Top New Year's Eve concerts

Greg Kot

9:26 AM CST, December 26, 2013


As any music-lover knows, New Year's Eve can be a tough night to find bargain-priced entertainment. But a few good deals can be found Tuesday, including at least one free show hosted by a funk pioneer (that would be Bernie Worrell at Reggie's). Here's how to face the music as 2013 ends and 2014 begins (arranged alphabetically):

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe: After playing with Lenny Kravitz, the saxophonist broke off to pursue his own projects. In his Tiny Universe, he blends his jazz chops with funk in a way that fans of Maceo Parker would likely appreciate. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., $45; jamusa.com

Dessa: Blurring the lines between spoken word and rap, melody and rhythm, hip-hop and indie rock, the Minneapolis artist is her own genre in many ways. 10 p.m. Tuesday, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., $30 and $35; lincolnhallchicago.com

Alejandro Escovedo: The punk-rock kid with a songwriter's soul continues to explore in a career that now spans five decades. 10 p.m. Tuesday, Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston $65 and $80; evanstonspace.com

Flosstradamus: Ever since cracking URB magazine's "Next 100" list in 2006, J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) have thrown dance parties that have ingrained themselves in the collective memories of thousands not only in Chicago, but at major festivals such as Coachella and South by Southwest. 10 p.m. Tuesday, Riviera, 4746 N. Racine Ave. $59; jamusa.com

Black Joe Lewis: Before accolades starting to descend on Gary Clark Jr., Lewis was the rising blues-funk-soul star out of Austin, Texas. He and his Honeybears are best experienced live, when the studio polish on their recordings melts away in favor of something a bit more unhinged. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Metro, 3730 N. Clark St. $60; metrochicago.com

Local H: Scott Lucas is breaking in a new drummer, Ryan Harding, after stalwart Brian St. Clair's amicable departure a few months ago. But the rock will flow as long as Lucas is involved; he's among the most versatile and accomplished songwriters and band leaders this city has produced over the last two decades. 10 p.m. Tuesday, Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave. $27 and $30; subt.net

Los Lobos: The greatest wedding band ever – and that's a compliment, because the quintet from East Los Angeles can play just about any song with anyone at a moment's notice. 7:30 and 11 p.m., City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St. $85, $125, $175; citywinery.com

Motion City Soundtrack: Comparisons to early Weezer fly when this Minnesota band lets loose with its ultra-sincere, hook-driven tunes. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St. $45; bottomlounge.com.

Mucca Pazza: Is it a New Orleans jazz ensemble, a gypsy street band, a P-Funk-style soul collective in disguise, or a little bit of all of the above? Don't let the marching-band pedigree and costumes fool you — John Philip Sousa would not be amused. But the dancefloor will be filled as Mucca Pazza thunders across stylistic boundaries. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave. $25 and $28; doubledoor.com

Oozing Wound, Magic Milk, Jimmy Whispers, DJ Mike Lust: The emphasis is on up-and-comers at a cut-rate price. After the cathartic songs of Jimmy Whispers, count on Oozing Wound and Magic Milk to deliver the chaos. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave. $10 and $20; emptybottle.com

Pickwick: Seattle basement heroes who have emerged with a scruffy yet melodic soul-dipped debut album. "Can't Talk Medicine," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave. $30 and $35; schubas.com

Windy City Soul Club: These DJs know how to move a crowd in part because they're such expert crate-diggers – no great groove from the past escapes their discerning ears. The soul dusties that provided the foundation for so much great Chicago music for previous generations come to life and still make backbones slip on the dancefloor. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Ave. $15 and $20; emptybottle.com

Bernie Worrell Orchestra: Parliament-Funkadelic's resident virtuoso helped reinvent funk in the '70s with his otherworldly keyboard solos, and then helped turn Talking Heads into a juggernaut. The show is free, but get there early because capacity is limited. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Reggie's Music Joint, 2105 S. State St., free; reggieslive.com

Greg Kot co-hosts "Sound Opinions" at 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBEZ (FM-91.5).


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