Listen to a Grammy-nominated album, explore Chicago’s musical heritage and more in this week’s top music events.
Singer-songwriter Rachel Yamagata got her start in music by joining quirky Chicago funk outfit Bumpus after attending Northwestern University. After years in the group, she set out on a solo career that garnered fierce fans, including Allison Janney, who starred in her music video for “Tightrope Walker.” Expect an intimate experience with Yamagata’s personal lyrics set to a blues-folk soundtrack.
Details: January 29 and 30, 8 p.m. nightly at City Winery; $33-45
Kacey Musgraves came into her own in 2018, putting a “galactic country” spin on the Nashville sound of her album Golden Hour. It’s a little bit country, a little bit, pop, with a dash of disco and psychedelia. Catch the crossover star just ahead of appearing at the Grammys, where Golden Hour is nominated for Album of the Year.
Details: January 31, 8 p.m. at the Chicago Theatre; $122-400
Catch a living legend in action during Alejandro Escoveda’s three-night residency at City Winery. For nearly 40 years, Escoveda has entwined rock, folk, punk and Chicago influences to take listeners on a unique and powerful musical journey. His latest album, The Crossing, tells the story of an Italian and a Mexican boy who meet in Texas to chase their rock dreams.
Details: January 31, February 1 and 2, 8 p.m. nightly at City Winery; $35-55
Singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl been referred to as Norway’s Nick Drake or Jeff Buckley. Dybdahl drew on California folk influences and a who’s who of session musicians to record his 2018 album, All These Things. Float away for the evening on Dybdahl’s poetic lyrics and breezy vocals.
Details: January 31, 8 p.m. at Space; $15-25
After an explosive appearance at SXSW, Delaware garage rocker Grace Vonderkuhn rounded out 2018 by releasing her first full length LP, Reveries. The three-piece band draws on psych and punk influences to deliver power riffs and catchy melodies. Shout along or just catch a guitar groove at this energetic set.
Details: January 31, 7:30 p.m. at Subterranean; $10
Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present their long-running rock and roll podcast live at Evanston Rocks. The duo will highlight their top 10 most important artists in Chicago’s musical history. Trace Chicago’s rich musical legacy through a presentation and Q&A featuring rock, blues, hip-hop, R&B and gospel artists.
Details: February 1, 8 p.m. at Evanston Rocks; $20
Go around the world without leaving Chicago when Beats Antique hits Concord Music Hall. The Oakland trio offers experimental fusion that blends electronica with Middle Eastern and Euro-folk musical traditions. Don’t be surprised to see lively performance art, belly dancing and a few Burning Man fans.
Details: February 1, 9 p.m. at Concord Music Hall; $26
Doomtree co-founder P.O.S. kicks off the Never Better 10-year anniversary tour at the Empty Bottle. The Minneapolis rapper and producer will also release the three-record colored vinyl reissue of Never Better at the show. Celebrate Stefon Alexander’s radical, disruptive hip-hop rooted in punk.
Details: February 1, 9 p.m. at Empty Bottle; $18-20
Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins offers contemporary philosophy with a jazzy influence and smooth delivery. His 2018 album, Pieces of a Man, tackles heavy topics from the role of God to sexual consent. Catch one of Chicago hip-hop’s brightest stars at Thalia Hall.
Details: February 2, 9 p.m. at Thalia Hall; $22-40
Chicago noise rockers Melkbelly was formed by DIY art scene veterans so they know how to get loud and weird. The quartet’s 2017 album, Nothing Valley, caught the ears of many in the music scene, earning Melkbelly an opening gig on countless tours rolling through town. Their thrashy brand of rock is intricate, commanding and melodic all at once.
Details: February 2, 8:30 p.m. at Empty Bottle; $12