Concerts in Chicago in February
Want to experience a night at the opera without the three-hour runtimes and multiple intermissions? Richard Strauss's one-act Elektra is an excellent production to start with, telling the the dramatic tale of a princess who seeks revenge after her father was murdered by her mother. At just 100 minutes (shorter than a contemporary blockbuster film), the Lyric's production is packed with stirring songs and moving orchestration that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the violent finale.
Set amid the lavish surroundings of Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, La Traviata follows courtesan Violetta as she falls in love with a young man named Alfredo. But the romance is not meant to be, as Alfredo's father forces him to leave Violetta, setting the stage for a tragic romantic tale. Featuring detailed costumes, oversized puppets and Giuseppe Verdi's rousing score, the Lyric's production of this classic opera seems extravagent in all the right ways.
Houston rapper and Kanye West protege Travis Scott brings his WISH YOU WERE HERE tour back to the United Center for another evening of hard-hitting hip-hop hits. His latest tour comes in the wake of his album, ASTROWORLD, on which Scott presides over a cavalcade of famous friends on his recent record, trading verses with Drake, harnessing the psychedelic production of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and making way for guitar riffs provided by John Mayer. There's no word yet on the show's opening acts, but we're guess that Scott will bring his portable roller coaster back to Chicago for another upside-down ride in the Madhouse on Madison.
Every February, the Empty Bottle ignores the freezing temperatures, sets up some heat lamps in the street and stages an outdoor concert in the midst of a Chicago winter. If you're willing to bundle up and stand outside in the cold for a few hours, you can catch a headlining set from the dynamic garage rock duo of Ty Segall and White Fence. Punk rockers Negative Scanner, leather-clad industrial act Plack Blague, twangy local trio Glyders and psychedelic drone band Weather Warlock join in on the frigid festivities. If you need to warm up, you can huddle beneath a heater with some Goose Island beer or just head inside the Bottle and listen to the music from afar. It's absolutely free to attend, so spend a few bucks on some hand warmers.
The music industry is a sleazy business filled with shady characters, but nobody embraces its seediness quite like Alex Cameron. The Australian singer-songwriter (who formerly fronted Sydney electronic act Seekae) performs in character, writing self-aware songs from the perspective of internet porn addicts and wanna-be alpha males. Accompanied by saxophonist and business partner Roy Malloy, Cameron takes his musical satire seriously, building ‘80-inflected synth-pop arrangements that are as compelling as the narratives he weaves. During this special "in the round" performance at Thalia Hall, Cameron and Malloy will perform as a duo with support from singer-songerwiter Lola Kirke.