With a few exceptions, Chicago music venues have been closed for more than five months now, and it's not looking like it will be safe to reopen many of them anytime soon. Whether you attended the occasional concert or were seeing multiple shows a week at the city's various clubs and concerts halls, you're probably feeling wistful about the experience of seeing someone sing or play an instrument within your immediate physical vicinity.
Chicago musicians are also feeling the absence of spaces to see live music, which also happen to be the same places that enable many of them to make a living by performing. We reached out to some of our favorite local artists and asked them to (briefly) describe their most memorable experience in a Chicago venue—from formative first concerts to raucous album release shows (and a few encounters with the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra).
As you read these recollections, please keep in mind that independent venues in Chicago and across the nation still need help. Congress left for a recess earlier this month without passing a pair of bills that could have provided venues with desperately needed financial assistance. Without places where local artists can perform, none of the memories you're about to read could have been made. There's no more crucial time to reach out to your legislators and support the National Independent Venue Association, if only to ensure that artists like these have stages to return to.