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« Review: Karkwa @ Schubas, December 6, 2011 GONZO's Chicago in 2011, or Why We Love Our Live Music Scene »

Concert Thu Dec 08 2011

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

by The Transmission Staff

Finding a show to go to on New Years Eve isn't hard, but deciding exactly which show, out of dozens of offerings, might be more of a task. To help you out, we've compiled a list of entertainment options for those who want to rock, mosh, noodle, polka, or just stand in the corner and bob your head. No matter what you want to spend, there's an event going on in Chicago (and nearby) that can suit your taste and your budget. However, we'll leave the task of finding someone to kiss at midnight up to you.

The Abbey Pub - Chi-Town Meltdown featuring Chicago's own Chicago Afrobeat Project, and bluegrass wierdness from Sexfist, with Van Gordon Martin, Animate Objects, and Old Shoe. Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $25 in advance. 21+. Notes: VIP packages are available for $60, which include an open bar, champagne, and other perks. 3420 W. Grace St.

Aragon Ballroom - Cage the Elephant with Sleeping Agent, Company of Thieves. Doors open at 9pm. Tickets are $27.25. 17+ 1106 W. Lawrence Ave.

Beauty Bar - A Disco Affair with DJ Gigamesh, plus special guests. Tickets are $20. 21+. Entertainment from 8pm-3am. Notes: Open bar 8pm-10pm. Also comes with a champagne toast. 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

Buddy Guy's Legends - Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials with Eddie Taylor Jr. Music starts at 9pm. Cover charge is $25. Notes: Includes a champagne toast at midnight. 700 S. Wabash.

Chicago Theatre - "New Year's Eve Love & Laughs" with the O'Jays and special guests. Tickets range from $69.50-$99.50 (plus fees). Music at 9pm. 175 N. State St.

The Cobra Lounge - The Spits with Mickey and TV Ghost. Music starts at 9pm. Tickets are $15 (advance) / $20 (door). 21+ 235 N. Ashland Ave.

Just watch as this frequently costume-clad Seattle based punk group rolls its Batmobile into town. The Spits are like the Ramones with Pynchon writing the punchlines. Out of their five albums, four are titled The Spits and all are beautiful hot messes of noisy punk rump shakers. If you choose The Spits to ring in your New Year, you'll likely become a superlative of Most Likely to Make Out with Someone Dressed as Batman in a Snow Drift. -Jason Olexa

Cole's - The Get Down Dance Party with DJ D-Rek and other guests. Bills itself as "Logan Square's most musically diverse New Year's Eve party" - Music from 9:30pm-1:30am. No cover (aka free). 2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The Congress Theater - Rusko with Sinden, Switch. Doors open at 8pm. Tickets are $60 (GA) - $110 (VIP package). 17+ Notes: Playing 2 nights of shows, 12/30 and 12/31. Special VIP package tickets includes private bar area in either balcony wing or sky box area. Drinks include call liquor and beer. 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Relieve that Bears late season collapse angst with all of your brochefs dubstepping in the New Year! Celebrate the upcoming Mad Mike-less 2012 Bears season by engaging in Chicago's favorite party game "Is that Jay Cutler post game or my liver?" Five out of five fists in the air for the New Years show most likely to result in a blackout. -Jason Olexa

Cubby Bear - Lucky Boys Confusion with Liquid Hot Magma. Tickets are $20 (advance) / $25 (day of show). 21+ Doors open at 8pm, music starts at 9pm. 1059 W. Addison St.

Dank Haus - The Polkaholics. Doors open at 8pm, music plays till 2am. Tickets are $9.99 (adv), $15 (door). 21+. Notes: Enjoy a balloon drop, a traditional feuerzangenbowle and learn your future at the Bleigiessen display. Each entrance includes raffle ticket to win an Epiphone guitar. Food will also be available for purchase, including German favorites. Free parking at the MB Financial Lot, at corner of Western and Gunnison. 4740 N. Western Ave.

Darkroom - Hosts NYE 2012 featuring PANIC! resident DJs Pogo and Arturo, with special guests DJs Trancid and Kamar. Music starts at 9pm. Tickets are $15 (adv) or $20 (door). 21+. Notes: Party favors and champagne toast at midnight. 2210 W. Chicago Ave.

