In Chicago, one of the best deals on New Year’s Eve is a concert. The cover price beats those of the hotel events downtown, and there’s more to the party than the inebriated countdown to 2009. New Wave guitarist Jay Reatard rocks the Empty Bottle ($25; emptybottle.com) while local indie crooners The Sea & Cake hit Schubas ($40; schubas.com). Cover craftsmen Tributosaurus play Led Zeppelin at Martyrs’ ($30; martyrslive.com) while the hardest-working band in town, Local H, joins Office at Bottom Lounge ($35-$40; bottom lounge.com). Want to boogie? The Parisian dance duo Justice lead a mega DJ party at the Congress Theater ($60-$200; ticketweb.com), but Green Velvet at Metro Smart Bar ($30-$500; smartbar.com) will be disco, too. Meanwhile, blues fans will find Magic Slim at Buddy Guy’s Legends ($25; buddyguys.com). The best deal? The Chicago crooner Saalik Ziyad brings his 5 After 7 Project to Velvet Lounge (velvetlounge.net) for $10. Leaves plenty of cash for the cab home.
Photography: Eva Mueller