A select guide to end-of-the-annum doings compiled by Alexandra Delaney, Jessica Burg and Nolan Feeney. All events take place on December 31, 2012, duh. And unless otherwise stated, reservations are required, double duh.
STAGE & SCREEN & STYLE
Black Ensemble Theater New Year’s Eve 2012 Celebration
Black Ensemble will present excerpts from many of its classic hits, as well as selections from recent hits such as “The Jackie Wilson Story,” “The Marvin Gaye Story,” “One Name Only,” among others. After the show, the guests will enjoy an open mic, dancing in the upstairs suite, and the mellow sounds of Black Ensemble’s jazz trio. Plus, free champagne all night long. 8pm-1am, Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 North Clark, (773)769-4451. $125 per person; $200 for couples.
Chemically Imbalanced Comedy’s NYE
Come at 8pm for a home-cooked meal and enjoy an interactive improvisation show beginning at 9pm that continues until the midnight toast. 1422 West Irving Park, (800)838-3006. $50/person, $95/couple.
The Chicago Comedy Tour
WGN’s reporters exchange scripted news stories for stand-up comedy routines. Sports anchor Pat Tomasulo, Around Town reporter Ana Belaval and Mike Toomey will take the stage all night. Tickets include a champagne toast, party favors and balloon drop. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 West Campbell, Arlington Heights. 6pm and 10pm. (847)577-2121. $50, Stage tables $60.
Chicago Fashion Innovation: New Year’s Eve Soiree
Get glamorous and celebrate the New Year in style! Presented by Chicago Styling Resource, the night will include food and drinks, music, a runway show, dancing and of course special shopping offers as well as raffles and giveaways. Attendees will get a taste of 2013’s fashion and beauty trends. To ensure that guests are bringing in the new year brightly, there will be a most-fashionable-shades contest. Lacuna Artist Lofts, 2150 South Canalport. Contact email@example.com for more information. 9:30pm-1am. $25-$75.
10th Annual Greatest Night of Comedy: DeRay Davis, Lil Duval, Jay Pharoah, Aries Spears
Grab your friends for a night of laughs as four stand-up comedians take center stage. Arie Crown Theater, 2301 Lake Shore Drive at McCormick Place. (312)791-6000. 8pm, $63-$115.
Hannibal Buress at Zanies Comedy Club
Signing a deal with ABC, comedian Hannibal Buress will infiltrate our television sets as a police officer patrolling the streets of small-town suburbia. Catch the co-writer and star of the new show live at Zanies Comedy Club, Chicago, 1548 North Wells, (312)337-4027. 6:30pm, 8:30pm, 10:30pm. $35-$45.
Happy Nude Year!: A Gorilla Tango Burlesque NYE Striptacular
Geek chic is the look that will be taking center stage here on New Year’s Eve as a team of rookie and veteran Geek Girls will perform naughty stripteases in this night of cabaret-style celebrations. There will be breaks in the performances for drinks, snacks and socializing. The ticket includes two drinks and snacks. Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 North Milwaukee, (773)598-4549. $60.
Metropolis Ball Chicago 2012
Chicago arts organization Collaboraction presents a night of burlesque, theater, circus-style entertainment, art, music, dancing and fashion. Inspiration for the third annual event comes from Fritz Lang’s 1927 film, “Metropolis.” Each room in the loft will feature the art and video creations of local artists and will mimic the sets of Yoshiwara’s House of Sin Cabaret, The Fredersen Tower Speakeasy, Eternal Gardens Pleasure Lounge and the Catacombs Cantina. Entertainment will cycle through the different rooms, and hors d’oeuvres and sweets are available throughout the night as well as drinks from the premium bars. Flat Iron Arts Building, 3rd floor, 1579 North Milwaukee, (847)910-6644. 8:30pm-3am. $75-$150.
New Year’s Eve at the ComedySportz Theatre
The two-hour 5pm & 7pm New Year’s Eve show includes a full show in the main stage, party favors, a New Year’s countdown and a cider toast with the cast following the performance. 929 West Belmont, (773)549-8080. ($24) Night owls might prefer the 10pm show and after-party ($32, includes champagne toast).
New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza
Set a positive tone for the new year by sharing laughs with your friends. Laugh Factory Chicago, 3175 North Broadway. (773)327-3175 x 1. 8pm. $20-$245.
