The Local: Live Music
Chicago is a hotbed for live music. Whether you’re seeing a show at a smaller venue like Lincoln Hall, Metro or the Double Door, or attending large festivals like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork or Riot Fest, national touring acts love playing Chicago. Chicago also has incredible homegrown artists who have hit it big, from Kanye and Common to the Smashing Pumpkins and Fall Out Boy. Recently we visited three neighborhoods that are home to a few of our favorite music venues.
The Promontory is one of the newest live music spots in Chicago, and it’s no surprise that it’s down in Hyde Park. The South Side neighborhood, home to the University of Chicago and Museum of Science and Industry, has seen a major boom in the last few years. With restaurants like A10, Plein Air Café, Yusho, Rajun Cajun and Ja’ Grill joining classics like Valois and Medici on 57th, things are on the move. Don’t forget the Hyde Park Arts Center and Harper Court, the new retail stretch along 53rd Street, which add depth to the ever-changing vibe in Hyde Park. But the Promontory, the bi-level three-in-one restaurant, bar and music venue, has revitalized the once-thriving South Side music scene with jazz, blues, funk, rock, hip-hop and R&B shows from diverse acts like Maceo Parker, Rebirth Brass Band and Rhymefest. For added flavor, Promontory mixes in house music dance nights.
Home to the Cubs, the lakefront, numerous boutiques, and an array of restaurants, Lakeview is actually a collection of smaller neighborhoods within a neighborhood. One of those enclaves is the booming Southport Corridor, a shopping, dining and entertainment strip where local businesses coexist with an influx of national retailers. A mainstay at the corner of Southport and Belmont is Schubas Tavern. Since 1988, Schubas has been a jumping off point for so many bands and artists who have gone on to become national and international acts, including Dave Matthews Band, My Morning Jacket, Disclosure, Janelle Monae and Tori Amos. Great live music can also be found at the Vic Theatre on Sheffield and Metro just north of Wrigley Field. Bottom line: You always have music options in Lakeview. You just gotta go out!
As its name suggests, North Center sits squarely in the middle of the North Side. The neighborhood features wonderful single-family homes, great schools and a true sense of community. It’s also home to one of Chicago’s beacons of live music: Martyrs’. Over the years, the club has attracted an all-star lineup of musicians, from the Who’s Pete Townshend and John Entwistle to Adele, who played here back when she was touring behind her debut album, 19…and you clearly know how her story ends up. Even the Rolling Stones guitar techs enjoy jamming at Martyrs’ when Mick and the boys roll through town. Martyrs’ is also home base to the great cover band Tributosauraus, which morphs into a new band, like Talking Heads, Queen, Van Morrison or David Bowie, each month. But Martyrs’ is about much more than just music. It also hosts poetry slams and spoken word events like The Moth. In addition to Martyrs’, North Center has some great establishments for local dining and drinking that tie the community together. Check out Half Acre Beer Co., Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, Big Bricks, The Globe Pub and Resi’s Bierstube.