The weeks after
Christmas leading up to the slow thaw of March are traditionally the
music industry's slowest: There are only a handful of major albums
released, and many touring acts opt to wait until the spring before
heading back out on the road.
This isn't to say
that there aren't a number of great performances and promising new
releases to look forward to in the winter months, or that there's
even more incredible music already scheduled to drop later in 2006.
Here, then, is a
chronological Top 10 of my most eagerly anticipated concerts in the
new year, and a brief look ahead at more of what's to come on album
11-12: The Syn at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln: One of the many
psychedelic pop bands that flourished in London in the wake of the
Beatles and the Summer of Love, the Syn is best remembered today as
the first band featuring bassist Chris Squire, later of Yes. But the
group's music prevails, especially the indelible single "Grounded,"
on the recent reissue "Original Syn," and Squire has reunited to
tour with the band's original vocalist Stephen Nardelli. The group
is performing for two nights next week, and tickets are $35; for
more info, call (773) 404-9494.
12-15: The Tomorrow Never Knows Fest at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport:
Speaking of great psychedelic pop, the genre certainly didn't
end with the '60s, and for the second year, Schubas is hosting a
multi-day festival which takes its name from the Beatles'
psychedelic classic and highlights some of the best young groups
making otherworldly sounds. The lineup is Kevin Tihista, Andrew
Morgan and Tenki starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday (tickets $10);
Manishevitz, the Spinto Band, the 1900s and Moonlight Towers
starting at 9 on Jan. 13 ($12); chin up chin up, Pit Er Pat, Tapes
'n Tapes and Lake Holiday at 9 on Jan. 14 ($10) and Magnolia
Electric Co., Palliard, Smallwire and the Deaths at 9 on Jan. 15
($12). For more info, call (773) 525-2508.
3. Jan. 23:
Colin Meloy at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage: Meloy is building
a growing reputation as the leader of ork-popsters the Decemberists,
who recently signed to Capitol Records, but here he is performing as
a solo artist, which should shed light on his greatest strength: his
songwriting. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15 at the
box office; call (773) 929-5959.
4. Jan. 23
and 25: The Rolling Stones at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison:
Yes, last summer's concert at Soldier Field found the world's
richest rock 'n' roll band coasting through the same old set list of
golden oldies, with Keith basically phoning his parts in. But, hey,
it's always a spectacle. The possibility for magic always remains.
And you never know if one of 'em may just have a heart attack right
there on the stage. Tickets are $60 to $160 through Ticketmaster,
5. Jan. 27:
Low at Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie: Northern
Minnesota's beloved purveyors of moody "slo-core" released another
stellar effort in 2005's "The Great Destroyer," and despite the
recent loss of its longtime bassist, the group is said to be in rare
form onstage. His Name Is Alive and Death Vessel open at 9:30 p.m.,
and tickets are $15; visit www.emptybottle.com.
6. Feb. 8:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.: The Bay
Area trio is another group that released an incredibly strong disc
in 2005 (the bluesy and roots mood-rock masterpiece "Howl") which I
never got to see live. Now, they're coming back to perform with
Elefant and the Morning After Girls starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets
are $20; call (773) 549-4140.
7. Feb. 11:
High on Fire at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee: No, nothing will
ever be as heavy as Matt Pike's first band, Sleep, architects of the
most massive noise stoner rock has ever produced. But High on Fire
produced its best album yet with 2005's "Blessed Black Wings," and
the group is never less than incendiary live. The Bronx, Big
Business and Buried Inside open at 9:30 p.m., and the cover is $12;
call (773) 489-3160.
8. Feb. 14:
Supergrass at the Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield: Oasis may move
the units, and Blur may garner the critical respect, but Supergrass
remains the best live band the Brit-pop movement has given us, and
it will be performing in support of 2005's' impressive "Road to
Rouen." Pilotdrift opens at 8 p.m., and tickets are $22; call (773)
30-31: Coldplay at the United Center: Nothing will top the moody
British rockers performing at Metro circa the release of their
excellent third album, "X & Y." But Coldplay remains one of the most
vital acts currently playing the arenas, with a catalog strong
enough to hold 22,000 people firmly in their thrall. Former Verve
leader and Chris Martin hero Richard Ashcroft opens, and tickets are
$41.50-$81.50 through Ticketmaster.
12-13: David Gilmour at the Rosemont Theatre, 9300 W. Bryn Mawr,
Rosemont: Finally, it may not be exactly what every Pink Floyd
fan yearns for -- a full-fledged reunion tour of the group's
greatest incarnation, a la its brief set at Live 8 last year
-- but a solo jaunt by guitar god David Gilmour is certainly the
next best thing, and it's been decades since he has performed in the
States on his own. Tickets are $50 to $125 through Ticketmaster.
upcoming concerts of note include: the godfather of soul,
James Brown, at the House of Blues on Thursday; Josh Rouse
at the Black Orchid on Jan. 19; Dark Star Orchestra at
the Park West on Jan. 20; Big Head Todd & the Monsters at the
Vic on Jan. 21; the much-hyped female singer-songwriter Feist
at the Park West on Jan. 27; Sheryl Crow at the Auditorium
Theatre on Jan. 28 and Yellowcard at Metro on Feb. 1.
Mann at Park West on Feb. 1; Great Big Sea at the Vic on
Feb. 2; Ricky Martin at the Chicago Theatre on Feb. 2; jam
merchants moe. at the Aragon on Feb. 3; the reconstituted
INXS at the Chicago Theatre on Feb. 4; Keith Urban at the
Allstate Arena on Feb. 10; Less Than Jake at House of Blues
on Feb. 13; St. Etienne at Metro on Feb. 15; B.B. King
at House of Blues on Feb. 16; hip-hop great RJD2 at Metro on
Feb. 24; Animal Collective at Logan Square Auditorium on Feb.
25; Queen with Paul Rodgers at the Allstate Arena on March
23, and Motion City So'undtrack at the Vic, April 1.