New Year’s Eve Cornstravaganza
Kick off the new year with an open bar and buffet from Corn catering followed by two sets of sketch and improv. The night will continue with a countdown to midnight and champagne toast followed by music and dancing. Corn Productions at Cornservatory, 4210 North Lincoln, (773)650-1331. $50-$55.
New Year’s Eve Monster Ball
If you never get over Halloween, check out the monster-inspired mayhem at Stage 773. All four spaces of the venue will be filled with fun and activities: performances by zombie bands, a haunted theater tour and a dance party. Tickets include an unlimited number of the specialty drink, appetizers and live entertainment and a champagne toast. Stage 773, 1225 West Belmont, (773)327-5252. $70.
The Poseidon Adventure
Board the S.S. Poseidon at 11pm and enjoy a pre-show hosted by Captain Dick O’Day and the Hell in a Handbag Productions crew. There is a costume competition (with prizes), so don’t forget to dress the part in your favorite seventies cruise garb! Following the fun and games is a showing of the 1972 Academy Award-winning movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” which details the account of an ocean liner that capsizes on New Year’s Eve. The midnight celebration in the movie will synch with midnight so viewers can celebrate at the same time as their on-air friends. Running commentary, courtesy of Camp Midnight, will add a touch of humor. Audience members will be given interactive guides, a complimentary champagne toast, drink ticket and party favors. The Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport, (773)871-6607. Advance tickets $23, day of tickets, $28.
Under the Streetlamp
Listen to the smooth harmonies of Jersey Boy’s former cast members singing in the New Year. The 10pm show includes a countdown to midnight and a champagne toast. Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena, Aurora, (630)896-6666. 6pm and 10pm. $55-$65.
Urban Fetes NYE A Fashion Affair
Watch a fashion show organized by Aaron Christmon of Smart Dress featuring special guest hosts while enjoying appetizers and entertainment. Akainyah Gallery, 327 West Erie, (312)654-0333. 9:30pm-2am. $50.
Acadia’s Midwinter’s Night Dream
Chef Ryan McCaskey loves “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” so he’s dressing Acadia up with live performers and a New Year’s Eve menu. Two seatings available for a menu featuring foie gras torchon and lobster eggs benedict. Vegetarian menus available if requested forty-eight hours in advance. Acadia, 1639 South Wabash, (312)360-9500. $150 for 6pm seating, $175 for 9pm with wine pairings. Vegetarian menu $125 and $150 for early and late seatings, respectively. Lounge is open 5pm to 2am and serving until midnight.
Four-hour package includes champagne, food buffet, party favors and DJ. Bar Umbriago, 6 West Hubbard, (312)494-1300. 8pm-midnight. $75 per person before December 17, $95 after.
bellyQ Asian Barbeque
Innovative dumplings, noodles, Korean/Puerto Rican fusion, Asian-inspired pizzas and a variety of sakes from bellyQ, belly shack and Urban Belly restaurants under one roof. Live DJ plays at 9pm. bellyQ, 1400 West Randolph, (312)563-1010. Doors open at 8pm. $125.
Benny’s Chop House New Year’s Eve
Chestnut and brandy bisque with candied porcini mushrooms, butter poached maine lobster with Hudson Valley foie gras and black-truffle-studded USDA prime beef tenderloin round out the holiday menu. Benny’s Chop House, 444 North Wabash, (312)626-2444. 4pm until 1am. Live music from 5pm until closing.
Bistro Voltaire Prix Fixe
Bistro Voltaire puts its regular menu aside for steamed mussels in saffron sauce, roasted beef tenderloin, seared sea scallops and pan roasted duck breast. Complimentary champagne glass. Bistro Voltaire, 226 West Chicago, (312)265-0911. 6pm and 8pm seatings. $69.
Brasserie by LM Prix Fixe
Three-course “Midnight in Paris” dinner includes choices of roasted duck breast, potato-crusted hake, lobster bisque, mesclun salad and dessert. Complimentary glass of champagne. Brasserie by LM, 800 South Michigan, (312)431-1788. Reservations available from 5pm through 10:30pm. $35 per person.
Bread & Wine’s Veal Meals
Bread & Wine is offering meals of veal: veal strip loin, veal liver and veal shank ragu are all specials. Champagne toast at midnight. Bread & Wine, 3732 West Irving Park, (773)866-5266. Kitchen closes at 9:30pm. No cover charge.
