While you can always check our Events Page for upcoming live music in Chicago, here's Tomorrow's Verse's picks for the best shows to catch in the month of March.
In a rare chance to catch the Dead’s bassist in Chicago, Phil Lesh will perform two shows at Thalia Hall. Compared to 2017’s Riviera dates or his Chicago Theatre appearance with Bob Weir in 2018, this is an insanely intimate venue, and one of the city’s best. Featuring son Grahame Lesh on guitar and longtime friend Alex Koford on drums, pianist and violinist Jason Crosby and renowned guitarist Ross James, the band has perfected their sets at Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in California and must be excited to take the show on the road. Get ready for two unpredictable and unforgettable nights of unbelievable musicianship.
Goose Island will again celebrate their hometown with a “312 Day” on 3/12, hosting three fantastic bands at three excellent locals venues. Local garage-rock favorites Twin Peaks will perform their first non-festival show in the city since 2017’s New Years run at the small-capacity Lincoln Hall. Celebrated genre-blending indie songwriter Michelle Zauner will bring her Japanese Breakfast project to Thalia Hall, while local up-and-coming progressive-meets-psychedelic band Post Animal will grace the stage at Empty Bottle. With three great bands and three intimate venues, this 312 Day will be one to remember.
Wilco songwriter Jeff Tweedy performs solo at The Vic practically every year, but this year the local legend has more to celebrate than his band’s discography. Tweedy released his first solo record of original material, WARM, last year, and will follow it with a new album’s worth of songs this April on Record Store Day. Fans can expect a combination of these tracks, plenty of Wilco tunes and often surprises in the form of covers and songs from his other projects, all in a friendly, banter-filled set. A true Chicago experience, it’s hard to pass up this opportunity.
Blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. had won us over nearly a decade ago with his rocking, Hendrix-style guitar solos and classically informed songwriting. With his third major-label album, This Land, released last month, the songwriter has stretched into new territory, blending blues, hip-hop and soul influences into a sound both derivative of his influences and completely his own. The guitarist’s choice to perform in the gorgeous Chicago Theatre is all the more reason to catch this tour, as Clark only seems to be getting bigger from here.
5. Ghost Light - March 23
A supergroup of sorts consisting of pianist Holly Bowling, guitarists Tom Hamilton (JRAD, American Babies) and Raina Mullen (American Babies), bassist Steve Lyons (Nicos Gun) and drummer Scotty Zwang (Dopapod), Ghost Light is forging their way through the jam scene as one of the most talented and underrated groups around. The fact that the band is performing at the EXTREMELY intimate 1st Ward/Chop Shop in Wicker Park on the night after the release of their debut record, Best Kept Secrets, is all the more reason to be excited.
Better Oblivion Community Center, the new and unexpected musical project formed by Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Phoebe Bridgers (boygenius), turned out to, not surprisingly, be one of the best albums of 2018 so far. Backed by Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner and Jack White drummer Carla Azar, the band takes “supergroup” to the next level, making their two intimate performances at 500-capacity Lincoln Hall an unbelievable decision and rare opportunity for Chicagoans.
7. Melvin Seals & JGB - March 22
Longtime Jerry Garcia Band keyboardist Melvin Seals is known for his Hammond B-3 organ sound and ability to blend genres, making him a pioneer of the jam scene’s sound. Backed by Zach Nugent, a devoted disciple of Jerry Garcia’s music, and drummer Pete Lavezzoli, the band serves a tasteful but unique brand of music that honors the late Dead guitarist, known for creating a magical experience in the live setting. Paired with the opening Joe Marcinek band, get ready for a night of funky jams and genre fusion at Park West.
8. Jenny Lewis - March 30
Songwriter Jenny Lewis, originally of Rilo Kiley, is a criminally underrated live performer, her carefully planned performances drawing from the various styles represented in her prolific recording career. Moving from folk to rock to pop and more, Lewis knows how to mesmerize a crowd. Her new album, On The Line, comes out a week before the show, so fans can expect plenty of new material blended with the old at her date at The Riviera.
9. The Infamous Stringdusters - March 16
Amongst the most talented acts in the current “newgrass" or “progressive bluegrass” scene, The Infamous Stringdusters have created a serious name and following for themselves through relentless touring. Without ever abandoning the traditional bluegrass routes, the Stringdusters have a knack for heavy jamming that bends genres, each performance exploring new territories and ideas. The band will bring their energetic show to Park West, joined by opening folk songwriter John Craigie.
Indiana rockers Houndmouth seem to have already had a lengthy career throughout their three studio albums. The band’s first two albums represented a blend of infectious indie songwriting that took after The Band, members trading writing and vocal duties in their harmony-laden sound. After the departure of one keyboardist Katie Toupin, the band added a horn section and made a sharp change in their sound, favoring futuristic indie-pop over the more nostalgic folk-rock sound. Regardless, Houndmouth is known for a fun and energetic live performance, always delivering to their ever-growing fanbase. The band will perform two shows at Thalia Hall, where they have done multiple runs in the past.