There’s a soundtrack to every romantic relationship. From Etta James for the first dance at a wedding, to a night crying alone to Adele, you can chronicle the highs and lows with music. (Just ask John Cusack) Likewise, this Valentine’s Day boasts a slew concert options from some sexy slow jams for lovebirds to love-gone-wrong songs for the vengeful hate-drinkers.
For the cynics: Anti-Valentine’s Day Party. The Empty Bottle and the Chicago Reader team up to present this evening for the too-cool-to-care. The trippy local dance music duo Hood Internet headline, preceded by DJ sets and stories of dating problems. Members of the roller derby team, the Windy City Rollers will deliver drinks to that hottie you’re furtively eying across the room. Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N Kedzie. emptybottle.com
For the cuddlers: Elephant Revival. The co-ed Colorado folk group has a strong Celtic streak. It’s lovely melodies, lush harmonies and sensual fiddle and mandolin arrangements will have you and your date cozying-up in no time. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org
For the Broken-Hearted: Syd Straw. A hard-belting chanteuse who first garnered attention in the 1990s for her work with indie rock group the Golden Palominos, Straw will perform her “heartwreck” shows—a set of country-folk love-gone-wrong songs. City Winery, 1200 W Randolph. citywinery.com
For the couple trying to makeout in a bar bathroom: Nick Waterhouse. This young California neo-soul singer deftly recreates the sound of ‘50s roadhouse R&B. His smoky singing floats over tumbling rhythms and honking saxophones and are echoed by female backing singers reminiscent of the Raelettes’ granddaughters. Metro, 3730 N Clark St. metrochicago.com
Photograph: Debi Del Grande