Carnivale New Year’s Eve 2013
Watch breakdancers, DJs and circus performers while executive chef David Dworshak prepares his unique Nuevo Latino cuisine. Complimentary midnight champagne toast. Carnivale, 702 West Fulton, (312)850-5005. 5pm-11pm seatings.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse’s Surf and Turf
A $72 surf and turf special gets you two Tristan lobster tails and a thirty-day-aged filet mignon. Jazz singer Typhanie Monique performs for the restaurant, which is decked out in holiday decorations, from 9pm to 1am. Complimentary midnight champagne toast. Chicago Cut Steakhouse, 300 North LaSalle, (312)329-1800. Reservations (required) until 1:30am.
Chicago q New Year’s Dinner and Brunch
Southern-cooking specials include catfish cake and sweet potato aioli appetizer and hickory smoked prime rib. Complimentary midnight champagne toast. Bring your New Year’s Eve bill back the next day for ten-percent-off New Year’s Day brunch. Chicago q, 1160 North Dearborn, (312)642-1160.
Cru Cafe & Wine Bar New Year’s Eve Prix Fixe
Butter poached scallop, grilled filet of beef, sweet potato dumplings, seared Wild King Salmon, and oysters on the half shell are highlights. Champagne toast included. Cru Cafe & Wine Bar, 25 East Delaware, (312)337-4001. $70 prix fixe menu, $85 with wine pairings.
DMK Burger Bar’s New Year’s Eve Greatest Hits
Switch up the classic burgers-and-fries with the Date Burger (date jam, prosciutto, goat cheese, pickled red onions), the Bloody Burger (steak tartare, fried egg, garlic aioli) or blackberry pie and toasted marshmallow milkshakes. New burger announced at midnight. DMK Burger Bar, 2954 North Sheffield, (773)360-8686. 9pm to 2am. $75.
El’s Kitchen’s Unlimited Dinner
Enjoy unlimited beer, wine and other drinks with an all-you-can-eat sampling of signature menu items. El’s Kitchen, 1459 West Webster, (773)248-5210. 5pm until 2am. Dinner reservations available until 9pm. Bar wristbands reservable for 10pm to 12:30am. $40. $50 for VIP package.
Geja’s Cafe’s New Year’s Eve Fondue
Intimate four-course meal featuring cheese fondue appetizer and signature flaming chocolate fondue dessert with entree and champagne options. Live flamenco and classical guitar music. Geja’s Cafe, 340 West Armitage, (773)281-9101. Reservations for 5pm, 7:30pm and 10pm; $75, $105 and $125 respectively.
Hash House A Go Go’s New Year’s Eve
Sage-fried chicken and waffles, roasted prime rib, and house-smoked salmon benedict are on the menu. Hash House A Go Go, 1212 North State, (312)202-0994. 5pm to 1am.
House Red Vinoteca Prix Fixe
Five-course meal featuring boeuf en croute, poached sole, French wine pairings, and a midnight champagne toast. Live entertainment. House Red Vinoteca, 7403 West Madison, Forest Park, (708)771-7733. $75 or $110 with pairings.
Jerry’s New Year’s Eve
Craft beer and fancy sandwiches are the main attraction at Jerry’s New Year’s Eve menu at the Andersonville location. Choose between a $50 menu with apertif or a $65 menu with beer flights. Jerry’s, 5419 North Clark, (773)796-3777.
Try foie gras with orange, chocolate and croissant and other specials on an early-seating prix fixe menu. For the later seating, choose between an eight-course tasting menu with roasted prime tenderloin of beef and chocolate banana yuzu cake or a twelve-course “lux” menu with gnocchi, sweet breads with sunchoke puree, and lemon risotto. Lockwood Restaurant, 17 East Monroe, (312)917-3404. $65 prix fixe from 5pm to 7pm, $110 chef’s tasting and $150 chef’s lux tasting from 8pm to 11pm.
It’s a Mexican New Year’s tradition to eat twelve grapes at midnight, so wash them down with tequila and tacos while you’re at it. Regular dinner reservations before 6:45pm, $45 sharing-menu reservations from 7:30pm to 8:30pm, and a $55 five-course sharing-menu after 9:45pm. Mercadito Chicago, 108 West Kinzie, (312)329-9555.