Double Door - Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears with Soul Summit DJs. Doors open at 9pm, music starts at 9pm. Tickets are $85-$95. Notes: Includes hosted bar (draft beer, well drinks, wine, soda, water). Champagne available for purchase. 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The Soul Summit DJs are experienced time travelers with an expanding fanbase of well dressed people getting to know each other. Black Joe Lewis update the classic horn heavy Stax sound with filthy abandon and will get those well dressed people dancing really close. -Jason Olexa

Empty Bottle - Disappears, Bare Mutants, Outer Minds. Music starts at 10pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 21+. 1035 N. Western Ave.

This is the show to wear your best-looking shoes to. I'd advise wearing boots to be prepared for the unpredictable Chicago weather and then changing into some Grade A kicks in one of the cat-decorated Empty Bottle bathrooms. Leave the rest to tremolo heavy shoegazers Disappears, who will provide the soundtrack fit for swooning. -Jason Olexa

Fitzgerald's Nightclub - The Freddy Jones Band. Music starts at 8pm (doors open at 7pm). Tickets are $45 (adv) $50 (door). 21+. 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn, IL.

The Green Mill - Battle of the Saxes featuring Von Freeman vs. Edward Petersen and the Green Mill All-Stars. Doors open at 7pm, music from 8:30pm-12:30am. There's a $25 cover. Notes: Includes midnight champagne toast and party favors. 4802 N. Broadway Ave.

The Hideout - No events listed for 12/31 (so far).

House of Blues - Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven. Doors open at 7pm, music starts at 8pm. Tickets are $76.15. 21+. 329 N. Dearborn.

Lincoln Hall - The Hood Internet with Willy Joy, My Gold Mask. Music starts at 10pm. 21+ Tickets are $25 ($30/door if available). Notes: 2 nights of shows, special early bird 2-day pass ($30) currently available for both shows on 12/30 and 12/31. 2424 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago DJ dynamic duo The Hood Internet (STV SLV and ABX) hit the stage at Lincoln Hall for not one, but two nights of sure-to-be shows where you rock out with your eh-eh out. Try to remember to hydrate, wear comfortable clothing, and stretch before and after. These DJs have been known to induce fits of joy, including frequent shouts of "oh no they didn't just do that!" Download or stream their latest mixtape for a free pre-show taste of what's to come. -Anne Holub

Logan Square Auditorium - Windy City Soul Club. Doors at 9pm. 17+. Tickets are $20. 2539 N. Kedzie.

Mayne Stage - ABC 7's Countdown Chicago to 2012 with James Hunter. Doors open at 9pm, music starts at 10pm. Tickets are $50 GA, $75 reserved seating. Notes: Optional additional drink packages (also available at the door) are $50 for well drinks, selection of drafts and domestic bottles available 9pm to 1am as well as a champagne toast at midnight.

Metro - Alkaline Trio with The Brokedowns. 18+. 3730 N. Clark St. SOLD OUT

The Mid - a variety of DJs including Milk & Cookies, DJ Rahul, DJ D Chang, DJ Bita Bits, DJ Tigorilla, and more DJs TBA. Doors open at 8:45pm. Tickets range from $135-$200 (+ fees) as supplies go down. 21+ Notes: Top shelf open bar 9pm-1am (includes Grey Goose and Red Bull), champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight, small bite buffet from 9pm-11pm, noisemakers and party favors provided, and more. Also, in addition to your ticket, buy a VIP table starting at $200 which include a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. 306 N. Halsted.

Red Line Tap - Bad Raccoon, Micki Croisant, Ian Broeker. Music starts at 9pm. No Cover (i.e., free). 21+. 7006 N. Glenwood Ave.

Reggie's Rock Club - 93XRT presents Material Issue Hushdrops and Redgrave. Doors at 8pm. 21+. Tickets are $30-$40. 2105 S. State St.

Chicago power poppers Material Issue continue their reunion after a 16 year absence. Break out your vintage 120 Minutes shirt and prepare your synapses to get "Kim The Waitress" stuck in your head again. -Jason Olexa

The Riviera Theater - Big Gigantic plays to a sold out house with openers The Polish Ambassador. Show at 9:30 pm. SOLD OUT. 18+. 4746 N. Racine Ave.

