last New Year's Eve at New York City's Madison Square Garden with
Wilco and the Flaming Lips, I figured I'd sit this one out,
It would be hard to
top the triumphant nature of that gig. And besides, I'm still
picking confetti out of the pockets of my party wear.
always, there are a number of killer rock, pop and R&B shows in
Chicago that are tempting me to reconsider, braving the cold and the
inevitable onslaught of hard-partying amateurs in order to quench
the never-ending desire to hear some great live music.
The pick of this
year's offerings is the indie-rock supergroup that brought us one of
the best albums of the year, the power-pop gem "Twin Cinema." Led by
the Lennon/McCartney-style competitive songwriting team of A.C.
Newman and Dan Bejar, the New Pornographers top the bill and
celebrate the success of their third album with a show that begins
at 10 p.m. at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Likeminded (though lesser) pop
groups the M's and Rogue Wave open, and tickets are $60, available
online or by phone through Ticketmaster at (312) 559-1212.
If you're a
member of the jam-band nation, you'll likely be ushering out the old
and ringing in the new amid clouds of patchouli and other
interesting odors with Umphrey's McGee at the Aragon, 1106 W.
Lawrence. The Frank Zappa-inspired Indiana sextet is one of the more
imaginative groups vying to replace Phish during its
retirement/hiatus, and the group's New Year's Eve gig is the second
of a two-night stand. Both shows start at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are
available through Ticketmaster; tonight's are $30, while Saturday's
A different sort
of jam-band groove will be delivered by Chicago's ever-evolving
Poi Dog Pondering at the Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield. The
show starts at 9:30 p.m. with the Mexican-inflected Casolando,
and tickets are $41 in advance or $46 Saturday night at the door.
Call Ticketmaster or the Vic's box office at (773) 472-0449.
As usual, the
House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, is hosting separate shows in the
main venue and the Backporch Room. Train and Everclear
headline in the former with Josh Kelley opening at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $155. More intriguing is the bill in the smaller room,
topped by Fastball but also featuring the long-awaited return
of Minneapolis' alt-rock heroes Soul Asylum. That gig starts
at 10 p.m. and tickets are $85. Call (312) 923-2000.
indie-rock world, there are always several great parties to choose
from. Starting at 10 p.m., the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, is
hosting the Juan Maclean, Spank Rock and DJ Coco
LeRoc (tickets are $25; call 773-276-3600), while the Double
Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, presents a pricey ($60) but worthwhile bill
featuring tuneful Chicago grunge stalwarts Local H, the
lovably rowdy Irish punks the Tossers and garage-rockers the
Last Vegas. That show starts at 10 p.m. as well. Call (773)
opinionated folks at the influential Pitchfork Web site are
capping a year that included the tremendous success of their
Intonation Music Festival and celebrating their 10th anniversary
with two shows at the Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western. Diplo
and the Books perform tonight, while the New Year's Eve
bookings are indie-rock raves Wolf Parade, Blood on the
Wall and Jason Forrest. At the moment, both shows are
sold-out, but check www.pitchforkmedia.com in case
last-minute tickets become available.
For fans of
roots-rock, the venue and the entertainment don't get any better
than FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt in Berwyn, with a lineup of
firebrand vocalist Marcia Ball and the Iguanas plus
the always entertaining Chicago singer and songwriter Robbie
Fulks in the side bar. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $90,
which includes a late-night buffet from the Wishbone Restaurant.
Call (708) 788-2118.
himself won't be playing anywhere in Chicago on New Year's Eve, but
the city's most imaginative cover band, Tributosaurus, will
pay homage to the R&B legend with two shows that begin at 9:30
tonight and Saturday night at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln. Tickets are
$20 tonight and $30 Saturday. Call (773) 404-9494. (In the interest
of journalistic disclosure, I should note that Tributo frontman Matt
Spiegel is the producer of my radio show, "Sound Opinions," but we
rarely let him sing in that forum.)
Other club gigs
of note include ork-popsters Head of Femur with Catfish
Haven and Canasta at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont
(show time is 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $15; call 773-281-4444); the
Changes and Office at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport (show
time 10 p.m., tickets $15; call 773-525-2508); Modern Day Romeos
and 16 Candles at Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., in
Palatine (show time 10 p.m., tickets $25; call 847-358-9150), and
perennial Chicago party-band favorite Mr. Blotto at the Abbey
Pub, 3420 W. Grace (show time 9 p.m., tickets $20 in advance, $25 at
the door; call 773-478-4408).
Finally, with a
gig that is as much of a tradition as its Fourth of July concert in
Grant Park, WXRT-FM (93.1) is sponsoring its annual Rock & Roll Ball
at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom starting at 7:30 p.m. with Chicago's
Beatlesesque Redwalls, jam-meisters the Freddy Jones Band,
power-popsters Fountains of Wayne and Danielia Cotton.
Regular tickets are $67, VIP tickets are $107 and both are available