Mercat a la planxa
The twelve grapes tradition isn’t just Mexican—it’s also Spanish, so swap your tacos for some tapas courtesy of chef de cuisine Cory Morris. Menu offerings include oyster shooters, shrimp meatballs, grape-glazed quail with goat cheese polenta, and braised Wagyu short rib. Mercat a la planxa, 638 South Michigan, (312)765-0524. 5pm to midnight. $85, $125 with wine pairings.
O’Donovan’s New Year’s Eve Party and Hangover Brunch
A “burger frenzy” of half-pounders (plus turkey and veggie burgers) lasts from 4pm to 11pm with drink specials available all day. Party hats, noisemakers and a midnight champagne toast. All-you-can-eat brunch the next day from 10am to 2pm. O’Donovan’s Pub & Restaurant, 2100 West Irving Park, (773)478-2100. No cover.
Sepia Prix Fixe
Early four-course or a late five-course prix fixe includes highlights such as sea scallops with celery root and black truffle dashi, lobster and shitake ravioli, and rack of lamb with lamb bisteeya, eggplant, lamb jus, and Ras el Hanout. Sepia, 123 North Jefferson, (312)441-1920. First seating from 5:30pm to 6:45pm, $65 per person. Second seating from 8pm to 9:30pm, $90 person.
SmallBar Division’s Git Down Sit Down
Three-course meal and drink pairing with complimentary champagne bottle for limited 8pm reservations, $100. No reservation or cover charge needed for the annual Git Down, which kicks off at 10pm with DJs. SmallBar Division. 2049 West Division, (773)772-2727.
Storefront Company Tasting Menus
Hen egg, cauliflower and truffle ravioli or pheasant with sunchoke, foie gras, and brioche are just two items on Chef Bryan Moscatello’s special New Year’s Eve menu, available at two seatings. Storefront Company, 1941 West North, (773)661-2609. First seating between 6:30pm to 7pm, $62 with $34 wine pairings. Second seating from 9pm to 10pm, $78 with $52 wine pairings. Cocktail reception from 9pm to 9:30pm.
tesori Tasting Menus
Choose from an early three-course tasting menu or a later four-course meal with a la carte options, plus dancing and a midnight toast. Live music from Lynne Jordan and the Shivers. Complimentary trolley rides home. tesori, 65 East Adams, (312)786-9911. $40 for 5pm seating, $85 for 9pm seating.
West Town Tavern’s New Year’s Eve Specials
Grilled New York strip steak with winter mushrooms and sweet potato fries, grilled East Coast lobster tails with gulf shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallop appetizers and spinach and radicchio salad are menu highlights. West Town Tavern, 1329 West Chicago, (312)666-6175.
HOTELS, NIGHTCLUBS & PARTIES
Chicago’s favorite mashup visionaries the Hood Internet are joining forces with Only Children DJ collective, Moon Boots, and DJ Esquire to bring you New Year’s Eve Two Thousand Turnteen. Tickets to this party include a two-hour open bar from 8pm-10pm and midnight champagne toast. Beauty Bar, 1444 West Chicago, (312)226-8828, 21+, 8pm-2am, $30 early bird, $35 GA.
Candy Land New Year’s Eve Party
The person(s) responsible for decorating Enclave nightclub should have their own reality tv show. This New Year’s Eve theme will be everyone’s favorite mouthwatering board game, Candy Land. Your inner child will beam as you walk into a party Willy Wonka himself could not have pulled off. Colors, balloons, sweet treats, special drinks and even a chocolate fountain are just some of what the Enclave will have to offer. A private open bar will be held from 9pm-1:30am, as well as a midnight champagne toast. Enclave, 220 West Chicago, (312)654-0234, 21+, 9pm-2am, early bird ticket $80.
Walk, pause, pose, repeat. Show everyone how you strut your stuff on the red carpet this New Year’s Eve at Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens. Watch fireworks over Lake Michigan from a private terrace. Drink all night at the open bar. Dance your way into 2013 with DJ J-Donn and DJ Jordan V. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Phil Stefani. Doors open early for VIP ticket holders, allowing for an extra half hour of drinks as well as first dibs seating and a gift. Tickets increase in price daily. Crystal Gardens, 700 East Grand Avenue, (312)560-4422, 21+, (8:30pm VIP only) 9pm-2am. Go to crystalgardensnye.cravetickets.com for price listings.
