Concerts in Chicago in February 2019

February may be brief, but it's not short on great Chicago concerts, including sets from Cher, Ólafur Arnalds and more
Cher
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
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February may be the shortest month of the year, but you shouldn't let the final month of winter in Chicago fly by without seeing some live music along the way. Whether you're looking for a romantic gig to attend with your sweetheart (or solo) around Valentine's Day or just want an excuse to get out of the house when there's snow on the streets, you've got options. Catch legacy acts like Cher and Elton John, see Ólafur Arnalds tickle the ivory at Thalia Hall or attend Pitchfork's new Midwinter music festival at the Art Institute. Plot out your month of music with our guide to Chicago's February concert schedule.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar of concerts in Chicago

Concerts in Chicago in February

Interpol
Photograph: Jamie James Medina
Music, Rock and indie

Interpol + Sunflower Bean

icon-location-pin Chicago Theatre | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Back in the early 2000s, Interpol sparked a deluge of bands that nicked the taut bass lines and baritone vocals of Joy Division. More than a decade later, the group has weathered a shifting roster, a disappointing major label debut and various solo projects. Sonically, Paul Banks and company's latest album, Marauder, isn't that far removed from Interpol's 2002 debut, though the lyrics have gotten a bit more dense, scattered with allusions to cult leaders, office romances and the need for free speech. And yes, everyone in the band still dresses like they're attending a funeral. Brooklyn power pop outfit Sunflower Bean supports.

Ólafur Arnalds
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Classical and opera

Ólafur Arnalds

icon-location-pin Thalia Hall | Chicago, IL, Lower West Side
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Making music fit for the sweeping vistas that grace Iceland's tourism advertisements, the grand neoclassical compositions of Ólafur Arnalds give Sigur Rós a run for its money. Joined by a string section and a drummer, the young Icelandic composer is aided by a pair of custom-made, self-playing pianos that help Arnalds create melodies that a single musician could never play.

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Cher
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Pop

Cher + Niles Rodgers & Chic

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
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In the time since Cher's last North American tour, the singer has scored a Las Vegas residency, returned to acting with a role in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again and become the subject of a jukebox musical, which premiered in Chicago ahead of a Broadway run. The pop diva is returning to the road behind Dancing Queen, an entire album of ABBA covers that was inspired by her experience singing in Mama Mia!, including renditions of "SOS" and "Fernando." And with five decades of hits to draw from, you better "Believe" that Cher won't neglect her own catalog. Famed producer Niles Rodgers and his disco act Chic will open the evening.

Wilco at Pitchfork Music Festival
Photograph: cousindaniel.com
Music, Rock and indie

Jeff Tweedy + Deeper + Gia Margaret + Knox Fortune

icon-location-pin Lincoln Hall, Sheffield & DePaul
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Celebrate Valentine's Day at Lincoln Hall at the first Chicago edition of booking agency Panache's Village of Love benefit, which will raise money for Planned Parenthood of Chicago. Throughout the evening, a stacked lineup of local acts will play original songs as well as covers of their favorite love songs. Confirmed performers include Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, post-punk devotees Deeper, tender singer-songwriter Gia Margaret, hip-hop producer Knox Fortune and dreamy folk-rocker V.V. Lighbody.  

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Jeff Goldblum
Photograph: Courtesy Decca
Music, Jazz

Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra

icon-location-pin Park West, Lincoln Park
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Though he's best known for his roles in films like Jurassic Park, The Fly and Independence Day, acting is just one of Jeff Goldbum's many talents. When he's not chewing up scenery on the silver screen, Goldblum maintains a semi-regular residency at a Los Angeles club as the bandleader, pianist and sometimes vocalists for his jazz outfit, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, playing standards by Herbie Hancock, Nat King Cole, Charles Mingus and more. You can catch Goldblum live and in-person when he brings his band to Park West for an evening of smooth tunes (and maybe a rendition of the Jurassic Park theme, outfitted with Goldblum's lyrics).

Elton John
Photograph: Courtesy Rebecca Taylor
Music, Rock and indie

Elton John

icon-location-pin Allstate Arena, Suburbs
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With the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Sir Elton is saying a final goodbye to the touring life. That's right—barring a change of heart, this is probably your final chance to catch the rollicking songman live, as he takes the audience on a massive visual journey spanning his entire 50-year career. Swoon along to "Tiny Dancer," make juvenile hand gestures to "Crocodile Rock" and smile meaningfully at your folks during "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" one last time as the Rocketman takes off for retirement among the stars.

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Kamasi Washington
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Music festivals

Midwinter

icon-location-pin Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park
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Building on the success of the Pitchfork Music Festival that takes place in Union Park each July, online publisher Pitchfork turns its attention to Chicago's colder months, teaming up with the Art Institute of Chicago to present a new festival. Midwinter takes place amid the museum's galleries and performances spaces, offering three days of live music, amazing exhibits, exclusive compositions commissioned for the event and live artist interviews. The festival's lineup features an array of interesting acts, including English shoegazers Slowdive, jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington and glitchy electronic producer Oneohtrix Point Never. Attendees can also see a special 21st anniversary performance of Tortoise's 1998 record TNT and witness avant-garde composer William Basinski play The Disintegration Loops with the Chicago Philharmonic. A base ticket to Midwinter includes access to five performances each night, with admission to additional concerts (including all of the acts mentioned above) available with the purchase of add-on tickets that cost $15–$30.

lollapalooza 2018, travis scott
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Travis Scott

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
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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.

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Ty Segall and White Fence
Photograph: Denée Segall
Music, Rock and indie

Music Frozen Dancing: Ty Segall and White Fence + Negative Scanner + Plack Blague + Glyders

icon-location-pin Empty Bottle, Ukrainian Village
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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. 

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