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I like to give tickets to shows as presents, because it's buying locally, because I don't get out enough, and because I live in a small space and don't need any more actual things, and also because I tend to end up shopping at the last minute. Here are some shows of note that might save your butt if you're still hard up for a present:
Tinariwen Old Town School of Folk Music, 2/27, 7 and 10 PM, all-ages, 773-728-6000. Longtime favorites of the Reader's Peter Margasak, they made his excellent Top 40 of 2009 list: "The original Tuareg rockers pull back on the power, reverting to the stabbing intensity of their earliest work, which conveys emotion through nuances in its lilting vocals and floating matrix of guitars."
Joanna Newsom the Vic, 4/3, 7:30 PM, all-ages. It took me awhile to acquire the taste, but then I realized she was doing an idiosyncratic take on folk music; since then I've been hooked.
The Ex, Shellac Lincoln Hall, 3/20, 10 PM, 18+, 773-525-2501. An excellent bill of postpunk vets.
Zola Jesus Beat Kitchen, 3/13, 10:30 PM, 17+. "A gothic dreamboat from Nowheresville, Wisconsin, who writes music as bleak and intense as a midwestern winter." She's opening for Fucked Up tomorrow and also plays a free in-store at Permanent Records.
Vivian Girls Subterranean, 3/12, 9:30 PM, 17+. Not really my cup of tea but I hear the kids like them.
Tortoise Lincoln Hall, 2/20, 10 PM, 18+. I went to Lincoln Hall for the first time recently, to see the Bowerbirds as part of Tomorrow Never Knows, and from first impression it seems like they've got a hell of a sound system, very detailed and clean, which would make it a good venue to see Tortoise.
Civic Orchestra plays Sibelius's 5th Symphony Symphony Center, 3/8 Just a reminder. A great piece for $1.00 a seat.
CSO Beethoven Festival Symphony Hall, 6/2-20 Haitink conducts all nine symphonies over the course of the month.
Bach's St. John Passion Symphony Hall, 3/12-14 Going to try to go to as much of the Beethoven Festival as I can afford, but most excited about the St. John Passion. The CSO Chorus is a thrill.