Weekend DJs Ryan Paradise and Greg Corner are spinning just what you need to get you to the end of this unlikely extra-long holiday weekend bender. Bar packages last for five hours with the choice of a house-brand liquor package or premium package. Of course there will be a midnight champagne toast. Debonair, 1575 North Milwaukee, (773)227-7990, 21+, 9pm, $70 house, $95 premium. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still a relatively new Chicago nightclub, 8Fifty8 has already earned a rep for having some of the sexiest clientele in the city. With its low lighting, sleek modern décor and foxy dancers on pedestals that rep is well deserved. This New Year’s Eve, the club is offering three VIP packages, all with admission for four, and different premium liquors. Package #1 includes one bottle of Russian Standard Vodka, one bottle of champagne, party favors and hors d’oeuvres. Package #2 includes one bottle of Grey Goose, one mini Patron bottle, champagne, party favors and hors d’oeuvres. Package #3 includes one bottle of Ciroc, one mini Patron bottle, one bottle of Moet, as well as hors d’oeuvres and party favors. 8Fifty8, 858 West Lake, (312)455-2776, 21+, 8pm-2am, Package #1 $650, Package #2 $800, Package #3 $1,000.
Entrepreneur’s Eve at the Adler Planetarium
Class fieldtrips to the planetarium were never like this. More than just another upscale nightclub, Entrepreneur’s Eve features two fireworks displays, open bar, gambling for a good cause, a cigar lounge, celebrity DJs and access to museum exhibits. A VIP ticket includes entry into the Hennessey Black Lounge, featuring famed mixologist Benjamin Newby as well as a “swag bag.” Proceeds benefit the H Foundation, a charity that has raised more than $4.2 million for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Adler Planetarium, 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, (312) 922-7827, 21+, 8pm-1am, GA $200, VIP $325. For tickets and information go to entrepreneurseve2012.eventbrite.com.
Eric D-lux at Roof on the Wit
All-star club DJ Eric D-lux will leave his regular Monday night gig at Las Vegas’ Marquee to come bang down the door to 2013 here in the Windy. Tickets include hors d’oeuvres and midnight champagne toast. Located on the twenty-seventh floor, Roof’s glass ceiling offers one of the best views of downtown Chicago. VIP packages range in price and amenities such as group tables, bottle service and hotel accommodations. Roof on the Wit, 201 North State, 27th floor, (312)239-9502, 21+, 9pm-2am, $162.25. For VIP packages call or visit roofonthewit.com.
Hyatt Mag Mile
Every drinking holiday Magnificent Mile becomes a cluster of gleefully exuberant party-goers, frolicking drunkenly from one street to another. If you’re one of the brave who chooses to embrace this, do so with tickets to the Hyatt’s New Year’s Eve Soiree. General admission includes four hours of top-shelf open bar, an appetizer buffet and champagne toast. DJs Krush and Onit will provide a soundtrack of hip-hop, eighties, house, and R&B as well as a live performance by the hair-band/pop cover band Trash Martini. This party goes till 5am so you may want to take the elevator home. Special reduced rates for party guests are available. Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, 633 North St. Clair, (312)787-1234, 21+, 9pm-5am, $125-$150.
This party is already on its way to selling out. With DJs Noah Saltz, Milk & Cookies, Xonic, Real Juicy, Na Palm, Danger Wayne already booked, are you really surprised? Upon entering you’ll immediately be handed a glass of champagne. Then, take a lap, treat yourself to the array of snacks and most importantly the Grey Goose-sponsored open bar (9pm-1am). VIP table service is available starting at $150 in addition to the cost of general admission. The MID, 306 North Halsted, (312)265-3990, 21+, 9pm-4am. Check themidnewyearseve.com for info on ticket availability and price.
Mike Posner, Bad Boy Bill and Playboy Playmates at the Hilton
This highly anticipated night begins with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Champagne will be passed and B96’s Stylz will toast as R&B pop sensation Mike Posner takes the stage at the stroke of 2013. Hometown hero and legendary house DJ Bad Boy Bill will follow. For a little more, the exclusive VIP lounge hosted by Playboy Playmates will offer a reception featuring a casino and silent auction. Proceeds benefit the renewable energy company AEHI. Some 4,000 people are expected to attend. Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan. Tickets begin at $155 and $195 for VIP. Bottle-service reservations are available as well as a special on hotel accommodations. Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan, (312)226-6990, 21+, $155 GA, $195 VIP. Call or visit NewYearsHiltonChicago.com for more info.
