Local Concert Watch for Chicago & Milwaukee:
December 19-31, 2008

First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2008, Volume 15, #12

Written by John Metzger

Fri December 19, 2008, 06:30 AM CST

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12/19 - Ten out of Tenn Christmas Tour - Schuba's - Chicago - 10:00 p

Ten out of Tenn

There is something to be said for finding strength in numbers. To celebrate the holiday season and stand out amongst the insanely crowded, year-end concert schedule, Butterfly Boucher, Griffin House, Trent Dabbs, Katie Herzig, Tyler James, Matthew Perryman Jones, Erin McCarley, K.S. Rhoads, Jeremy Lister, and Andy Davis joined forces for a Yuletide album and full-fledged tour. Billed at Ten out of Tenn, the entourage will perform the second-to-last show on its trek on December 19 at Schuba’s. In particular, keep a close eye on Griffin House. Based upon his latest set Flying Upside Down, his future is filled with promise.

Waco Brothers - Waco Express: Live and Kickin' at Schuba's Tavern

12/26-27 - Waco Brothers - Schuba's - Chicago - 10:00 p

Jon Langford formed this offshoot of the Mekons back in the mid-1990s as a means of exploring his cowpunk tendencies. Since then, the group has become a regular fixture on the Chicago scene. Schuba’s served as host for the outfit’s recent concert album, but fans can get a taste of the real thing when the Waco Brothers returns to the venue for a pair of shows on December 26 and 27. Not for the faint of heart, the band often will out-drink its audience. There is no better way, though, to burn off the pent-up aggression that stems from having a house filled with out-of-town relatives.

BoDeans - Still

12/27 - BoDeans - Genesee Theatre - Waukegan - 8:00 p
12/28 - BoDeans - Rialto Square Theatre - Joliet - 7:00 p

For its latest set Still, the BoDeans enlisted the help of T Bone Burnett, but for some strange reason, their union didn’t bear the dividends for which many had hoped. Instead of traversing bold, new terrain, the outfit remained firmly tied to its past. Nevertheless, the BoDeans will bring its infectious melodies and shimmering harmonies to Waukegan’s Genesee Theatre on December 27 and Joliet’s Rialto Square Theatre on December 28, where it will perform material from its new album as well as its time-tested, roots-rock hit Closer to Free.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

12/27-28 - My Morning Jacket - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p

My Morning Jacket was originally supposed to perform at the Chicago Theatre in early October, but the group was forced to postpone the shows after front man Jim James fell off the stage and injured himself in Iowa. Instead of marking the end of a tour, these concerts will serve as a prelude to My Morning Jacket’s blockbuster, New Year’s Eve gig at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The band issued Evil Urges, its fifth studio effort, earlier this year.

Rusted Root - Welcome to My Party

12/27-28 - Rusted Root - House of Blues - Chicago - 9:00 p
12/29 - Rusted Root - Eagles Club - Milwaukee, WI - 8:00 p

For more than a decade, Rusted Root has made a ritual of performing in and around Chicago in the days that fall between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Somehow, the band has managed to stay afloat despite a dearth of new material. More than six years have passed since the outfit issued Welcome to My Party, its most recent studio set, but hope is on the horizon. Rusted Root is planning to release Stereo Rodeo in 2009. Fans can expect to hear a few cuts from the album as well as old favorites like Lost in the Crowd, Cruel Sun, and Ecstasy when Rusted Root takes the stage with Backyard Tire Fire at House of Blues on December 27 and 28 before heading north to Milwaukee for a show at the Eagles Club on December 29.

Blues Traveler - North Hollywood Shootout

12/30 - Blues Traveler - House of Blues - Chicago - 9:00 p

Blues Traveler quietly issued its new album North Hollywood Shootout in August. Lately, however, it has been making up for lost time by elevating its profile via stints on the Late Show with David Letterman and The Adam Carolla Show. Although the group performed a pair of festival gigs in the area in August, it hasn’t headlined a concert in Chicago since November 2007, which makes its appearance at the House of Blues on December 30 welcome to many.

Umphrey's McGee - Mantis

12/29 - Umphrey's McGee - Auditorium Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
12/30 - Umphrey’s McGee - Auditorium Theatre - Chicago - 7:00 p
12/31 - Umphrey's McGee - Auditorium Theatre - Chicago - 8:30 p

Sandwiched between extended runs of The Nutcracker and Grease, Umphrey’s McGee will assume control of the Auditorium Theatre for a three-night engagement on December 29 through 31. In addition to ticking down the final moments of 2009, the group also is counting the days until its new album Mantis will be released. Shortly thereafter, Umphrey’s McGee is planning to hit the road for an extensive string of tour dates that will continue well into Spring.

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Of Further Interest...

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: February 19-22, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: February 12-18, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: February 1-7, 2009

Local Concert Preview for Chicago: January 24-31, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: January 8-23, 2009

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