This is your guide to catching the best live music both in the city and throughout the suburbs. This weekend, a ridiculous amount of great shows hit Chicagoland as Gomez rocks The Vic, local artists like Company of Thieves and Local H play throughout the area and Alabama Shakes brings a bit of soul to both Reggie's and Lincoln Hall. All of this plus much, much more...
In The City...
Company of Thieves (7PM Friday at Metro. $14, All Ages) - Bailiff and Sidewalk Chalk opens. It has been a real treat over the past few years to watch Chicago's own grow in terms of both their strength of songwriting and their following. Ordinary Riches was a good album but Running From a Gamble was one of my favorites of 2011. Marc Walloch's guitar playing crosses several genres on the album and you'd be hardpressed to find a better live vocalist than Genevieve Schatz. I've caught them live several times and am looking forward to seeing them again this weekend. Check out my review of Company of Thieves' opening set for Hall & Oates last summer at Ravinia HERE and my interview with guitarist Marc Walloch HERE.
Gomez (8PM Friday at the Vic Theatre. $38, 18+) - Bluesy, British, jammy and good. Touring in support of June's Whatever's on Your Mind, Gomez's live show has always garnered strong reviews.
Hot Tuna (Two shows at 7PM & 10PM Friday at Old Town School of Folk Music. Each show $34-38, All Ages) - The Jefferson Airplane spinoff will be performing acoustic in support of its soon to be released studio album Steady as She Goes... its first studio album in about twenty years.
Rich Robinson (10PM Friday at Schubas. $20, 21+) - Amy LaVere opens. With his Black Crowes on hiatus once again, Robinson hits the road in support of October's Through a Crooked Sun. For my money, one of rock's more underrated guitarists.
Alabama Shakes (10PM Friday at Lincoln Hall. 21+, SOLD OUT) - Canasta and Jennifer Castle open. There's been more buzz and debate around this band than any I can remember in a while (which is surprising considering their music took center stage in a holiday Zales ad... but I digress). "Discovered" by Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers (as the legend goes), Alabama Shakes combines blues, rock and soulful vocals.
Alabama Shakes (11AM Saturday at Reggie's. 21+, FREE) - Sponsored by WXRT. Visit the radio station's website for details on how to get in.
South By Southwest Send Off Party (1PM Saturday at the Hideout. $10, 21+) - Paper Thick Walls, Football, Unicycle Loves You, Redgrave, Cains & Abels, Outer Minds, The Waco Brothers, Hollywood Holt, Musikanto, In Tall Buildings and Kids These Days. This show is a steal for $10. My picks: Get there early for the indie-pop of Paper Thick Walls, stick around for the rocking duo that is Redgrave, start drinking whiskey during The Waco Brothers and be sure to stay up late with Kids These Days. The best part? All proceeds benefit the bands hitting I-55 bound for Texas and SXSW soon.
Colin Hay (8PM Saturday at Park West. $39) - I caught the former Men at Work frontman last year at Park West and was really impressed. Compelling stage banter and, whether you want to admit or not, really catchy songs whose lyrics are far more striking and introspective in this stripped down acoustic setting than they ever were amidst the glossy eighties production and MTV overexposure that ultimately put Men at Work out of it. Still riding a wave of new support following Zach Braff fueled appearances from his music in both the film Garden State and the sitcom Scrubs, Hay's currently firing on all cylinders live.
Deicide (7PM Saturday at Reggie's. $26, All Ages) - Jungle Rot, Abigail Williams and Lecherous Nocturne open. Death metal anyone?
The Lovehammers (6:15PM Saturday at House of Blues. $23-100, All Ages ) - Bottle of Justus, My Sedatious Sister and Vintage Blue open. Marty Casey and company bring their brand of local rock to House of Blues for a rare, Saturday early set. Note the early start time for this all ages show.
Lúnasa (Two shows at 4PM & 7:30PM Sunday at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Each show $21-25, All Ages) - Slide opens. As we approach St. Patrick's Day, concert appearances by Irish acts continue. So grab a cold pint and take in some traditional Irish music for tis the season!
The Damn Choir (8PM Sunday at Beat Kitchen. $8, 21+) - Ben Ripani Music Co., Great Divide and Kerosene Circuit also perform. The Damn Choir will also be heading down to South By Southwest next week so come out and show them some love on Sunday night. The six piece band really accentuates their indie pop sound with Katy Myers' cello. Elements of folk in emotional songs that build nicely. Gordon Robertson's vocals remind me of Bill Janovitz from Buffalo Tom. Check out their song "Noah" before you head to Beat Kitchen on Sunday.
In The Suburbs...
Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker (7PM Friday at Allstate Arena. $40-91, All Ages) - Thompson Square opens. Country infused pop and you can't beat Hootie & The Blowfish's Darius Rucker as the opener. Caught up with Rucker last September and he spoke quite highly of his duties as opening act.
Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt (8PM Friday at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, IN. $53-63, All Ages) - Two of rock's finest songwriters together for this tour.
Local H (8PM Friday at the Montrose Room at the Intercontinental O'Hare Chicago Hotel in Rosemont. $15, 18+) - 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). The band will have its new live DVD There Goes the Zoo on sale at these shows and may even work in a bit of their forthcoming release (supposedly titled Hallelujah! I’m A Bum).
Local H (8PM Saturday at Sullivan's Irish Pub in Midlothian. $10, 21+)
Dave Alvin & The Guilty Ones (9PM Friday at Fitzgerald's. $25, 21+) - The Black Willoughbys open. On his latest release Eleven Eleven, Dave Alvin joins with his brother Phil Alvin in a move that is sure to thrill longtime fans of The Blasters.
Dave Alvin & The Guilty Ones (7:30PM Saturday at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, IN. $30-40, All Ages) - Callaghan opens.
Buckwheat Zydeco (8PM Saturday at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn. $28-38, All Ages) - It's basically impossible for you to have a better time in DuPage County this weekend than you will have at this show. Bring the beads, chug a hurricane and check out the master of the accordion.
John Prine (8PM Saturday at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. $49-92, All Ages) - The acclaimed songwriter and Maywood native delivers his well-written, country infused songs this weekend in Waukegan.
Kansas (8PM Saturday at the Stardust Event Center at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, IN. 21+, SOLD OUT) - Virtually the epitome of classic rock with several original members still in the fold. Carry on my wayward son... Carry on.
Kelly Clarkson and Matt Nathanson (7PM Saturday at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. 21+, SOLD OUT) - A rare small venue concert and an even more rare twenty-one and over show for the former American Idol. As far as contemporary singer-songwriters go, you could definitely do worse than Nathanson.
The Ides of March (8PM Saturday at the Montrose Room at the Intercontinental O'Hare Chicago Hotel in Rosemont. $20-30, 21+) - Jim Peterik and the boys will likely open and close the show with "Vehicle" and there's nothing wrong with that.
Lee DeWyze (7PM Saturday at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire. $20-40, All Ages) - Sam Nicolosi and Rachel McClusky open. Meet and greet passes are available. Another American Idol hits town this weekend for an intimate show in Lincolnshire.
Black 47 (7PM Sunday at Phil McKracken's in Worth. $20, 21+) - Their commercial peak may have come in the early nineties but some of their most challenging, controversial, current and creative work has come in the last five with 2008's Iraq and 2010's Bankers and Gangsters. The Irish rockers take the stage on the south side mere hours after the end of the rebooted South Side Irish Parade and only a few miles away from it so this could be a drinky affair... Have a green beer for me and good luck Monday morning! Slainte!
Filed under: Weekend Music Spotlight