Typical knowledge holds that the reside music scene suffers a protracted hangover after the vacations. A peek on the calendar proves that false.
Although it will likely be challenged to copy the blockbuster spoils of 2023, the brand new yr is off with a proverbial bang. In search of big-name leisure? Travis Scott, Madonna, Playboi Carti, Zach Bryan, Eagles, Olivia Rodrigo and Unhealthy Bunny all have at the very least one date at United Heart earlier than the Cubs and White Sox open their seasons. When it comes to frequency, Mitski tops the listing with a sold-out four-night stand at Auditorium Theatre beginning March 21.
After all, winter calls for a sure coziness. Which means most of the season’s reside gems pop up at intimate golf equipment and smaller areas — locations the place the connection between artist and fan turns into nearer. Listed below are 10 such live shows that ought to be in your shortlist.
L’Rain (Jan. 19 at Schubas): Taja Cheek, who performs as L’Rain, couldn’t care much less about mainstream fame. A multi-instrumentalist and multi-hyphenate who splits time between her position as a musician and artwork curator, the critically acclaimed Brooklyn native prizes shape-shifting buildings that defy easy categorization. And obviousness. Positioned amid a swirl of classical, people, rock and atmospheric palettes, her humor tends to thinly conceal pointed commentary and reveal contradictions. In sound and spirit, the vocalist exemplifies the open-mindedness of the annual Tomorrow By no means Is aware of collection that runs at Schubas and three different venues by means of Jan. 21. 9 p.m. at 3159 N. Southport Ave.; tickets $25 (18+) at lh-st.com
Armand Hammer (Jan. 25 at Lincoln Corridor): Very important storytelling and thought-provoking messages don’t come a lot sharper than through the offbeat deliveries of Armand Hammer. The title of the New York-based rap duo’s newest album (“We Purchase Diabetic Take a look at Strips”) displays the tandem’s heightened conscientiousness. Referring to an underground financial system through which insured sufferers promote their medical provides to the much less lucky, the moniker additionally captures the themes of inequality and uncertainty that fear members Elucid and Billy Woods. Talking of Woods: One of the crucial gifted MCs within the biz, he edges nearer to household-name standing with every launch. 9 p.m. at 2424 N. Lincoln Ave.; tickets from $23 (18+) at lh-st.com
Brittany Howard (Feb. 6-7 at Thalia Corridor): Apparently, Brittany Howard was simply warming up throughout her celebrated stint in Alabama Shakes. Almost 5 years after issuing a solo debut that exposed her to be a sonic alchemist in hiding, the powerhouse vocalist returns with “What Now.” Scheduled for launch lower than every week earlier than this two-night stand, the all-analog LP performs on each the anxiousness of latest instances and Howard’s propensity to bounce from one fashion to a different. If you happen to go, count on to listen to an ace band: Howard’s eager ear matches her fervent curiosity. 8 p.m. at 1807 S. Allport St.; tickets from $60.50 (17+) at ticketweb.com
Residing Color (Feb. 8 at Backside Lounge): Given the flood of music documentaries — a lot of which profile topics of debatable advantage — how does a trailblazing Black rock band proceed to get ignored? So it goes for Residing Color, whose versatility, imaginative and prescient, intelligence and talent in its late ‘80s/early ‘90s heyday equaled that of its strongest contemporaries. Although the quartet splintered within the shadows of the so-called “alt-rock” motion, its resume consists of two good LPs, a slot on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour and a six-string wizard within the type of Vernon Reid. Reconsideration of its import is lengthy overdue. 7:30 p.m. at 1375 W. Lake St.; tickets are $35 at bottomlounge.com
The Kills (Feb. 14 at Riviera Theatre): “Love, we’ll in all probability make it burning on the stake,” sings Alison Mosshart on The Kills’ first effort since 2016, “God Video games.” Not the sort of Valentine’s Day romance that brings to thoughts candlelit dinners or gourmand goodies. However utterly according to the rambunctious ethos, magnetic chemistry and rough-hewed desperation which have allowed Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince to stay a draw since their ascendance throughout the early twenty first century garage-rock renaissance. Onstage, The Kills show why they outlasted a majority of their forgotten friends. 8 p.m. at 4746 N. Racine Ave.; tickets from $45 (18+) at axs.com
Jamila Woods (Feb. 23 at Vic Theatre): On her excellent third album, “Water Made Us,” Chicago native Jamila Woods presents music’s most overwrought subject — love — with unique, eye-opening views that illuminate its highs, lows, rewards, hurts and the assorted complexities in between. Using her appreciable skills as a singer and poet, Woods transforms jazz- and R&B-laden tunes into steps on a balanced journey that finally warms the soul like a down jacket. Wager on this present to characteristic native collaborators who, akin to Woods, push the town’s artistic tradition ahead. Fellow Chicagoan Kara Jackson opens. 8 p.m. at 3145 N. Sheffield Ave.; tickets from $29.50 at axs.com
Cat Energy (Feb. 27 at Cahn Auditorium): Neglect grey areas. Chan Marshall, aka Cat Energy, possesses a knack for uplifting reactions of the black or white selection. A longtime favourite of the indie-rock neighborhood, the vocalist reminds others of hipster pretension — together with late Tribune contributor Chrissie Dickinson, who stated Cat Energy “evinced all of the charisma of a mumbling, dotty aunt” in an eviscerating 2013 present evaluation. Becoming, then, that Cat Energy arrives in Evanston to interpret one among historical past’s famously contentious performances: Bob Dylan’s 1966 Royal Albert Corridor live performance. 8 p.m. at 600 Emerson St., Evanston (bought out)
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Feb. 29 and March 1 at Salt Shed): Ho-hum. One other yr, one other implausible album (“Weathervanes”) and Ryman Auditorium residency within the books for Jason Isbell. A personnel change in his trusty 400 Unit band apart, the singer-guitarist enters ‘24 on one other excessive. The 44-year-old Isbell is an previous soul who makes crafting unforgettable melodies look easy and slippery turns of phrase accessible. His unassuming presence and understated method additional clarify why the perfect songwriter to chronicle the human situation within the final 20 years typically appears taken with no consideration. Accomplish that at your individual peril. 8 p.m. at 1357 N. Elston Ave.; (bought out) www.saltshedchicago.com
Aimee Mann (March 2 at Cahn Auditorium): Aimee Mann has been distilling relationship points, witty observations and emotional traumas into sharp, well-defined pop songs ever since President Ronald Reagan served his first time period. Nonetheless, her work feels prefer it sprang into existence yesterday. The timelessness owes to Mann’s capacity to establish common themes, relay them in conversational manners and preserve an impartial streak. Humorous and solemn, sarcastic and shocking, Mann acknowledges that life is messy and skirts tidy resolutions. Her fare paperwork these information in profound manners. 8 p.m. at 600 Emerson St., Evanston (bought out)
Mary Timony (March 6 at Empty Bottle): Mary Timony’s three-plus many years of trade expertise features as proof that life as a working musician skews extra towards the tough realities of AC/DC’s “It’s a Lengthy Technique to the Prime (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)” than the lighthearted cynicism of the Byrds’ “So You Need To Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” The influential singer-songwriter-guitarist, who in prior phases anchored the butt-kicking bands Autoclave, Helium, Wild Flag and Ex Hex, stops on the town at a spot with which she’s very acquainted in help of “Untame the Tiger,” her first solo LP in 15 years. 9 p.m. at 1035 N. Western Ave.; tickets $22 (21+) at ticketweb.com
Bob Gendron is a contract critic.