We know you're tired of hearing it by now, but it's a new year and it's time to try new things. Just when you thought Chicago's live music community couldn't grow to be any bigger, we welcomed several new additions and revamps last year, and are waiting with open arms for three highly anticipated openings in 2014. If you weren't already planning on it, we recommend catching a show at one of your future new favorite venues.
WIRE (Berwyn, IL)
Berwyn, located just southwest of the city, is a hearty suburb with the heart of the Chicago's thriving downtown area. It's local nightlife scene received a serious boost last October when dazzling new venue WIRE opened up (pictured above). Housed inside a renovated 1920's-era movie theatre, WIRE offers a 300-person capacity main stage area, beautiful bar and upscale VIP balcony for special occasions. The facility also boasts recording studio space and a school for music and lighting students (classes begin Jan. 27). Catch anything from rock to funk to jazz at this impressive new club.
Concord Music Hall (Logan Square)
In 2013 we all but bid farewell to the Congress Theater when the venue found itself buried under a pile of legal problems and safety code infractions. However, with every end comes a great new beginning. Local concert booking professions Riot Fest, React Presents and Silver Wrapped teamed up to open Concord Music Hall just down the street. The tri-level club's slick decor and slightly smaller space makes for more intimate shows and better stage views than its predecessor. Trust us, you'll appreciate these elements next time your favorite rock act, DJ or jam band comes to town.
The Promontory (Hyde Park) and Thalia Hall (Pilsen)
Two of the Chicago area's best live music minds are coming together in 2014 to open not one, but two brand spanking new venues. Bruce Finkelman, founder of beloved West Side venue the Empty Bottle, and owner of SPACE in Evanston Craig Golden are gearing up to open The Promontory a two-story space in Hyde Park and Thalia Hall in Pilsen. Both neighborhoods are on the rise and due a proper place to rock out. Thalia Hall already houses always-packed restaurant Dusek's and hipster hotspot basement bar Punch House. Chicago Like a Local spoke to Finkelman via email in early January. He confirmed that each space will host eclectic collections of bands (similar to those already seen at Empty Bottle and SPACE) as well as many types of community events (i.e. farmers markets). Expect to see Thalia Hall open sometime during the first quarter of 2014 with The Promontory following close behind.
Chicago's jazz scene is well defined to say the least, with venues like the Green Mill and Jazz Showcase gaining national recognition, but that hasn't stopped Constellation from bursting onto the foreground in the last year (pictured above). Opened in April, 2013, Constellation holds two performance spaces, both of which cater towards a more progressive, experimental and improvised brand of jazz music often absent from the city's mainstream clubs.
Revamped for 2014: Wild Hare (Lincoln Park)
An old face in Chicago's live music scene received new beginnings last year and could finally be returning to its intended form in 2014. Legendary Wrigleyville reggae club Wild Hare closed in 2011 but received a new lease on life with new ownership and a new location in Lincoln Park in 2012. The club has struggled to receive its live music license ever since and, finally, the battle appears to be over. When Chicago Like A Local spoke with owner Bill Glastris in early January, he told us he expected live bands to finally hit the new Wild Hare's stage around springtime. We're certainly ready to return to the dance floor. Until then, the Wild Hare will continue to open its doors Tuesday through Sunday with a full dinner and drink menu.