The Morning After at Hotel Allegro
Hotel Allegro is aiming to make your first morning of 2013 bearable. Guests are welcome to nurse their hangovers at a complimentary all-you-can-eat cold-pizza bar as well as a good old hair-of-the-dog bloody mary bar from 9am (yeah right!) till noon. For an ultimate recovery, in-room spa services are available. Hotel Allgero, 171 West Randolph, (312)236-0123.
A Night in the World’s Palace at Palmer House Hilton
Four luxurious ballrooms ornamented in breathtaking décor set the stage for an enchanting New Year’s Eve. Dashing formal attire is expected. Of course all the basics are included. Four hours of open bar include Tanqueray and Johnny Walker Red, house wines, and Heineken as well as various martinis for the price of general admission. VIP includes top-shelf booze such as Belvedere Ultra Premium vodka, Johnny Walker Black and Tanqueray 10. Local radio DJs Jay Funk and DJ Bomber will provide the entertainment as well as a casino benefiting Starlight Children’s Foundation. The Palmer House, 17 East Monroe, (312)726-7500, 21+, 9pm-2am. Tickets are limited and start at $125 GA, $155 VIP. Discounted room rates are available to party guests by contacting the hotel directly at (877)865-5321 and mentioning group booking code “NYE.”
Porn and Chicken New Year’s Eve Blowout at Evil Olive
Wicker Park’s raunchiest party providers could not be more thrilled that New Year’s falls on a Monday, the night they take over Evil Olive. As usual, expect to see lots of chicken skin and bare human flesh and the most rowdy bunch of hormonally charged boys and girls packed into one club. Tickets include a premium open bar from 9pm-1am, dinner buffet, champagne toast and balloon drop. $3 Old Style Tall Boys and $7 Tall Boy whisky shot combos will be available all night. There will be a special performance by Ammo, the curvaceous pyromaniac burlesque dancer at 2:30am. Evil Olive, (773)235-9100, 21+, 9pm, $80.
Bottle service may be the thing to do on New Year’s Eve, but if you really want to feel high class you’ll go somewhere distinguished for VIP superiority. In the Gold Coast, that somewhere is Proof Nightclub. Choose from an assortment of VIP table options, either on the first or second floor, or (for those of you who really want to be on display) the stage. Visit chicagonewyears.com/events/Proof-New-Years-Eve-2013 for more info on all five options, but remember none of them include admittance to the club. General admission will get you top-shelf open bar from 9pm-1am, champagne toast and party favors. Proof Nightclub, 1045 North Rush Street, (312)646-6000, 21+, 9pm, $85 GA.
Ring in the New Year with Teedra Moses and shake it till you break it with DJ B Man. In 2011 Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group made R&B songstress Teedra Moses part of the fam. The Shrine will provide complimentary appetizers (8pm-10pm) and champagne for the New Year’s countdown. Show off your true swag with one of three VIP package options. The Gold option includes admission with express entry for four, seating in the Coup D’Etat lounge, one bottle of Ciroc and Don Julio. Platinum includes admission with express entry for four, seating in VIP, one bottle of Ciroc, Don Julio and champagne. Diamond includes admission with express entry up to six, seating in VIP, one bottle of Ciroc, Don Julio and champagne. The Shrine, 2109 South Wabash, (312)753-5700, 21+, 8pm doors, $100 GA, $500 VIP Gold, $600 VIP Platinum, $750 Diamond.
The Ultimate New Year’s Experience
Excalibur and The Castle are teaming up for another massive New Year’s Eve bash with four rooms of drinking, dancing, and smoke machines. General admission gets you in, a sponsored premium open bar from 9pm-1am, festive party favors, and tons of confetti but won’t get you access to the main stage. Since world-famous DJ Paul Oakenfold is playing the main room, you’re probably going to want to cough up the extra dough for the Platinum Package. Other platinum bonuses include no-wait entry, VIP bartenders, and a scrumptious spread of hors d’oeuvres. Excalibur & The Castle, (312)266-1944, 632 North Dearborn, 21+, 9pm. $100 early bird special GA, $125 regular GA, $150 early bird special Platinum Package, $175 regular Platinum Package. VIP table also available, $1500 seats up to ten people.
