finest.
Filed under: Weekend Music Spotlight