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Saturday, September 19

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« "Letters to Santa:" Second City Settles in for 24 Hours of Music and More Flosstradamus @ The Riv 12/30 »

Stores Thu Dec 19 2013

Your Last-Minute Xmas Buying Guide for the Music Lover

Santa Rockin 2005 inside.jpg

You've done it again. You've flaked the date. It's just a few days till Christmas, and you haven't gotten anything for anyone and now you'd have to pay up the wazoo to get anything shipped in time. But wait! We have a solution that's a win/win: Shop local and get that music-lover on your list something awesome this year. (No, a new tree-shaped car freshener isn't awesome. Stop it.)

You might be able to wait until Christmas Eve to shop, but I wouldn't recommend it. Some businesses will have limited hours on Tuesday and most will be flat-out closed Wednesday, so get out today and get going!

Have other local shops that you'd recommend for the music-lover on your list? Leave your tips in the comments.

Music stores

This is a no-brainer. Get them some new tunes at your favorite local shop. Our faves include (but definitely aren't limited to) Reckless Records, Laurie's Planet of Sound, Permanent Records, Dusty Groove, Saki, Hyde Park Records, Gramaphone Records, and Jazz Record Mart. Grab new or used LPs/CDs, ephemera, or even a gift certificate.

Tickets to shows!

We're talking real tickets not will call vouchers (I have a soft spot for ticket stubs piling up throughout the year), but printout tickets are still tickets to shows, so go for it! Head to your favorite venue to get them in person, like the Metro store, or even the Chicago Theater box office for tix. Or print them out online, if you must. Geez.

Music venue "stuff"

Love your venue? Get something to show it! Try the Metro store, the Empty Bottle, or Lincoln Hall/Schubas (choose "Merch Pickup" if you order online, and head to Schubas for your purchases) for bags, shirts, hats, and more emblazoned with logos and slogans from your favorite joint. Update: the kind folks at the Metro have let me know that they're going to be open 12-6pm on Monday and 12-8pm on Tuesday (they'll be closed on Christmas Day). In addition, they're offering 20% off all Metro merchandise including tshirts, posters, etc. in the Store through the end of the year, as well as online .

Classical music/opera tickets

Sometimes you have someone on your list who doesn't share your small venue/dark bar/indie rock sensibilities. It's ok, but they deserve awesome gifts too. Try some tickets to an upcoming performance at places like the Lyric Opera (staging Sound of Music this spring), the Auditorium Theater (Chick Corea & Bela Fleck in the spring), or Symphony Center (Riccardo Muti and Yo-Yo Ma in January, John Prine in March), or check our latest classical music column for some ideas.

Music lessons

Everybody wants to be a rockstar, right? Get certificates for lessons for a friend (or lousy drum-playing neighbor) at places like the Old Town School of Folk Music, Flatts & Sharp Music Co., Andy's Music Store, 312 Vintage Guitars, or the Chicago Music Exchange.


Upgrade your favorite band's setup with new stuff (from the inexpensive to the over-the-top) with items like guitar strings, picks, hand cymbals, a ukulele, or even vintage guitars, a new bass, a banjo, or a sweet djembe at a local music shoppe (see above list).

Show posters

Get them something sweet for their wall! Try the Metro store, Galerie F, Lincoln Hall/Schubas (again choose "Merch Pickup" if you order online, and head to Schubas for your purchases), Permanent Records, the Empty Bottle (choose "Pickup at the Empty Bottle" in the checkout, or swing by during open hours). Prolific poster artist Jay Ryan at The Bird Machine let us know that you can email if you want to pick something up in person at their digs at 4823 Main St. in Skokie. They're around 9-4 today, Friday, and Monday and there's a chance they'll be in Tuesday morning, but that's not certain, so get on it, already!

If you're heading out to do all your shopping on Tuesday night, make sure to check in with your local shop and see if they're keeping different hours on Christmas Eve, or even if they're closing up shop after this weekend for a long winter's nap. Everyone deserves a holiday break, so be nice.

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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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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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