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Where to dance, laugh and rock out on New Year’s Eve

Andrew W.K., Chris D’Elia, Avery*Sunshine and others are putting on Chicago shows to ring in 2020

Andrew W.K. performs at Chicago’s Riot Fest in 2016.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The countdown is on — to find the best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Chicago. From a comedic kingpin to the master of the “party” and a girl-powered night of bubblegum pop, here are the top 10 shows to help ring in the roaring ’20s.

Chris D’Elia

Chris D’Elia
Randall Slavin

Whether he’s talking about bizarre dating mishaps, imagining the NFL as made up of real lions and bears or rapping as his mock alter ego Chank Smith, the popular comedian — also seen on the TV shows “Whitney,” “Undateable” and “The Good Doctor” — will get 2020 started on a funny note. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St. 7 and 10 p.m., tickets starting at $20.

Tributosaurus as The Eagles

“Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” “Life in the Fast Lane” — the Eagles’ greatest hits will be counted down too as Chicagoland’s long-running cover act Tributosaurus morphs into Joe Walsh, Don Henley, the late Glenn Frey and company for a show that’s the next best thing to the real deal. Wire, 6815 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn. 8 p.m., tickets starting at $45.

Andrew W.K.

With songs like “Party Party Party,” “Party Hard” and “It’s Time to Party,” this ebullient rock singer — a favorite of Riot Fest — knows the key word for New Year’s Eve. Plus, in his downtime, the white T-shirt devotee is a motivational speaker, just in case you need a mental boost going into the new decade. Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8 p.m., tickets starting at $29.99.


It’s been a good year for Matt Pike — his other band High on Fire took home a Grammy for best metal performance, and the stalwart singer-guitarist overcame health woes that had sidelined a series of tours, so expect him to fete the occasion well when his so-very-good stoner metal act Sleep headlines Thalia Hall right at the moment recreational weed becomes legal in the state. 1807 S. Allport St., 9 p.m., tickets: $50.

Windy City Soul Club

Party like it’s 1959 with this popular throwback troupe that features all vinyl, all night with selections from the Motown era and rare Northern Soul gems. Spin sessions can last up until six hours and, with those funky grooves and heart-melting soul jams, are a great chance to find a new date before Valentine’s. Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Blvd. 9 p.m., tickets: $25.

Candi Pop

Get decked out for this “bubblegum pop dance party with glitter, lollipops, rainbows, unicorns, and oh yeah, girl power!” The night features nonstop pop with DJs spinning tunes from the Spice Girls, Fergie, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, J-Lo and all your other favorite gal pals. Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave. 9 p.m., tickets: $15.


Derek Blanks

The incomparable singer — mixing jazz, R&B, soul and gospel — delivers a hair-raising set to close out 2019. A favorite of Ms. Aretha Franklin herself as well as Patti LaBelle, Avery*Sunshine is well served by her formative years as a church pianist and musical director, with her music paired with positive musings on life and love. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St. 7:30 and 11 p.m., tickets starting at $65.

White Mystery

Chicago’s favorite rock ’n’ roll sibling duo — our own version of the White Stripes — brings its fiery brand of fuzzy garage rock to the stage at Hideout along with rumored special guests to make the wee hours of 2020 ones to truly remember. With DIY sensibilities, there’s also no pressure to dress to impress here. The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. 9 p.m., tickets: $15.

William Elliott Whitmore

William Elliott Whitmore
Tom Bush

Avondale’s new-ish concert venue, bar and all-day café wraps up an incredible year with the one-and-only William Elliott Whitmore, a one-man spectacular who’s signed to homegrown label Bloodshot Records. Armed with a guitar, banjo and kick drum, Whitmore plays it all and delivers originals as well as covers from Magnetic Fields, Bad Religion and Johnny Cash pulled from his latest album, “Kilonova.” Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont Ave. 9 p.m., tickets: $25 in advance.

Space Jesus

Get closer to heaven in the new decade by starting it off with EDM god Space Jesus. The Brooklyn beat slayer (aka Jasha Tull) made a name for himself at this summer’s Spring Awakening with a formula of hip-hop, heavy bass and psychedelia with strong sci-fi themes. Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine. 8:30 p.m., tickets starting at $33.