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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsJanuary 2016

Music
Classic Rock, Soul, R&B, Blues

Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy performing at the Chicago Blues Festival Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

BILLY BRANCH AND THE SONS OF BLUES

1/2 at 8 Branch, a Chicago-born harmonica maestro, isn’t exactly in short supply—he does a weekend at Kingston Mines about every other month—but his airtight set of rollicking electronics endlessly entertains, and as with any good blues act, it changes night by night. $15–$27. SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. ticketweb.com

 

BLACK SABBATH

1/22 at 7:30 The godfathers of heavy metal have done a number on their brains, bodies, and personal lives in four decades of hard-rock bushwhacking but are still kicking. All the original members except drummer Bill Ward will appear (he left in 2012 due to bad health and a rift with Ozzy Osbourne), but expect this to be the last time you’ll see any semblance of the band on this side of the Atlantic. $70–$650. United Center, 1901 W. Madison. ticketmaster.com

EDDY “THE CHIEF” CLEARWATER

1/10 at 7 This relic of Chicago’s 1950s West Side blues scene came up playing what he calls “rock-a-blues”—distorted up-tempo takes on 12-bar classics, adorned with his gruff holler. He also plays left-handed on an upside-down right-handed guitar, the musical equivalent of mastering cursive with a palette and chisel. $20–$32. SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. ticketweb.com

BUDDY GUY

1/7–31 This year’s annual “Buddy Shows”—a 16-show residency Guy plays at his namesake blues club each January—feature support from local talent, including Mike Wheeler, Toronzo Cannon, Nellie “Tiger” Travis, and the Cash Box Kings. The gigs routinely sell out, and that should be doubly true after the 79-year-old’s marquee year (he released the chart-topping Born to Play Guitar and nabbed a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys). $55–$65. Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash. buddyguy.com

LIQUID SOUL

1/8 at 8 Despite leader Mars Williams’s assertion that Liquid Soul is “beyond acid jazz,” his two-decade-old ensemble is often credited with pioneering the genre in Chicago and beyond. The eight(ish)-member band blends funk, soul, hip-hop, and traditional improv during its bouncy live show; bring your dancing shoes. $12–$24. SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. ticketweb.com

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