Chicago’s Must-See Concerts This Week: November 26-December 2

From The Smashing Pumpkins to Makaya McCraven

JD McPherson

Heavy-hitters like The Smashing Pumpkins and Death Cab for Cutie join indie up-and-comers like Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers in Chicago concert halls this week. There’s no better way to stir yourself from those post-Thanksgiving food comas than with one of these shows:

The Beaches
Girl power is back, and The Beaches are here to make sure it rocks. The Toronto four-piece started off a pre-teen band, but their recent JUNO award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year proves they’re all grown up. Inspired by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Strokes, The Beaches deal in grunge/glam rock riffs and pop-friendly hooks.
Details: November 27, 8 p.m. at Schuba’s; $10-12


Kelela and Moses Sumney
Groove to a free show by artful R&B artists Kelela and Moses Sumney presented by internet radio service TuneIn. Kelela’s blend of contemporary R&B and electronic will vibe with soulful singer-songwriter Sumney. Advance registration is required for the free show and attendees are encouraged to arrive early as RSVP does not guarantee entry.
Details: November 28, 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; free

Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers
After two decades at the helm of iconic punk rock outfit Against Me!, musician and transgender activist Laura Jane Grace is touring her latest project. Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers is a three-piece that sees Grace exploding into singer-songwriter territory with her signature punk energy. Don’t miss hometown ode, “I Hate Chicago,” with the bite of a winter gust off Lake Michigan.
Details: November 29, 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $25

Makaya McCraven
Jazz artist Makaya McCraven fills the historic South Shore Cultural Center with his swinging hip-hop-infused compositions. Joining the drummer are a diverse 10-piece ensemble of musicians who played on McCraven’s latest release, Universal Beings. Players from around the world will take the stage with McCraven, including Jeff Parker of Tortoise and Brainfeeder multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.
Details: November 29, 8 p.m. at South Shore Cultural Center’s Robeson Theatre; $20

Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers

JD McPherson
Bop your way into the holiday season with JD McPherson’s new Christmas album, SOCKS. The Oklahoma native applies his old-school rock ’n’ roll and R&B sound to songs like “Hey Skinny Santa” and “Ugly Sweater Blues.” McPherson manages to deck the halls with a dash of retro rock nostalgia that sounds more swinging than cloying.
Details: November 30, 8:30 p.m. at Thalia Hall; $20-40

Sidewalk Chalk
Sidewalk Chalk borrow from hip-hop, soul and jazz to deliver a progressive sound all their own. Their fourth album, An Orchid is Born, finds the Chicago ensemble sonically exploring themes of loss, rebirth and hope. Don’t miss the opportunity to groove with the collective, keys, horns, tap dancer and all.
Details: November 30, 8 p.m. at Chop Shop; $12-15

The Smashing Pumpkins
Like it or not, the Pumpkins are part of Chicago’s musical legacy. Who didn’t swoon to the alt-rock strains of “Tonight Tonight” or rage along with “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” in the ‘90s? Catch the elusive band while you can, whose current lineup includes Billy Corgan, James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin and Jeff Schroeder.
Details: November 30, 7 p.m. at Aragon Ballroom; $99-123

Makaya McCraven

Jamila Woods
Whether through her vocals or poetry, Jamila Woods speaks from the soul. The Chicago native will perform her acclaimed solo debut, HEAVN, for a final time at the Harold Washington Cultural Center Performing Arts Theatre. Joining Woods: a choir, dancers, strings and poets will help convey the spiritual and social themes of the album, and use art to bring heaven here.
Details: November 30, 8 p.m. at Harold Washington Cultural Center; $15

Sunny War
Sunny War may be based in L.A., but her folk and blues sound reveals her Nashville roots. With punk rock origins and a clawhammering fingerstyle guitar technique, Sydney Ward is no docile singer-songwriter. Her rebellious, antifolk spirit is on full display on her latest album, Particle War.
Details: December 2, 8:30 p.m. at The Empty Bottle; $7-10

Death Cab for Cutie
20 years after releasing their debut album, Death Cab for Cutie is touring in support of their latest full-length, Thank You for Today. Their ninth studio album finds Ben Gibbard and company moving from their wistful emo youth to tackle loss and hope with indie sophistication.
Details: December 2, 7 p.m. at Aragon Ballroom; $42