Freelance writer Selena Fragassi lists her picks for December must-attend concerts:
BY SELENA FRAGASSI
It’s a big month for music. Here’s your calendar view for who to see, where to be each night.
December 1 KEN mode
Pitchfork 2013 alums return with guitars drawn. Quick-acting industrial metal proves why they won a Juno Award.
Empty Bottle, 9:00 p.m. $8. Buy tickets.
December 2 Rick Springfield
Because hearing “Jessie’s Girl” with a wine glass in hand is the only gift you need this holiday.
City Winery, 8:00 p.m. $75-125. Buy tickets.
December 3 NOFX
Seminal L.A. punk band celebrates 20 years of being Punk in Drublic, railing on hippies, presidents and bad religion.
House of Blues, 8:00 p.m. $26. Buy tickets.
Lincoln Hall, 6:30 p.m. $13.50. Buy tickets.
December 5 Pokey LaFarge
“Million Dollar Man” combines the talents of the famed quartet of Presley, Cash, Lewis and Perkins with rock roots tribute that could make Sun Records see another day.
Lincoln Hall, 8:00 p.m., $15. Buy tickets.
December 6 Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
After a postponed May show date, the ever-charming Bradley returns with his on-your-feet mix of James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding.
Metro, 9:00 p.m. $20. Buy tickets.
December 7 Rubblebucket
Whistling, horns, xylophones, hand clapping, bright colors. A Rubblebucket show is the cross-section of Fela Kuti and Bjork filtered through a child’s imagination.
Lincoln Hall, 9:00 p.m. $15. Buy tickets.
December 8 Nefarious Fat Cats
Liars Club, 8:00 p.m. $10. No presales.
December 9 The Kills
Long before Jamie Hince was Mr. Kate Moss and Alison Mosshart was Jack White’s damsel in The Dead Weather, they were the riotous sweethearts The Kills. They’re back for vengeance with a handful of shows.
The Vic Theatre, 8:00 p.m. $28.50. Buy tickets.
December 10 Andrew Bird
He whistles like a canary and warps his bow like Vivaldi. Chicago multi-instrumentalist perfects an intimate show amplified through Victrola horns. Completely sold out but worth the ticket hunt. (Also Dec. 9, 11, 12)
Fourth Presbyterian Church, 8:00 p.m. $40-45. Get more info.
December 11 The Night We Stole Christmas
Allstate Arena, 6:30 p.m. $21.25-72. Buy tickets.
December 12 Mikal Cronin
More of this, please, indie rock world. Newly-minted Merge recording artist finds romantic side playing surf rock under the stars.
Logan Square Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. $12. Buy tickets.
December 13 Beyoncé
Mrs. Carter returns with a show-stopping number that proves girls still run the world of pop music in 2013.
United Center, 8:00 p.m. $45-250. Buy tickets.
December 14 The Breeders
It’s been 20 years since iconic alt rock album Last Splash, but songs like “Cannonball” aren’t ready for the time capsule yet. Hear the full album (and precursor Pod) in this double feature.
Metro, 9:00 p.m. $28. Buy tickets.
December 15 Erin McKeown’s Anti-Holiday Spectacular
Ballsy singer-songwriter presents a set of solo work followed by “the world’s first anti-capitalist, pro-queer, suspicious of Christmas-as-patriotism, sex-positive, NSFW, multi-ethnic, radical leftist Anti-Holiday Show.” In other words, it’ll shoot your eye out.
Hideout, 8:00 p.m.. $12. Buy tickets.
December 16 Red Fang
Portland heavy metal band relives college days. The shirtless fun of frathouse stoner rock is book-ended by heavily referenced cliff notes of greats like Black Sabbath.
Logan Square Auditorium, 7:00 p.m. $15. Buy tickets.
December 17 Kanye West
Yeezus walks again. It’s the rap star’s second coming after two canceled dates last month due to damaged stage props and that cross-country motorcycle trip with Kim. (Also Dec.18)
United Center, 7:30 p.m., $39.50-199.50. Buy tickets.
December 18 Hugh Cornwell
Former frontman of British new wave-punk icons The Stranglers brings songs new and old with support from Blondie’s Clem Burke on drums.
Reggies, 7:00 p.m. $15. Buy tickets.
From Spinal Tap to A Christmas Carol. Comedian Harry Shearer and his equally funny wife will be joined by Nicholas Tremulis, Jon Langford and Jim Peterik in this absurd holiday revue.
SPACE, 7:00 p.m. $22-36. Buy tickets.
December 20 Hillbilly Herald
Frontman Jimmy Herald looks like Frank Zappa, sounds like Bon Scott and, with his high-jumping backing band, puts on a show more confident than KISS in makeup. Yep, everything about this rock show is classic. Opening for mock rockers Steel Panther.
House of Blues, 9:00 p.m. $28.50. Buy tickets.
December 21 Scott Lucas & the Married Men
Chicago rock vet hosts the 4th Annual Hideout Holiday Music Hour. This old-time radio program will also be broadcast from the band’s website. Whiz kids Purple Apple open.
Hideout, 9:00 p.m. $10. Buy tickets.
December 22 Melanie Martinez
Although mostly known for her covers like Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” which got her a spot on NBC’s “The Voice,” this breathy 18-year-old’s original work is already drawing comparisons to Feist and Lana del Rey.
Schubas, 7:00 p.m. $15-40. Buy tickets.
December 23 Michael McDermott
Local troubadour has been called one of the best songwriters since Springsteen and will put that to the test playing 2004’s Ashes in its entirety.
City Winery, 7:00 p.m. $18-30. Buy tickets.
Closed for Christmas
Closed for Christmas
December 26 Kid Sister
Ever since she created the famous ode to nail art with Kanye West, we haven’t heard from this promising emcee. Let’s hope this is her comeback.
Berlin Nightclub, 10:00 p.m. $5. Buy tickets.
December 27 Zeds Dead
Canadian electronic outfit signed to Diplo’s label Mad Decent are a few days early for the dance party, but we have a feeling the high from this night might last through New Year’s Eve. (Also Dec. 28)
Aragon, 10:00 p.m. $35-80. Buy tickets.
December 28 Mustard Plug
Ska punk pioneers return to Metro for a record release show 20-plus years after forming. Openers are not too shabby, either. Go early for Dan Vapid & the Cheats.
Metro, 8:00 p.m. $13. Buy tickets.
December 29 Simpleton & City Folk
Alt folk band comes right at the height of Americana with flattering comparisons to Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses. If you want to bring your harmonica along, no one will question it.
Schubas, 8:00 p.m. $10. Buy tickets.
December 30 Roky Erickson
The roots of psychedelic and garage rock branch out from this man who was a fixture of the ‘60s music echelon, as a visionary behind 13th Floor Elevators. His solo work keeps him ever relevant. (Also Dec. 31)
Beat Kitchen, 9:00 p.m. $20. Buy tickets.
December 31 Sons of the Silent Age
If you can’t have David Bowie for New Year’s, the next best thing is this cover supergroup led by Chris Connelly (Ministry, Revolting Cocks) and Matt Walker (Smashing Pumpkins, Filter) on drums. “Let’s Dance,” indeed.
Mayne Stage, 9:00 p.m. $25. Buy tickets.