Big Gigantic at Aragon Ballroom
Glow sticks, inflatable saxophones, visually rampant light effects and the kind of bass that makes your skin feel like it’s spinning around your bones—if this is how you imagine your New Year’s then these are your guys. Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken have fused a new sound of jazz-sax, electronic funk, hip-hop and dubstep to come with a fast paced synthy dance genre entirely all its own, though some are calling it “livetronica.” The ball only drops once, but Big Gigantic will drop the beat drop again and again. Their show at the Aragon will undoubtedly unite the crowd into a sweaty frenzy, lasting till the early hours of 2013. VIP tickets are limited and grant you access to the upper balcony (first-come, first-served), a signed poster, and the chance to get a group photo with Lalli and Salken. Aragon Ballroom, 1106 West Lawrence, (773)561-9500, 18+, 9pm, $45 advance, $50 at the door, $85 VIP.
Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries at Lincoln Hall
When Charles Bradley was young, his sister took him to see James Brown play the Apollo, changing him forever. Though it came with years of uncertainty, hardship and determination, Bradley’s dream has only recently come to fruition. His story is that of a nomadic soul man working underpaid jobs, hitchhiking coast to coast, and coping with the murder of his brother. All the while, music has been Bradley’s outlet. One night in a Brooklyn bar, Bradley was seen performing his James Brown-inspired act under the nom de plume Black Velvet by Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records. Roth invited him to work on a few Daptone projects which lead to Bradley fronting his own band. Now, with a mic at his lips and lights above, Bradley shares his story in song. He will be toasting to another golden year with his Extraordinaries at Lincoln Hall. Admission includes a drop card for a Daptone record sampler and Champagne toast. Lincoln Hall, 2424 North Lincoln, (773)525-2508, 21+, 10pm, $75.
Charlie Wilson at the Chicago Theatre
It’s been almost fifty years since Charlie Wilson and his brothers Ronnie and Robert showed the world what powers electro-funk can impart to a dance floor. Formerly the lead singer of one of R&B’s most popular and longest-touring groups the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson hasn’t stopped making infectious music you can’t help but sing along with. His solo career has earned him multiple Grammy nods, while his 2010 single, “There Goes My Baby,” still receives weekly airplay as well as his latest single, “My Love Is All I Have” off his unreleased album (set to drop in February). V103FM is sponsoring Wilson, aka Uncle Charlie, and female R&B/neo soul songstress Ledisi at the Chicago Theatre. Chicago Theatre, 175 North State, (312)443-1130, 21+, 8pm. Tickets range between $107 and $374.
Eternals Espiritu Zombie Group at the Hideout
If an atypical New Year’s Eve is what you yearn for, check out the band Eternals Espiritu Zombie Group. Their strange musical experiments don’t fit any particular genre; still, there’s something genuinely appealing about them. Dream-pop weirdo synth group Chandeliers will be DJing as well. Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia, (773)227-4433, 21+, 9pm doors, $20.
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound at Mayne Stage
Describing JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound as a “post-punk soul band” makes sense when you consider the authority front man JC Brooks commands when he takes the stage. And though some lead vocalists’ passion on stage has a propensity to mimic performance art, Brooks’ is more like a musical minister, leading the masses towards dance enlightenment. He and his band mates are the best contemporary soul band to come out of the Windy City in recent years, and now their popularity has spread internationally. Join JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park with champagne, party hats and noise makers. For a little more you can buy a VIP ticket guaranteeing a reserved seat and a signed silkscreen poster of the band. Mayne Stage, 1328 West Morse, (773)381-4551, 18+, 10:30pm, $45 GA, $65 VIP.
