Madonna is gay Santa Claus: No one knows how old she is, her bedroom is always filled with toys, and I may or may not still believe in her. But the most obvious correlation is that EVERYONE knows she's coming to town. It's like gay Christmas up in here if you tack on announced shows by Lady Gaga and Barbra Streisand (aka The Heat Miser and Snow Miser) coming to Chicago this season. We're all looking forward to turning their venues into Sidetrack West for the night, but, like a small Minneapolitan once said, "I'm here to tell U, there's something else … ." Prince and other amazing concerts are coming up you should check them out.
9/16: First on our to-see list is UK star Paloma Faith at Martyr's. As my buddy Jerry Nunn suggested, like Adele or Emili Sande, you'll kick yourself if you don't catch this powerhouse while she's doing intimate shows. Her first US single, "Picking Up the Pieces," is basically her "Rolling In the Deep."
9/24-25: Prince's Welcome 2 Chicago show is here for two nights, and the Purple One has NEVER put on a bad show, even if he's not done a good album in 20 years. He promises each show will be "a different experience every night," and we promise both will be sold out by the time you read this.
9/26: Blondie and Devo's Whip It To Shreds tour limps through town in September. While both bands are getting a bit geriatric, they're well matched for their innovation and quality of classic material. Worth a look.
10/3: Tough choice on the third between Jens Lekman at Lincoln Hall or The Gossip at Bottom Lounge. If you can't get tix to the weirdly small Gossip show, Jens will not disappoint. In 10 years, this man will be held up with Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake as an unappreciated lyrical genius. Check him out.
10/6: While she won't have the gayest crowd, Canadians rock harder. See for yourself when Kathleen Edwards brings her clever and bitter roots rock to Park West.
10/13: Hot on the heels of the second of her best two albums of her career, Alanis Morissette comes back to prove she's done better stuff by far than the over-discussed Jagged Little Pill. Get to know her new CD Havoc and Bright Lights and meet me at The Riv.
10/21: The original New Order (minus bassist Peter Hook) hit The Aragon. We'll have to see how they fair minus their signature bassist. My bet is that someone will be able to wing it.
10/29: Synth-pop pioneers of the '90s, Saint Etienne hit Lincoln Hall for a rare intimate stop on their US tour with music so likeable and sexy you can walk in cold and unfamiliar and leave a fan. Trust.
11/14-15: Finally queen of the 40-something maudlin gays (and I'm one of them) can't wait to catch the amazing Aimee Mann at Park West. Having caught her a few times over the years, I can say she can whip Madonna-Claus' firm old butt any day.
Catch Moose spinning a ton of Madge's hits at his Mary's Attic debut, Sept. 29 with Shaun Sperling's Gay Bar Mitzvah.