Concerts in Chicago in February
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.