The Fiery Furnaces play Lincoln Hall.
Just because you’re pinching pennies doesn’t mean New Year’s Eve has to fall to the gutter. Chicago offers a diverse concert lineup that beats overpriced hotel events, so you can stay on budget without staying in. Local jam band Umphrey’s McGee returns to the Aragon Ballroom, accompanied by the DJ and producer Prefuse 73 spinning between sets ($65, aragon.com). Down the block, The Black Keys bring garage-blues minimalism to the Riviera Theatre ($49, jamusa.com). The Jesus Lizard rocks Metro ($51, metrochicago.com), and newly opened Lincoln Hall inaugurates its first New Year’s with Oak Park natives The Fiery Furnaces ($20, lincolnhallchicago.com). Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s play at Subterranean ($30, subt.net), while The Empty Bottle hosts the Swedish indie crooner Jens Lekman ($30, emptybottle.com). It’s all about banjos at Old Town School of Folk Music, where Uncle Earl teams up with The Infamous Stringdusters for a night of bluegrass ($40, oldtownschool.org). In the suburbs, The Smoking Popes rock Durty Nellie’s in Palatine ($55, durtynellies.com), and FitzGerald’s in Berwyn has multi–Grammy Award nominee Marcia Ball wailing her Southern blues ($35, fitzgeraldsnightclub.com). Or opt for blues downtown, as Magic Slim jams at Buddy Guy’s Legends ($25, buddyguys.com), and Kingston Mines features Big James & the Chicago Playboys ($25, kingstonmines.com). For more backbeat, DJ Rock City and his signature mohawk leads the party at The Underground ($95, theundergroundchicago.com). And you can’t top the cover price at Schubas (schubas.com), where $20 gets Bobby Bare Jr.’s rockabilly pop stuck in your head for the rest of 2010.
Photograph: Jody Kivort