CHICAGO — Traditionally, January can be barren for live music following the holidays. Have no fear though, several great artists are coming through the city in February to get live music off to a hot start in 2023.
Here are ten of the best coming to venues small and large throughout the city.
2/2 – Fitz and the Tantrums, The Vic
You don’t need to be in your teens or 20s to start a band. Michael Fitzpatrick was 38 when he wrote his first song for Fitz and the Tantrums and they’ve been going strong ever since.
2/4 – Mavis Staples, Symphony Center
Chicago native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples tours the world but also makes sure she’s performing in her hometown.
She plays the iconic Symphony Center downtown, which opened in 1904.
Listen to her wonderful cover of the Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” below.
Listen in: Slippery People (Talking Heads cover)
2/6 – Jeff Rosenstock, Lincoln Hall
Longtime New York artist Jeff Rosenstock embarked on a solo career in 2012 after years playing in DIY punk bands. His solo music is a bit lighter than that, but some of the lyrics lean on the depressing side of things.
2/7 – Ride and The Charlatans, The Vic
The Vic is hosting one of the most interesting shows of the year with U.K. legends Ride and the Charlatans coming in for a joint-show to close the first week of February. They’re trading off the final headlining slot each night on tour.
The bands are also cashing in on a new trend lately — artists playing classic albums in full live. Ride will play 1990 classic “Nowhere” and The Charlatans are playing 1992’s “Between 10th and 11th.”
Listen in: Ride’s Vapour Trail, The Charlatans’ The Only One I Know
2/17 – Maggie Rogers, Aragon
Maggie Rogers may have had the best day a human has ever had after Pharrell heard an early version of her hit “Alaska” while she attended New York University.
After his reaction went viral, several record labels launched a bidding war to sign Rogers. She ended up with Capitol, “Alaska” was her first official single in 2019 and the rest is history.
2/17 – Tove Lo, The Salt Shed
One labeled as “the world’s most brutally honest pop star,” Swedish artist Tove Lo has been going strong since her biggest hit “Habits (Stay High)” came out ten years ago.
She plays The Salt Shed, which debuted last year at the old Morton Salt factory and moves indoors and outdoors in 2023.
2/18 – Vance Joy, The Chicago Theatre
The world may not know of Vance Joy if he stuck to his original career path — an Australian Rules Football player (Down Under’s version of American football). Yet after realizing he may not become a superstar athlete, Joy pivoted to his acoustic guitar.
Check out his first hit that launched him into stardom below, “Riptide.”
2/22 – SZA, United Center
SZA only has two albums and is selling out the United Center in just over a month. Her 2017 debut “Ctrl” was heralded as an instant classic and even appears on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
SZA would have made George Costanza proud by studying marine biology in college.
2/24,25 – The Beths, Thalia Hall
When you think of New Zealand, Lorde my come to mind but not indie garage rock. Enter The Beths, who have been chipping away for nearly a decade.
2/26 – Talib Kweli, City Winery
While he is one of the best producers and rappers of the last 30 years, Talib Kweli’s collaboration with Mos Def as Black Star may be one of the most underrated musical duos off all time.
Marvel at these effortless verses between the two below. He’s also doing an underrated live music move by playing a double bill at City Winery (6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)
Listen in: Black Star’s Re:Definition