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FEATURES

 

BEYOND THE BLUES FESTIVAL:

Chicago Blues Guide’s Top Choices

Here are some staff suggestions on where to go to catch more great blues acts outside of the huge Grant Park festivities, in some unexpected venues.

 

For a complete list of Chicago area blues clubs, see our blues club directory in The Guide section.

lonnie-brooks

Lonnie Brooks/photo by: Jennifer Wheeler

 

REDHEAD PIANO BAR www.redheadpianobar.com

16 W. Ontario, Chicago

No Cover!

Tuesday, 6/3 (every Tuesday, 11:45 p.m. – 3:15 a.m.)

This cozy River North piano bar is not a place you’d expect to hear Chicago blues. Instead of singing along to Billy Joel’s hits, you can hear three of Chi-town’s top players, all highly respected in their own right, perform together. Ruby Harris (“king of the blues violin”), barrelhouse pianist Phil Baron and guitarist Wil Crosby (longtime Mavis Staples bandmate). (Sometimes it’s a duo, as they alternate.)

 

HOUSE OF BLUES

 http://www.hob.com/venues/clubvenues/chicago/

329 N. Dearborn (at Marina City), Chicago

312-923-2000 (box office)

Thursday, 6/5 -- Doors open 7 pm, show at 8 pm

Lonnie Brooks, Wayne Baker Brooks, Pinetop Perkins, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Lil’ Ed and special guest Todd Park Mohr (of Big Head Todd & The Monsters). The cream of Chicago’s blues crop together on one stage, with a rare appearance by venerable piano legend Pinetop; plus blues-rocker Todd (who moved to Chicago for a spell to soak up our blues music).

$24.50; ages 17 and over.

 

 

BUDDY GUY’S LEGENDS www.buddyguys.com

754 S. Wabash, Chicago

312-427-0333

Thursday, 6/5 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. There is no cover; first come first serve. Doors open 11 a.m. After the broadcast, at about 7 p.m, there is a $15 cover.

 

Buddy Guy, Otis Taylor and Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater perform for WXRT (93.1 FM) Radio’s 11th Annual live broadcast to kick off the Chicago Blues Festival. DJ Tom Marker, host of the BluesBreakers show, emcees. Buddy Guy will co-host. When the radio show is over, Louisiana Red takes the stage at 7 p.m. backed by special guests Bob Corritore, Patrick Ryan and Eddie Kobek.  At 10 p.m. guitarist Larry McCray performs. Legends serves tasty authentic Louisiana cuisine and other fare, so marathon blues fans won’t starve.

 

 

S.P.A.C.E. www.evanstonspace.com

1245 Chicago Ave. (at Dempster), Evanston, IL

 847-492-8860

This new performance space/recording studio and restaurant in Evanston offers exciting line-ups throughout the week.

Wednesday 6/4 -- 92-year-old blues legend Honeyboy Edwards, Dave Specter, Barrelhouse Chuck, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater and host Katherine Davis

Thursday 6/5 -- Jimmy Johnson joins Dave Specter.

Friday 6/6 -- Jimmy Burns brings his soulful voice and guitar to the stage.

Saturday 6/7 -- Syl Johnson (brother of Jimmy Johnson) makes a rare appearance. This would be an opportune time to hear soul legend live.

 

BLUE CHICAGO (two clubs) www.bluechicago.com

Chicago, IL

These River North sister clubs, only two blocks apart, offer blues fans a great deal: two clubs with two bands on the weekend for only one cover charge. Make sure the doorman stamps your hand for admission to both places. Blue Chicago is known for its female vocalists.

 

536 N. Clark (at Ohio)

312-661-0100

Wednesday 6/4J.W. Williams Blues Band with Patricia Scott

Thursday 6/5Shirley Johnson Blues Band

Friday 6/6 & Saturday 6/7Charlie Love Blues Band with Nellie Travis

Sunday 6/8Shirley Johnson Blues Band

 

736 N. Clark (at Superior)

312-642-6261

(Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

Friday 6/6 & Saturday 6/7Grana Louise & the Troublemakers

 

 

REGGIE’S MUSIC JOINT www.reggieslive.com

2105 S. State Street, Chicago

312-949-0120.

Reggie’s is not the usual stop on the blues pub crawl, but they have booked some exciting acts for Blues Fest weekend and there is a free bus from Monroe Street to the club that picks up on the hour from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.

 

Friday 6/6 -- blues legends Jody Williams and Eddie C. Campbell perform.

 Saturday 6/7 -- Eddie C. Campbell returns along with Cadillac Zack and Elmore James Jr. (who celebrates his new CD release).  A “get-well-soon” will go out to the ailing Little Arthur Duncan with a set featuring Taildragger. Byther Smith goes on at 12 a.m., followed by an All-Star Jam Session with many special guests including Scott Dirks, Eddie Taylor, Jr., Twist Turner, Bob Corritore, Dona Oxford, Smilin’ Bobby, Jesse Fortune, Pee Wee Hayes, Jimmy Dawkins and more.

Sunday 6/8 -- Carlos Johnson

 

 

ROSA’S BLUES LOUNGE www.rosaslounge.com

3420 West Armitage, Chicago

773-342-0452

Rosa’s is a great place to hear and see the blues.  Chicago’s “friendliest blues bar” has a stellar lineup with Vance Kelly on Friday 6/6; Lil’ Ed on Saturday 6/7 and Lurrie Bell on Sunday 6/8.

 

 

B.L.U.E.S. www.chicagobluesbar.com

2519 N. Halsted, Chicago

773-528-1012

Neighboring clubs B.L.U.E.S. and Kingston Mines have a great deal going on Sundays. Pay your cover at B.L.U.E.S. and get in free at Kingston Mines.

Friday 6/6 & Saturday 6/7Jimmy Johnson with Chico Banks

Sunday 6/8Rodney Brown & the Hot Rods

 

 

KINGSTON MINES www.kingstonmines.com

2548 N. Halsted, Chicago

773-477-4646

Chicago’s longest running blues club, The Mines is the place where guitar goddess Joanna Connor got her start. Catch her this weekend with ex-Chicagoan Magic Slim (now a Nebraska resident). Two stages, so the music never stops.

Friday 6/6Magic Slim, Joanna Connor

Saturday 6/7Big James Montgomery, Joanna Connor

Sunday 6/8Charlie Love & the Silky Smooth Blues Band, Linsey Alexander

 

 

HARLEM  AVENUE  LOUNGE

 www.harlemavenuelounge.com

3701 S. Harlem, Berwyn, IL

708-484-3610

The cozy and casual Harlem Avenue Lounge presents two young turks of the blues: on Friday 6/6 catch the dynamic Toronzo Cannon and the Cannonball Express and Saturday 6/7 it’s Joe Moss Blues Band.

 

 

BILL’S BLUES BAR www.billsbluesbar.com

1029 Davis, Evanston, IL

847-424-9800

Saturday 6/7 -- Don’t miss this intimate club show by Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater (who is busy headlining huge festivals) in Bill’s cozy bar.

 

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