From “cheerleader music” to celestial soundscapes, this week’s crop of concerts in Chicago truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for legendary blues, rap, rock or peppy pop, you’ve got plenty to choose from.
New York’s A$AP Mob takes over the UIC Pavilion for A$AP Rocky’s “Injured Generation Tour.” The rapper is touring North America in support of his latest album, 2018’s Testing. Rocky’s Southern-influenced swagger is joined by trap king Playboi Carti.
Details: January 9, 8 p.m. at UIC Pavilion; $37.50
What began as an instrumental scoring of the 2017 solar eclipse inspired a full album of soundscapes created during different celestial phases. Classically trained multi-instrumentalist Dave Zagar celebrates the release of Phased, his first album under instrumental moniker Shortwave. A five-piece band joins Zagar for the atmospheric live show that ventures from krautrock to modern classical and includes psychedelic visuals by local artist Robotboot.
Details: January 9, 8 p.m. at Schubas Tavern; free
Snort deals in the kind of pop punk-meets-math rock sound that’s beloved by Chicago bands. Their mostly instrumental tracks are punctuated by witty choruses, as heard on “Beer Soaked Resources”—“Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I’m sick of all these people’s lives.”
Details: January 9, 8 p.m. at Subterranean; $8
The Brothers Osborne
You might not consider Maryland a hotbed of outlaw country, but the Brothers Osborne take on the classic twang with contemporary edge. One moment John and T.J. are singing an ode to “Weed, Whisky, and Willie,” and the next moment they’re tearing into classic guitar riffs that sound straight out of the 1970s.
Details: January 10, 8 p.m. at Riviera Theatre; $35-45
One of the living legends of blues, Buddy Guy only plays his namesake South Loop club every January. Taking the stage with his signature polka dot Stratocaster, the 82-year old bluesman still thrills crowds with a lively performance and soul-piercing riffs. Guy plays each Thursday through Sunday this month and is supported by a lineup of stellar contemporary blues artists.
Details: January 10, 7:30 p.m.; January 11, 9 p.m.; January 12, 9:30 p.m.; January 13, 7:30 p.m.; all shows at Buddy Guy’s Legends; $55
Beach Bunny takes “sad girl” songs to a sunny place on a wave of surf-pop. Founded in Chicago by Lili Trifilio, the quartet has several EPs worth of ardent lyrics delivered as catchy melodies. Open Door Records took notice, and will be releasing a compilation of Beach Bunny’s work on vinyl this year.
Details: January 10, 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $13-15
Chicago indie rock outfit Deeper celebrated the release of its self-titled debut in 2018 after years of touring around town and elsewhere. The band ranges from dreamlike guitar work on “Pavement” to driving post-punk riffs on “Should Be.” Catch the DIY darlings on the cusp of mainstream success.
Details: January 11, 9 p.m. at Sleeping Village; $12
Three Women & the Truth
Three award-winning female songwriters unite for an evening of timeless storytelling through song. Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame-inductee Gretchen Peters is joined by Grammy-nominated Mary Gauthier and Eliza Gilkyson. The trio brings some of the best songwriting of their generation to City Winery, offering a self-aware soundtrack to divisive times.
Details: January 11, 8 p.m. at City Winery; $25-35
Prolific married artists Kitty and Sam Ray have combined their powers to form rave-pop duo The Pom-Poms. The electro-dance project pays homage to electronic music’s history with a dopamine rush of pop. The duo has classified their debut EP as “cheerleader music” and you have no choice but to bust a move to their bouncy tracks.
Details: January 12, 8:30 p.m. at the Empty Bottle; $10
The Vulgar Boatmen
Roots-pop collective The Vulgar Boatmen have gained a cult following in the decades since they formed in the early 1980s. Part of the band lived in Gainesville, Florida, under the leadership of Robert Ray and the other members lived in Indiana under the leadership of Dale Lawrence. Ray and Lawrence sent each other cassette tapes by mail to compose songs resulting in three albums.
Details: January 12, 7 p.m. at Schubas Tavern; $15