Happy holidays from the Chicago music scene! It's been another full calendar year of amazing performances, local breakout acts, festivals and more but we're not done quite yet. There are still plenty of concerts worth attending in 2012. If you're in town visiting family, getting your shopping done, or just in the mood to rock the heck out this holiday season, here are some shows to consider:
Catch 'Em While They're Here
Martina McBride is a name that's become synonymous with American country music (and mainstream music in general). After four winters of inactivity she's rekindling her "Joy of Christmas Tour" and hitting the Chicago Theater on Friday, December 21. Expect a slew of her famous hits along with a few holiday arrangements thrown into the mix. Tickets start at $40.
Quite possibly the most famous name to come from mid-90's hip hop group, The Fugees (his only competition would be Lauryn Hill), Wyclef Jean sparked a successful solo career once the group folded. The singer/rapper/composer has adapted a more mainstream reggae feel since his Fugees days but he's still managed to stick with his silky hip hop flow roots. He plays the City Winery in West Loop on Sunday, December 16. Tickets start at $60.
This blogger has seen Of Montreal's live acts on several occasions and if there's anything I can promise you about their show at the Metro on Sunday, December 9, it's that it will be a two-fold combination of psychedelic pop/rock and a visual sensory overload. The band is known for their truly crazy shows, which typically include wild light shows, costumes, confetti and even the occasional Mexican wrestling match. Tickets are still available for $22.
Chicago reggae/ska acts Deals Gone Bad are bringing it back home for the holidays. There is a joke amongst fans of the genre that "ska music is dead," but try telling that to these guys, who have been around for nearly 20 years and have shared the stage with famous contemporaries like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. They'll be headlining the Double Door on Saturday, December 22. Tickets are $10 and the show is limited to fans 21 years or older.
Jam rock and electronic music have been buddies for a long time. That's why crossover bands like Future Rock have no trouble drawing a crowd. The bass guitar/synthesizer/drum trio have only been around for a few years but are already headlining shows at +1,000-person venues. Yes, now would be a good time to hop on the bandwagon. They're coming back home to Chicago's House of Blues on Saturday, December 29. Tickets are $16 and open to anyone 17 years or older. Warning: this is a late one. The show won't start until 11:30 p.m.
Part concert, part clothing drive local bands Panda Riot and The Bright White are coming together on Thursday, December 20, for the second annual "Warm, Safe and Sound" concert at Schubas in Lakeview. Tickets to this 18-and-over show are just $8 with the donation of a winter clothing item for the needy. If indie pop and female vocals are your thing, then Panda Riot is the band for you. If you're more into alt-rock with the occasional country twang you'll still be thoroughly satisfied with The Bright White.