As the days remaining in 2017 become numbered, the bulk of the best concerts in Chicago seem to arrive on New Year's Eve. If you'd rather skip the hotel parties but don't want to spend the evening sitting on the couch, head to some of Chicago's best music venues where you can mark the arrival of 2018 with a celebratory show. Fans of rock, hip-hop and EDM will find a reason to dance until midnight (and beyond) at the top New Year's Eve concerts in Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Our guide to New Year's Eve in Chicago
New Year's Eve concerts in Chicago
Canadian electronic duo Adventure Club (best known for collaborations with vocalists Yuna and Delaney Jane) top the lineup of the latest edition of Reaction New Year's Eve, which moves to the Aragon Ballroom this year for a one-night EDM bash. Dubstep producer Bear Grillz and trap-style DJ Ookay round out the bill.
For anyone who pegged Bob Mould as a loud-and-fast-rules adherent, his post-Hüsker Dü and Sugar career has been nothing but surprising. There have been arty solo albums, electronic excursions, DJ sets, autobiography writing and a recent return to power-pop on the great albums Silver Age and Beauty & Ruin. Mould's latest, Patch the Sky, is another melodic slab of crunchy power chords and cathartic lyricism, recorded in Chicago by engineer Steve Albini with help from longtime collaborators Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster. Cellist Helen Money opens this trio of year-end shows in Evanston.
Local retro-soul act the JC Brooks Band once again attempts to drown out the whirring and beeping of Emporium's pinball machines at the Wicker Park bar's annual New Year's Eve bash. Jazz singer Nashon Holloway and Vocalo DJ Ayana Contreras support at this festive year-end celebration.
If you're looking for a New Year's Eve shindig with an appropriately boisterous soundtrack, look no further than this Flogging Molly set at the House of Blues. The Irish-punk act from L.A. mixes Celtic fiddles and accordions with guitar feedback and shouted lyrics—make sure you stick around for the midnight Guinness toast.
Stage-kicking, beer-swilling power-pop singer-songwriter Robert Pollard celebrated his 100th records this year with the release of Guided By Voices' double album, August by Cake. Revived for the second time, the Dayton rockers are still churning out snappy, lyrically obtuse rock at a breakneck pace—the group's second 2017 release, How Do You Spell Heaven, hit stores in August. GBV played its (then) final show at Metro in 2004, so it's appropriate that the band is returning to Chicago to ring in another year and mark the finale of Empty Bottle's 25th-anniversary celebration. Start forming your wishlist of classic Bee Thousand and Do the Collapse tracks—the club is open, once again.
A mainstay of the Chicago rock circuit for more than a quarter century, the, er, local duo brings it annual New Year's Eve show to Subterranean this year. You'll hear plenty of deep cuts from frontman Scott Lucas and drummer Ryan Harding, and probably a couple of Motörhead covers, too.
Don't let the colorful ski masks confuse you—these Midwestern rockers have nothing to do with Pussy Riot. Instead, Masked Intruder serves as a tribute to then pop-punk stylings of the ‘90s, complete with taut power chord melodies and nasally vocal harmonies. The quartet rings in 2018 at Best Kitchen with support from ‘80s cover band the Reaganomics.
Fresh off of his tour with mentor Jay-Z, local hip-hop star Vic Mensa host the Chicago NYE Ball at Concord Music Hall. Rapper-turned-reality TV personality Riff Raff headlines the bill, with support from DJ Afterthought, DJ Rock City, Diox, Navic and DJ Strategy. Admission includes a bar package and a champagne toast during the midnight confetti blast.
Local jam band Mungion headlines a trio of year-end shows at the Tonic Room, putting its genre-blending abilities to the test as the clock counts down until midnight. If you want to spend the last minutes of 2018 listing to taut melodic breakdowns and meandering guitar solos, you've come to the right place.
Taking its name from a satirical mystery film (one that starred Truman Capote and Alec Guinness), the origins of Murder by Death's moniker are fitting, considering the sweeping, cinematic scope of its 2015 album, Big Dark Love. Backed by horns, strings and crescendoing guitars, frontman Adam Turla's gravelly baritone has all the gravitas of a narrator dictating a harrowing plot. Here, the band headlines Bottom Lounge to ring in 2018 with some dramatic songs that hopefully won't portend another drama-filled year.
After a year that has seen her perform at Lollapalooza and embark on a national tour, Fatimah Warner (better known as Noname) wraps up 2017 with a string of homecoming shows at Lincoln Hall, each with a different opening act. The Bronzeville native's background as a poet shines through in the stark yet beautiful lyrics that populate her debut mixtape, Telefone, delivering verses that confront her insecurities and mortality with low-key candor.
When avant-garde bandleader Sun Ra departed this planet in 1993, he left behind one of the funkiest bands in the Milky Way. Led by saxophonist Marshall Allen, the Arkestra still plays the intergalactic, big band free jazz favored by its founder (the sequined, Afrofuturist costumes are also still a major part of the show). The group will welcome the New Year with four celestial shows at Constellation.
After a year spent touring behind the ramshackle, Rolling Stones-inspired rock of Down in Heaven and recording new songs for its Sweet '17 Singles Series, Twin Peaks (the band, not the recently-revived David Lynch TV show) is celebrating the end of another year with a trio of hometown shows. The group takes over Thalia Hall, joined by a list of supporting acts that reads like a beginner's guide to Chicago indie rock. On December 29, genre-hopping psych act Sun Cop fills out the bill; Post Animal (featuring Joe Keery of Stanger Things fame) and Dehd open on December 30; and Today's Hits and Ne-Hi help ring in the New Year on December 31.