by Whet Moser
As a mild agoraphobe with nontrivial social anxieties, I can promise you that one of the greatest gifts you can give is stuff that makes people leave the house. So I spent awhile browsing local venue calendars for promising shows, obligatory attendance at which might make a thoughtful gift.
The Magnetic Fields, 3/7, Harris Theater, $30. There are tickets still available, but not a lot for a March show.
James Blackshaw, 2/6, Empty Bottle, $8. An incredible young acoustic guitarist, and a bargain show at my favorite music venue.
Fucked Up, Kurt Vile, 2/13, Empty Bottle, $12. Would also make a thoughtful Valentine's Day present, obviously. Also a good band to see during the dark heart of a Chicago winter, which is obviously mid-February.
Four Tet, 2/19, Empty Bottle, $15. I saw Four Tet open for Super Furry Animals many years ago, and heartily recommend him.
Dick Gregory & Mort Sahl, 4/13-4/17, Lakeshore Theater, $49.50. It's expensive, but also a rare bill of two legendary comedians.
Bach St. John Passion, Symphony Center, 3/12-3/14, $18 and up. Maybe the show I'm most excited about in coming months.
Keith Jarrett, Symphony Center, 2/12, $40-$95. One night only; again, well-timed for Valentine's Day.
Appalachian Spring, Symphony Center, 3/11-3/12, $22 and up. Also features arrangements of Emily Dickenson's poetry by Copland and Golijov. Did you know you can sing any Emily Dickenson poem to "The Yellow Rose of Texas"? I actually don't think it's 100% true, but it usually works.
St. Vincent, Metro, 2/18, $16. I haven't seen St. Vincent live yet, but trusted sources tell me Annie Clark's virtuosity is remarkable live.
RJD2, Metro, 3/13, $21. Wonderful urban pastoral DJing; if you don't think you've heard him, you probably actually have - the theme to Mad Men is an instrumental from Aceyalone's Magnificent City.