Rosa's Lounge - Chicago Blues All-Stars. Doors open at 9pm, music at 9:30pm. Tickets are $25 (adv, limited), $35 (door, if available). 21+. Notes: Includes party favors and complimentary champagne at midnight. 3420 W. Armitage Ave.

Schubas - JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound with My Mans featuring Andy Miara, Mark Ratterman, and Second City Mainstage alum Tim Robinson. Music starts at 10pm. 21+ Tickets are $25 ($30/door if available). Notes: 2 nights of shows, 12/30 and 12/31. Buy a special 2-day pass while supplies last for $35. 3159 N. Southport Ave.

It should be an easy call for all fans of soul and R&B to hit up Schubas on one of the two nights (or both!) that JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound are performing this December. Poised on the verge of serious blowin' up, these Chicago fellas are doing nothing but good, and having an almost criminal amount of fun on stage. Can almost guarantee you they won't be performing a venue this small for a while, so get in there while the gettin's good and don't forget your dancing shoes! - Anne Holub

SmartBar - DJs including Danny Howells, Justin Long, Nate Manic, Ari Frank. Tickets are $35 (adv. GA), $40 (night of show GA), or various VIP packages ranging from $100-$900. 21+ Notes: VIP packages include limited VIP seating - $100 (includes gift bag and drink package), Platinum Tables - $500 (seats 4, includes gift bag, bottle of Moet champagne and drink package), Diamond Table - $900, (seats 6, includes gift bag, 2 bottles of Moet champagne, drink package and screen print poster). 3730 N. Clark St.

SPACE - Offers two shows, an early and late one. Early show: The Jill & Julia Show featuring Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney. Music starts at 6pm. Tickets are $18 for standing room (other levels sold out). Late show: Otis Clay & His Band. Show starts at 10pm. Tickets are $35 for "dance floor tickets", $45 GA seating, $58 Reserved Table Seating. Notes: Late show GA seating and Reserved Table seating tickets include a champagne toast at midnight. VIP packages available for $210 per person and include: Reserved table seating at the concert and bottle of wine or champagne, pre-show dinner at Union, hotel accommodations at Evanston's Hilton Orrington and in-room breakfast on New Years Day. 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL.

Subterranean - Murder By Death. Doors open at 8:30pm, music starts at 9:30pm. Tickets are $25. 21+. Notes: Also playing Subterranean on 12/30. 2011 W. North Ave.

Uncommon Ground (on Clark) - Sanctified Grumblers. Reservations required. Notes: New Years Eve dinner and music package is $50 an includes three-course dinner and music from the Sanctified Grumblers from 9:30pm-1am. Dinner reservations begin at 5:30pm. Reservations required: 773-929-3680. 3800 N. Clark St. (note: Wrigleyville location)

Uncommon Ground (on Devon) - Las Guitarras De Espana. Reservations required. Notes: New Years Eve dinner and music package is $50 an includes three-course dinner and music from Las Guitarras De Espana from 9:30pm-1am. Dinner reservations begin at 5:30pm. Reservations required: 773-465-9801. 1401 W. Devon Ave. (note: Edgewater location)

The Vic - No events listed for 12/31 (so far).

The Whistler - DJ sets by Dino Soccio of Only Children. Doors open at 9pm, party till 3am. Tickets are $85 per person. Email Shelby ( to purchase tickets (limited number available). Notes: Ticket price includes "fancy" cocktails, champagne toast at midnight, gratuity, and heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Music aside, head mixologist Paul McGee never disappoints with his blending of alcoholic liquids into a more perfect union of taste. At The Whistler we can hope those perfect unions will reflect a delightful 2012 where a zombie apocalypse doesn't happen and McGee keeps serving us delicious drinks. -Jason Olexa

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Larry / December 9, 2011 10:57 AM

Does anyone have any other venues they'd like to add? Somewhere you won't be packed-in like a sardine?

pc / December 19, 2011 11:25 AM

Bible of The Devil, Tight Phantomz @ Quenchers

9:00pm $10

Adam / December 27, 2011 3:14 PM

New Wave's Eve at Exit, no cover and $50 wrist bands for call & beer will be available from 9 - 1. Open til 5am.

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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