JD McPherson at Abbey Pub
Not quite a Hillbilly, JD McPherson comes to us from a land between Oklahoma’s Great Plains and the Ozarks. The thirty-five-year-old grew up working as a hand on the family ranch and later earned himself a master’s degree in open media. His musical style mirrors his life’s path: rugged yet sophisticated. 2010’s rerelease of his debut album “Signs and Signifiers” on the Chicago label Hi-Style, paints McPherson as a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll messiah writing new songs for old malt-shop jukeboxes. Chicago’s own dark and sexy female fronted country-punk garage band The Dyes will open. A VIP package is available and includes NYE party favors, appetizer buffet, and open bar. Abbey Pub, 3420 West Grace, (773)478-4408, 21+, 9pm, $25 GA, $70 VIP.
Leftover Salmon and The Lee Boys at the Vic
If you like knee slappin’ foot stompn’ music than the Vic Theater is where you’ll want to be this New Year’s. The Lee Boys from Orlando are six family members that came up playing together in church. There they learned the tradition of the Sacred Steel ensemble, sliding steel guitar and gospel-drenched uplifting spirituals. The Lee Boys also possess an apparent soul and blues element to their music that seems to woo audiences to the dance floor. Headlining is the self-proclaimed “polyethnic Cajun slam grass” band Leftover Salmon. From Boulder, Colorado the group has found many years of success on the bluegrass/jam band circuit since they formed in 1989. Their sound is weighted with fast tickling string instruments and an occasional “yahoo” when necessary. Vic Theater, 3145 North Sheffield, (773)472-0449, 18+, 9pm, $39.
Maps and Atlases at Schubas
It looks as if 2013 is going to start off wonderfully for Chicago based Maps and Atlases. Come February the four will take their seventies-style facial hair across the pond for a month-long tour through Europe and the UK. Maps and Atlases are at the forefront of music’s most pertinent indie bands in the Midwest. Their sound is described as “math rock,” complex rhythm structures with numerous instruments whose notes read dissonantly on paper, but uphold a fresh and pop-friendly sound. Summery folk-pop band Santah is set to open. Schubas, 3159 North Southport, (773)525-2508, 21+, 10pm, $25.
Mucca Pazza at the Logan Square Auditorium
If you’ve still never seen this thirty-person adult marching band you’re missing out on one of Generation Y’s greatest concepts. See them along with White Mystery and John Drake & the Shakes play the Logan Square Auditorium. It’s going to be loud. Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 North Kedzie, (773) 252-6179, all ages, $25, 8pm doors.
New Philharmonic presents Viennese Pops New Year’s Eve with French Twist
Listen to the melodious sounds of Strauss and Stolz along with other featured Viennese pieces. Kiri Deonarine, from the Lyric Opera of Chicago-Ryan Opera Center, will sing to accompany the French orchestral music. Lund Auditorium, Dominican University, 7900 Division, River Forest. (630)942-4000. $55-$65.
Porter Robinson at the Congress Theater
Though only twenty years old, Porter Robinson has already made his presence known as an electronic dance-music producer. He started back when he was thirteen, toying around with video-game sounds. Since releasing his breakthrough hit “Say My Name” Robinson has achieved number-one singles on the iTunes Dance Chart and Beatport’s Electro House Chart, sold out arenas worldwide and remixed tracks for Lady Gaga. He will be joined by four other EDM DJs. Congress Theater, 2135 North Milwaukee, (773)360-8162, 17+, 8pm doors open. $40 GA, or $130 for pack of 4 GA tickets. VIP tickets are available for $75 and grant you no-wait entry, access to the VIP balcony wing and VIP exclusive bars (no open bar). Purchase tickets at clubtix.com.
Wanda Jackson at the Double Door
Hailed as the Queen of Rockabilly, seventy-five year old Wanda Jackson is still setting them up and knocking them down with her sassy melodies. Starting after she graduated high school, Jackson’s career has taken many roads. Early on, she became one of the first female faces of rockabilly, and even dated Elvis for a short stint. As the popularity of rockabilly music faded, Jackson crossed over to become a country and gospel success. She even starred in her own short-lived television program “Music Village.” In the eighties, rockabilly music began to make a resurgence and Jackson was sought out to play and record the music she was first known for. She has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as set a new record on the Billboard Hot 200 list as oldest female vocalist. This year she released her thirty-first album, “Unfinished Business.” Soul Summit DJs will be on hand to spin your favorite funk and soul tunes. VIP wristbands are for sale and include open domestic drafts and well drinks and a champagne toast at midnight. Double Door, 1572 North Milwaukee, (773)489-3160, 21+, 9:30pm doors, $55 GA, $100 VIP.